Education abstract

British Dental Journal 205, 261 - 271 (2008)
Published online: 13 September 2008 | doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.2008.736

Subject Categories: Computers in dentistry | Dental education

A vision of dental education in the third millennium

K. A. Eaton1, P. A. Reynolds2, S. K. Grayden3 & N. H. F. Wilson4

  • This final paper in a series of 16 explores how dental education may develop during the next 50 years and how e-learning will play a key role.
  • It considers developing technologies, some of which are already impacting on dental education.
  • It brings together the aspects covered in the previous papers.
  • It explains how the work of the projects will be continued in the future.

This paper is the last in a series of 16 which have explored current uses of information communications technology (ICT) in all areas of dentistry in general, and in dental education in particular. In this paper the authors explore current developments, referring back to the previous 15 papers, and speculate on how ICT should increasingly contribute to dental education in the future. After describing a vision of dental education in the next 50 years, the paper considers how ICT can help to fulfil the vision. It then takes a brief look at three aspects of the use of ICT in the world in general and speculates how dentistry can learn from other areas of human endeavour. Barriers to the use of ICT in dental education are then discussed. The final section of the paper outlines new developments in haptics, immersive environments, the semantic web, the IVIDENT project, nanotechnology and ergonometrics. The paper concludes that ICT will offer great opportunities to dental education but questions whether or not human limitations will allow it to be used to maximum effect.

  1. Visiting Professor, UCL Eastman Dental Institute, 256 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8LD/Honorary Professor, University of Kent
  2. Professor of Dental Education, Centre for Flexible Learning in Dentistry, King's College London Dental Institute, Floor 3, Strand Bridge House, 138-142 The Strand, London WC2 1HH
  3. Assistant Research Scientist, BMS/Co-ordinator, Faculty Development Dental Informatics, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, 1011 N. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1098, USA
  4. Professor and Dean, King's College London Dental Institute, Central Office, Floor 18, Tower Wing, Guy's Hospital, London, SE1 9RT

Correspondence to: P. A. Reynolds2 e-mail:

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