My photo
I am an Australian occupational therapist, educator and researcher. I have worked as an OT in mental health, vocational rehabilitation and a private surgical hospital. I am passionate using online technology to enhance the knowledge and growth of the occupational therapy profession. In my PhD research I am looking at the role of online technologies in information management and knowledge transfer in occupational therapy. Views expressed and stories shared on this blog are my opinion and do not represent views of my employer or professional registration body.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Wiki research grant success!

We have been successful in our application for a teaching and learning enhancement fund project (TLEF) collaborating between OT, PT and S&LP programmes here at the University of Alberta.

The project is looking at students perceptions of developing a Wiki as a groupwork assignment and is an extension of work we were doing at Deakin University in Australia.

"Students’ perceptions of collaborating to create a Wiki, and the relationship between approach to task and learning style."

The project will run over the next 18 months and will hopefully give us some idea of how students find collaborating in virtual teams on a group project.

Thanks to those of you who helped get this to this stage, now for ethics... then the project proper!!!

Web 2.0 and Chronic Illness: New Horizons, New Opportunities

Thanks Cary Brown from the U of A OT department who sent me this article: "Web 2.0 and Chronic Illness: New Horizons, New Opportunities." Here's the link to the article.

The really nice thing is that it goes back to basics and explains what each type of Web 2.0 technology is and does and shows how each type of software can be useful in health care practice. It's a great basic reference.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

More on Personal Learning Environments

I'm becoming a bit confused about which Personal/Online Learning Environment is better and why. So, of course I "Googled it" (yes that is now a verb: To Google)and found this Blog which looked at Moodle, Drupal and elgg. As this Blog post is now almost 2 years old (gosh I'm behind!) I wonder what's the latest in comparing these applications? What other similar applications are there?

Are you using a personal or online learning environment to organize your virtual world and connect your communities? Which one(s) and why?

Using YouTube as an education tool

I happened across this link today while surfing the net for other information... (as you do). This is another great example of how web 2.0 tools can be used to get new information out there and rapid interaction around the topic. It's much faster than waiting to be published in a peer-reviewed journal and much easier than appealing to the mass media to run with a story.

Youtube is really changing what stories are being told and are also changing people's tv viewing habits! Many reports are showing that people are watching YouTube instead of the TV... this is happening in my house... the other night we sat for over an hour with our two kids and watched YouTube clips... we found out all about what's going on in their lives, what they think is important and worrying. With TV we don't even get "hello" tv is just a one way street! YouTube is changing its services in response to this demand, see this link for details.

YouTube could tell our OT story better... who is doing it now and who wants to get involved???

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

RJ Cooper and Associates Software and Hardware for Persons with Special Needs

Most OT's working in the area of AT have links to specialists like RJ Cooper and Associates, so this new link won't be news to them. It's interesting though that people who know me through other circles (like Technology specialists) seem to find these links too and send them to me! So thanks Michael Hotrum for this link and here's hoping that others find it beneficial too!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

AT+ICT+sharing knowledge=Enhanced OT

The link between Assistive Technology (ie: technology that enables the person to have a better fit with their environment) and ICT (information computer technology) means that OT (occupational therapy) can offer more options to people wanting increased independence, funtion or "connectivity" with the world. In this area OTs are overlapping with IT people, engineers, technolgy designers and so on... this is a growth area of specialty.

There are many students coming through OT education programs with highly developed skills and knowledge in ICT and can enhance OT's knowledge in this area. Joan G. one of our first year Masters in OT students at the UofA has skills and experience in this area and sent me these links today:
Assistive Technology Wiki

Assitive Technology Blog

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Why email is so old fashioned

Interesting to read about South Korea's move away from email... where are our students heading?

Copied from The Age Melbourne Australia
Michael Fitzpatrick, Guardian
February 28, 2008

Mobile texting is now outstripping the use of email among the young. Michael Fitzpatrick reports. The art of correspondence faces another rude shove towards oblivion: even email is under fire for being "too formal".
Outside of work, SMS and instant messaging are fast becoming the writing tools of choice. Indeed, South Korea - that crystal ball of all our digital future - has even seen a report that many teenagers have stopped using email altogether.

"It's for old people," they say.

A poll of more than 2000 middle, high school and college students, taken recently in Seoul, revealed that more than two-thirds rarely or never use email.
Korea's digital generation is way ahead of even the Japanese. Fifty per cent of South Koreans are signed up to their version of Facebook, called Cyworld, which took off almost a decade before other social networking sites around the world.

For most South Koreans, email is fit only for addressing the elderly, or for business and formal missives. Even those in their 30s, such as Dr Youngmi Kim, a professor at Edinburgh University, says she doesn't use it much when she is communicating with fellow Koreans.

"I use my Cyworld mini homepage to communicate among Korean close friends," she says. "(Cyworld) is faster and it can be used both for private and public use."

It's a global trend but more pronounced in South Korea, says Tomi Ahonen, a communications consultant and the co-author of a new book, Digital Korea. "Korean young adults put it so well. Email is simply outdated and not used between friends and colleagues. The only people you would use mobile email with are the older generation at work. Email? It's so '90s."
According to the poll, mobile texting, instant messaging and the perception that email is "a lot of bother" are all contributing to the end of the email era. Other factors, say the report, are the difficulty of ascertaining if an email has arrived and the lack of immediate response. One young Korean said that texting felt like a ping-pong game and that email was more "like doing homework".

Similar bugbears are driving email use down globally under the twin gods of ease and instant gratification, Ahonen says. "This phenomenon is not limited to South Korea. We are even seeing the first signs of it in the US - a country that is a leader in email and wireless email, and the laggard in mobile. "It started with the young abandoning email in favour of texting and since then the youth preference has spread and is now hitting the mainstream age groups."

It's an eye pod ... wink, wink

Copied from: March 4, 2008 - 8:24AM The Age Newspapger Melbourne, Australia.

An invention by Osaka University researcher Kazuhiro Taniguchi's will allow people to operate devices like digital music players with eye movements alone.
Don't read to much into someone winking at you in Japan - a researcher says he has developed a system that will soon let people run their iPods with the flick of an eye.

The system, comprising a single-chip computer and a couple of infrared sensors, monitors movements of the temple and is so tiny that it can be built into the side of a pair of eyeglasses.
Closing both eyes for one second starts an iPod, while blinking again stops the machine. A wink with the right eye makes the machine skip to the next tune while with a wink of the left eye it goes back. As a person does not have to move either hand, the system can serve as "a third hand" for caregivers, rock-climbers, motorbike drivers and astronauts, as well as people with disabilities.

"You don't have to worry about the system moving incorrectly as the system picks up signals when you close your eyes firmly. You can use this when you're eating or chatting with someone," said the device's developer, Kazuhiro Taniguchi.

"Normally you blink in an energy-saving manner, very quickly and lightly, but you would close your eyes more firmly to operate a device," he told AFP. "There are some people who are incapable of winking on one eye. For those, we can programme the system to give a command when they blink twice in a fast sequence," he said.

The Kome Kami Switch is also capable of operating television sets, air conditioners, room lighting and other household electronics. Taniguchi hopes the system can eventually be adapted to run cellphones, wheelchairs and robots as "an ultimate remote control" used in everyday life. A previous system using blinking to run devices had an obstructive sensor just in front of the user's eye, Taniguchi said.

The research team want to launch a venture in two to three years to commercialise the switch.
The new switch is a variation of a system, which Taniguchi is still working on, that operates when wearers clench their teeth.

My slideshare uploads