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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.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Life in a virtual world

Ever thought about living completely in a virtual world? This book My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World was referred to me by my colleague Susan Burwash and is available as a downloadable pdf file or you can buy it online.

Julian Dibbell’s My Tiny Life remains, to this day, the best book written about what it is like to live immersed in a virtual world. The fact that the world in question in text-based, and the events described happened over a decade ago, is completely irrelevant. You cannot call yourself knowledgeable about virtual worlds unless you have read this book.

OK... I'll download it and read it!More on this later then.

SEARCH: Swift Efficient Application of Research in Community Health

SEARCH stands for: Swift, Efficient Applicaiton of Research in Community Health. This independent not-for-profit corporation was initially launched by AHFMR in 1996. You can find background information about SEARCH Canada by visiting the website

One funded initiative is a desktop application for service providers (including support personnel) to search for evidence on topics related to long-term care. Although the evidence identified is not critically reviewed, they are rated by level of evidence and includes qualitative as well as quantitative data.

RSS Really Simple Syndication: How does it work?

Most people who visit Blogs regularly know about RSS, Really Simple Syndication. If you want to know how RSS works take a look at this clip on YouTube to learn about it. You can RSS this Blog if you like! :-)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Social Networking Dilemmas

Last month I reluctantly agreed to join Facebook to keep up with certain people who "meet" there... (yep, I'm still an old fashioned email user) and what struck me as worrying was the availability of people's information in that environment. Through the people that I knew I could see many others, their photos and their "fun". Some photos I really didn't want to see!

Because people upload your photo and then 'tag' it you immediately become trace-able. There doesn't seem to be any privacy at all. Some students told me a story about a friend of theirs who missed out on a place at University as the final step was interview and the interviewers had been into Facebook and downloaded photos of this person drunk at a party... I've heard other stories about employers doing similar things. So, although we all do silly things, Facebook and MySpace have made it public and accessible.

I've added a YouTube link on the Blog today, it's from a show here in Canada called This hour has 22 Minutes. It portrays the risks in being on Facebook, MySpace and so on...
So even though I am PRO using technology as OT practitioners and in Higher Education, I believe that it is also up to us to stay very aware of the risks and only recommend using Social Networks like these when there are sufficient guards in place to protect the individual.

Cell/Mobile Phone with larger buttons

I found a great new program on the BBC called >Click . In this week's show there was a small story about the emporia Life mobile/cell phone.

It's easier for older adults to use as it has:

  • Large Buttons and Display
  • Super Loud speaker and Ringing volume
  • Emergency Function
  • Orange Backlight for people with sight problems
See Communic8 for details on this phone.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Middle-Aged Users' Declining Web Performance

Middle-Aged Users' Declining Web Performance Jakob Nielsen's alert
  • Between the ages of 25 and 60, people's ability to use websites declines by 0.8% per year — mostly because they spend more time per page, but also because of navigation difficulties.
Mainstream Aging vs. Senior Citizens
  • A typical senior at 75 is 40 years older than a typical mainstream user at 35, so 0.8% per year should correspond to only a 32% slow-down for seniors however for people aged over 60 aging accelerates drastically, and especially after 70 years.
  • Curves of cognitive, perceptual, and motor-skill decline have a hockey-stick shape.
  • So, the 0.8%/year slow-down is valid only for the mainstream period of 25–60 years of age. For older users, performance declines faster. After 65 years of age or so, differences in user needs are so drastic that we require explicit steps to cater to them.
  • This is why there are separate usability guidelines for making websites usable for seniors.
Two actions suggested:

My slideshare uploads