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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.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Ok, another virtual timewaster, and an opportunity to express your frustrations without really being direct... Here's Graph Jam (thanks to Sue Waters for pointing this one out too).

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Crappy graphs

If Sue Waters from Edublogger thinks that crappy graphs is a good tool, then I'm prepared to give it a go. Here's my creation:

TechnOT: UN launches e-learning collaborative effort

Synchronicity occurred today when I also came across this information from the wikieducator website where Archbishop Desmond Tutu talks about digital freedom for knowledge transfer in education. This links perfectly with the UN launched e-learning collaborative.

UN launches e-learning collaborative effort

UN launches e-learning collaborative effort
By Rebecca Wanjiku, Computerworld Kenya
16 Dec, 2008

Sixteen U.N. agencies have merged their efforts to establish UNeLearn, a technology-supported project to share information and expertise in 160 developing countries.

Technology-supported learning offers tremendous potential to address the capacity development needs of a wide range of beneficiaries in developing countries, said Achim Steiner, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP).

"The work of the U.N. country teams will ultimately be strengthened through this collaboration, and member states will be better served," he added.

The project will allow the U.N. agencies to collaborate on the sustained deployment of e-learning, which has faced challenges in developing countries.

By agreeing to pool and share their collective training resources and shift towards technology-supported learning, UNeLearn is expected to help U.N. agencies eliminate duplicative activities, reduce costs and reach a wider client base.

"As a first step towards the implementation of the project, a comprehensive stock-taking exercise is planned to commence early in 2009 to identify and integrate quality-assured training resources from across the U.N. system," Steiner said.

The U.N. Staff College will host online content for training in areas such as agriculture, development, education, environment, food security, health and human rights.

The project will address issues of how universities, schools and training departments are teaching; the power of storytelling and other narrative approaches in the design of online learning; and the sustainability of open education resources.

Collaboration will also focus on communities' impact on learning facilitated by Web 2.0 applications and developments in games-based approaches and mobile technologies.

The initiative is inspired by the U.N.'s "Delivering as One" concept, which aims to maximize coherence among U.N. projects at the country-level to implement the Millennium Development Goals.

Some of the organizations taking part in UNeLearn are the Food and Agricultural Organization; The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the U.N. Development Programme; UNEP; the U.N. High Commission for Refugees; the U.N. Secretariat; U.N. University; the World Food Program; and the World Trade Organization.

Louise Shaper in Perth WA passed this on, thanks Louise! :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The wonders of skype

I use Skype almost every day in my personal and professional life. It's free and easy to use and so personal! My sister and I cook together with our laptops on in our kitchens, chatting while doing our "chores". She's in Melbourne and I'm in Edmonton! My nieces and nephews play imaginary games with me through the computer screen, feeding me imaginary cake or giving me presents!

More and more we are integrating Skype into teaching in schools and higher education.

Rather than create my own set of "how to" instructions here, which is time-consuming, I will link to Blogs where others have already done the hard work. Here are two links to follow if you want to learn more about setting up Skype and want to link with others who are already successfully doing this.

The Edublogger has a "how to set up skype" guide, followed by discussions, this is based on higher education settings.
An online e-journey with generation Y tells us about their experiences using Skype in their schools

Podcasting & Web 2.0: Implications for Health Care Education

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Is this a conference you would like to go to?

Web 2.0 expo

The Power of Less

"We do some of our best work when we’re constrained: by budgets, by headcount, by technology, by the economy. These are the times when bureaucracy and waste die by necessity. What’s left are ideas, and the muscle to make them real."

2009 will be a tough year in many ways, but now more than ever, the core concepts of Web 2.0 provide an advantage. Lightweight tools, user interfaces, and development models will help streamline productivity and focus resources; new business models will emerge out of the environment of change. Transparency and openness will help avoid disasters and extend our influence, as we learn to trust users as co-developers. Marketers can’t afford to ignore the value of social media, communities, and a new set of analytics. On an individual, team, company, and global level, this is the year we will choose to work on what matters.

So, where is healthcare going with this? Are we part of the big picture that big business has?

Barriers to Web 2.0 in OT education

I am passionate about linking occupational therapists in the online environment... however, right now my perceived barriers are these:
1. Health care practitioners are people-people, therefore a computer is seen as a barrier to their ultimate goal of working with people (even though Web 2.0 IS so interactive!!!).
2. The curriculum is so tight that it is almost impossible to embed new technologies without going over the allowed hours.
3. Students are competitive for grades and do not like to share their new knowledge (not all of them, but most of them) and this means that Web 2.0 is counter-intuitive to their ingrained learning modes.
4. Students are feeling pressured to "get through the curriculum" not taking time to think and problem solve, so taking time to work collaboratively is like pulling teeth.
5. Students have become more like "consumers" of an education product as opposed to creators of their own knowledge, therefore point 4 applies again.
6. Health care practice settings do not allow Internet access or time to build online networks, therefore it is all on your own time and from home.

HOWEVER... I believe that it is important to create opportunities for networked learning as it is the key to lifelong learning.

My experience tells me to:
1. Start small first (small technology tasks that don't have huge grades attached)
2. Run parallel education sessions about Web 2.0 technology for health care practitioners in the field, so that there is a willing audience waiting for our graduates
3. Reduce components of the curriculum if possible to create space for learning about online technologies (wikis, blogs, podcasts, and SL)
4. Network with others who are having success and ask them for help!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Networked Student

I followed a link from a blog called Wishful Thinking in Medical Education (a great blog!) to this YouTube clip featured on a blog called TechTicker. An excellent discussion follows below the YouTube clip and Mike Bogle discusses his post further in a video clip of his own! How Cool!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Occupational therapy groups on facebook

There is a rapidly growing number of OT groups on Facebook, that are both serious and social. Over the next few days I'm going to find them and list them here.

This is a snapshot of what's happening in this corner of the Web 2.0 world for our profession.

I'll list if it is an open or closed group, I'll also highlight student groups too. The bottom list is those groups that I believe are unprofessional.

Professional Networking Groups

American Occupational Therapy Association: open group
Collaborating and sharing ideas with other occupational therapists: open group
Darwin OT: open to Australian networks
Bored Of Fluffy Occupational Therapy: open group
Facebook Occupational Therapy Association: open group
Health, Physical Educators, Exercise Science, PT, OT, and Nurses: open interdisciplinary student networking group
Hong Kong Occupational Therapy: closed group
I'm an occupational therapist/OT student and I have something to say!: open group
I'm tired of having to explain what occupational therapy is: open group
Is OT Worthwhile?: open group
I've worked at St Thomas'/Guys as an OT!!!: open group
Los Angeles OT Leadership Forum: open group
Occupational Therapists (OTs) for Refugees: open group
Occupational Therapists Having External Reproductive Systems: open group
Occupational Therapy at the University of Salford: open group
Occupational Therapy: What's in it for you?: open group
OTs are hot: open group
OT AUSTRALIA National: open group
OT AUSTRALIA QLD: open group
OT from ACTT: open group
OT Hand Party - An Occupational Perspective: open group
OT Jobs Help: open group
OT Malaysia: closed group
OT meeting space: closed group
Princess Margaret Hospital OT: open group
St.Theresa's hospital OT: closed group
The OT Principles: open group
Top 10 Reasons to Stay Up Late with an Occupational Therapist: open group
Union Hospital OT: open group
What YOU need to know about occupational therapy: open group
Yes, I am a Occupational Therapist and no we don't wipe bums!!: open group

Student groups:
AUT OT '08: open group
Christ Church OT class of 2008: open group
Cumbo students OT graduating 2011: open group
Curtin OT Students: open group
Curtin students '09: open group
Dalhousie MSc(OT) 2010: closed group
Dalhousie BSc Alumni: open group
Deakin OT Alumni: closed group
Deakin OT graduates 2007: closed
Deakin OT Grads of '09 open group
Derby OT Students - Class of 2008: open group
Derby Uni OT students-Class of 2009: open group
Downstate OT 2010: open group
ECU OT UE Rehab Club open group
Entering Physiotherapy or OT at McMaster University in Sep. 2008? open group
First year O.T '08: open group
1st year Wits OT 2008: open group
Future Physical/Occupational Therapist: open group
GCU OT Society: open group
LLTC 'B' 2008 OT!: open group
LOOKING FOR A MAJOR? NOT SURE WHAT TO DO? O.T. is the way to go!!: open group
MCG OT 2010: closed group
McGill 2008-2012 PT-OT: closed group
McGill PT & OT 2007-2011: closed group
McMaster MSc. OT Grad Class of 2009: open group
Monash OT: open group
My OT professor wants me to do what?: open group
Occupational Performance HELP!!!: open group
Occupational Therapy-OT
OT at Stockton: open group
OT CSU class of 2008: closed group
OT Class of 97: open group
OT class of 2009: open group
OT Class of 2010: open group
OT Group: open to Australian networks
OT@ECU It Started With Us!: open to Australian networks
OT@TUKS: open group
OT at LaTrobe: open
OT Students: open group
OT students in Bethlehem university closed group
OT students 2nd Year 2008: open group
O.T sTuDeNts r SpEcIaL tOO!!!!! :): open group
OT Vs PT 3 - The Last Stand: open group
OT Masters Class of 2009 open group
Philly OT Event: open group
PT/OT Frosh 2008: closed group
Poly U OT: open group
Queens University OT class of '09: open group
Sargent College OT Alumni Group: closed group
Touro OT: closed group
UCT-OT: open group
Uni of Derby OT Student and proud to be: open group
UQ graduates of 2008: open group
UEA Occupational Therapy: open group
University of Utah OT class of 2010 open group
UWO OT class of 2005: open group

Other groups related to or created by OTs
Six Degrees Of Healthcare/Medical Separation: open group
Web 2.0 for healthcare: closed group

Negative side of facebook groups that have OT in their title
OT Blokes Who Love Hitting The Piss and Not Working Much: open group
OT Booze Cruise '08: closed group
Yeah Bitch, I'm OT: open group

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another good e-health blog

I've just added a link to eHealth, a blog devoted to eHealth and Health IT. There are some excellent posts and also some excellent links.

The volume of activity happening in the USA since Barack Obama was elected has been unbelievable. We're hopefully going to see rapid development of excellent online healthcare resources as a result of this. See this post on Cup of Buzz Blog for an example of what's happening!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Online Healthcare Gets Personal

Health 2.0 and the Healing Power of Supportive Communities

As we know, social networks are gaining widespread acceptance, and people of all ages are accessing the internet not just to get information but also to find, give and receive emotional support.

In a recent report from CarePages, they discuss that scientific studies provide evidence that such support has significant health benefits.

An excerpt from their full report:
"For people facing a health crisis or a chronic, debilitating condition, Health 2.0 is not just about innovative technology – although technical advances such as the expansion of broadband have made Internet applications easier to access and use. Technology, however, is only an enabling tool to help these Health 2.0 individuals get what they really want – the opportunity to connect with others who will help them feel better physically, emotionally, mentally and/or spiritually."

This report links with three of my other posts. The first one where I talked about the incredible support my father received from an online support group, after he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer, the post I made about "doing being and becoming a blogger, to belong in a virtual world" and one linked to that... about the blogging project we are planning with Edmonton Brain Injury Relearning Society... to facilitate safe blogging with people who have an acquired brain injury.

Monday, December 1, 2008

TechnOT: Why OT's need to be online

TechnOT: Why OT's need to be online
This earlier post on "Why OTs need to be online" links with today's post on "Web searches feed health fears" this article claims that we are becoming cyberchondriacs!

If health professionals have a larger presence in the online world would this make this problem better or worse I wonder?

The future of online learning 10 years on

Stephen Downes, an educator and researcher in New Brunswick Canada reflects on his essay entitled The Future of Online Learning. In a recent post on his blog he has reviewed and updated this essay, finding that many of his predictions made ten years ago were quite accurate. Visit this link to read the essay in Stephen's blog or download a word version from the blog site.

Web searches feed health fears

BBC News Monday, 1 December 2008

Health information online is breeding a generation of cyberchondriacs - people who needlessly fear the worst diagnosis after surfing the net, say researchers.

A team at Microsoft studied health-related Web searches on popular search engines and surveyed 515 employees about their health-related searching.

Web searches had the potential to escalate fears - like a headache was caused by a brain tumour, for example.

Experts said people concerned about their health should see a doctor.

Self-diagnosis by search engine

Microsoft conducted the study to improve its own search engine.

Roughly 2% of all the Web queries were health-related, and about 250,000 users, or a quarter of the sample, engaged in a least one medical search during the study.

The Web can be a useful tool to find out more information about conditions, but it should not replace talking to an expert
A spokeswoman from NHS Direct

The researchers found Web searches for common symptoms such as headache and chest pain were just as likely or more likely to lead people to pages describing serious conditions as benign ones, even though the serious illnesses are much more rare.

Searching for "chest pain" or "muscle twitches" returned terrifying results with the same frequency as less serious ailments, even though the chances of having a heart attack or a fatal neurodegenerative condition is far lower than having simpleindigestion or muscle strain, for example.

About a third of the 515 Microsoft employees who answered a survey on their medical search habits "escalated" their follow-up searches to explore serious, rarer illnesses.

Although the work does not give firm proof that searching the web increases health fears - users may simply be curious about a condition - the researchers say it is likely in some circumstances.

"Our results show that Web search engines have the potential to escalate medical concerns," said Eric Horvitz, an artificial intelligence researcher for Microsoft.

Trusted sources

A spokeswoman from NHS Direct said health information on the Web was no substitute for expert advice.

"It is always a good idea to talk to a clinician who can point you in the right direction if you are concerned about your health.

"The Web can be a useful tool to find out more information about conditions, but it should not replace talking to an expert."

Henry Scowcroft, of Cancer Research UK, said trusted patient information websites could be useful resources.

"Paradoxically, the problem in the UK is that many people are still unaware of the symptoms of cancer, and delay in seeing a doctor is one of the key reasons why this country's cancer survival figures lag behind the best in Europe.

"It's important to study this area further, but we must also remember that many people still have no access to the wealth of information online, and that health inequalities - including inequality of information access - are widening, not narrowing."

Did you know: Shift happens... 2008 version

The Future of Education

Future of Education
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