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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.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

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!


David McQuillan said...

Just wondering, have you found Merolee Penman's blog yet?

Anita Hamilton said...

Yes I have! Merrolee and I are very good buddies. Please say hi when you see her! The web is getting more meshed :-)

David McQuillan said...

Will do

joan said...

Great points!

IT historically has been 'geeky' and a haven for those who wouldn't describe themselves as people-people. I believe that is the past, it's as big a network as we can possibly conceive. Web 3.0 will be breaking down the software/hardware barriers and making the entire process seamless in ways we can't even imagine today. Google maps and gps are just two breakthroughs that will begin wrapping this all together. IT IS for OT's and people-people.

IT is also an extreme industry. Time isn't negotiable, new products roll out first or they're second forever. This is contrary to the university system that runs more like the titanic. Professors and decision-makers use evidence that is systematically reviewed and published. I can't criticize either process, I just wonder how we can use technology to shorten the time lag. ;-)

Then you have the students who perceive themselves as competing against each other. IT will change this and probably the marking system as well. In the real world we work together, not against each other. When I worked in IT my calendar was open for anyone to set up a meeting with me. That's just one tiny example. I believe the IT skill of collaboration will be as necessary as any other OT fundamental skill in order to operate in the future.

Having said that, students are already learning networking and using collaboration tools so it might even be them driving the change in academia. Who says it has to come from the top? Our class isn't skilled at this yet but wait 5 years.

Always question the process, be open to new ideas, keep fundamentals in mind and we'll collectively come up w/solutions to these web 2.0 OT issues you organized so well. Thanks for your innovative and humble leadership as it's the best kind for IT.

Anita Hamilton said...

hanks Joan, I really appreciate your support! I think that you'll make a great leader of IT in OT very soon. Cheers, Anita :-)

Centennial College said...

Great Post !

All these points are very useful for my OT education also.

thanks for sharing it !


Student of occupational therapy university

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