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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.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sharing resources: Are we just giving away our knowledge?

Some people who are new to the online environment are concerned that others may use their content and not cite them, so they simply refuse to put any information online, keeping all their knowledge in the formal literature... inaccessible to the masses.

The fear of having your work stolen is real and it happens! Many people either don't know how to cite or maybe they don't want to cite (and in fact are stealing your work to pass it off as their own). Either way, that is plagiarism and should not happen!

So a dilemma exists for many people who want to use their wiki or their blog to share their small project, or their ideas or maybe even the results of a large study... they may not get any "glory"

This is how I view the dilemma (today) about what to put online and what to try to publish through the "formal channels"...
  1. Primarily my role is to find and make sense of information and translate this for use by others
  2. It is not about "glory"... even though I love a bit of a spotlight :-)
  3. Sharing my work through journal publications is one way to get new information to the community andpublishing in journals and books is still the most accepted form of currency for my employer to understand that I am contributing
  4. Web 2.0 tools such as wikis and blogs and podcasts etc are excellent tools for quick dissemination of information, and it is a good idea to promote your published material there for people who don't have ready access to databases and journals etc
Thinking "out loud" about this dilemma further maybe there is a time and a place to withhold information that I want to publish, but should really go through the formal channels of publication.

Question to the ether... "in the professional arena what do you withhold from your blog or wiki and why"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

'Tweeting' medics expose patients

This link was sent to me by Susan Burwash... interesting article from the BBC about medical students using Twitter and Blogs to inappropriately share information about patients or institutions.

Medics posting messages on networking websites like Facebook and Twitter are breaching patient confidentiality, a leading journal reveals.

Research in the Journal of the American Medical Association found examples of web gossip by trainee doctors sharing private patient stories and details.

Over half of 78 US medical schools studied had reported cases of students posting unprofessional content online.

One in 10 of these contained frank violations of patient confidentiality.

Most were blogs, including one on Facebook, containing enough clinical detail that patients could potentially be identified.

Click on this link for the full article.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tiny URL

Did you ever see the words TinyURL in a web address and think "what is that?" I often wondered, and saw it coming up more and more on Twitter. So tonight I got around to looking it up and found a great description on Wikipedia "TinyURL is a web service that provides short aliases for redirection of long URLs" It basically truncates long URLs with the words TinyURL.

What a great idea! So next time I want to list a URL but it is really long... I will try putting it through the TinyURL website for a truncated URL that looks tidy and is less likely to have transcription errors!

Update: I found another site called which does the same thing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Robots teach kids how to walk

Click on this link to go to source of photograph (not from the news report but a separate website)

Roxanne Stein from US television station WBPTV reported on an advanced "walking training" machine that can assist teach people with neurological damage, such as cerebral palsy, to improve their walking. You can see in the video footage that the child featured in the story seems to enjoy using the machine and her gait improved. Of course as OTs we're not just interested in simply "walking" per se, we're interested in the location, the reason, who with and so on. I did get the impression from this report that the child in the story was going to be able to walk more easily around her school and community. Take a look at the report on this link

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Statistics Show Social Media Is Bigger Than You Think

This is copied from the Blog "Socialnomics" and was shown to me by Susan Burwash at the UofA. Thanks Susan!

Stats from Video (sources listed below by corresponding #)

1. By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers….96% of them have joined a social network
2. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
3. 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media
4. Years to Reach 50 millions Users: Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)…Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months…iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months.
5. If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 4th largest between the United States and Indonesia
6. Yet, some sources say China’s QZone is larger with over 300 million using their services (Facebook’s ban in China plays into this)
7. comScore indicates that Russia has the most engage social media audience with visitors spending 6.6 hours and viewing 1,307 pages per visitor per month – is the #1 social network
8. 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction
9. 1 in 6 higher education students are enrolled in online curriculum
10. % of companies using LinkedIn as a primary tool to find employees….80%
11. The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females
12. Ashton Kutcher and Ellen Degeneres have more Twitter followers than the entire populations of Ireland, Norway and Panama
13. 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices…people update anywhere, anytime…imagine what that means for bad customer experiences?
14. Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé…In 2009 Boston College stopped distributing e-mail addresses to incoming freshmen
15. What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook…
16. The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube
17. Wikipedia has over 13 million articles…some studies show it’s more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica…78% of these articles are non-English
18. There are over 200,000,000 Blogs
19. 54% = Number of bloggers who post content or tweet daily
20. Because of the speed in which social media enables communication, word of mouth now becomes world of mouth
21. If you were paid a $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia you would earn $156.23 per hour
22. Facebook USERS translated the site from English to Spanish via a Wiki in less than 4 weeks and cost Facebook $0
23. 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content
24. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands
25. People care more about how their social graph ranks products and services than how Google ranks them
26. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations
27. Only 14% trust advertisements
28. Only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI
29. 90% of people that can TiVo ads do
30. Hulu has grown from 63 million total streams in April 2008 to 373 million in April 2009
31. 25% of Americans in the past month said they watched a short video…on their phone
32. According to Jeff Bezos 35% of book sales on Amazon are for the Kindle when available
33. 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation because we no longer search for the news, the news finds us.
34. In the near future we will no longer search for products and services they will find us via social media
35. More than 1.5 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared on Facebook…daily.
36. Successful companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like David Ogilvy Listening first, selling second
37. Successful companies in social media act more like party planners, aggregators, and content providers than traditional advertiser

The above statistics and “Social Media Revolution” video tell the story, social media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. Please feel free to share with any non-believers!

Shared via AddThis

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Becoming a blog commenter.. I'm growing up!

My blog became a place for me to download (my brain) of information of interest that passed over my desk, came through my email or arrived in my Google alerts, it is a "filter blog" not a "reflection blog". Today I visited again (created by Joan G. UofA MScOT graduate next month) and this time I started to read a range of other people's blogs and posts and felt compelled to comment.

I think this is an interesting developmental stage in becoming a blogger, it is becoming a blog commenter. As an extroverted person I can easily spend my day filling my blog with information I find interesting, now it is time for some reflection and interaction... I'm growing up as a blogger!

I'd love to know what developmental stages other bloggers have noted in themselves? Did you start as a commenter and move to your own blog? Did you start a blog straight away? How do you feel when someone comes and comments? What if someone doesn't agree with you?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Internet Intervention Gives Insomnia Patients a Better Night's Sleep

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., July 6, 2009 – The estimated one-third of adults who suffer from insomnia could soon find effective treatment without ever leaving their homes. Researchers at the University of Virginia Health System have developed a unique Internet-based intervention, based on well-established face-to-face cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, that has shown remarkable results in improving patients’ sleep.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Medical-device maker Saebo flexes muscle in growing market

Henry Hoffman just wanted to help stroke survivors.

Today, the occupational therapist is a leading force at Saebo Inc, a growing Charlotte company that develops and manufactures rehabilitation products for stroke survivors.

“For years, there were no options,” says Hoffman, Saebo’s president.

The company got its start in 2001 as Affordable Therapy Equipment, changing its name to Saebo three years later.

Hoffman co-founded the venture with his brother, John Farrell, also an occupational therapist.

They created and patented a line of orthotics — specialized mechanical devices to support weakened parts of the body. The goal is to help patients regain the use of their hands and upper extremities.

The company’s SaeboFlex device, a spring-loaded orthotic that reteaches a patient how to grasp and release objects, is its biggest seller.

Hoffman estimates Saebo has sold more than 10,000 of its devices in seven countries. The equipment is custom-fabricated and assembled at Saebo’s Charlotte offices on Water Ridge Parkway.

“We have our fingers on the pulse of what therapists want because we’re therapists,” Hoffman says. “We know what works. We know what doesn’t work.”

Study Reveals Tension between Employers and Employees around the Use of Social Media

I received this information from Dave McNamee from Deliotte.

Deloitte’s third annual Ethics & Workplace survey, commissioned by chairman Sharon Allen, reveals tension between employers and employees around the use of social media. This year’s survey set out to explore an area of increasing significance to the workplace; use of social networking and its affect on ethical behavior and reputational risk to a company.

Some top findings are:

· Sixty percent of business executives believe they have a right to know how employees portray themselves and their organizations in online social networks.

· Employees disagree, as 53 % say their social networking pages are not an employer’s concern.

· Nearly one-third (30%) of employees surveyed never consider what their boss or customers might think before posting material online

· Even though 74 % believe increased activity on social networks make it easier to damage a company’s reputation

· Of the executives surveyed, a mere 17% said that their organizations have a program dedicated to monitoring and mitigating risks associated with the use of social networks; less than a quarter (24%) have formal guidelines for the use of social media among their people.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


SAN DIEGO – College students who use Facebook spend less time studying and have lower grade point averages than students who have not signed up for the social networking website, according to a pilot study at one university.

However, more than three-quarters of Facebook users claimed that their use of the social networking site didn’t interfere with their studies.

“We can’t say that use of Facebook leads to lower grades and less studying – but we did find a relationship there,” said Aryn Karpinski, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in education at Ohio State University.

Click on this link to read the whole article


I am about to buy the book iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind by Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan. I think it is very important the occupational therapists stay up to date with the impact of the digital world on brain development and the subsequent impact on basic skills such as human interaction. Has anyone else read this book yet?

Motorcyle riding with paraplegia

Thanks Anna for sending me this link, it is a great example of getting around impairment and limitation to get on with doing what you love doing!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Making Facebook accessible

Thanks to Twitter I caught this link from Will Wade, thanks Will!

Carl Augusto is the President and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. One of AFB's priorities is broadening access to technology, and AFB is working together with Facebook to make the site more accessible and user-friendly for people who are blind or visually impaired.

See this link for the full story

Advances in Online Care and Telehealth

This post by DAVID C. KIBBE on the Health Care Blog talks about a recent symposium on Online Care in Hawaii, where two Family Physicians and a primary care Internist participated in a panel in which they described their experiences with Online Care and Telehealth.

Visit this link to read the full article.

How are we going in occupational therapy in online consulting? Where is it happening and who is doing it? Or is this level of application of technology reserved purely for medicine?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Better Health Website widget

I'm adding the Better Health Website widget to the side of the blog tonight... is it useful?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

Here's how we spent Earth Hour 2009: A snow picnic in our backyard! It was so peaceful.

What did you do for Earth Hour?

Web 2.0 and computer technology in mainstream OT practice

I am delighted that this coming year 6 MScOT students have elected to undertake systematic reviews of the literature looking specifically at the use of technology in OT practice. We're ironing out their specific topics right now.

Two students will look at mainstream computer technologies in OT practice and three will look at the therapeutic benefits of engaging in the online world and will specifically look at one population each (e.g.: people with cancer, people with ABI and carers) the final student is still thinking.

The projects are a "capping project" for the MScOT students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate a fundamental skill for practice and research... the ability to ask meaningful questions, seek up to date and relevant literature, critically appraise the literature and then synthesize this in a meaningful way to translate it for practice.

Reading the wonderful blog "Gosh That's Neat" I came across another wonderful blog called WiiHab - Rehabilitative Therapy. I'll have to get these students to take a look!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Retrofitting the Education Space: Should we even consider "Teaching With Twitter"?

Is twitter taking social networking too far?

My reluctance to Twitter is illustrated in this YouTube video...

So fellow bloggers... where do you see Twitter fitting?

Enabled by Design

Tonight while finding more people to follow on Twitter I discovered Enabled by Design. Here's what they say about themselves on their website! I'll have to share this with my students! :-0
It's all about people powered products: Enabled by Design is a community of people passionate about well designed everyday products. By sharing their loves, hates and ideas, Enabled by Designers challenge the one size fits all approach to assistive equipment through the use of clever modern design.

To Tweet or not to Tweet... what is the answer?

After reading the article suggested by Joan I found this fascinating quote within the article:

Every blogger, no matter how ambitious or dedicated to his or her blog - wants a community around it. Easier said than done of course. To build a community you have to get people engaged around the premise of your content and then make it as easy for them to interact as possible. Both with you and each other.ShoutEm, Mar 2009

You should read the whole article.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

I may be a technology addict but I am also deeply concerned about global climate change. The recent horrific bushfires in Victoria Australia are an example of what we will all face in the future if we don't all help. Please watch this video and PLEASE participate!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tech gurus use power of Web to help veterans

Story Highlights
  • Silicon Valley professionals start Web site to connect donors with troops in need
  • Founder models site on Craigslist and, so people can decide who to help
  • Veterans and active-duty troops can list their stories, photos and specific requests
  • "I am so grateful that there are people who were willing to help me," soldier says

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Companies turn to Web 2.0 to recruit for trials

"Fierce Biotech" reports
Patient recruitment companies are reinventing the patient-to-trial matchmaking service of yesteryear with a new approach that meets prospects where they are increasingly spending their time--on social networking sites.
Not only are companies creating web applications for such popular sites as Myspace and Facebook, but the companies running these sites have also begun exploring the idea of creating business plans around clinical trial recruitment, Matthew Holt, founder and author of The Health Care Blog, tells Bio-IT World.

Visit this link to read the whole story! It's just too obvious isn't it?!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Health 2.0 Advisors

This is a new website called Health 2.0 Advisors. The description on the front page of the website is as follows:
Health 2.0 is a rapidly developing and powerful approach that uses the Web to collect, refine and share information. It is transforming how patients, professionals and organizations interact with each other and the larger healthcare system.

The foundation of Health 2.0 is information exchange plus technology. It employs user-generated content, social networks and decision support tools to address the problems of inaccessible, fragmentary or unusable healthcare information.

Health 2.0 connects users to new kinds of information, fundamentally changing the consumer experience (e.g., buying insurance or deciding on/managing treatment), clinical decision-making (e.g., risk identification or use of best practices) and business processes (e.g., supply-chain management, business analytics).

Understanding Health 2.0 has become mission-essential.
Health 2.0 Advisors helps clients critically evaluate Health 2.0's continuing evolution and the ways its tools and processes can maximize value in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Here is the link to their list of publications page.


Medpedia is a new health information wiki which is contributed to by medical professionals only. The supporting Universities include Harvard, Stanford, Berkley and Michigan. This will be a step up from Wikipedia for serious medical information.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Do you love iGoogle?

For a year or so now I have been using iGoogle as my home page. It keeps me grounded... the weather for Canada and Australia, France and China (there are some real contrasts there!), the top news stories for my favourite places, my Gmail account and a Facebook app, a special tab to house all the blogs I subscribe to and so on. In my cyber travels tonight I've been visiting the links posted by US College students about the Google Apps they love. I love this one a lot!

Using Google Calendar to coordinate your life at work, home, community

I use Google Calendar to sync my work and family commitments. I stumbled across this link tonight and thought it would be good to include in my blog. This entry in Google Student Blog shows quickly how you can use Google Calendar (G-Cal) with your work or student team.

To see a list of Google Applications (apps) being used in US colleges and Universities visit this link.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hawaii tries out online health care

For people in Hawaii, going to see the doctor just got as easy as booting up their PC.

The state is the first to offer online physician visits statewide, under a program that kicks off Thursday. Residents can chat with a doctor over a standard Web browser (IE 7 or Firefox 2) or carry out their visit over the telephone. Those with a Webcam can also use that to share video with the doctor. The service will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week (with a few monthly maintenance outages during low-volume times). Members of Hawaii's largest insurer, HSMA (which operates the state's Blue Cross and Blue Shield) pay $10 for the 10-minute consultation, while non-members pay $45.

Click here for the whole story.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

This year I will try to be more focussed on what I do and how I do it. I have the usual teaching load and a few projects to complete but I now seriously need to focus on commencing my PhD.

So, the backlog of projects that need to be completed are:
  1. Complete writing the chapter of the fieldwork book with Helen Larkin at Deakin University
  2. Commence and complete writing the chapter of the fieldwork book with Merrolee Penman from Otago Polytechnic
  3. Complete the wiki project at the University of Alberta with the PT group
  4. Commence and complete the wiki project at the University of Alberta with the OT group and with the SLP group
  5. Respond to ethics committee requests for the blogging project with EBIRS so that this project can get going by February 2009 (we're presenting the findings at CAOT in June!) It was hopefully going to commence in January but hey... ethics is not through yet!
  6. Write the articles I was going to write for OT Now looking at the role of Web 2.0 in OT education and practice
So, my resolutions are to keep gradually moving ahead with each of these projects and NOT take any more on. I also want to be calm and organized in my teaching and marking load, and enjoy watching our students develop, grow, learn and then fly out into practice :-)

This year I will commence my PhD and I will use Web 2.0 from beginning to end! I even thought about asking Commoncraft if I could use their approach in developing my proposal. You know the guys... "hmm hmmm hmm... XYZ in plain English"

So, this blog will be a place this year for keeping focussed by downloading my brain regularly!

My slideshare uploads