Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are entirely our own and not necessarily those of our employer or any other occupational therapist.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Occupational Therapy and Web 2.0 Technology

Given that we have adopted a PBL approach to undergraduate learning and are used to attempting the student centred experience, I am frequently involved in conversations with colleagues that question the time that we are still spending in face to face contacts with student groups in order to ensure that learning outcomes are being met.
Now that our journey is fast taking us through a steep learning curve of podcasts, wikis and blogs I am becoming convinced that web 2.0 technologies have a place within occupational therapy education. For example, PBL groups can set up wikis that enable them to truly share their learning and their research in consideration of the trigger in a way that does not identify them to the rest of the group - great for those that have confidence issues. At the same time tutors can see who is contributing (or not) and whether the information is accurate and evidenced in an appropriate way. Individual students can then be mentored as necessary to get the most from the learning opportunity.
Another example is that key note lectures can be podcasted so that students can access this as revision, or even to gain a fuller understanding of the topic in a way that suits their own learning committment and style. These can be attached to discussion forums that facilitate student question and comment which tutors can engage in. In this way the content is engaged with in a much more comprehensive way. Thus the face to face time decreases - but the contact time becomes more focused and more student led.
I think that one of the main obstacles to adopting web 2.0 technologies is not about tutor or student motivation to engage with these new concepts, it is ensuring that both groups have the necessary access to the processes and the time to "play" with the concepts before going public.


Jackie Taylor said...

Just a short contribution, since this is my very first blog ever (a virgin blogger!).
Reading about the use of blogs etc, to facilitate student OT education has made me think that it may be a useful way for students to gain confidence in expressing themselvs in writing. I think it is not just undergraduate students who can feel a little 'exposed' when trying to construct a coherent and intelligible argument in writing. Blogs allow short, sharp 'essayettes'. (Don't look it up, I've just invented that word)

Having written this, I'm thinking it could, therefore, be a useful tool, or a threatening one, which puts less confident students off. I'm not sure that the anonymity option would help with that.

In terms of it being a useful tool, there is nothing like having to put an idea into writing to make you really think about what it is that you are saying and thinking. Also of course, it makes you think about whether you want to expose your unique thoughts in a public arena.

Not such as short blog after all. Once you get me going there is no stopping me......

Christine Thistlethwaite said...

This is my very first blog and I am actually finding it somewhat easier to do than I imagined!
I have been promted to thank Angela, for introducing me to the world of the wiki, having used a wiki in our PBL group for the first time, I would just like to comment that I found it an exciting learning adventure, and although at first I approached it’s use with some trepidation I now believe that I (a major techno-phobe) would be eager to discover some of the new web technologies discussed in your initial blog post.

It became clear to me that the wiki was an excellent tool for use in PBL because we were all able to work on it separately from home, and yet each member of the group worked together to build a document which, although we didn’t edit it quite as it should have done and it was a multitude of colours, it was actually quite impressive by the end. It also allowed all members of the PBL group with overlapping or similar ideas to see and collaboratively build on each others work and most impressively it allowed all of us immediate and equal access to the latest version of the group’s efforts.

I found that I was compelled to read the wiki often, sometimes several times a day, reading everyone’s work and looking at all the links posted by the group. As a result I feel that I gained so much more from this PBL trigger than has been my past experience.

Finally using the wiki was an experience that I very much enjoyed and hope to use again soon; I don’t know how yet, but I am even toying with the idea of using one to compose some kind of web portfolio of my learning.