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

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Occupational Therapy Education and Social Networking

image by AHook
It has been a while since I have posted, so I thought I should get back into the swing of things having just been to our Universities first good practice in e-learning event.

It was an interesting day with much food for though, not least stimulated by the guy who asked "Is this all really good practice? How do we know?" And how do we know, because so much of it is new, innovative and ultimately untested? But I digress from the issue of social networking...

Angela and I had been invited to present on our experiences of developing an online programme and the role of social networking in education. Preparing the session lead me to realise that as OT's we are immersed in networks, or teams and that this really isn't such a new concept to us. The question became how can we use web 2.0 applications to enable our students to maximise the potential of their existing networks, or create new ones in order to enhance their learning and development?

In order to answer this question, I reflected on my own experiences of learning through social networking. Prior to the onset of our programme development I was totally ignorant of the world of web 2.0. It is entirely through talking to others online and in real life, reading and interacting with blogs, contribution to online forum discussions and experimenting with Second Life that my enthusiasm was fired and I became more motivated to learn and apply my learning to my work. I now know that I have been immersed in socially constructed learning and I can honestly say I have found it to be the most positive and motivating approach to learning that I have experienced.

The critical point though, is that I felt I needed to learn and needed to learn fast and in some depth in order to keep up with the challenge of developing the programme - this could be described as Long Tail Learning. Was I motivated by the desire to succeed or by the fear of failure? A bit of both really, but then isn't that true of all students????

Please find my presentation below and this book is really useful too. Comments are welcome.

9 comments:

Sarah Stewart said...

Here is a free online book about elearning: http://www.aupress.ca/Terry_Anderson/

Sarah Bodell said...

Wow, that was quick Sarah. Many thanks for the link, I will check it out tomorrow.

healthskills said...

As what some people would call a 'information junkie' I can't recall a time when I didn't use the internet for learning. The papers I teach were the first in NZ to use internet technology (Blackboard) for interactive learning, so almost all my teaching experience has been online and interactive.
I suppose as a result I'm very comfortable with the medium - although I'm still learning how to get busy health professionals doing postgraduate study while working to actively work in small groups online! I think so many of my students find it very difficult to find time to do the interactive part when they're used to doing things individually.
Having said that, there are some very hot debates on our courses even between participants who don't speak English as their first language!
Thanks for the resources!!

willwade said...

wow. I made it into your presentation. poor people who had to see that slide with me in it..

Its been quite a odd (but brilliant!) experience for myself too. For some perhaps different reasons. Like @healthskills, I have always used the web. My motivation? Well, in essence I am lazy. I want the quickest simplest, cheapest way of accessing materials and learning without leaving my desk. When starting OT I was constantly frustrated about the lack of OT materials/conversations out there on the web. I was fed up in having to trudge off down the library and find some old quote from 50 years ago.. surely other people out there had these problems before right? (I knew they had because the journals in the library were often in tatters on the important pages) Why weren't they sharing their thoughts about these in a public, more accessible, place? (and I don't mean a closed forum here). Its starting to come together now with people like yourselves Sarah and its looking good. I don't feel we have quite found the critical mass but it will..

(this leads me onto a greater conversation about altruism v's selfishness that exists in healthcare but I'll leave that for another day)

Anyway Im rambling and starting to make no sense as usual..

As for books I can recommend taking a peek at Santy/smith (2007). Being an E-learner in Health and Social Care: A Student's Guide. Routledge, 1 edn. It is in amazon but you can't buy it from there - I know we have it available online through our library at brookes. May be worth a peek.

Sarah Bodell said...

I'm looking forward to the altruism post Will, I feel a touch of existentialism coming on!

Becky said...

There is no denying that social media is one of the best ways to network in social and professional circles. I recently learned about travel occupational therapy through Cirrus Allied on their Twitter account (username: Travel Therapists), where they post a variety of job opportunities in tons of U.S. cities. You can also check out their blog at www.cirrusalliedblog.com, for great advice on the current trends in the occupational therapy field.

Becky said...

There is no denying that social media is one of the best ways to network in social and professional circles. I recently learned about travel occupational therapy through Cirrus Allied on their Twitter account (username: TravelTherapist), where they post a variety of job opportunities in tons of U.S. cities. You can also check out their blog at www.cirrusalliedblog.com, for great advice on the current trends in the occupational therapy field.

Ashley Given said...

Found this very interesting as a occupational therapy student to understand how socail networking fits into ot practice.
Ashley

Angela said...

Thanks Ashley, here at University of Salford Occupational Therapy Directorate we are very committed to this idea both with students and practitioners and have found a number of very valuable networks and resultant collaborations through using blogs, facebook amd twitter. Would be interested to know how you use these as an OT student.