Monday, May 31, 2010

Machine or Possibility?

Similar to creative expression media, online technology is another way to express the self and may be a useful tool within occupational therapy. As the new generations are driven by technology, there is an increasing push for online communication. To maintain their engagement integrating online technology as a therapeutic tool or as a knowledge base for clients in healthcare may be a great resource.
Going into this online technology module, I was feeling excited and eager to learn about new online programs and devices which may be useful for my future application. I spend a lot of time utilizing online resources and was excited to learn about what new things are out there. Especially considering, as Anita alluded to, online technology is rapidly growing and there are always new programs developing which makes it quite impossible to keep up. I am quite interested in cognitive AT devices for the geriatric population who may experience cognitive declines, and think that online technology may have possibilities within this population.
Things that stood out to me in the module:
-I thought it was interesting to know that the stamps on webpage’s were indication of evidence-based practice, i.e. HON code/healthcare blogger.
-I also felt it useful knowing about the universal design steps for webpage’s. I found both of these pieces of information useful because I think creating a webpage may be something I would be interested in doing in the near future.
-I found the concept of thinking about a computer as a possibility or a as a machine very fascinating. I have come to think about computers as a possibility, in that what I want/need I am usually able to make the computer do i.e. Programs, websites, access online information. However, knowing that not everyone is as technologically familiar, as an OT it would be wise to be mindful that many of the clients we may work with may view a computer as a machine and we should adapt our programs accordingly.
Ways I can see myself using online technology may be through utilizing programs such as a wikis, websites or blogs to collaborate or provide information for/with my colleagues within the OT profession as well as other professions. In terms of our group project ‘Survival to First Year’, I am planning on continuing to contribute to our page to enhance its effectiveness and resourcefulness. Personally, my goals to contribute to the site include a Corbett Hall photo guide, photo gallery page, an important links page and enhancing the sites aesthetics.
Beyond the various techniques and programs I have learned throughout this module, I have ultimately learned about the possibilities and opportunities that online technology may have within Occupational Therapy; as a way to collaborate and share information with colleagues to providing information, learning tools or resources for a wide variety of clients. Following are highlights of how online technology may be utilized throughout the seven competencies of occupational therapy:
Communicator: way of providing information, connecting clients with a virtual world.
Scholarly Practitioner: OT Flash, a way to promote the profession and a resource for therapists to develop evidence based information.
Collaborator: A way to collaborate with other OT’s, professions (eg. Using a wiki to share information), and a way to work together with a client.
Practice Manager: I think the use of online technology by the practice manager may be a good way to promote the OT profession through providing online descriptors of the practice in which they manage and a to promote the benefits of OT to various populations.
Professional: Professionals may share common practice information, knowledge and experiences through websites or blogs which may help promote professional development within the OT profession.
Change Agent: As an OT, we are to advocate for resources, programs and service (CAOT, 2007), I think online technology is a great resource to direct clients to online resources which may be beneficial to their therapeutic needs.
My experience using Kolb’s Learning Cycle:
• Concrete experience: Throughout this module, I was able to explore and practice various online resources, as well as help and be helped by my peers throughout the experience.
• Active experimentation: Creating a websites, with hopes that it will facilitate shared information for fellow first year OT’s to help their transition into the OT program be as less stressful as possible.
• Reflective observation: Took place when having to present our online creation and defend our rationale for our decisions and choices in programs we used.
• Abstract conceptualization: Being able to experience the workshop from Anita, and presentations from my peers, I was able to learn the pros and cons of many online programs and resources. This will be useful information when determining which online programs I will use for future practices.

Overall, from this experience I have learned a great deal of knowledge and insight into the online technology world and its possibilities within occupational therapy. I have had the opportunity to discuss the utilization of various forms of online technology with my preceptor on fieldwork and am offering ideas of its potential at my particular facility. She seems receptive of these ideas and I am excited to see what possibilities may occur!