Category Archives: Tools for online learning

Top Occupational Therapy Blogs

The number of good occupational therapy blogs is growing. I thought it was time I shared with you some of my favourites. So first up is:

June 15th

Skills for healthy living: A resource blog for health providers this is a fantastic blog to learn about chronic pain, and to develop understandings about and skills in working with clients with chronic pain. Written by an occupational therapist it’s a great way to upgrade on this specialist area. And as a bonus it also has some fabulous photo’s.

16th June – No. 2 (please note these are currently not being ranked they are just coming in the order I think about them)

Thriving in School this blog is from Hosmer Road School in the US. Funny thing is until I went back in to write this I had always thought Hosmer Road School was in the UK!! – So sorry Beth. This blog is full of practical hands on tips and ideas for therapists working with children. I think part of my love of this blog is that it takes me back to my days of being a Paediatric Occupational Therapist. But with over 17,000 visits to this blog since January 2007 it must be one of the busiest Occupational Therapy Blogs IN THE WORLD.

17th June No. 3

OT Students (B)E(LO)N(G) You have to give it to Karen she wins hands down for being the most prolific occupational therapy blogger. She’s a student in her SECOND YEAR of training. It is a blog with an interesting mix of: how my day has been from the exciting to the dreary (did I really need to know she has just done the laundry!), glimpses into what being an OT student in the US is like, thinking associated with her ongoing learning, insights into working with clients and how applying her training goes. But overall what comes through is a huge motivation and commitment to becoming the best therapists she can. I find myself just having to go see what she is up to.

June 25th – No. 4

Advance OT This next blog is an outside somewhat surprising entry in my best blogs (even to me) as it is a trade publication. What I like about this blog is that it reports on what is happening in the American Association of Occupational Therapy. I think blogs like this are a great way of ensuring the everyday happenings and events of professional bodies are visible to all and able to be discussed. I’d love to see the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists with a blog and blogger. It’s a great way of getting up to date information to members and to enable non members to see the benefits of the Association. So how about it NZAOT?


My impact on the World!

I’m on a conquering technology blitz. For those of you interested in your blog statistics check out my clustrMap on the right. This gives a visual representation of the visitors to my blog telling me where in the world they are based (so now whilst I don’t now who the lurkers are I can enjoy knowing where they are based!!). I have admired for a while Hosmer Schools cluster map and suddenly realised that I to could have one.

It continues to amaze me the things people have developed that are free to download and use. If you want a clustrMap when you click on mine it offers the opportunity for you to set up your own.

Online Learning Communities

As can be seen in a previous blog ‘Communities of Interest’ I have recently been checking out the online information about how to develop and maintain effective learning communities. In looking at the online learning community I assumed I would find similar findings.

So in trawling through a number of readings what did I learn:

As with face to face communities the literature on online communities emphasizes that a sense of “community” is necessary for successful learning outcomes. There is recognition of a strong link between a positive social dynamic and cognitive learning.

And yet conversely the literature shows that online learning communities can have many members who act very much on an individualistic level. These people are usually successful and well motivated; they have other networks and supports. In effect they access the learning but they don’t appear to want or need the social aspect to assist with the learning – they get this elsewhere. To me the dilemma then appears to be one of recognizing quickly enough the member’s styles and needs. There appears to be a risk that people will fall through the gap between these two ends of a continuum that supports learning, ending up not being connected to the community and not getting the desired learning outcomes.

Interestingly when I looked at supervision of occupational therapists (see previous blog) – those therapists that built a range of networks and didn’t just rely on a supervisor to gain different perspectives appeared to gain more from supervision. So perhaps across many activities in today’s society an ability to develop and use networks is an important skill.

The cornerstones of developing a successful online community seem to be the development of; respect by members for each other and their perspectives, a common vision, shared perspectives, the ability of the facilitator (I may have to revisit these I’m not sure I have got the true cornerstones). Part of the facilitator’s role is seen as being about generating excitement, interest, relevance, purpose and value.

There is acknowledgement that the limited means of communication used in many online forums e.g. a strong emphasis on the written words, can affect the development of relationships. The face to face setting has the advantage of members being able to process, verbal, visual, non verbal information to assist us in developing our relationships with those in our communities.

I’ve been challenged by the concept that communities need artefacts “In highly literate communities like ours we need to find our own authentic artefacts around which we can express our unvoiced thoughts and which give meaning to the changes we aspire to”.(Friere) So what would be the artefacts of an online community be? –the reading suggested things like presentations, showcases, photo’s. I’m not sure…..

Well that’s it for tonight’s reflection. It’s past bed time.

Websites that contributed to this reflection:


Blogging duldrums


I seem to have the Blogging duldrums. I have a few things that I could blog about but it seems like a bit of effort at the moment. And so a post that doesn’t require too much thought is in order….

I was doing a little procrastination at the end of the day yesterday when a survey on using technology for professional development popped up in my emails – and so it got my attention. It made me realise just how dependent I am now on the web and yet 10 years ago it was not a feature of my work life at all, I started to wonder how I coped without the instant information I now have at my finger tips.

Did it mean I relied more on my own analysis and interpretation?…. was it easier to be confident in my own abilities and reasoning i.e. no checking it out on the net …. does the web mean we individually now know less or more? …. does it help us articulate ideas more easily or less? …. what do we do better as a result of the web and what do we do less well?

I think this post is turning out to require more thinking power than is available tonight as I multitask watching TV (as I was going to have an evening blobbing out) blogging, and trying to fit the cat and the lap top on my lap at once. So if anyone else has any thoughts they would be appreciated.

Supervision as professional development

Frozen Cabbage     It’s still rather cold here in the far south.

I have been interested in supervision for some time and was involved in doing a small qualitative study that looked at supervision of occupational therapists in New Zealand. There were two parts to the study firstly participants in the study were asked what supervision is.

In defining supervision participants spoke of the activities of supervision, the nature of the supervisory relationship and identified three key concepts that described the purpose of supervision. The activities of supervision were raising issues and talking through problems: generating solutions. Raising issues gave a starting point from which supervision could begin. The issues raised were seen as emerging from a wide variety of contexts; those that relate to one’s professional and personal self, those that highlight one’s interactions and interventions with clients, and lastly those that relate to the wider context in which the person worked, for example the team or the organisation. Supervisees were clear that the activity of talking through problems: generating solutions was not about being given answers but rather enabling supervisees to work through their own solutions with guidance and support from a supervisor.

The quality and nature of the supervisory relationship was seen as critical to the effectiveness of these activities. In defining supervision participants described the nature of the supervisory relationship as one of mentoring which suggests as important the notion of nurturing within the relationship. All of the participants saw that the supervisory relationship must be supportive and trusting. These concepts provided a picture of a relationship that should be non-judgemental, respectful, encouraging, and that felt caring. It excluded the elements of oversight, checking and evaluation indicated in much of the literature. Interestingly mentoring was a term that was less frequently used as the interviews progressed and the characteristics of a supervisor became clearer.

For participants the purpose of supervision related to three key concepts; keeping safe, the opportunity for reflecting on practice and the provision of knowledge by the supervisor. Participants were concerned that their role and practice as an occupational therapist put them at risk. They felt at risk firstly by, being in situations where they might find their competence questioned. Secondly, due to the nature of working with people who were under stress or thirdly where they themselves felt physically or psychologically unsafe. Having a means to explore ways of keeping safe was therefore essential. Supporting this by looking at what they were doing in practice and how they were doing it, through reflection on practice and the feedback they received when involved in reflection were important purposes of supervision. Not all therapists have sufficient experience or resources for the variety of challenges that arise within their work place, particularly those new to occupational therapy or those settling into a new role. For these people the provision of knowledge is important. More skilled therapists likewise acknowledged that the knowledge supervisors impart as a part of offering different perspectives or suggesting resources is beneficial.

What really struck me about how the participants defined supervision is that they were showing that they saw that this was a process that could work for them. They clearly wanted to be able to lead in the supervision by having a system that enabled them to work through their own challenges, and at the end to feel that they had come to their own solutions. I think the other thing that strikes you is the committment the therapists were wanting to make to ensure that they were continuing to grow as therapists. In looking at the ability technology now gives us we clearly need to ask if there is a role for web 2 and the internet in this process.

I have recently found the the social bookmarking site and set up my own ‘library’ within it. Its a great way to save the useful sites you find on the web that you think you will want to go back to and a great way to share information with others –

Frozen Lake near Alexander