Thursday, 12 May 2011

Tutorial Eight: Assisstive Technology

This week the theme for Participation in Occupation was assisstive technology. Unfortunately I missed this tutorial which is unfortunate as my co-students have informed me that it was very interesting. I have however had the opportunity to work with people that use assisstive technology to improve their quality of life.

To begin this post I will define assisstive technology.
An assisstive device is "any item, piece of equipment or product system whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities" (Cook & Hussey, 2000, p.5).
In my understanding this is talking about any equipment that is designed to make things easier on an individual. And that the term disability is referring to any lack of function, whether it is hand strength requiring the individual to use an aide to open jars or cerebral palsy requiring an individual to use a customized wheelchair to get around.

The piece of assisstive technology that I am going to describe is a Xbox 360 Kinect.
It is one of the latest game consoles that comes with a motion sensor designed to pick up the users movement to be the controller. They are very popular in all areas of society at the moment resulting in there being many combination deals that often include the games designed to be used with it as well as the equipment required to play it when purchasing one. These deals are similar in price at most stores being about $(NZD) 599.00. These deals normally include the Xbox console, the Kinect sensor, a connection cable, and two games.
The reason this piece of equipment is an assistive device is because it is easy to use and it is designed to be specific for each individual.

This is a YouTube clip that introduces the features of an Xbox 360 Kinect ...

XboxViewTV (2010).


Cook, A. M., & Hussey, S. M. (2000). Assistive technologies: Principles and practice. USA: Mosby.
XboxViewTV (2010, June 19). Retrieved from

Tutorial Seven: Linking to blogs of interest and exchanging comments

This week we learned how to link other people's blogs to our own. On my blog this is demonstrated on the left hand side in the section labelled 'Co-OT blogs', this enables visitors to my blog or myself to access other blogs that I am interested in and may therefore interest the readers of my blog.

This week I have also commented on other people's blogs and have had them comment back in return. This is demonstrated below ( through using Windows Snipping Tool ).

This is another example of using the same tool, however it is of a comment on one of my blog posts...

This shows two comments on my blog, as well as the start of one response to a comment from me.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Tutorial Six: The internet and online communities

The topic that I am going to discuss in this blog post will be around a personal occupation I enjoy: travel. I will look into different online communities that promote, encourage, inspire and discuss travel. The three online communities that I will look at include;
All three of these sites have similar features to them. Here is a brief overview of each.

Travbuddy: On this online community, members and visitors to this site are able to research travel destinations, meet other travellers, and write reviews of places they have been. The reviews of people's travel are in various different forms. Some have uploaded photos, created blogs, or added to forums that are specific to different areas of their travel (eg. accommodation, food, transport). To use this site to post on forums and interact with others it is required to create an account and login each time, however if you are a traveller searching for information it is easy to see people's discussions without creating an account.

Travelerspoint: This online community has a large number of members from every country in the world. It has has blogs and stories that are accessible to members and non-members. There are also photos from different peoples travels around the world. Users are able to ask questions and receive answers from other members in the form of discussion forums. There is also a service that enables members to book accommodation from this site, making travelling plans simple and easy.

TripAdvisor: This is the largest travel site in the world, receiving 40 million visitors a month. On TripAdvisor members are able to book everything from flights to accommodation to enable a carefree trip. There are also blogs and reviews posted, as well as photos and updates such as the best places to visit. When becoming a member of TripAdvisor you are able to subscribe to updates that come directly to you inbox.

All of these sites aim to do the same thing, in that it is providing information for travellers on various destinations that may be a chosen destination for the future, as well as providing a place for family and friends to track your travel and adventures.

This is an example taken from travbuddy, of the type of format for a forum, and the way users interact. This is standard over all three of the online communities.

An ethical issue with these sites may be privacy, however there appears to be privacy policies in place for the members. Yet for non-members they may be privy to information that users are not intending to have publically posted.
Another ethical concern for the sites that offer the purchase of accommodation and travel is accountability for anything going wrong with bookings or payment, whether this is there concern of the business offering the product.

These online communities provide a sense of traditional geographical community in the sense that all the users are able to come to one location being the site and then furthermore with the access of specific forums which provides a community of similar interest and discussion.

An online community that discusses travel in the manner that these do may lack the enthusiasm of a traditional community where it is a face to face discussion where the individual is able to portray their experience through the use of body language, facial expressions and audio expression. However a benefit of having this topic discussed through an online community means there is a larger group of people that are able to contribute to discussion mostly with a larger base of knowledge as well compared to a traditional community setting where there would be a limited amount of knowledge due to a smaller number of people contributing.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Tutorial Five: Video Production Sessions

YouTube is a website that enables it's users to post videos, as well as watch other people's videos. It is organised in a way that users become members in order to post their videos and then are able to save their favourite videos so that they can easily view them in the future. Youtube does not require everyone that uses it to have an account, which makes this an easy site to access and use without having to remember a login! However without an account you are only able to view the clips, to upload your own and choose favourites and post comment it is important to start a personal account. This can be done at

My first fieldwork placement was set in community pediatrics.
Here are some YouTube video clips that explain some of the things an OT does in this setting.

This clip briefly explains the setting and the range of children an OT in this field comes in contact with...

USCOSOT (2009).

This next clip identifies one of a number of activities an OT would use in this setting to incorporate both play and learning...

childcareland (2008).

This next clip gives a very good picture of the impact an OT has in a child's life and the skills that are worked on...

websight1 (2009).

This next clip identifiees a variety of the different tools an OT uses in practice with children and identifies what each is useful for...

OTStudentKaren (2008).

This final clip is an OT explaining why occupational therapy is appropriate for children and the uses of it...


childcareland (2008, October 22). Retrieved from
OTStudentKaren (2008, August 22). Retrieved from
USCOSOT (2009, February 12). Retrieved from
websight1 (2009, October 1). Retrieved from

Tutorial Three: Blog Creation & Tutorial Four: MOViE making! (Video Production Sessions)

In tutorial three I opened this blog, and followed the instructions provided to set up this blog correctly. I followed this by opening a flickr account and uploading a photo taken in the previous weeks tutorial. Since opening this account I have uploaded a few more photos and will re-learn how to add them into a gadget on this blog.
Tutorial four and part of five we created a video in groups and uploaded it to the blog :-)
This is our groups mini film...

As a group we were required to create a film that depicts a letter...if you have not already guessed our letter was 'B'. We used Windows Live Movie Maker to edit and add effects to our movie. It was a fun but also frustrating process however with other classmates we achieved our goal!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

...Tutorial Two... Digital Imaging

Digital Images are a popular form of imaging in today's world. The two main forms of digital imaging consist of digital photos and digital video. These may be captured in a number of different ways, for example the use of digital cameras will capture a digital image-being a photo. Video cameras may also be used to capture a photo, but are primarily used to record an event. Digital cameras will often have a function to be able to record a video, however this will often mean the video is shorter in length than using a video camera.
Once a digital image is captured there are multiple ways of storing it. Photos may then be stored in the memory card of the camera, on a computer, on an internet website designed for storing photo images, on an external hard drive, on a cd or in some cases a DVD. These photos can then be used in a variety of different ways. They can be uploaded onto websites, used in an online photo album, printed and used as regular photos, put into a digital photo frame, as well as many more. This is often the same with video clips. The use of youtube is evidence of the increase in the amount of videos everyday people are creating.
Something I have learned recently with digital imaging, is that it is very important to have several copies stored in various places as it is very easy to loose all your images in an instant with technology and the likes of viruses, and it costs a lot of money to have a technician try to retrieve your images and files.

So, here's a few digital images...

Uploaded from an external hard-drive...
Boddy and I and our tattoos :]

A video clip... from youtube...

This is a preview to the amazing movement of Watoto in Northern Uganda! Absolutely amazing event to witness! (Watotorecentnews, 2010).

So gunna try and link this post to a photo on facebook... let's see if it'll work...

New style

So if this link worked there should be a photo of me with my dreads...Nice and fresh and spikey!

It is said that "a new technology is rearly superior to an old one in every feature" this is a topic of debate and can be applied to digital cameras. In class we discussed the positives and negatives of a digital camera and they were as follows:
Positives of a digital camera:
  • Able to take a lot more photos
  • They have a lot more functions
  • Are normally use friendly
  • Very accessible to the larger population (when looking at the class almost everyone owns a digital camera)
  • The images do not take up a lot of space due to them being in a digital foramt
  • Is a fast process to print out an image, will often only take a matter of minutes to print
Negatives of a digital camera:
  • Images are becoming less commonly printed in hard copy
  • It is a lot easier to loose the images as there are no negatives
  • Storing images in computers may also result in the loss of them if the computer gets a virus for example
  • Skills are being lost in using digital cameras as there is no longer a need to learn the traditional process of developing film
  • To access the photos there is often a need for other technology such as a computer and printers
  • Images do not always have the same quality as an image generated with a film camera
Overall I think digital cameras are an amazing form of technology however it is important to make back-up copies of the images to be sure they are not lost in the event of the computer malfunctioning. I also think it's important to have an understanding of film images and to have an appreciation for the development and techniques used to create images.

The increase in capturing images, through both photos and videos raises a few ethical concerns. This is due to the fact the the image or video clip belongs to the person who captured it, this therefore means that the person has to have informed consent to be able to take the image in the first place. This is most commonly seen in schools or in organisations that have websites or brochures that they wish to have photos or videos of people on/in it and they need to obtain permission before doing so. This is also a privacy issue, as not all people will be willing to have their face and often name viewable to the public.
In practice it is also important to remember client confidentiality and if a therapist has images of a client in their file this would make them a lot easier to identify therefore it is very important to keep any images secure and in the correct place to eliminate any issues that may arise surrounding the client's privacy.

Images and videoing are already being used in occupational therapy in a number of ways. These include; using photos to observe the progress of therapy for an individual over time, using imaging for the likes of picture boards and daily activity planners for an individual, creating handouts that are specific to the individual by incorporating images of them within it. Also the use of videos and online videos with how to do things are used in OT practice. This can be seen in the types of youtube clips that will for example demonstrate the use of different equipment or various techniques to manage pain.


Watotorecentnews. (2010, June 24). Watoto - Restore tour trailer [Video file]. Retrieved from

Sunday, 20 March 2011

...Tutorial One: Information Technology and Ethical Issues...

Welcome to my blog. This will contain the current topics of discussion that makes up this years Participation in Occupation 1 course. This first post is based around Information Technology and Ethical Issues and what I have learned and understand of this.
Firstly, what is information technology?
Information technology or IT can be defined as the branch of engineering that deals with the use of computers and telecommunications to retrieve, store and transmit information (1, “Information technology,” n.d.).
My understanding of IT is very limited and based on the definition I have found I would consider information technology to be presented in various different forms. Not just that of computers but also other devices such as cell phones and digital cameras also the likes of scanners and printers as they are used in ways to communicate. They retrieve information, store it, even if it may only be a short period of time, and then further transmits it to be used elsewhere.
The use of information technology can be seen through out society. In people’s homes, businesses, schools and universities as well as many other areas of society. It has become very common place in the society that we live in today. In my own life the use of electronic devices is essential. For example currently studying it is essential to have access to the internet in order to be able to complete and access what is required of me.
Outside of the essentials I use technology as it has become affordable and ‘easier’ for example the use of my digital camera. In one year alone I took over 4000 pictures to document my life at the time, which prior to having access to a digital camera I may have taken 100 pictures in a year to retain the most important events of that year. I’ve also noticed that with the increase in technology that is available I am using more of it. For example the technologies that I would competently use on a daily basis would include computers, the internet, my cell phone (mainly for texting), digital camera, MP3 player as well as the T.V. primarily using SKY which to me is a form of information technology.
The use of IT is being used in many different fields of Occupational Therapy (OT). It is being adapted to help in the therapy of various different individuals for a variety of different reasons. OT’s focus on occupation’s that are meaningful in the people’s lives that they are providing therapy for and with the increase of importance IT has on society it is becoming key to incorporate this into therapy. Another reason OT’s are incorporating IT into their therapy is that with advances that are being made with technology it is meaning a lot more can be achieved with an OT’s influence when using technology. This can be seen in the development of wheelchairs and other assistive equipment such as talking boards which may enable someone without certain skills such as propelling a manual wheelchair to therefore use an electronic one. Or someone that is non verbal to then be able to communicate through the use of an adapted computer that can ‘talk’ for them.
There will more than likely always be concerns around the use of IT in therapy, as it could be seen that the individual may become dependant on the technology being used, there is also the concern that the technology could fail. There are also many ethical issues that surround the use of IT as it is important to maintain the individual’s privacy as well as being aware to obtain informed consent for anything that could potentially be viewed by an outside party. The majority of these concerns will be addressed before they become an issue however if they do become an issue before they can be addressed it will be a concern that OT’s will have to be prepared to deal with.
As previously stated there are a number of ways technology is already being used in occupational therapy practice. It is likely that with the development of technology this will also occur with the development with OT practice. This can already be seen through the use of social networking sites and other online chat rooms where people with similar situations are able to connect in a simple and accessible way. This is seen through the use of Facebook for the WINTEC class of 2010 OT students, in a sense it is a means of supervision between peers, which is a key concept in practicing as an OT. There are also many other uses for technology in OT practice. In this Youtube clip the use of technology is explained to be used in an exercise of cooking. There are also many other uses of technology to assist people in doing typical functioning tasks.

Training to be an OT in the current times where the use of technology is prevalent it is important that we are trained in the use of a variety of technologies as we are more than likely to encounter a number of these. We’ll also have the ability to determine the use of new technologies in the people’s lives we are helping. Our understanding of technology will ultimately determine the effectiveness of our therapy through the use of modern technology. It is also important to understand it as there are negative aspects of technology that we as therapists need to be aware of in our utilisation of it in our practice.
As briefly described previously there are ethical issues that may arise from using technology in OT practice. The primary of these is patient confidentiality, this is a concern as it is seen that the use of technology, for example computer programmed client folders, are not as secure as the prior method of hardcopy format kept in secure areas. This is evident in the increase in intelligence regarding computers and their programmes and the amount of people that are able to hack computers and their systems, resulting in client data being at risk of breached confidentiality. There are also the ethical concerns around informed consent as identified previously, primarily in concern to the use of digital imagery that could be used to identify the person receiving therapy.
There are a few more concepts to discuss while discussing IT and ethical concerns with using this in OT practice.
Intellectual property; defined by Ministry of Economic Development Home (2010) as “an umbrella term used for human innovations and creativity that are capable of being protected under national law and international treaties”.
This is applicable to technology as it determines who owns it. For example if a therapist takes a digital image of a client it is then under their ownership. This is important to remember when using such technologies as this could affect ethical concerns.
Social justice has been defined by Ellis-Christensen, T. (2011) as:
In essence social justice is concerned with equal justice, not just in the courts, but in all aspects of society. This concept demands that people have equal rights and opportunities; everyone, from the poorest person on the margins of society to the wealthiest deserves an even playing field. (2)
Social justice refers to the fairness of an aspect of society. Applying this to technology and its use in OT practice is therefore obvious that social justice is a factor to consider. Is it a viable means of treatment? Is it accessible to everyone? What are the limitations of using technology with people we are treating? All of these questions and many more are constantly asked, often to try to eliminate social justice. It is already clear that since the development of such devices as laptops and MP3 players they have become more accessible to the larger population. This is primarily seen through the lowered price of these items, being one of the ways that these forms of technology are no longer a form of social justice.
Furthermore there are continuing issues around the social justice of technology such as the accessibility of it; this can be seen through technology such as the internet and accessing it. The location of an individual is what determines their ability to access such technology, for example the more rural someone lives the higher chance it is that they will be unable to access the internet.
Social justice will be a constant issue that occupational therapists will be overcoming and with the current progress of technology it is more than likely that social justice will be eliminated in this area.
Finally there is the concept of informed consent and its importance in OT practice and the use of technology. Health point website explains informed consent as the process an individual undertakes before participating in any procedure conducted by a medical practitioner. It involves the health practitioner fully and clearly explaining what the individual is consenting to as well as answering any of the questions the individual may have. Informed consent will often be recorded in the form of a consent form that the individual signs after being fully informed (Health Point, 2011).  
As previously explained one of the occasions that an OT will need to use informed consent is when using digital imaging such as photos or film to document their client. For example the OT may take photos of the individuals’ posture to monitor the progress of an intervention put in place; however they will need to have the client’s consent to do so as it is part of their treatment being administered to them.
This is the end of my first blog post. It was a very long process to gather all the information required but also interesting thinking about everything that is involved in using technology in OT practice.


Ellis-Christensen, T. (2011). What is social justice? Retrieved March 20, 2011, from
Health Point. (2011). Informed consent. Retrieved March 20, 2011, from,
Information technology, IT. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2011, from 
Ministry of Economic Development Home. (2010, September 7). What is intellectual property? Retrieved from
Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center. (2008, June 27). WWRC occupational therapy services [Video file]. Retrieved from