I am passionate about linking occupational therapists in the online environment… however, right now my perceived barriers are these:
1. Health care practitioners are people-people, therefore a computer is seen as a barrier to their ultimate goal of working with people (even though Web 2.0 IS so interactive!!!).
2. The curriculum is so tight that it is almost impossible to embed new technologies without going over the allowed hours.
3. Students are competitive for grades and do not like to share their new knowledge (not all of them, but most of them) and this means that Web 2.0 is counter-intuitive to their ingrained learning modes.
4. Students are feeling pressured to “get through the curriculum” not taking time to think and problem solve, so taking time to work collaboratively is like pulling teeth.
5. Students have become more like “consumers” of an education product as opposed to creators of their own knowledge, therefore point 4 applies again.
6. Health care practice settings do not allow Internet access or time to build online networks, therefore it is all on your own time and from home.
HOWEVER… I believe that it is important to create opportunities for networked learning as it is the key to lifelong learning.
My experience tells me to:
1. Start small first (small technology tasks that don’t have huge grades attached)
2. Run parallel education sessions about Web 2.0 technology for health care practitioners in the field, so that there is a willing audience waiting for our graduates
3. Reduce components of the curriculum if possible to create space for learning about online technologies (wikis, blogs, podcasts, and SL)
4. Network with others who are having success and ask them for help!