OT4OT: Online Technology for Occupational Therapy

How Did We Meet?

This group came together through the power of online networking; each of us had separately been involved in using social media from around 2007 to 2009. We were a of like-minded group of occupational therapists from Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand and the the UK coming together with a mission to spread knowledge of the use of online technologies in the occupational therapy profession. Our connection evolved organically across the globe and was driven by a combination of shared passion and serendipity. 

We came together throughout 2008-09 and in 2010 we named our team OT4OT and started two main activities:

The first event the group ran together was a workshop at the World Federation of Occupational Therapists congress, held in May 2010, in Santiago Chile.

  1. Creation of the OT4OT Facebook page (February 2010).
  2. Creation of the OT24Vx (OT 24-hour Virtual Exchange – a 24 hour online conference) which was started in October 2010 and continued until 2016 in a 24 hour virtual format
    • We moved to an 8-hour format in 2017 (as part of our handover of the event to the WFOT).  In 2018 we commenced a bi-monthly 1-hour webinar with WFOT.  It is now a WFOT event supported by OT4OT.  The latest webinar was about Podcasting! http://www.wfot.org/

WFOT Congress, Santiago, Chile, May 2010 (Susan Burwash was absent)

The impact of OT4OT

I believe the creation of the OT4OT group on Facebook has been our biggest impact (however it should be noted too that the OT24Vx influenced the growth of the FB groups).  OT4OT currently has 25,010 members (January 30, 2019) and there are 70 special interest offshoot groups.  The offshoot groups were created over time, as trends and interests emerged around the globe.  The growth of the number of offshoot groups is depicted in the table below. 

While we were at this congress Merrolee Penman, from Otago Polytechnic in NZ proposed that we undertake to run a 24 hour online conference on World OT Day October 27, 2010, to cater for all those who are unable to attend occupational therapy conferences.

Our first whole group face to face meeting occurred at the WFOT Congress in 2014, in Yokohama, Japan.

WFOT Congress, Yokohama, Japan, June 2014

The whole team was together (finally) at WFOT Congress – Yokohama 2014

OT4OT on Facebook

Since the World OT Day event many online connections have developed in the online world.  Facebook discussion forums have emerged as a means by which occupational therapists can remain in touch with each other on topics of specific interest.  These are the groups that have evolved from the original group Online Technology 4 Occupational Therapy OT4OT discussion forum

Knowledge Brokers

Typically a knowledge broker operates in multiple markets and technology domains with the function being to facilitate the transfer of knowledge from where it is abundant to where it is needed. Types of activities include establishing access to knowledge, linking of separate knowledge pools and implementation of knowledge in new settings.

In 2014, OT4OT was recognised by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) as an International Advisory Group – Social Media, with a key objective being to support and advise WFOT in empowering occupational therapy practitioners and students with online networking and knowledge brokering.

In 2016 we developed the WFOT Position Statement on the use of Social Media by Occupational Therapists (http://www.wfot.org/ResourceCentre.aspx ). In 2015-16 a group from the 4OT Groups Backchannel created a “Code of Conduct” for the group and presented it at the OT24Vx in 2016.

World OT Day 24 hour Global Virtual Exchange (OT24VX) 2014

World OT Day 24 hour Global Virtual Exchange (OT24VX) 2013

OT24Vx: Transitions

In 2013 the World OT Day celebration was held across October 25/26/27 2013.  The theme was “Transitions”.  This theme emerged in a discussion between the three conveners Susan Burwash, Karen Jacobs and Anita Hamilton while discussing the number of transitions all people experience throughout life and how one of the most important roles of occupational therapy is to facilitate people to manage transitions.

World OT Day 24 hour Global Virtual Exchange (OT24VX) 2012

OT24Vx: Exploring Balance

In 2012 the World OT Day celebration was held on October 29/30/31 2012.  The theme was “Exploring Balance”.  The theme emerged after one of the presentations in 2011 sparked a lot of attention about occupational balance, life balance and work balance.  The theme was not isolated to time use however and speakers explored issues around cultural balance and social balance (e.g. having a balance of opportunities).

World OT Day: 24 hour  Virtual Exchange (OT24VX) 2011

OT24VX: Pay it Forward

In 2011 the World OT Day celebration ran on October 26-27.  The theme was “Pay it forward”.  This theme emerged after discussing the success of the first event in 2010 and the realization that the  presenters and organizers of this event are truly “paying it forwards” for the profession and our global community.

World OT Day 24 hour Global Virtual Exchange (OT24VX) 2010

OT24VX: The Power of Technology

Between May and October, 2010, 6 individuals in 4 countries met online to coordinate the first 24 hour “Global Virtual Exchange”.  The event was an incredible success, with over 1000 participants from 33 different countries attending sessions across the 24 hours.