Doing, being, becoming a blogger and belonging to a virtual community!

Professor Ann Wilcock first coined the phrase “Doing, Being and Becoming” in her Sylvia Docker address at the OTAustralia National conference in Canberra in 1999. The address is available through this link to the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal

Since that address Professor Wilcock has added “Belonging” to her model as she states that without BELONGING we cannot truly BECOME our potential. This information was documented in the second edition of her text “An Occupational Perspective of Health”

I believe that by learning how to blog and becoming a blogger, enables us to belong to a new online community and move a step closer to one’s potential.

Our role as OT’s is to enable this transition!

Here’s my example: I was teaching as a volunteer at Edmonton Brain Injury Re-learning Society (EBIRS) recently and when we finished our “basic computer course” I asked the participants where they would like to head next… they said they really wanted to access email and the internet. I asked what they would like to achieve on the internet and the answer was what I expected… to find things out!

I asked if anyone had blogged or heard of blogs. One person said “isn’t that a place to meet people?” and I explained that it’s more like an online journal or diary, you can have any type of content, it can be public or private and if it’s public, people can leave comments on it. As we know, it can be a place to express feelings, a place to tell a story or as is the case with this blog, a place to delve deeper into topics around technology and OT.

One participant said, “I’d love to tell my story, about my stroke and my awful experiences in rehab”. She started to cry, her sister sat beside her nodding, “yes she sure has a story to tell” her nods seemed to be saying. I said, “I think we need to get blogging!”

I mentioned this to the great people at EBIRS and their eyes lit up… “can you help us do this?” they asked. Well, of course I’d love to!

As I need to focus on teaching at the University during term time I wondered if I could share the load a bit with some students who had taken my “Emerging Technology in OT practice” module. I called for volunteers and two wonderful students Janet and Lana replied that they wanted to participate! (Update: Lily has also joined this group!)

I could see that we might have a story to share from this, so now we are in the throws of preparing an ethics project with full support from EBIRS. We hope that this story will be ready to share next year at the CAOT conference in Ottawa (abstract also being prepared).

So, Lana and Janet will find their feet as volunteer teachers by firstly teaching the group how to make their own home page in iGoogle. Assisting them to create a home page with all their favourite links will hopefully overcome one of the tricky parts of learning computers post-ABI… remembering how to apply new knowledge and skills.

Once that course is finished the participants will start to learn how to blog. One really important factor will be online safety.

PLEASE SHARE your experiences, tips and ideas to help us get this right. If you have taught people with an acquired Brain Injury to access the internet and even how to blog, we’d love to learn from you 🙂 We want to create a blog for “Learner Bloggers”

I’ve found some excellent emerging literature on the topic and will pull that together to share.