Yesterday a small group of occupational therapists came together for the first of about 11 sessions learning to use Web 2.0 tools. Just to add to the challenge, I set up an online conference using elluminate so that one person in Wellington could be part of the group!

I started by talking with the group about how the tools are loosely organised under four themes, and all with the focus on “you control what you create”. So the first theme is “looking out and bringing in” – seeing what is available out there on the web for occupational therapists, and linking these resources back to their own site. We’ll start with creating a blog using word press. The blog becomes a central place to bring in other social software tools such as delicious , flickr, podcasts, and then video such as Google video and Blip TV.

The next theme is about “how to get the information sent to you”. Here we’ll look at newsreaders, but not sure which ones yet. I’m tending to follow along with google tools – so it may be google reader.

The third theme is “coming together at no cost” where we’ll look at programmes such as gtalk and wikipedia, and the last is “create at no cost” using tools such as google docs or concept mapping.

I’m not sure what time it will take us to move through each theme, but I aim to keep it flexible so that we can move at the pace of the majority of the group. We may cover more tools as well – it will just depend on how the group goes.

We then looked at what blogging is using the Wikipedia definition, which led us through to thinking about the implications of recording your thinking. Each individual was encouraged to think about what they would use their blog for, and to check with their supervisors and managers as to what they could or couldn’t include in their blog. We should also be guided by our professions Code of Ethics. I suggested that for now they focus on making postings in their blogs about their learning in this project until they have checked out what policies their employers may have in relation to making their thinking public.

Realising that some people need to see the whole, before they can think about what they could post, we had a look at several blogs. A couple of good examples are metaot, and abc therapeutics (in fact there don’t appear to be many more than these!). I also showed the group this blog (occupational therapy – educational issues) just so they could see a beginning one!

And then we started – everyone logging onto wordpress and starting to create their blogs. I didn’t check at the end of the class, but I’m hoping that I can put a list of them here so those who are interested in following our progress can see what the group are creating.

So – a good start – all of the above took 1.5 hours, and most people left the end of the class with their blog started with one posting. Some had started to look at changing the presentation of their blog. All have agreed to spending at least one more hour during the next fortnight – so I’ve suggested that they add at least one more posting to their own blog, add a post to another’s blog, and see if they can find another blog that is around a topic they are interested in – look forward to seeing the progress!