Hi everyone

It’s been an exciting fortnight. Ages ago (well sometime back in January) I submitted an abstract to the 8th European Occupational Therapy Congress. Working on the basis that if you submit more than one you are more likely to get one accepted, I set about pulling together one abstract and two jointly with Andrea, who I supervised through her Masters research. I tossed up what was likely to get accepted but with Andrea’s input we finally settled on one that she was first author and I would be second author, another were we co-presented a workshop and a third that I would do by myself. Andrea’s which she was primary author for drew from her masters thesis which explored the collaborative consultative process used by occupational therapists with teachers and parents of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. In New Zealand, this will become a seminal piece of work as its one of two pieces of research by practitioners that explores how we work in schools. The research is vital as school based practice for us feels quite different to what we read in the international literature. Andrea and I were really hopeful that it would get accepted for presentation at the Congress as Andrea is originally from Germany and could therefore compare what we were doing here, with what she knows happens in Germany. Unfortunately this abstract didn’t get accepted – but perhaps it was too in advance of what happens currently in European practice? Who knows – I’ll certainly be going to sessions at the Congress on occupational therapy practice in education to get a better feel for the differences.

The second one was a workshop on learning and thinking styles which we thought would be of interest to the Europeans. I also thought it would be appealing as Andrea would be able to translate all the worksheets into German and we could deliver the workshop bilingually. We were going to use the VARK which is a New Zealand based learning style questionnaire (go ahead and try it – it can be completed online and guidance for study is also provided). Thinking styles was drawn from Gregorc’s work and is something our students also connect with very easily. Anyway.. this abstract wasn’t accepted either, but perhaps perspectives on learning that feel really important to me my reflect my westerncentric view which is not necessarily consistent with European ways of knowing – so I’ll be checking out any presentations with a similar focus at Congress to gain a  broader understanding of what is important for Europeans in relation to our ongoing learning.

So you can imagine my surprise and also real thrill to get the second email that said my presentation on Web 2.0 had been accepted – I’m going to Hamburg in Germany next May accompanied by my husband (he offered to carry the bags!). This will the first time we’ll get to travel to conference together (both children having left home!!) and Lindsay will get to be a OT husband on the conference circuit! I’ll add a copy of the abstract later..

So….. having then worked out that we could get to Germany, then realised could visit older daughter at her new job in Switzerland, my eyes were attracted to the British Association of Occupational Therapists/College of OT national conference which is being held only three days later…..yikes could I manage two in three weeks, could I get time away from work at the end of Semester 1… could we link it all up… well I guess we won’t know till we try! So in the next instalment is the story of how I ended up being part of a group who submitting a joint conference abstract using Web 2.0 technologies – the development of an abstract from whoa to go in 48 hours by three people who have never met each other!!!  It wouldn’t have been possible without web 2.0 technologies!!!