Tuesday, 25 August 2009

We love the NHS and Social Media

A year ago when I started this blog, I struggled to find examples of the NHS' use of social media and it was perhaps for this reason that some students on the module struggled themselves with knowing how to apply various tools to solve their own communication conundrums.

My instinct tells me, however, that the use of Web 2.0, social networking sites is increasing - and used with increasing sophistication. There are admittedly still huge swathes of the population living in blissful ignorance of such phenomena: I have girlfriends who run screaming from the room when I twitter on about Twitter; my own brothers who have heavy weight jobs in IT shake their head in disapproval when I mention Facebook, and trying to get my academic colleagues using Blogger or Ning is a bit like trying to introduce a Sky+ box into a community of Amish. (Admittedly, I don't actually own a Sky+ box myself, and my knowledge of the Amish is restricted to repeated viewings of Witness - and only then because I like Harrison Ford...)

Anyway - to get to the point, I have recently picked up a number of interesting developments where the NHS meets social networking.

For instance: there are now a large number of Trusts and national health bodies using Twitter:






to name just a few.

I even came across some great FaceBook pages devoted to the NHS:

......and this Wiki caught my eye too....

so maybe you could now think about how you could get your message across to colleagues or users of your service using social media?

You might also want to explore other media that the NHS is using - such as YouTube:


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. - Telemedicine and e-Health - 15(6):507

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


The uses - and potential uses of Twitter in the Health Sector - some interesting reading and fuel to the debate on uses of technology in Virtual Team Management/ Telehealth

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Leading and Managing at Distance: Case Studies in the use of Web 2.0 tools

image: flickr Nimages DR

Caroline: dispersed team of healthcare trainers

The team of trainers, nominally co-located, would for large parts of each month be working as a dispersed team. All worked on a part time sessional basis on different projects and days of the week had consequent difficulties in communication, coordination and in finding time for the team to reflect on performance, consider improvements, undertake their own professional development and discuss new policies and training in the latest techniques.

The LAMD module gave Caroline the opportunity to undertake an analysis of these difficulties, discussing these in various forums with fellow students, and to experience for herself the uses of blogs, wikis and other relevant tools for collaboration and communication.

She chose to focus in her final project on the development of a wiki and a group web page for her team which could be used as a noticeboard, document repository and discussion forum to enable everyone to keep in touch and up to date with changes in regulations and practice.

From this she went on to develop another wiki to aid communication and collaboration in planning a CPD conference with another dispersed team.

Caroline Taylor is Lead Dental Care Professional Tutor - North East Scotland. She can be contacted at caroline.taylor@nes.scot.nhs.uk for further information.

Alison: how my leadership style has changed..

"... I have learned many things both about technology and its application to team work. I was aware of some means of online communication but had not related it to my working practice nor experienced its use. That has changed and I have now set up and administered a wiki which I would not have had the confidence or knowledge to do before. I have used blogs and accessed online learning. I did find the use of the wiki and online discussions very helpful to gain differing views and opinions.

I have also learned about my own abilities and am aware some of the pitfalls of leading and managing at a distance. I believed I had good communication skills but have become aware that these need to be better when the opportunity of face to face communication is not available. I have learned to listen to my team more and use every opportunity to give positive feedback rather than focussing on the negative. I will also be encouraging more reflective practice....

So what will I do now?

......... I could have used a better method for introducing the wiki to the team which may have been more successful. Instead of using email I plan to relaunch it with improved explanations of the benefits it could bring at the next team meeting . In this way I hope to better motivate the team to embrace new technology and to look for other means of improving the service to patients. It will also encourage the team members to think as a team and communicate with each other more consistently.

My Myers Briggs personality is ISFJ which means I like structure, hierarchy and organisation all features that are difficult with a dispersed team . I will need to work on being less controlling and more trusting of my team members’ abilities to allow them to develop their own skills. "

Alison Pendlowski is Deputy Head of Speech & Language Therapy at Perth Royal Infirmary

Monday, 10 August 2009

The how, what, why and where of blogging

image: Flickr ehoyer

This is a guide I have developed for students who are having to write a blog for the first time as part of their studies.

Whatever the format and purpose of your blog, this guide is intended to give you some ideas about how to get started, what sort of things to blog about and how to do it safely and easily.

First you might want to look at this short video

And here’s a blog entry about the usefulness of blogging.
Here’s another blog exploring the value of the blog in learning…..

If you are setting up your own, web-based blog, a good place to start is Blogger.com where you will find simple and clear instructions on how to begin and how to customise and develop your own blog.

Getting started

A great way to start with blogs is to read other people’s first, so you get an idea of what you want to write about and the style you might want to adopt. Here are some others to look at- as you see the topics and intended audience can be very varied:


See if you can find others – search via Google blog search or “blogs of note” on Blogger.com

Key tips for blogging

*Start with a short introduction about yourself and your blog and invite people to make comments, giving you feedback.

*Most people feel very self conscious when they first start to blog and think they have nothing to say that anyone else will be interested in reading. Gradually your confidence will increase – but only if you practise. As with most things, little and often is the key.

*Blogs don’t all need to be in words! You can easily upload pictures and even videos to illustrate what you want to say, as you will have noticed in some of the blogs listed above.

*One important tip is not to write your blog first in a different programme (say, a Word document) and then attempt to cut and paste it into the blog. Although technically this is possible, you will probably encounter problems with the formatting and the finished product won’t look the way you intended.

*Don’t forget that you can edit and re-edit your blog as often as you like (in Blackboard, just click on “edit” at the top of the entry. With Blogger you can save entries as drafts until you are quite sure you want to publish them – but even then you can go back and change them at any time!

*Make sure you stay within copyright law if you are using videos, pictures or quotes: everything needs to be fully acknowledged and referenced just as in a conventional assignment; you may also need others’ permission to use their images or illustrations.

*Take care of your digital identity! A simple guide and workbook on the protection of your privacy and development of a positive online identity can be found in this free download

*Blogs can be used for collaboration and as forums for discussion: a post by one user can have a number of comments added which takes the form of a conversation between the author and their audience.

*Blogs can have multiple authors and so many people can contribute to the development of a body of knowledge. This is an example of a multi author blog.
*Use tags: in order to find linked postings for specific subjects, “tags” or labels are used – short descriptions which identify the key topics. Make sure you tag your own postings, and click on topics in the list of tags in the side panel of this blog, to find posts that might be of interest to you.

Feedback on this guide is welcomed. There is a space at the bottom for you to leave comments. Why not leave one now? Do you agree with the points made? What is your view? I’d be really pleased to get some feedback from you.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Top Ten tools

for (on line) learning:


itunes - educational podcasts: I found a series of Spanish podcasts that have transformed my learning of the language, convincing me there has to be more value in this medium than I currently exploit more with my own students

Twitter - the place for links, updates, chat, sharing, collecting opinions, professional and social networking

Ning - I have been part of two really valuable Ning communities for learning this year: I really like its flexibility, the attractive designs available. I intend to use it with my own students in the coming year.

Skype - invaluable for tutorials with my students and yet again for my own Spanish language studies: I meet with a teacher on line every fortnight to practice conversation

elluminate Vroom - free on line classroom (for up to three people)

Wimba create - bit of a fan currently - using to develop on line learning materials for Blackboard-hosted courses.

Camstudio - screencapture software (free download) which can be edited in movie maker with separate audio if needed.

Slideshare - upload powerpoint presentations and documents to share easily with others. Source of great learning resources too

Googledocs - brilliant tool for collaboration and sharing

Blogger - still there as my blog tool of choice

and number 11 would be diigo.com - social bookmarking site: save web links, network, create discussion groups, annotate pages and store notes.