Web 2.0

Web 2.0 & Social Media – Access in the NHS

I’ve blogged previously about connectivity issues in the NHS and the problems with accessing Web 2.0 and social media sites that can support teaching and learning. In one of these posts I mentioned the work that the NHS-HE Forum Connectivity Best Practice Working Group, which I’m a member of.  This group has been pulling together and sharing case studies of good and best practice around IT connectivity in the NHS, which locally have certainly helped us make progress in Tayside.  My contribution to the working group has been to write a paper on Web 2.0 and social media in relation to education and research and this was published last week following the most recent NHS-HE Foum meeting held in London on 14th May 2013.

I had originally hoped to have the paper finalised before Christmas, however the delay perhaps has been quite timely given the Department of Health publishing its new digital strategy just before Christmas.  The DoH strategy “sets out how the Department of Health will give its staff the knowledge, skills, tools and confidence to embrace digital opportunities to deliver better health, better care and better value for all.”

At the moment for staff wanting to engage in digital opportunities to support learning and collaborative research there are still barriers with access to many Web 2.0 and social media tools being blocked.

The paper I’ve written highlights the emerging benefits of Web 2.0 technologies and, whilst taking account of potential risks, outlines some recommendations concerning their access.  I’m grateful to my colleagues from both the NHS and HE on the NHS-HE Forum Connectivity Best Practice Working Group for their feedback on the various drafts on the paper and their input into the final version of the document. We hope this document will prove helpful to various groups within the NHS as they seek to raise issues around the accessibility of web-based technologies.

I hope the paper will be of some use to those wanting to start a dialogue with NHS organisations about access to Web 2.0 and social media sites in the NHS to support learning and research.  I’m also hoping that we can start to gather case studies that can demonstrate ways that these technologies can be used to maximise their benefits for education and research particualrly given the growing interest in #FOAMed. I’m also planning to do some follow-up work to this paper which I hope to share over the next month or so.

If you’d like to contribute a case study on good practice or are interested in connecting around these issues please do leave a comment.

 

Starter for 10: What online tools & social media should be accessible in the NHS?

I’ve written previously about the problems of accessing elearning in the NHS and how this affects teaching and learning.  Back in November my colleague Andrew Howe and I gave a presentation to the NHS-HE Forum on accessing University teaching and learning from the NHS.  Our presentattion  gave an overview of some of the problems our clinical teachers and students face accessing University resources on their NHS PCs.  We also highlighted the frustrations concerning the inability

  • to access the growing amount of open learning content available  on sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and blogs and
  • to make use  of Web 2.0 and social media tools.

These sites, tools and technologies  make it easier for teachers to produce and remix online learning content.  They also offer many opportunities to support collaborative work, research and to share information with patients and colleagues. The reality, however, for those involved in teaching in the NHS and for our students on clinical placements is that access to many of these sites and tools are blocked by NHS firewalls. In some cases health boards have made them accessible but only to those clinical staff using them for research.

The outcome of our presentation and the following discussion at the November NHS-HE Forum meeting is that a short life working group has been set up to look at NHS-HE connectivity best practice.  The group includes IT managers, librarians, medical educators with responsibility for elearning and  we’ll be putting together our work plan when we meet later this week.

One of the things I’ve been tasked with doing is coming up with a starter for 10 list of tools/sites that should be accessible from the NHS.  I know the sorts of sites that my colleagues are keen to be able to access for example

  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • WordPress sites
  • Blogspot sites
  • Posterous
  • Social bookmarking sites like Delicious and Diigo
  • Google docs
  • Slideshare
  • Ning
  • Twitter

I’m also interested to hear what the wider NHS community involved in teaching and research would like to access.  Which tools would you like to access that are currently blocked in your health board or trust and why would you like to have access them, what benefits would they bring to your work?

Twitter bug

I set up a Twitter account back in March after seeing it featured on the BBCs technology programme Click.  Having created an account I couldn’t really see the point of it and didn’t look at Twitter again for several months.  I’ve dipped into it from time to time since then over the past few months and still been left thinking what’s all the fuss about.  I’ve not been alone in feeling this way but recently I’ve noticed that a number of Twitter sceptics have now got the Twitter bug.  I’m reading an increasing number of blog posts which say that individuals now see the benefits of using Twitter. What’s also been interesting is to read more about the use of Twitter in Higher Education and some of the benefits it can bring.

I started twittering today and will see how this develops.  It will be interesting to see how Twitter helps me connect with people with similar interests in the application of e-learning in medical education.  I’m also keen to find out more about how Twitter is being used in Higher Education and whether it’s being used by anyone as a tool to support student reflection.