Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another interesting breakthrough

Nokia Develops a Smart Home Platform to Offer Consumers New Ways to Control Their Homes With a Mobile Device

Thanks to Guy Dewsbury
SMART Thinking


Sunday, November 23, 2008

E-learning in health and social care study day

On Friday I attended (and help to organise/run) a study day of the Higher Education Academy, Health Sciences & Practice e-learning special interest group at the Glenside Campus of the University of the West of England.

Dr Pam Moule opened the day and gave the first presentation about the work we had undertaken for the HEA HS&P "Scoping e-learning: use and development in health sciences and practice" over the last two years. She set out the aims of the study and the two phase data collection with a survey and then case studies which had identified 5 themes:
* Facilitating factors
* Inhibiting factors
* Innovative technologies
* Pedagogy
* Training

She then led a discussion of the findings of the study and their implications for practice.

The second speaker was Dr Heather Wharrad from the University of Nottingham, School of Nursing Educational Technology Group (SONET) who entitled her presentation RLO's are good for Health: Community based approaches. She described the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning for RLOs before giving descriptions of the characteristics of a reusable learning object and their approach to their production and use. The key points were illustrated with a case study from Nottingham's Non-Medical Prescribing Course, and outlined the positive evaluation from students.

The next two speakers were from Coventry University. The first was Imran Ali who described the myriad of innovative technologies being used within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. Of particular interest to me and many in the audience was Echo 360 which they are currently implementing for lecture capture.

Imran's presentation was followed by Elinor Clarke who moved the innovative technologies forward with a discussion of Web 2.0 technlogies in use within the faculty, particularly InterProfessional Learning Objects and touched on Second Life (under the banner of Second Learning) to support their pedagogical aims.

After lunch Anne Smith described the "Reading Experience" with the E-learning framework in use at the University of Reading and the real life considerations which impinge on elearning use with her students. She particularly highlighted issues around the impact of e-learning on the assessment process.

Following Anne's presentation the attendees broke into smaller facilitated groups to identify examples of good (and bad) practice in relation to e-learning to aid wider sharing as an outcome of the HEA HS&P project, and gave comments on the draft "Guidance for e-learning implementation". Pam closed the day by thanking all participants and giving an outline of future activities within the HEA HS&P e-learning SIG.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

XO Laptop Now Available

Buy one, give one, read more here too:

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Control Your Home with iPhone or is this really a telehealth app in disguise?

"It's coming from inside the house." Home automation vendors have announced new software that will let iPhone and iPod touch users dim the lights, control the temperature, and even view live surveillance video over Wi-Fi at home and over cellular while away.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Telehealth Offers Patient Care Anytime, Anywhere

Telehealth has the potential to increase access, savings, and quality. Yet low consumer awareness, along with provider reimbursement and liability barriers, have hampered adoption. Two new CHCF reports look at the progress to date.


Author Jane Sarasohn-Kahn,

Bob Pyke

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Electronic Arts to Enter Exercise-Gaming World

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Socio-technical approach to technology projects in the NHS

At a masterclass event entitled: “10% Technology, 90% Business Change hosted by the UK Faculty of Health Informatics participants were asked "What should be done to make a socio-technical approach to the delivery of technology projects in health and social care in the NHS the norm?"

To continue the work of the masterclass a Wetpaint Wiki has been set up at: where relevant contributions are welcomed, which will be incorporated into the report which is being prepared with the hope that it can be used to influence key developments in the NHS such as the implementation of the National Health Informatics Review in England.

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Patient Accessible Electronic Health Records: Exploring Recommendations for Successful Implementation Strategies

The Journal of Medical Internet Research has recently published an interesting paper entitled: Patient Accessible Electronic Health Records: Exploring Recommendations for Successful Implementation Strategies by David Wiljer, Sara Urowitz, Emma Apatu, Claudette DeLenardo, Gunther Eysenbach, Tamara Harth, Howard Pai and Kevin J Leonard.

The paper reports the outcome of a Patient Accessible Electronic Health Record (PAEHR) Workshop attended by 45 participants who discussed recommendations for the implementation of patient accessible EHRs.

Recommendations were discussed under four subject domains:
1) providing patient access to the EHR,
2) maintaining privacy and confidentiality related to the PAEHR,
3) patient education and navigation of the PAEHR, and
4) strategies for managing institutional change.

The discussion focused on the need for national infrastructure, clear definitions for privacy, security and confidentiality, flexible, interoperable solutions, and patient and professional education. In addition, there was a strong call for research into all domains of patient accessible EHRs to ensure the adoption of evidence-based practices.

Although the report has North American focus the suggestions may well have use worldwide for patient engagement and empowerment.

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The web-based Personal Health Record - research implications report

An interesting report has recently been released which examines research implications for patients, consumers, health services and UK industry arising from developments in the web-based personal health record.

HOIP CIC was commissioned to undertake a scoping study into the implications of the web-based personal health record (PHR) and the resulting research priorities on behalf of the NIHR invention for innovation (i4i) programme and for the DH Policy Research Programme.

The report examines the following areas:

* The perspectives of participants and contributors to the study
* The challenge of commissioning and delivering research in web 2.0 timescales
* Policy implications and alignment
* Confidentiality, access and trust
* The user/consumer perspective
* The service perspective
* Technology perspectives
* The industry perspective

The report identifies 39 themes for further more detailed research. The research team are inviting those reading the report to take part in an online questionnaire to categorise these themes by their level of strategic or operational priority and the timescale within which the research needs to take place.

The full report, survey and forums to discuss the issues raised can be found at:

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Friday, November 07, 2008

European Conference on e-Learning - Day 2

Another sunny day here in Cyprus started with a "mini-track" related to the use of social networking tools in health and social care - chaired by my colleague Pam Moule.

The first presentation was by Sotiris Fanou a PhD student from the University of the West of England. He described his current work on enabling those with Learning Disabilities, who are currently excluded from many aspects of society, to participate in Wed 2.0 social networking via the development of new systems. He described some of the background and the issues identified for those with cognitive impairments which are different to those with visual or auditory problems which are served by W3C accessibility guidelines. He clarified the aims and research questions and dealt with questions about the iterative development process which enable the system to meet the needs of these users and the content creation which is being handed over to those with learning disabilities to take control of themselves.

The second presentation was by Sari Mettiainen and Kristiina Vahamaa from the Pirkanmaa University Finland who described their use of a web based discussion forum to support nursing students on practice placements in disparate clinical settings. They highlighted the problems with existing support mechanisms and their hypothesis that a web based discussion forum could provide better support. Their case study showed positive outcomes for both the university staff and the 25 students involved with increased reflection in the students writing.

I presented next some of the findings related to Web 2.0 adoption or otherwise in UK universities delivering health sciences courses.

The final presentation of the morning was by Elaine Haycock-Stuart from the University of Edinburgh. She had worked with colleagues from Wright State University in Dayton Ohio, USA to provide students on both sides of the Atlantic who were studying Health & Society/Global Health with a shared discussion board to share knowledge and ideas. The experience had demonstrated increased technical skills and knolwedgeof health systems in different countries for both UK and US based students.

The last session I attended was Barry Eaglestone from the University of Sheffield who reported on work they had carried out to examine the Information searching behaviours of Lifelong Learners. He discussed the motivations and hypothesis for the research, carried out with 91 general public volunteers and the cognitive styles which were found to be relevant. He showed a query matching algorith which had been used with audio and keystroke logging.

Unfortunately I will be missing some of the final sessions of the conference as we need to start the trek to the airport for the journey back to the UK. In general it has been a well organised conference in a lovely setting. Some of the sessions have been interesting and have given me a few ideas, but most of the material has not been particularly cutting edge or innovative. I have met various friends old and new and made some interesting contacts whith whom I will be following a few things up after the conference.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

European Conference on e-Learning - Day 1

Today I'm attending the European conference on e-Learning at the Grecian Palace Hotel in Ayia Napa, Cyprus.

Following some delays at Heathrow yesterday we arrived at Larnaca airport to be greeted by a colleague who introduced us to his family who live locally and then took us for dinner in a traditional Cypriot taverna, where we tried a variety of local dishes.

The conference started in earnest this morning with a welcome from the chair George Papadopopolous from the University of Cyprus. Over 360 paper submissions had been received and 175 accepted - therefore will only be able to attend and give reports on a selection of the papers. Delegates for 33 countries (including several from outside the EU) have assembled fr the event, and there seems to be a large UK contingent, included some colleagues I didn't know were coming from the University of the West of England. The conference seems well organised and the setting is spectacular and warm - opening my bedroom window to look out on sunshine on the swimming pool and the Mediterranean was a great way to wake up.

The opening keynote address was given by Professor Thanasis Hadzilacos from the Open University of Cyprus. His talk entitled "What do educators care about e-learning environment architecture?" focused on the relationship between pedagogy and software architecture. He used analogies from art (Form v content) and biology (structure v function) to identify and illustrate what is general and what is special about technology used for education. The tensions between a course design and individualised learning were explored with a recognition that most learning is not the linear process dictated by modulkes, courses etc imposed by educational institutions.

The limitations of the write once, read many text, book format were described and a prgression seen to multimedia formats which are now being challenged by the need to students to have greater interactivity and mving to dynamic content which is developed by many and is never the same for 2 different participants. He concluded that we need to focus on what the learner does not on what the technology does.

The conference then split into streams and the first presentation I attended was by Frans Van Hoek from CINOP in the Netherlands who described a course he has developed for adult educations and youngsters with "low education" setting out the 7 steps model they have identified for information literacy, which is not just about digital literacy (IT) or information finding but takes the participants through the location, processing and using of information for different aspects of everyday life. He challenged the audience to decide if they are "information literate" and argued that lifelong learning is vital to stay information literate in a changing world.

After coffee I attended a session by Janina Radvilaviciute from Lithuania describing a system she has developed a learning system for the ECDL. She described how it was built and used by people with different levels of access administrator, manager, tutor & learner. Thesystem presents course materials, tests etc and has been used by over 1000 users in 3 yrs with learners achieving over 85% pas rates after using it.

The next session I wanted to attend on Providing autonomous hands-on learning and learner mobility using virtual computer technologies was canceled so I went to an interesting presentation by Lorenzo Sommaruga from the University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland, describing an EU Lorenzo funded collaborative project on solid waste management (The Waste Train Project) highlighting blended learning in action. He described the training needs analysis for vocational learning across 9 countries with 8 languages. The project developed leaning materials and coordianted face to face delivery with tutors and students from all the countries and highlighted the different actors involved: author, tutor and course designer. He concluded by drawing together the lessons from the project which can be applied in other areas including the issues about coorodingation and communication with multiple actors in different geographical locations. It was interesting to see that the Web 2.0/communication tools provided were not used very much and he suggested this was because of the lack of familiarity of the tutors intriducing the materials to students.

My last session of the morning was a presentation by Lone Dirckinck-Holnfeld from Aalborg University who described some of the methodological and theoretical issues in the development of a community based Methodopedia as part of a wider EU funded blended learning project (see ). Most of the presentation was about learning design and the issues of getting shared understanding and definition of the relevant terms.

After lunch I attended a presentation by Brigitte Grote from the Free University of Berlin who had been working with the humanities faculty to move from their existing established and supported use of elearning 1.0 to incorprate web 2.0 technologies. She used a couple of case studies to illustrate how mere document delivery via the web was being enhanced with interactive tools overcoming personal, organisational and technical issues to achieve high levels of uptake and satisfaction amongst students and staff.

The next session was June Clarke from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, who described work her team have been undertaking to introduce and encourage academic staff use of Web2.0 tools. They hand delivered initiations (rather than email) to encourage those who may be less enthusiastic about their use to come to introductory sessions. 150 staff attended one of three sessions & got hands on experience with various Blackboard plugins for making quizzes, using adaptive release, blogs, wikis, podcasts and webcams. These had been successful and many of the staff who went to the sessions had used one or more of the tools, with good students acceptance and positive reviews.

During the tea break I've also had a look at who else is blogging from the conference and found:
But no one else live blogging - if anyone is blogging from the event & reads this let me know & we can link to each others brogs to give a fuller flavour of the event.
I have had a chat with Roy Williams from Portsmouth who is recording the event on wikispaces

As we move towards the end of the day (it gets dark early in Cyprus) Sue Greener from Brighton Business School presented some of the findings from her recently completed PhD on the teachers role in elearning. Her work was based on a Community of Inquiry framework and chiefly related to asynchronous online learning. She highlighted issues of control and how shifting this from teacher to student may be challenging for some staff, leading to fear and opposition to the use of these tools.

My final session of the day was by Jonny Dyer (and Jean Jackson) from the Inclusion Trust humorously describing the development of an online community to attract disaffected kids back into education. Some of the issues with Key Stage 4 kids (from 13-16 years) and what is required for a true community were discussed in a Q&A format.

The sessions finished at 18.00 which gave time for a quick drink and a chat before boarding coaches to a "traditional taverna" for the conference dinner, which involved lots of dishes & more food than anyone could eat. The table I was at with delegates from Russia, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and other countries I may have missed. Olga my Russian colleague who I was sitting next to found my English (more estuary than BBC) difficult to understand, but we still managed to communicate and I learned to say hello in Russian. Discussing the Nature v Nurture debate in (at least) 3 languages was an experience! Entertainment was provided by local musicians and some delegates even managed to getup and dance.

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Nurisng Informatics Virtual Award for Dr Viginia Saba

Dr. Virginia Saba is the Gold Award Recipient from the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics. Dr Saba is Distinguished Scholar, Adjunct -- Georgetown University, Washington DC and Adjunct Professor - USUHS, Bethesda, MD, She has pioneered the integration of computer technology in the nursing profession for over 30 years. For ffuthor information about Dr Saba and the OJNI, please go to