I realise that anyone reading my blog who does not know what I am interested in might find some of my postings about secondlife totally bizarre and consider that they have stumbled upon someone with a serious mental health disorder. So I think it's time I seriously consider what I am doing and why I am doing it. I am a midwife and a midwifery educator. I am considering how web2.0 technologies could assist me and my colleagues or students with learning.
I recently completed a thesis for a Masters Degree in Midwifery entitled "Wise women’s web: Rural midwifery communities”. This reports the findings of research I undertook to find out how rural and remote rural midwives inform practice, identify issues they my have and find out what they felt might support this. Being a bit of a lover of ready access to research and journals etc, I had thought that the midwives might want better access to online sources. I was a little surprised to find that what they really valued was the information that they shared amongst themselves, during their working activities or when they attended study. This should not have been a surprise because this was always important to me to in rural practice. On further research I found out more about communities of practice and their importance to the learning process. Originally discussed within the context of information technology (Wenger,2006)the importance of communities of practice has more recently been identified in the areas of health and education. Really this is giving a name and a structure to something which has been important in practice for a very long time. (Norris, Mason, Robson, Lefrere & Collier, 2003; Gabbay & Le May, 2004; Tolson et al., 2005).
Within my teaching practice I have also become aware of the importance of learning communities to the students I work with. As a postgraduate student it was also important to me that I was studying with others and could share and discuss aspects of the course and my understanding. Getting another perspective of material I had heard and interpreted myself opened up my thinking and helped me to identify other possibilities. I am currently engaged in a course called Online learning communities communities. In this course we have investigated how web2.0 technologies can assist in providing opportunities for communities of practice to grow and support learning for those involved. So I am interested in how these technologies might benefit both midwives in practice, particularly rural midwives and student midwives who are studying at a distance. This is something we will be moving into in the near future and, although part of the course will always be delivered face to face, a much greater proportion will be delivered online at a distance from the Polytech and from other students.
This is enough about why I am doing this in my next posting I will discuss how I believe these technologies could assist midwives and student midwives.
Norris, D. M., Mason, J., Robson, R., Lefrere, P., & Collier, G. (2003). A revolution in knowledge sharing.
Educause Review, 38 (5), 15-26.
Gabbay, J., & Le-May, A. (2004). Evidence based guidlines or collectively constructed "mindlines"? Ethnographic study of knowledge management in primary care. British medical journal, 329, 1013-1017.
Tolson, D., McAloon, M., Hotchkiss, R., & Schofield, I. (2005). Progressing evidence-based practice: an effective nursing model? Journal of advanced nursing, 50(2), 124-133.
Wenger, E. (2006). Communities of practice, a brief introduction. Retrieved 29th December 2006, from http://www.ewenger.com/theory/index.htm