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Technology venture gives future occupational therapists

Published: 3 March 2016

At the occupational therapy program at Luleå University of Technology a unique project has started to strengthen the digital literacy. The project is implemented to prepare the students in their future profession to meet the digital development.

– The digital technology is used more and more in the whole community, so for us students are this very important initiative. In the future, we will meet our clients in a digital context and we need to evaluate the requirements imposed on digital activities and make appropriate adjustments, says Pernille Vestberg, student on the occupational therapy program.

Education in the forefront

Technology has become an important part of our daily activities and digital literacy is a prerequisite for an independent life style and to participate in society. For example, buying a bus ticket or keep in touch with friends and family.
For the client groups occupational therapist encounters is the digital technology an important part of health and wellness, and thus affect the occupational therapist future work content and working methods.

– Since 2002 we have experience of distance methodology, so our education at Luleå University of Technology has a head start in using much of the new technology used in the community. In addition, our students are accustomed to work on their own learning process in a more independent way. Compare to other occupational programmes that puts us at the forefront in the country, says Maria Larsson Lund, professor in occupational therapy at Luleå University of Technology.

Tools for lifelong learning

As knowledge and needs change very quickly in the community, the digital literacy is also an important factor for life-long learning. Maria Larsson Lund believes that it is a tool that can be used for example to apply for online courses and build learning networks for the rapid acquisition of knowledge.

– Both nationally and internationally is the importance of reorganizing the programmes lifted, so that the technological development can meet the future needs of society and to enhance the quality of the education. In addition, EU has defined digital literacy as a key component of lifelong learning.

Digitization discussed in focus groups

Recently a digital seminar Digital Brain Hurricane was held with teachers and volunteer students from the occupational therapy program. Focus groups discussed the digitalization and the outcome will form the basis for the development work in the programme, and if  possible also the research.

– It was great to be able to influence. It was also useful to hear how other classmates think and reason. It gave me new ideas and aspects, says occupational therapist student Pernille Vestberg.

In addition to the Digital Brain Hurricane seminar, the work progress in identifying the digital literacy occupational therapists need by for example collegial discussions, intelligence analysis and conferences. The result will then be matched with different teaching and examination methods. Furthermore, the strategies for e-learning at the program will be strengthened.