Thursday, 31 March 2011

Tutorial Four: Video Production Sessions

it's As eAsy As Abc


This is An Awesome video we mAde in clAss, bAsed on A letter of the AlphAbet.
Bet you cAn't guess whAt letter it is!

It wAs filmed in the spAce of 15 minutes. Absolutely AmAzing!



video



Absolutely no plAnning wAs done prior to filming; we decided to wing it in order provide ourselves An opportunity to exercise our Artistic Abilities. We hAd only briefly touched on filming techniques prior to this video being mAde, however the content spouted purely from the fountAin of spontAneity. Of course, editing of thAt mAterial wAs done in order to get the finAl product.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A chamomile flower

A chamomile flower by they_may_have_joy
A chamomile flower, a photo by they_may_have_joy on Flickr.

A purple flower

A purple flower by they_may_have_joy
A purple flower, a photo by they_may_have_joy on Flickr.

A bunch of flowers

A bunch of flowers by they_may_have_joy
A bunch of flowers, a photo by they_may_have_joy on Flickr.

A feijoa flower

A flower by they_may_have_joy
A flower, a photo by they_may_have_joy on Flickr.

Grapes from my garden

This is one of five images that I am going to post to demonstrate my own personal use of digital images.

Tutorial Two: Digital Imaging

In this post we will be discussing digital imaging by briefly looking at a number of aspects from the storage of digital images to their uses in Occupational Therapy.

One thing that the technological world offers us is the variety in which we can store information; the storage of digital imaging is included in this.

In the process of creating and storing a digital image, technology is with us every step of the way. You can create a digital image using a digital camera. From there you may choose to use a usb cord to transfer it to the computer, take out the memory card and put it into a card reader or you may even send the image wirelessly to another device using blue tooth. If you transfer it to a computer, you may  need to use specific software for the device you are using in order to transfer it safely to the computers hard drive.. Usually the software allows you to change the format in which the image is saved; one of the most popular and commonly used formats at the moment is JPEG (Joint Photo Experts Group). From there one may choose to edit the image using photo editing software such as Photoshop, in order to make your photo that much more of a masterpiece. From there, it is really up to you as to what you choose to do with that photo. The photo could be electronically stored, placed in a slideshow, printed and scrapbooked, transferred to another device or even posted on the internet.

There are many way in which digital images can be used to provide information; one which we have already touched on is the internet. Under the vast umbrella of the World Wide Web there are many ways in which digital images are used in this way. Here are three such examples:

1) Flickr ( http://www.flickr.com/ )

Flickr is an online website that specialises in storing peoples photos and provide a way for users to manage, organize and showcase their photos or videos. Web users create an account and upload their chosen photos. These photos could range from the scenery of the country side pictures from your family holiday. Users have the option of making their photos accessable to the public or limit the access to their friends and family only.

2) Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/ )

Facebook is similar to flickr in the respect that photos and video can be uploaded and displayed on a users account and access to them can be limited. However facebook does not soley focus on photos and videos, but is a social networking site. Generally the photos a user posts to their account is usually something that they feel is important to have on their social forum. Users can tag other people in their photos and leave comments on their photos as a means of making social links and sharing information from their lives to other people.


Google images is a side branch to the google search engine. What it does is it gathers as many digital images it can from as many websites as possible and collates them with in the topic of your search.

DISCUSSION TIME!

Let's discuss the following statement in relation to digital camera technology. Here goes....

"A new technology is rarely superior to an old one in every feature"

What a statement! Where should I begin? I have to say that I am on the side of the affirmative; I absolutely agree with this statement. Why? Well allow me to elaborate. Lets look at film cameras and compare them to digital cameras by looking at their pro's and con's.

I will admit I do not know a great deal about film cameras but let me share that which I do know. I know that film cameras produce very good picture quality if done correctly. In general I believe that they were easier to use without all the millions of features that today's cameras seem to have. People were more likely take less shots due to the limitations of the film and the cost of developing. It was not possible to develop the photos from home unless you had a dark room which means traveling to a photoshop. Although taking less shots can be seen as a good thing, as you were more likely to develop and cherish them rather than keep them stored on the film. A negative was also that you didn't know what kind of shot you were going to get. None of this scroll and delete nonsense that we have today. With digital cameras, the picture resolution depends on what type of camera you have and how much money you were willing to fork out for it. You can have anything from 3mp to 18mp these days. Digital cameras are fast becoming more accessible (referring to social justice), and can be used in conjunction with a number of other technological devices, such as phones, iPods, even in a pen! Which goes on to say that digital cameras can come in a number of shapes and sizes and can be extremely compact yet functional. Zoom is rather compromised in regards to digital cameras and generally pales in comparison to its predecessor. Once again zoom depends the type of digital camera you have. To get decent zoom (optical) that does not compromise the quality of the picture (like the common digital zoom does) one must pay a decent amount of money for it. Storage of photos can be rather tricky business. The number of photos can depend on the size of your cameras memory card, which can be beneficial if you are a snap happy person and love taking photos. On the other hand we must not forget that a memory card is technology and can be know to fail from time to time wiping most, if not all of your precious photos. Digital cameras come with a number of functions, some can even record video and audio which its predecessor could not do. You can view and delete what photos you do not want and you can download, edit and print the photos all in the comfort of your own home, as long as you have the right gear. 

So if we use this quick comparison we can see that while the modern technological choice is digital cameras, they do not completely surpass their predecessor; the film camera.

I believe that technology will never be completely superior to an old one in every feature, simply because all new concepts are conceived from the old. It is how this technological race was started in the first place; humans looking to improve aspects of current concepts. To make a new technology completely superior to the old, in my mind means changing the concept all together; the concept of which is the unity between the new and the old, it is the shared purpose that they each have. Technology is made to fill a need. That need never changes but rather the way in which we fulfill that need does. We can only improve on those current adaptive concepts in order to better fulfill our needs today and in the future. 

Image capturing these days is much more user friendly and accessible then it used to be back in the day; no more standing still for minutes on end just for one photograph! Along with this it is also much easier to distribute these images as well. This is where our familiar enemy "ethical issues" comes along to ruin a good thing. I have already touched on ethical issues regarding digital images and their distribution as I spoke about photos being posted on the internet by Google Earth and the issue of "intellectual property". If this does not sound familiar I suggest you go back and read the post "Tutorial One: Information Technology and the Ethical Issues" to refresh your memory. 

The use of digital images being implemented in OT was also mentioned in my previous post but here is an excerpt: Within OT "cameras are being used as a way of displaying the effectiveness of the use of prescribed equipment and are a means for providing baseline and evaluation information". They can also be used as a means of intervention such as taking a photo of familiar objects in order to cue an individual with limited memory or other cognitive (brain) functions, to carry out daily activities. I can honestly say that I have seen all of these examples in use and their effectiveness within this field whilst I was on my first placement.

So my dear readers, that brings me to the end of today's discussion. Just as a passing note let me leave you with a final thought; whilst it is easy to snap and distribute a photo, it is just as easy to tread on an ethical mine field.




Thursday, 17 March 2011

Tutorial One: Information Technology and the Ethical Issues

In my first ever post, I wish to briefly explore the world of Information Technology, which has become our world, and the ethical issues it poses to society as it is becoming rapidly accessible to society.

Before we dive into the deep end, we first need to know what information technology (commonly referred to as "IT") is.

The Penguin English Dictionary (Allen, 2004) defines Information Technology as "the use of computers, telecommunications, e.t.c, in electronic processing, storing, retrieving, and sending information."

What does that mean in everyday English? IT is the use of various technologies to communicate, gather and process information.

 In what ways is this form of technology common in our society?In what ways isn't it? I believe modern society is grossly dependent on the use of IT; for many it has become their lifeline to the outside world. In most instances, it is at the point where an individual cannot go through one day without the use of at least one form of IT. Telephones, texting, emails, online chatting, facebook, downloading, uploading, blogging; are all examples of some of the most common, everyday things we do. With all of these things easily accessible to an individual, one now scarcely needs to leave their house if they so choose; even grocery shopping can be done online and delivered to your doorstep. Here's a link that shows just how common IT is becoming: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yY7MyAg3mQI

My experience with IT hasn't been anything over the top; but then again, who can define over the top. I feel more than comfortable using online shopping, email, instant messaging, music downloads, Internet television and videos, social networking sites and travel booking. Although I may feel comfortable using these things, it does not mean that I am overly confident. I like to think that I am manage-ably comfortable in regards to using these forms of IT. What does that mean? It means that I know what I need to know and that's all I need to know; anything more will overwhelm me, anything less, I will not be able to function properly; in other words, the basics. There is a technological race in an effort to advance our lives, and yet people are struggling because they cannot keep up with the pace. One must be what I call technologically fit in order to adapt. Perhaps my tendency to know the basics is a method or an instinct that I use for my own technological survival; I know just enough to get me through.

Joining the technological race is the profession of Occupational Therapy (OT) as they begin to integrate modern technologies into practice. Primary hard copies of client notes are a thing of the past with most practices digitizing clinical notes, and using hard copies as back up. Cameras are being used as a way of displaying the effectiveness of the use of prescribed equipment and are a means for providing baseline and evaluation information. One article published, reports the use of Nintendo Wii's being used for rehabilitation in wards (Verdonck & Ryan, 2008) (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_6805/is_6_71/ai_n31909080/).

Of course with a positive always comes a negative. With the introduction of new technology in practice a number of ethical issues have worked their way in as well and threaten to eat holes in OT practice. Yes I said it ethical issues - one of the major things that the health industry attempt to eradicate. What issues could there possibly be? Major issues such as client confidentiality and the security of files and private information. In the old days, hard copies had to be kept under lock and key, but with many client files being digitized and stored online, it opens up a whole new area of security threats. There is also the threat of reliability in terms of technology being there for you when you need it. Unfortunately technology is like a friend that you love, but you can't trust. Sometimes things go well but most times it lets you down. Computer viruses, power failure, out dated and unrecognized storage formats a but a few things that can go wrong.

But in spite of all these, OT still stands to benefit from the implementation of IT into practice. The digitising of client notes and records makes it easier for the OT to access and update the files where necessary. Research is also made easier with access to relevant online data bases and article and magical things called search engines. Perhaps in the future OT will be armed with devices such as iPhones, iPads and android capable cell phones and devices that use specially developed applications that compliment OT practice. These devices are capable of storing hundreds of apps and a great number of data on their internal hard drives, as well as access the Internet via their wireless network finders. Applications such as medical dictionaries, assessments, articles and direct links to data bases. Applications could even designed for direct use by clients as a means of rehabilitation, just as the Wii is currently being implemented (see http://www.oppapers.com/essays/Technology-And-Occupational-Therapy/491163).

In order for such technological changes to be implemented, a great understanding of IT will be needed to help OT's in practice as well as our daily lives. For example it is nice to know how to use basic computer applications but it is equally important to know what to do when the computer freezes. If we did not know how to overcome technical difficulties, we stand to limit the productive potential that using the technology offers us.

But what happens when everyone around you is capturing sharing and transferring information, including yourself? Once again we look at the ethical issues that can arise from this. In today's society it is the norm to capture photos and videos of documenting what you did on the weekend and to post them on the Internet via a social networking site or photo sharing website. Often these photos are posted online without much consideration as to who else is in the photo and whether they want their face plastered on the Internet. A similar example is the publication of google maps, which takes landscape and street view pictures of different places on the planet and published them for public access on the Internet. However as people sift through the many images they are beginning to find that many of the pictures contain people going about their everyday lives unaware that their picture is being taken and used on a global scale. Many people have complained that their privacy has been invaded and are calling for the images to be removed (see http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/013780.html). Many argue that the person that takes the photo is the rightful owner of the image and has control as to what they do with it; on the other hand it has been argued that people have the right to privacy. The question is, who is right? Another ethical issue is that of the sharing of information and one's own thoughts via a social networking site or a blog. Although the information may come from one's own original thinking, it is very easy now for others to steal or copy your ideas and claim them as their own. How does one prove that they were the original creator?

It is in situations such as these where a term known as "intellectual property" begins to get thrown around as a means to settle such arguments. What is intellectual property? Domain Name Handbook (2003) defines intellectual property as "industrial property and copyrights, chiefly in literary,  musical, artistic, photographic and audio visual works. Intellectual property is afforded protection from imitation, infringement and dilution according to numerous international treaties, and federal statutes" (see http://www.domainhandbook.com/gloss.html ). In english this basically says that there are laws in place to protect your intellectual property, which could be a number of original individual ideas or creations, from being used, stolen, or copied.Within OT practice, much emphasis is used in referencing where the used material has come from in order to avoid the risk of not recognising the information's rightful owner and creator.

Another term that is thrown into the technological argument is social justice. Dictionary.com (2011) defines social justice as "the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within a society" (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/social+justice). I understand that to mean that everyone deserves to have equal access to opportunities and receive their fair share of those things with society has to offer. Within OT this is extremely important, as an OT comes in to contact with many different clients, in a number of situations, but no matter how varied the client or the situation, ALL clients are entitled to receive fair treatment and equal access to equipment and assistance, just as the last client was.

Last but not least, comes a term known as informed consent. About.com (explains that "informed consent is a legal procedure to ensure that a patient or client knows all of the risks and costs involved in a treatment. The elements of informed consents include informing the client of the nature of the treatment, possible alternative treatments, and the potential risks and benefits of the treatment" (see http://psychology.about.com/od/iindex/g/def_informedcon.htm ). Which in other words means that a client should only give consent on the grounds that they have been fully informed about what is going to happen. This concept is extremely important in the health profession, and therefore it is no surprise that it is relevant to OT practice. Basically this is put in place as a way to protect the client from agreeing to something they did not fully understand, and it encourages the OT to fully inform the client before any treatment or modification goes ahead. With the presence of informed consent, many legal arguments can be held at bay as the treatment process in relation to the client has been conducted in a very professional manner.


In closing, I want to say that all of the matters discussed today highlight the characteristics of the society most of us are apart of. Whilst keeping up with the technological race helps us to stay on top of things, we must make sure that we don't allow the many changes to run us in to the ground with an overload of information. Remember you don't have to win the race, you just have to set a comfortable pace in order to remain in the race. So make sure you have your running shoes on, because I doubt the finish line is anywhere near.


REFERENCES

About.com (2011). Informed consent. Retrieved March 17, from http://psychology.about.com /od/iindex/g/def_informedcon.htm
Allen, R. (consultant editor). (2004). The penguin english dicitonary. London: Penguin Books
Dictionary.com  (2011). Social Justice. Retrieved March 17, from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/social+justice
Domain Name Handbook. (2003). Intellectual property. Retrieved March 17, from http://www.domainhandbook.com/gloss.html
Verdonck, M. C., & Ryan, S. (2008). Mainstream technology as an occupational therapy tool: Technophobe or technogeek. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71 (6).