Thursday, October 6, 2011

iPads for the OTA Classroom and Clinic

I wanted to be a part of this project so I could explore how to integrate the iPad into the occupational therapy assistant program in a way that would allow the OTA students to explore how to use selective apps with clients in the Occupational Therapy clinical setting. I had never used an iPad so getting the opportunity to explore using it has been wonderful. In preparation for this pilot, I had received a list of about 100 free or low cost apps that another therapist had compiled and shared on a listserv. I spent last weekend downloading about 30 apps, all free to that addressed cognition, motor coordination, communication, visual spatial reasoning, bilateral control and others. I became familiar with them so I could figure out which ones might work for which types of client needs.
Yesterday, I went to a clinical facility to observe my student working in an assisted living center. This student has an iPad. We shared apps and I suggested that she try some with one of her clients that I had observed. She will let me know how it went next Monday.
Today I went to observe another student assigned to a hospital. I oriented the OTA student and fieldwork educator to the iPad I had brought and offered it as an option for use during clients' therapy. There was a client who had a deteriorative disorder who had just lost additional function and was mourning. The fieldwork educator introduced the iPad as a new option for today's therapy. The client sat on the edge of the bed and played "Labyrinth Lite" which has a maze and you are supposed to tilt the screen in different directions to move the ball through the maze. Great sound effects, sounds like wood, bells, and all. The client sat for 15 minutes working on sitting balance and bilateral arm coordination (goals of therapy), totally engaged in the game. The client showed excellent task perseverance even when it when the challenge was high level. This is the essence of OT to be able to perform that tasks that have meaning to us despite of impairments.
Next we had the client play "Doodle-Free," an activity that requires the person to place different geometric shaped forms within an outline to make one whole form. It requires visual spatial reasoning, problem solving and fine motor coordination. The designs or puzzle increase in complexity based on different levels so it could be graded for different client needs and abilities. The client liked this puzzle game because it was challenging but did not require strong physical effort to complete. When the session was done the client said that the activities were "awesome" and "pouted" that the iPad was leaving with me. The client said that the "floor should have 5 of these because they were so much fun." Likewise, my student, the fieldwork educator and I could see the value of using this type of technology in a therapy setting when working on certain types of problems in therapy. The client had accomplished therapy goals for that day but didn't even feel like it was therapy. Now that's a great day for all of us!

Question: How does one clean an iPad? If I take it into a clinic and use it with clients, I need to have a way to clean it between clients.
Rebecca Bahnke

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

eTextbook Apps

I think one of the best reasons, as an educator, to invest in the iPad is the movement toward eTextbooks. For years, I have been jealous of all the ancillaries that other disciplines like social science get with their textbooks: they get a bank of videos, interactive online games, PowerPoint presentations, practice questions, etc. I believe for the younger generation and other visual and/or kinesthetic learners, these ancillaries are a gold mind. For these students (and me), the learning process becomes three-dimensional with these ancillaries. There are many ebook apps available, but my absolute favorite it Inkling. This app has managed to do something the other eTextbook apps have not done, and that is fully intergrate the ancillaries into the text of the book. With most eTextbooks, clicking on a video or an activity, takes you to another page and then students have to navigate back to the text. With Inkling, the transition is seemless--and beautiful.