I have just had an interesting reply to a post I wrote a few months ago about my use of web 2.0 tools in my teaching practice. I started to write a very long reply but then I remembered the lessons I have learned so far about commenting and replying to comments in the 31 Day Comment Challenge. I decided to write this post clarifying my reply.
What has web 2.0 got to do with being a quiet, intuitive hands-on midwife?
Yes..but..it's all STUFF, is'nt it? It's decadent, it's wealthy and does it FUNDAMENTALLY help women? I mean.. 1 women a minute dies in childbirth or as a consequence of pregnancy. Does Web 2.0 help them? Will anything change, or will academics twitter between themselves about something they perceive as new and innovative? I think it needs to be put in perspective. The Midwives I love are the ones that keep quiet, read the women and are perceptive. They may not know the lastest Cochrane review on PROM management or whatever .. they use cellphones for texting their clients and their children and respond to the odd email - but they are not lessor Midwives (not that you are I know in any way suggesting that) because they have limited interest in Web stuff.
One of the aims of this blog to record the details of my personal journey - what I am learning about and how I am applying that learning to my practice as an educator. I am exploring how I can use web 2.0 tools to improve my teaching practice - to educate students to be the quiet, observant, intuitive midwives that women love.
What web 2.0 does for my teaching practice is to introduce me and my students to tools and philosophy that facilitates engagement with the global midwifery community - that can only be a positive thing in my opinion.
I too have questioned my preoccupation with computers and the Internet when there are millions of families in the world without even the most basic of resources. Web 2.0 may not help me personally save lives, but what it does do is give me the opportunity to share resources and enter into collaboration with midwives who work in situations where they are saving lives on a daily basis. One example is the web conferences I have been having with Pakistan midwives. I have been able to put midwives in Pakistan in touch with New Zealand educators and already there is collaboration and sharing that will support these midwives as they develop a midwifery program to suit their context. That would never have happened without web 2.0 tools and philosophical way of thinking.
Being sucked into it is like being sucked into Evidence Based Healthcare - it becomes somehow institutional and authoritative and 'correct'..to my mind, quite fascist in it's assumption that all have access (or actually want access) to it, in the same way Cochrane dismisses 98% of literature because it's not an RCT.
I am not saying that midwives who do not use the Internet are lesser midwives. Nevertheless, the Internet increases midwives' access to information and support from a wider midwifery community. Midwives need professional development in order to grow as practitioners and professionals. A midwife will not be an effective and safe practitioner if she does not keep up to date with information and reflect on her practice. She may do all this in a face-to-face context with her colleagues and by reading paper journals. Or she may do it by accessing online journals and entering into discussion with midwives by email or web conferences - in other words, horses for courses.
What web 2.0 does is allow midwives the opportunity to share information and resources as well as communicate and collaborate in a way that traditional communication does not allow. This can be a powerful tool for learning and professional development. A midwife who does not reach out and grasp learning opportunities in whatever form they are offered is a stagnant one, and not a midwife I would want looking after my daughter.
Image: 'West end brook 9waterfall9' orangeacid