How do physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) students view technology use in the academic setting and in personal life?

Purpose/Hypothesis : Technology usage is prevalent for most PT and OT students, both academically and personally. While usage is common, the researchers found no data reporting PT and OT studentÕs attitudes towards technology usage or barriers to technology use either personally or in the classroom. Since attitudes towards technology play a role in the use of technology, this study seeks to examine PT and OT studentÕs attitudes towards technology and describe their association with current technology acceptance models.Number of Subjects : Twelve students who had completed two semesters of graduate coursework from Winston-Salem State University (6 OT and 6 PT) were recruited using a criterion-based convenience sample.Materials/Methods : A qualitative approach using focus groups was utilized to gain a better understanding of use, barriers, and acceptance of technology. Prior to conducting participant focus groups, an a priori method was used to create a codebook of expected themes related to technology use based upon current theories of technology acceptance. During the study, the researchers utilized a reflective journal to reduce researcher bias. After participants were recruited, researchers divided participants into four discipline-specific focus groups that were audio-recorded, exploring technology use. Subsequent to the collection of data from the focus groups, the audio recordings were transcribed and analyzed by each researcher individually using an open coding method. A comparison of the transcripts and open coding was performed through a peer debriefing process, and the codebook was revised to better reflect the attitudes expressed by the participants. Multiple individual open coding sessions between the researchers occurred until the inter-coder reliability reached greater than 90%. From the open codes, each individual researcher developed axial codes. A final peer-debriefing session was held to ensure trustworthiness of the axial codes obtained. Trustworthiness of coding was promoted by use of a third party coder. From the axial codes, the researchers developed themes. Themes were reviewed with study participants for the purpose of member checking to ensure representation of the viewpoints expressed by the participants.Results : Mobility related to on-demand connectivity and information access, usefulness of technology related to personal preference, and convenience were the major themes identified. Additional themes of concern with deterioration of traditional communication and distraction were also identified.Conclusions : Within this population, some attitudes mirror traditional technology acceptance models, however, the theme of mobility is in contrast to those models.Clinical Relevance : PT and OT studentsÕ attitudes towards technology could possibly shape teaching methodologies and the delivery of patient care. Findings from this study suggest a need to further consider perceptions of mobile technology and usefulness of technology with OT and PT students as technologies are implemented in the classroom and clinic.

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  • Control #: 1725588
  • Type: Platform
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Nancy S. Smith, Bradley D. Strott, Megan Pruett
  • Keywords: technology acceptance|mobile technology|education

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