Podcast Episode: Using the Sony Playstation Portable (PsP) for context based learning
Category: Learning and development
What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.
IW - Ian Watson
AW - Alistair Welsh
SM - Sandy Marshall
IW First of all, Alistair, we had a plan to create some support materials for people who were preparing to go along to committee meetings.
AW … we have 2 members of TAG who are part of the committee for Key, and as part of assisting the guys in preparing for and contributing to committee meetings, one of the themes that we had looked at the use of the PSP for, was whether that through the short video segment it can offer, might that be a helpful way of the two members preparing for and contributing on the day of the meeting. What they did find was that there were some practical challenges, just by the nature of a committee meeting, they could certainly see potential for using video in supporting people to prepare for either speaking at an event or for engaging in a meeting or an event. I think the main challenge is that for a committee meeting the papers come out about 2 weeks in advance of the meeting, and what we have found from a practical point of view is that it can take quite an investment in time in preparation coordination to get the actual video itself onto the PSP for its use and there was just not enough time, I think, for members to be able to use it to its full advantage.
IW So preparing for specific meetings was a bit of a problem but there’s potential perhaps to use it for more generic training about how meetings work?
AW Absolutely yes, and I think what we have learned, particularly through the part of the pilot that Sandy will talk us through, we’ve found it most helpful where it’s maybe some kind of guidance or training that people are going to repeat over a number of occasions, or where there’s a good amount of time to prepare and record the video.
SM The subject matter is the crux I think in a lot of ways is how the subject matter relates to video, and I think obviously for some of the TAG stuff, there’s not a lot of visualisation of the stuff, it’s more about … it would be someone perhaps sitting down and using it as a sort of talking head video to explain to one of the service users, which is would maybe be better for the people that were supporting that it was a person, because the understanding of the nuances and being able to actually explain it in another way if they don’t capture it the first time, whereas a video is … that’s the way it’s said and that’s it…
IW One of the people you support, we will call him Jim, it’s not his real name, but Jim requires a hoist …
SM Jim is a young gentleman, he’s about 22 years of age, he has significant moving and handling requirements, the team supporting Jim will always have to hoist using what’s called a Tracking Hoist, which is a ceiling hoist, to transfer from his bed, to wheelchair, to shower chair and to and from the bath, so it’s a thing that the team supporting Jim do every day. One of the tasks that people quite often struggle with is the fitting of the sling which goes along with the hoist, and due to the support needs for Jim, there was a particular method that we had to employ. Previously what’s happened is each worker has come along onto our basic moving and handling training and then I, as a trainer, would have gone out and trained small amounts of new workers coming in to do … which would still happen, but the benefit of the PSP would be that if a worker was coming in and wanted a quick refresh, they could scan the code on his support plan and again, watch the video giving the instructions, almost verbatim, to what I would have been doing in person. So what it did do is, it’s not a replacement but certainly it’s a great back up, and not just new workers but also folk that have been there for a while, who maybe, as occasionally happens, people fall into bad habits, and it would be great for a manager to say, ‘I think you need to revisit and look at the video again.’
IW Do you think there’s any advantage in the fact that they are seeing a video of, not just a hoisting action, but the hoist?
SM Absolutely, I think it’s a really, really, really excellent training tool. More and more we are moving towards training with the individual in the individual’s room and being aware of how the person reacts to certain moves and being able to actually hear how the person reacts can take some of the anxiety out of workers. Jim doesn’t have many words, he doesn’t have any words actually, but what he can make is himself known through his vocalisation and I think for a new worker, being able to hear how Jim’s reacting, you know, he might make a sound which you think, he’s in pain, but actually he’s quite happy because he’s got this huge big smile on his face, you know, so having workers being able to see that, I think will take some of the fear out of .‘it’s your turn to support Jim today and you kind of get on’ … so definitely, there’s some excellent benefits in using … certainly the person’s equipment, and I think just having the person in there gives them ownership, this is what you do to support me.
AW The thing that really struck me was how personalised this can make training and guidance. It’s Jim through the support of Sandy and I think it was his team leader maybe …
SM Yes, yes
AW … that was also assisting in the video itself, demonstrating exactly how Jim is supported with his moving and handling in different parts of the house using different parts of his equipment, and that, to me, takes that kind of guidance and training for staff to a whole new personalised level that you could never really achieve in the training room.
SM Previously we may have done a picture gallery of the different moves and that’s great, but I think having the video where you can watch the video and you are actually seeing the process happen is hugely valuable. I think pictures will go so far, but there’s this bit about the nuances, it’s similar to the idea you get the little hand movements or particular movements when you are placing it, which might not come across in the picture gallery, and I think there’s … we use pictures and words and I think some people reading words can be misconstrued or misunderstood, whereas a video is fairly straightforward because the words are coming at the same time as the reactions, and that way it’s really visual. Certainly someone who … I’m chronically dyslexic, and being able to watch a video is a much better way of learning, for me as an individual.
AW It can replace a thousand words …
SM Absolutely, just to be able to see …
IW Maybe some people listening to this might wonder did you have some huge video crew out there and the lights and all that shooting this. How difficult is this going to be… now I know you experimented with one or two, Sandy. Do you want to talk us through the process of actually making these videos?
SM what we needed to do obviously, because it was Jim’s own house, what we required to do was try and keep it as least intrusive as possible, so we resorted to using camera phones and smart phones and we used a couple of different types. The first method … sorry the first phone that we used was a Samsung, which was great, fairly straightforward software, but we did find that the lighting was difficult, so it just so happens that I changed my phone to an iPhone 5, and having just adjusted the lighting, it made a huge difference. Both were fairly simple in terms of getting the media from the phone onto the laptop, what we did was we used ‘My Movie’, which was a movie editing software, and again with some backup from our IT department, we were able to create the video in relatively quick process. The main difficulties that I certainly came across was Storyboarding it, in terms of positioning someone to get the best angle of the shot, if you like, it makes you appreciate how difficult making films must be, because you know you become this director, who is going ’no, no, stand here, stand here …’ and there’s real need for that, because what you want to do is … through some of the processes, there’s certain positions that you need to get in, so if I had to do it all over again, it might be a benefit if there was maybe 2 or 3 cameras, or certainly 2 cameras …
IW I think what you are demonstrating there is how it is possible with everyday tools and technology to get something that is good enough …
SM Yes, absolutely
IW … and as you will no doubt go on and make more of these, you have now got a better idea of …
SM Definitely, I think it takes practice, it really does, and the more you do it, the easier it becomes, and you could turn a video around from taking the video to actually on the PSP within half an hour really, it’s so straightforward and the process of getting the media from whatever you have recorded it on, through the ‘Second Sight’ software and onto the PSP …
IW Yes, Sandy, you mentioned there getting it onto the ‘Second Sight’ software, I should explain Second Sight is a link in the chain; this is the bit of software that runs on a PC, on Windows, and that makes a link between the video and this marker that we put on the physical object. How did you find using that particular bit of software?
SM Really easy, when we were originally shown it by one of our colleagues, it wasn’t working for them at that time: there were some issues, but myself and another colleague took it away and essentially we were playing with it over a lunchtime period and just, it worked, so once you get to use it, it really is an absolute click and drop.
AW Yes, so it’s a user friendly application.
IW Yes, you just mentioned there, Community Lifestyles, that’s a division within Key, isn’t it?
IW And they had some ideas as to how this might be applied there, but so far that’s … stalled a little bit, has it?
SM It has yes, and I think maybe just through us making our own assumptions about how effective or helpful this could be in supporting people … essentially around promoting their own independence, that was the third theme of the PSP pilot, and our colleagues at Community Lifestyles really got quite excited about 2 or 3 potential uses for people that they are currently working with. One was around engaging with 2 young men that we support, who share a home together, around food preparation, the thought was we could develop a video there similar to the one with Jim, being a talk through for one of these young men around how he goes through the process of preparing a meal or using the microwave or some aspect of daily life like that. He would be able to follow guidance from the small video on the PSP, without a member of staff being there and directly alongside him, but what they did find was that after going out and engaging with these 2 young men around this is what it involves, this is what it takes and this is what we are aiming to achieve for you in using it. I think because it is such an everyday aspect of these young men’s lives, they would rather not, and we can completely understand that because I think without actually getting into using it in that way, it’s a really difficult thing for the people we support to comprehend how this small handheld games console is actually going to be something valuable in helping them become more independent.
So they did then go and explore it with some other people that we support, we also had an idea around whether it might be a helpful tool for 2 brothers. One brother has epilepsy and can experience a seizure while the brothers are out engaging in community life - we wondered whether it might be a helpful tool for the brother who would be supporting his brother who might have had a seizure in his recovery, and might it be a reassuring thing for him to have in terms of guidance about how you approach his support needs right there at the time. Again, we thought that might be a helpful thing or a good idea, but actually on introducing it to the brothers, again, they would rather not.
IW There is an important lesson here, which is not to lead with the technology …
IW … and to know that you have tool in your toolkit but …
SM It’s not having technology for technology’s sake …
IW … yes. I think we talked earlier, we borrowed a phrase from somebody, it’s called ‘Lead with the need’ … have look at what people could use and find out if they can or not … which I think, Sandy, you had mentioned you had other potential uses, people with complex medication?
SM Yes, we have a situation where we will be offering a service to a person who lives with their partner - their partner is their main carer. Key’s workers are going to be going in to provide more or less just the physical support in terms of personal care in getting out of bed, the person’s partner takes to do with their medication, which is quite a complex process, however at times the partner … the plan is they are going to be going on respite, or rather we are going to offer respite to the service user, my thoughts were that it would be excellent to be able to video the partner making up the medication and actually talking through how the medication should be made, and then the equipment being left there so that obviously workers would always have a physical demonstration and be shown and be watched and actually be watched administering medication. It would always be available for them to remember how to put this medication process together.
We did have another situation where it was a gentleman who has muscular dystrophy, who had a set series of exercises which his physiotherapist had put onto disk for the team to follow, and we felt it might be a good idea if we transferred that onto the PSP, because if you are watching a video it’s kind of in this one place in his lounge, which is maybe not the best place to do the exercises, but if he was in his bedroom, workers could pick up, scan the QR code, scan the tag, and be able to follow the process, and actually the gentleman talks through the video as well. So we think that will be a good way, we haven’t actually had that in action yet, we are getting the video put onto the PSP, but we think that might be a really valuable tool as well and certainly a much more simpler way of … rather than burning it onto the DVD, I feel personally it’s much easier just to almost drag and drop it onto the PSP.
IW And what about support workers using PSP, have they encountered any difficulty there?
SM It’s remarkably simple and I think when people see the value in it, they will be more willing to engage with it.
IW So are you going to continue to play around with the PSPs and see what other situations it could be useful for?
SM Absolutely, and certainly … I mean one of the things that we have agreed as well is the … okay in terms of promoting independence for people with support or giving them additional guidance in some everyday situations, let’s just find some natural opportunities to do that, where the point you made let’s lead by need, I am sure there will be a natural opportunity will come up somewhere where somebody we support identifies a need for guidance or support or prompting in some aspect of their life, where we might be able to introduce the PSP as a really helpful way of doing that without someone being dependent on a support worker or a member of staff being physically there with them.
AW I definitely think as a training tool it’s very effective, you know, there’s very clear advantages to it and uses for it.
SM And it feels as if we are really up and running … with it’s use in that way now …
AW The very practical training, which is also the health and safety training that I do, helping people to remember where they are supporting someone that perhaps is peg fed or has a complex sleeping system and it’s helping folk to remember how to put that together, thinking about just using it as almost an addition to someone’s support plan where … if people required further instruction or further explanation, rather than, as I said, my avoidance of big long pieces of reading, I would much rather put the camera over and watch the video kind of thing.
SM You could almost break down the content of someone’s support plan, outcome based plan, their person centred plan, almost into themes or sections using the QR codes. Actually a video could run and that could be the person themselves saying when you are supporting them you need to do this, this is the way I really need you to do it, so it could be really engaging and involving for the person they support.
AW We have a number of pamphlets that are aimed towards the people that use Key Services in terms of what to expect from Key, what to .. how to make a complaint, you know a whole variety of different ones, and I can see where we could transfer the pamphlet onto the video for which might be much more engaging to the person and … you know, ‘Welcome to Key, why don’t you have this for a couple of weeks and that will tell you all about Key, and once you have finished with it, if you have any questions, you can talk to a member of staff …’ So it’s almost like a lending library of videos.
SM One thing we would like to explore a bit would be whether we can expand the format that we use, for example if the person who we support who would like to talk people through their support plan using this kind of technology, as well as using a PSP, might be able to use devices that they already own and use. So if they are maybe using a tablet or if they have their iPhone or Smart Phone, would the software that we are using with the PSP be transferrable to other devices, because one of the real advantages of that would be we wouldn’t be introducing somebody to a piece of technology that they’re not currently using.
IW I think you are touching a very important point there, the PSP is one particular way of doing this … I think what you have learned is that there are ways of making stuff for yourself quite cheaply, putting the training materials out in different formats …
SM I think so, because the tool that you are using is that small video, and also it being portable by being on a small device like that …
AW I think there would be great advantage to be able to use some of the equipment outside, perhaps people going out independently and getting around, remembering what bus route they had to take or what number bus they had to do …
IW Well I look forward to finding out what you do next … I see this very much as something that’s helping you to think about differently and perhaps …
AW It certainly has, it’s prompted us to think very differently, and definitely see something new and additional to how we currently help, prompt or advise either the people we support or the staff that are supporting them. And it feels like a bit of a starting point, I would say in the use of this kind of technology …
IW Well, thank you, Alistair, thank you Sandy.
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