Otago’s birthing centre pilot
goes live with real students
Open for class… SLENZ Project lead developer Isa goodman (RL: Aaron Griffiths)
“polishes” the Te Wāhi Whānau (The Birth Centre) build before students “arrive”.
Otago Polytechnic and Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology midwifery students have begun taking part of their midwifery course on the SLENZ Project island of Kowhai in Second Life.
The 27 Otago Polytechnic and CPIT Year 1 extramural students from Central Otago, Southland, and Nelson/Marlborough, began for the first time on Monday to use the specially-constructed Birth Centre (Te Wāhi Whānau) with the help of qualified midwife facilitators from their home areas to do the “virtual world” portion of their coursea via Broadband from their homes.
The joint co-leader of the SLENZ Project, which has sponsored the pilot programme, Terry Neal, said she was excited that “the real learning” had to begun.
The movement of real life students onto “real learning tasks” within Second Life, she said, meant an important milestone had been achieved on schedlule by the SLENZ Project which is one year old.
“We will now find out whether the students value the opportunity of being able to learn in a virtual world,” she said. “Later, as part of the evaluation process, we will find out how great the benefits are they receive from this type of learning.”
Lead educator for the pilot Sarah Stewart (SL: Petal Stransky), talking about the first day, noted that students had had a variety of reactions to their first day, with some having the usual minor difficulties and thus needing help and others wanting to be left alone to find their own way around.
Sarah quoted one of the students, who had joined the class Facebook group, as saying of her initial experiences, “”I have popped in a couple of times to the birthing unit (after Petal Stransky got me out of the underwater bubble – which I am very grateful for!) and had a look around. Then my hair fell off. “Another student from ChristChurch took me to a shop where I got new hair and I got some proper clothes from the same place rather than my warrior outfit. So far I seem to have spent a lot of time ‘fixing myself up’. Apparently I had elf ears … I am still walking into walls and getting stuck to the ceiling and getting lost. So it’s taking me quite a bit of time to get orientated.”
In another aside, Sarah (Twitter: SarahStewart) said interest in the midwifery pilot had been growing on Twitter, with the pilot YouTube video being passed around.
The innovative pilot programme has been funded by the New Zealand Government’s Tertiary Education Commission as part of a project to determine how multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) might benefit New Zealand education and how this can best be done.
The project, which has selected midwifery and foundation learning for its two pilot programmes, aims to delineate and demonstrate to New Zealand educators and students the educational strengths or otherwise of learning in a virtual world.
To celebrate the milestone and the first birthday of the project the SLENZ Project team held a well-attended celebration “party” on the adjacent Nelson-Marlborough Institute of Technology island of Koru on Sunday night.
Line dancing in celebration …
Toddles Lightworker, with the dragon wings, appears to be directing the dancers.
Kiwi Educators Group
to be revitalised
Meanwhile SLENZ Project lead developer Isa Goodman RL: Arron Griffiths) and joint leader Arwenna Stardust (RL: Dr Clare Atkins) are keen to re-vitalise the Kiwi Educators group and in response to popular demand plan to hold regular meetings again.
The duo have issued an invitation to all past and potential members – in fact, anyone with an interest in education in New Zealand – to a meeting on Sunday July 12 from 6pm – 8pm (NZ Time) (Saturday, July 11 11pm-1am SLT) beginning at Kauri Grove, Koru.
The plan is for attendees to gather at 6pm and then visit the Particle Lab to see the wonderful fireworks display which starts at 6.30pm and runs for an hour before returning to Koru to chat and catch up, and plan for the futureof the organisation.
A useful addition to the SLENZ Project build
… “all” the information you need to get started.
and the Skill Mastery Hyperdome
Filed under: Distance education, Education, Education in Second Life, Education in virtual worlds, Second Life, SLENZ Project, Virtual Worlds Tagged: | Atkins, Christchurch Polytechnic Insitute of Technology, CPIT, Foundation learning, Goodman, Griffiths, Kiwi Educators Group, Koru, Kowhai, Midwifer, Nelson-Marlborough Institute of Technology, New Zealand Government, Otago Polytech, Petal Stransky, Sarah Stewart, SLENZ Project, Stardust, Te Waihi Whanau, TEC, Terry Neal, The Birth Centre