SLENZ Update, No 127, August 13, 2009

SLENZ Project

Arwenna, Petal find the  light

at the end of the SL Tunnel …

Sarahmidwif“Authenticity of the scene” … inside the Birth Centre. (picture Sarah Stewart)

“The first words I heard were, ‘This is so much FUN …’

The listener was Arwenna Stardust (RL: SLENZ Project co-leader Dr Clare Atkins) and the words were from one of the midwife trainees “learning real lessons” at the Otago Polytechnic  Birth Centre on the Second Life SLENZ  island of Kowhai:  they summed up just what learning in a virtual world should be.

Arwenna, in the blog that  she doubted she  would ever be able to write “many times over the last few months””,  details how she was able to watch and listen in as the first of the midwifery students used the birth centre.

Her post entitled  “Finally – it all comes together! Midwives and SL” is  inspirational.  It demonstrates  again there is really light at the end of the virtual world education/training  tunnel.

Coupled with  lead educator Sarah Stewart’s (SL: Petal Stransky) post, “Students’ first experience of the Second Life normal birth scenario,” Arwenna’s post shows that, in Clare’s words,  “this is perhaps the closest (student midwives)  will get …  to the ‘real’ world  (for some time) and for them it seemed real but it also allowed them to make mistakes, ask for reassurance from Sarah and … to learn from her instruction and guidance.”Stewart, Sarah

For her part, Sarah (pictured right) says, “They were able to engage with a scene that will face them many times as a ‘real life midwife’ …  the beauty of this scenario and role play in Second Life is that students can experience the authenticity of the scene and learn from it, but are unable to do any harm to the woman. And because they have supporting visual tools and resources the role play is a lot more immersive than it would be if they were carrying out the role play in the classroom.”
But read both posts for yourself. I think you will find them worthwhile, particularly if you are feeling disheartened by the perceived difficulties with launching  an education or training programme in a virtual world. There is a light at the end of the virtual tunnel.

The Midwifery Pilot, as part of the Otago Polytechnic’s School of Midwifery, is one of three pilot programmes being run by SLENZ Project, which is funded by the Tertiary Education Commission of New Zealand.

5 Responses

  1. I am currently working on a contract with the Univrsity College of the North in The Pas, Manitoba, Canada. I was lead curriculum developer for the Aboriginal Midwifery baccalaureate program theri and am now working on adapting courses for distance learning. I would be very interested in knowing whom to contact to obtain a copy of this SL Birthing Centre for our student’s use.

    • Ann,
      In the first instance you should contact either Terry Neal at terry dot neal at blendedsolutions dot co dot nz. or Dr Clare Atkins (Arwenna Stardust) at clare dot atkins at gmail dot com. Free copies of the build are going to be made available to educators when signed off..

  2. Hi Ann
    You are very welcome to come and use the birthing unit whenever you want as long as there isnt already a class or teaching activity going on. However, it would be great if you could just let us know when you would be coming.
    Once the project is complete we will be in a position to give you the full package for you to take and use elsewhere but we haven’t quite got that ready yet :)
    I will email you as well.

    • Thank you. This is a very exciting chapter for midwives and congratulations are in order.
      We expect the next group of learners to begin early in 2010. Is there an anticipated project completion date?

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