The SLENZ Update – No 99, June 15, 2009

SLENZ PROJECT PROGRESS

Foundation Pilot  gets  new

‘stairway to knowledge’

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Stairway to knowledge … the  SLENZ Project’s Foundation Learning
Pilot’s “rez-on-each step” guide to interviewing

SLENZ Project lead developer Aaron Griffths (SL: Isa Goodman) and  the Foundation Learning Pilot’s lead educator, Merle Lemon (SL: Briarmell Quintessa)  have come up with some interesting ideas to make learning easier for Merle’s students.

Their stairway to interviewing knowledge, on the Government-funded SLENZ Project’s Second Life virtual island of Kowhai,  is the latest – a concept which allows a student to “rez” each knowledge notice by stepping in front of it and allowing it to vanish once absorbed as she or he proceeds up the stairway.

At the same time  Lemon is  nearing the completion of  a video for publication on YouTube, “Bridging education interview skills @ SLENZ”, which  has be designed mainly to explain to lecturers the benefits of using Second Life and the facilities created by  her and Griffiths to hone student’s interview skills compared to those of a real life classroom (You will alerted here  when this goes live).

At the same time Griffiths has constructed among other things,  an  interview room which  will be able to be used by a variety of  students and lecturers to overcome hurdles  which  stand in the way of many of them  achieving success in interview situations and thus securing jobs.

The interview rooms,  which are in reality holodeck skyboxes, will be “private” for students and/or their lecturers.

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Waiting for a job interview … learning how to handle the  stressful moment of truth.
Meanwhile  Griffiths has invited casual educator visitors to Kowhai  to test out the midwifery  animations and other facets of the Midwifery Project’s Birthing Centre on Kowhai as well as the animations and other facilities created for Foundation Learning.
He believes testing by casual users will enable him to eliminate any bugs before the system goes into full operation.

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The SLENZ Update – No 98, June 12, 2009

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University of Illinois Global Campus entry point

Do SL public health training

applications really work?

US$1.6m to find the answer

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health have secured a grant of  US$1.6 million to fund a study to determine if collaborative virtual environments designed to improve public health preparedness and response planning really work.

The school which is relying more and more on virtual environments for training and education has received the grant from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The results should be of interest to health educators worldwide  given the number of Second Life health applications, including New Zealand’s own midwifery pilot study under the auspices of the SLENZ Project and Auckland University’s Second Life and ONGENS  medical centres.

Under the programme, according to  Virtual World News,  UIC researchers will recruit 40 local health departments from across the United States to take part in the study.

Half the participants will use Second Life to train public health workers in emergency preparedness while the other half will use a traditional meeting approach to planning.

The study’s principal investigator Colleen Monahan, director of the Center for the Advancement of Distance Education at the UIC School of Public Health, said, “We believe that using virtual environments will improve collaboration across agencies and jurisdictions, raise awareness about planning for vulnerable populations, increase the realism in the training exercise, allow participants to participate in different scenarios, and allow emergency responders to return to the training exercise at their convenience for ongoing training.”