I have admitted on this blog that I have been a tad skeptical about Second Life for teaching and learning. But this week my whole perception of Second Life has been turned on it's head and I am becoming a huge enthusiast. And this is because I have started to see the second stage of the virtual Second Life birth unit project come together.
Normal birth scenario
The second stage of the birth unit involves developing a scenario where a midwife works with a woman in labour and birth. The scenario has been split into five separate scenes which follows the woman's birthing journey from very early labour to the first hour after the birth of the baby.
Role of the the birthing woman
The student (or woman or whoever) who role plays the woman will have a script to guide all her responses in each scene. And at the end of the scene she will be asked to give the midwife feedback about her midwifery care.
Role of the midwife
In turn, the student who plays the midwife will be expected to assess the woman, plan and carry out midwifery actions and evaluate her care. She will be asked to document all her actions and submit her documentation so that lecturers can give her feedback at a later stage. She will also be encouraged to assess her own performance against a list of actions and considerations that is provided.
All the resources are based on resources that a 'real' midwife in New Zealand uses eg the feedback that the woman gives the midwife is the same that is used in the New Zealand College of Midwives Midwifery Standards Review Process.
Trying out the first scene
Terry Neal (the SLENZ project manager) and I tried out the first scene a couple of days ago. Here is Terry's reflections of the experience (NB: Terry is not a midwifery student). Terry says
this was more fun than role plays I have experienced in real life
I could see the 'movie' in front of me - the pregnant me, the phone ringing, the birth unit - that helped me to feel it was making sense. It also meant that the experience seemed linked to entertainment and fun in my brain.
I had an absolute ball!
I am a bit of a drama queen at the best of times and really enjoyed this opportunity to do some acting. I was amazed at how I instantly became immersed and became the midwife on the end of a phone, talking to a pregnant woman. I thought like a midwife...I talked like a midwife...I behaved like a midwife - which of course is a considerable relief considering I am a midwife :)
I felt no embarrassment. In fact, I was disappointed when the scene ended, and all I wanted to do was get into the next scene.
Power of Second Life and role play
I believe that the students are going to love this stage of the project and find the normal birth scenario a wonderful tool for learning, reflecting and revision.
My only concern is that we support them thoroughly to get their heads around the technology, and I am thinking in light of the feedback I have received so far that they'll need a lot more real-time support than we have planned for.
Can't wait for this stage to go live in a couple of weeks!!
NB: I will link to all the supporting information and resources for the second stage of the project once they are fully developed.