Saturday, August 1, 2009

Second stage of the Second Life virtual birth unit project

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.

My reflections
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.


Anonymous said...

Your best post yet Sarah... it definitely is coming together... not only in SL but in your mind obviously too, which I had wondered about. All the best.
Your's and Tedrry's blogs together make interesting reading.
John Waugh/Johnnie Wendt

KerryJ said...

Outstanding work Sarah! I'm so thrilled you're sharting this journey with us all.



Sarah Stewart said...

Hi John

I still have concerns about accessibility for students who work at a distance - a number of them find it difficult to access SL especially in rural areas. And the other issue I have with SL is that I don't feel it is a very portable communication tool - I prefer my blog or Twitter for when I am on the move. However, as an extra combined with more traditional modes of teaching, I think this virtual role play will be very useful - I'm very excited :)

Hi KerryJ thanks for dropping by, and thanks for your encouragement. I can't wait to get this going & look forward to sharing my adventures with the students when they get started.

Overall, what would you say has been your experience. As a newbie SL teacher, what would you say is the key thing for me to remember?

Anonymous said...

Btw, is this lady about to give birth with her trousers on? :-)


Sarah Stewart said...

Thats the beauty of virtual life, Dot - anything is possible! :) :)

nan said...

This is a good read Sarah. Interesting to see Terry's name still there too from my polytechnic days. Glad that I'm past the giving birth thing.

I am really interested in second life and actually getting an opportunity to take part in a course somewhere, rather than reading bout it from afar.

The point about access for distance learning students stuck in the country in some obscure valley is really valid and is easily forgotten, in NZ anyway.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks, Nan for your comments. Look forward to exploring SL with you on the FOC09 course, Sarah

Phee said...

wow hey Sarah, i haven't been on the blogging scene in about 6 months, haha i don't know if you remember my, but anyway, just thought i'd pop by and see how you've been xx

Sarah Stewart said...

Hello Phee

Great to hear from you - how's things going with you? I have been busy developing a teaching resource in Second Life, which is a virtual world, for midwifery students - have you been in a virtual world like Sims?