Sunday, November 29, 2009

Top 10 virtual places in Second Life for nurse and midwife educators

I have been asked to compile a list of places in Second Life that are useful teaching tools for nurse and midwife educators. So here's ten suggestions from me - please let me know if you know of any other places.

1. The virtual birth unit
Of course I had to put the virtual birth unit at the top of the list considering I was the lead midwifery educator on the SLENZ project. This place is designed for midwifery students who want to learn about birth environment and caring for a woman in normal labour. It can also be used by anyone interested in birth including medical students, obstetric nurses and doualas. What is particularly unique about the birth unit is that the interactive normal birth scenario is open and free to use - here is a video that explains how it works, and here are the teaching resources and plans that go with the birth unit.

2. Virtual hallucination
I have written about this place in Second Life before and feel that it is one of the most moving and effective learning experiences I have ever encountered. Suitable for all areas of health education, this simulation gives you the visual and audio experience of a person with schizophrenia. I think it is worth watching this video if you are going to use this resource with students to be sure that you do not miss any aspects of the simulation.

3. Post-partum hemorrhage simulation
The post-partum hemorrhage simulation is part of the virtual hospital built by the University of Auckland. Particularly relevant to midwifery students and obstetric nurses, this simulation allows you to direct students in their management of a post-partum hemorrhage. For further information, contact Scott Diener.

4. Genome Island
Genome Island is a fun place to take students when you are teaching genetics. There are a number of activities that give a visual element to a topic that can be difficult to teach and learn. This is a place that is open to walk around so needs no special permission or funding to use.

5. Menstrual cycle
One of the things I took ages to get my head around as a student was the menstrual cycle. So if you're involved with teaching this to students, take them to the OSU Medicine site. At this place you can follow the growth of a follicle and take a quiz on how the menstrual cycle works.

6. Da Vinci Gardens, Kalepa
Another 'dry' subject is the anatomy and physiology of the cardiovascular system. If you want to put some fun into your teaching of blood, take your students to the Da Vinci Gardens at Kalepa. Once there, you can be miniaturized, put on a diving suit and swim through a blood vessel.

7. Second Health Orientation Experience
If you and your students are completely new to Second Life, you may first wish to work your way around this orientation trial. During your walk around you will find out how to move around, change your avatar and manage your inventory. Once you have finished the trail, you'll be directed onto the Second Health Virtual Hospital. Personally, I do not find looking around empty hospitals very exciting or engaging, so you'll have to develop lesson plans that take this into consideration.

8. Imperial College London
This simulation gives students an opportunity to investigate respiratory disease in the Respiration Ward. Whilst this sim is designed for medical doctors, I feel it is just as useful for nursing students. I found the sim quite complex initially so if you're a newbie, it is worth taking the time to sort out what to do before you introduce students. Here is a video that gives you an overview of what to do.

9. HIV Prevention and Education Center
The HIV Prevention and Education Center is jammed packed full of information about HIV and AIDS. A treasure hunt type activity may work well as a lesson plan for this place. It is also probably worth checking that the information is up to date before you recommend it to students.

10. Free stuff
Whilst this may seem frivolous, part of the learning experience in Second Life is tied up with the appearance of your avatar and how he or she behaves. To get your avatar looking how you want and to improve your SL skills, I suggest you go to the Forou Freebies Store where you can acquire all sorts of free things like hair, clothes, shoes, jewelry etc. Pottering around this store will help your students gain confidence in Second Life which in turn will improve their learning experience.

What places in Second Life have you found and would recommend for nurses and midwives?


Jeffrey Keefer said...

Great list, Sarah. I shared it with some of my colleagues who recently talked about educational possibilities of using Second Life with nursing education.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks Jeffrey...I'm very keen to think about using stuff that is already there rather than forking out thousands of dollars building more places.