Over the last couple of weeks I have been talking to midwifery educators in New Zealand about the virtual birthing unit in Second Life and how they can integrate it into their program next year. I have always felt that it will only be used as it was designed if it becomes part of the students' lessons, as opposed to an extra, voluntary activity.
Too much, too soon?
But it looks as if we have really bad timing. The five schools of midwifery in New Zealand are all focused on implementing a new curriculum next year, and do not have the time to try something as new or complex as Second Life. The issues of technology that does not fully work in educational institutions, and the time it takes to become skilled in Second Life continue to be the main barriers to the uptake of the virtual birth unit.
Looking for collaborators outside of New Zealand
So this leaves me in a bit of a catch 22 situation. I need to continue the evaluation of the virtual birthing unit in relation to full integration into a midwifery program and learning outcomes. But I have no midwifery program willing to collaborate with me as yet.
So, if you are a midwifery educator interested in virtual simulation and role play, and/or Second Life, and would like to investigate its effect on the learning of midwifery students , please get in touch.