Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Me and the naked flying men!

I had the funniest time last night and, no, I wasn't drowning my sorrows following England's rugby defeat nor had I OD'd on herbal pills: instead of seeing dead people, I saw naked flying men!! This is a result of joining Second Life. This is a virtual world that has an educational focus: for those who do not know about it, have a look at the Wikipedia entry about it which explains it better than I can. It works in the same way as virtual games. You get yourself an identity or avatar, and work your way around a virtual world.

I must admit I am somewhat skeptical about the use of SL in education: what would I use it for in the education of midwives? And my experience last night did nothing to reassure me. Clearly, it's going to take me some time to get my head around how it works. However, I have got past the point that some people were at last night- I did manage to get clothes on, although they didn't appear to fit me very well. I think its going to be helpful to hook up with some experienced Second Lifers and get them to show me around. The education 'island' is Jokadia, which Leigh has volunteered to show me around, so I am looking forward to that.

The benefit for midwifery education? How about the development of a virtual birthing centre? I'll have to ponder this further once I have had more experience of SL. My main concerns are:

how time consuming is it going to be, weighed up against advantages?
what are the advantages?
how would we support students to become confident in its use?

Meanwhile, I am keen to learn and my next aim is to make my avatar's bottom smaller because at the moment its huge!!


rae hickey said...

hi sarah 9sorry can't remember your virtual name or second life resident name or whatever) - re second life and midwifery education - i think this will be a fun way for students (and other midwives) to experiment with midwifery relationships. it could be useful for working through issues of power, control, negotiation with both colleagues and women and their families.
I of course have not been to second life yet and am not yet a resident - so not only do I not have clothes i also have no body to hang them on - so i don't really know what I'm talking about - but I think this could be a possible use for it in midwifery education - and am sure as we venture along we will find more uses.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks for your comments, Rae. I am sure you are right about the use of SL. If nothing else, it gives midwives a place to hang out and meet. However, in view of the fact that so many midwives can barely send an email, I believe its a long time before we get to that stage. Nevertheless, its only as we keep pushing the envelope that people will getn to hear about these forms of communication.