I was in Wellington last Friday to meet nurse educators and SLENZ movers and shakers, with a view to planning a way forward for nurse education in SecondLife. Not that we're on the cutting edge - overseas nursing schools are way ahead of us and there is some amazing stuff out there. We're lucky to have the SLENZ team as guides and to temper enthusiasm with sensible reality checks.
There is clearly a lot of interest amongst NZ nursing schools in the opportunities offered by Second Life. The shift of nurse education from the hospitals to the polytechs and universities does seem to mean that nurses have less contact time with patients, and spend less time applying their learning in 'real-life' situations. Whilst they have a good grounding in things like nursing theory, there seems to be a limited time in which students can practice key workplace skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and clinical judgement. Role-playing scenarios in the classroom offers a limited solution - one is constantly aware of the 'pretendness' of it all. Second Life offers us an alternative that seems to mimic real life more effectively than anything else. I'm looking forward to seeing where this collaboration takes us.
One idea that came out of the meeting was that we develop a clinical interview /health assessment scenario using bits of the existing builds created by the SLENZ group. This seems to me to be a really sensible option, and it would enable us to assess how our colleagues buy into the whole SL thing before we get too carried away.
Take a look at an example of the SLENZ project here:
On a very micro-level, I found out about the UCLA Davis Hallucination build, which I'm looking forward to exploring with a view to using as part of a mental health paper for second years.
An unexpected bonus of the jaunt to Wellington was the guided tour of the bays and surrounds provided by Susie lePage.... Since my experiences of the city have previously been limited to dashes to the airport or trips to Te Papa, it was a pleasure to be chauffeured around the scenic route on a gloriously sunny day. And a stop-off in Otaki on the way home introduced me to a street full of outlet stores (we call them 'factory shops' in SA) to be visited at regular intervals.