Those who visit this blog frequently may have noticed that a new masthead appeared this week, which was taken during a recent trip to Second Life GenomeIsland… where you your avatar can enter a very large virtual eukaryotic cell and zoom around… a beautiful visual feast of moving cells as they coalesce, break apart, form new alliances. Highly recommended! SL Genome Island is a project of Texas Wesleyan University.
Reasons for working within Second Life are plentiful. Second Life is not a ‘game’. It is a culturally rich 3-D virtual environment as envisioned by the residents of those islands. As a novice SL resident, it has been amazing to see how far libraries, health science information and teaching/training in clinical skills have progressed each time I go there. This post is written for those who haven’t been to the Islands yet, but can we convince you to join?
Need a general orientation to island life? Here is a good-purpose wiki: Second Life Wiki. One really useful link is their list of SL Video Tutorials. You can sign up for Second Life podcasts from Feedburner. An “Ask the Technies” quicktime/video tutorial is an excellent basic guidebook to SL: available at this link.
On YouTube, avatar Montopolis Maxwell has posted several SecondLife Tutorials on how to dress an avatar, methods of communicating in-world , managing an inventory and exploring different islands within SL. (His human counterpart is a doctoral student in educational psychology with a specialization in instructional technology at University of Texas-Austin.)
Click here to link to the Official Second Life Blog.
“Medicine’s not-so-secret Second Life” is the title of an article which reporter Peter Woodford wrote for the online National Review of Medicine (Mar 30 2007), including a mention of Hygeia Philo, Center for Disease Control’s avatar in SL. Click here to teleport to CDC’s location in SL (you must be logged into SL to do that).
SecondHealth is a blog devoted to teaching and learning strategies in medicine; there is an excellent list of training and teaching videos/movies here, at: http://secondhealth.wordpress.com/movies/
The librarians who blog on Second Life L!brary at http://infoisland.org/ have written a wide-ranging directory of SL interest groups and in-world sites, which you can read here.
HealthInfo Island is a SL destination housing medical and consumer health libraries staffed by avatars who are health science librarians in real life that provide a wealth of reference services, virtual displays and factual health resources to those who visit. It is a collaborative creation of librarians around the world starting with staff from the Greater Midwest Region-NN/LM and funded by National Networks of Libraries of Medicine. Lori Bell of Alliance Library System has worked with librarians to create The Accessibility Center, a customized orientation center for SL residents who in real life may suffer from limited vision, mobility, learning disabilities or chronic diseases.
To visit HealthInfo Island you must be in-world, but a great source for upcoming in-world events and developments is the blog, Health and Medicine in Second Life, where you can also connect with the (real life) health science librarians who volunteer many hours of their time contributing to content on HealthInfo Island.
You must be in-world to enter the Ann Myers Medical Center, a virtual medicine and training clinic staffed in SL by many (real life) physicians, residents and medical students. WordPress hosts a blog called Ann Myers Medical Center.
Science Daily reports frequently on virtual education, where I found a feature article dated Feb 8 2007 about University of Florida computer professor Dr. Paul Fishwick‘s course on Aesthetic Computing conducted (only) in Second Life.
Also found on Science Daily (Mar 10 2008 ) is a brief report describing research and applications by a team from Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute working toward the creation of a virtual child that can apply logical reasoning in social interactions. Here’s an excerpt from that article:
“ A group of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is working on creating characters with the capacity to have beliefs and to reason about the beliefs of others. These characters will be able to predict and manipulate the behavior of even human players, with whom they will directly interact in the real, physical world, according to the team… At a recent conference on artificial intelligence, the researchers unveiled the “embodiment” of their success to date: “Eddie,” a 4-year-old child in Second Life who can reason about his own beliefs to draw conclusions in a manner that matches human children his age.”
Click here for the full text of the article.
Both articles: Courtesy of Science Daily – Copyright 2007, 2008 – All rights reserved
In January 2006, the non-profit New Media Consortium (NMC) purchased a large (500 virtual acres) island on SL. I have included an 8-minute video by NMC describing activities on their NMC Campus, “Seriously Engaging“. Watch it here:
Video/Source: courtesy of New Media Communications – Copyright 2006 – All rights reserved
NMC also runs a blog reporting on SL entitled NMC Campus Observer..
Play2Train/Open Content Alliance (POCA), according to the main webpage, “represents collaborative efforts to build a permanent self-sustaining archive of open source virtual worlds, including their content and applications, to support public domain emergency preparedness training and exercises“. Play2Train staff have developed public health training programs in a virtual environment for the education of clinicians and allied health staff as their avatars conduct practice ‘first response’ medical care or coodination during a simulated catastrophe. Click here to view a Play2Train slideshow.
Additional information can be found on the Institute for Rural Health Play2Train blog and a recent blog post here. Idaho State University‘s Bioterrorism Awareness and Preparedness Project (IBAPP) is the home base for these projects.
BlogHud is a blogging system for use by residents of SL while they are in-world. You can check the page for recent blog-casts, photos, communicate with fellow SL bloggers and more.
Maged N. Kamel Boulos, PhD is a lecturer in Health Informatics at the University of Bath (UK). His recent powerpoint on Web 2.0 was available on Slideshare this week. It is included here because he does a good job explaining what Web 2.0/social technologies are… as there seems to be quite a bit of controversy about how to define these terms and applications! Dr. Boulos’ presentation, “e-Health and Web 2.0” is shown below:
Video/Source: courtesy of Dr. M.N.K. Boulos and Slideshare – Copyright 2008 – All rights reserved
Finally… Here are a few more photos from Second Life, where I’m such a novice that even my avatar looks a bit stunned. Perhaps it would be beneficial to take a look at the excellent SL Video Tutorials on the Play2Train/Open Content Alliance website, on what to do and how to get around in-world! I’d like to thank publically Rameshsharma Ramloll, PhD at Idaho State University for his great work in producing, publicizing and sharing the educational features and facets of Play2Train. His work has increased my understanding of the educational aspects of SL immensely.
Editors Note: Second Life has grown exponentially since Linden Lab opened it to the public in 2003. At any given moment, SL connects thousands of people from around the world: learning, exploring, collaborating, building virtual buildings and creating real content which is meaningful to them… and which may be nothing like ‘real life’.
All photos in this blog post courtesy of Second Life® and Linden Lab® which are trademarks or registered trademarks of Linden Research, Inc. Copyright 2006-2008 – All rights reserved. No infringement is intended.