If you’re like me, virtual world Second Life is still a relatively strange and unfamiliar place. I’ll be spending a bit more time checking out this online world, though, after learning about a virtual birthing unit set up as an educational tool for midwifery students. In it “students can work their way through simulations of birth in which they support women and make midwifery decisions.”
In my brief explorations, I was able to enter the birthing center and interact with objects in the environment to read some informational text about nutrition, birthing tubs, and other topics, although I suspect I’ve just scratched the surface. The project’s WikiEducator pages provide more information on the learning activities provided and includes images of the unit. While I haven’t reviewed all of the content myself, this seems like a neat idea for learning.
The virtual birth unit was developed by New Zealand midwife Sarah Stewart as part of the Second Life Education New Zealand project. To visit the unit for yourself, follow these directions. An introductory video (below) and slide set are also available for more info about the project and how to use it.
Sarah also has a great recent post up at her blog on Facebook for midwives: how to enjoy Facebook and stay out of trouble.