So many times over the last few months I have doubted whether I would ever be able to write this post! At midnight last Saturday I was sure it would never be written but thanks to some awesome teamwork that saw the SLENZ development team put in some very long hours on Sunday, I am here! I am hoping that this will be the first of many such posts because finally…. finally….. I was able to watch and listen in as the first of the midwifery students used the birth centre we have built for them on Kowhai.
The phone rang, the midwife headed to the office to answer it and the ensuing conversation between her and the expectant mother unfolded. Of course there was laughter, of course someone got stuck in a wall for a minute or two, of course someone else crashed, of course lag and slow connection speeds interfered initially BUT……when I first joined the group, the first words I heard were, “This is so much FUN…..”
And that after all is part of the delight of creating learning experiences in Second Life – it is fun, it is learning without being aware of the learning process. As Sarah, our midwifery lead educator said in the debrief afterwards to the student role-playing the midwife ” You have just done what I was doing in the real world not two hours ago. I was sitting in my office here at the birth unit, talking to a woman who was in the early stages of labour. I was asking her the same questions that you asked your role-playing colleague, I was assessing her needs, providing reassurance, making suggestions. ”
To the student midwives, this is perhaps the closest they will get for a while to the ‘real’ world and for them it seemed real but it also allowed them to make mistakes, ask for reassurance from Sarah and for both of them to learn from her instruction and guidance. It was exciting for the students, exciting for Sarah who has laboured (pun intended!) for so long in developing these scenarios and exciting for me who had doubted for some weeks that we would ever be able to make it happen.
So a huge THANK YOU to the whole team for making this happen and an even bigger THANK YOU to the students who last night made it all worthwhile.
For information about the birth unit and instructions on how to use it please see the pages that Sarah has provided on wikiEducator.