SL as learning environment for Midwifery education
This is the fourth post of five describing the work of the students from the PD class, I’ve been running since December 5th, 2011 with students from the Master’s Program on ICT & Learning (MIL) at Aalborg University where the students have to do presentations in-world. Background information on the course/the presentation task can be found in this first post, and here’s the link to the second post, and the third post. On Monday, January 23rd Team D had to present their analysis of SL as teaching and learning environment.
Team D and their focus
Just like the previous presenting teams, Team D’s members come from very different backgrounds working as College Teacher and IT-consultant, Midwife and Educational consultant, Assistant Engineer and AV-Lab consultant, and finally as Cooperate Psychologist and HR-consultant. danamaia was already familiar with some of the people behind the SLenz Virtual Birthing Unit-project, and the team decided to further investigate the use of SL as a supplement in Midwifery education leading to the following investigation question:
How can immersion facilitate Midwifery students’ learning of clinical skills and competences in a 3D-mediated learning environment?
Team D’s sandbox
To support the MIL students’ work in SL, each team was assigned a sandbox on December 9th (after they had learned the most basic SL skills), and the pictures below show the progression in team D’s sandbox:
And a week later on January 11th, Team D’s sandbox is starting to get filled up with a nice addition of phantom walls based on transparent/green binary codes.
January 12th; Plywood here, plywood there – the basic building material of SL now seems to fill up Team D’s sandbox.
Team D’s presentation
Team D’s agenda looked like this:
- Historical perspective on 2D and 3D
- The psychology of immersion
- Learning in Plato’s cave
- Didactic Design
We were then asked to move up-stairs where Team D’s Saxodane literally walked us through Wirth et al.’s model of Spatial Presence that focusses on the construction of a mental “spatial situation model” as a prerequisite for a satisfactory user-experience in new media and VR-technology.
Team D’s representation of Wirth et al.’s Spatial Presence model.
By the end of Saxodane’s talk we were asked to take a step forward, the floor disappeared, and voila!:
In the cave, Team D’s tomsteff, made a very interesting comparison of Plato’s cave allegory, SL, and Beaudrillard’s thoughts on Simulacra and Simulation.
Evidently, ontological questions on reality/virtuality/hyperreality come to mind when entering an environment such as SL, and tomsteff challenged us to consider what impact such issues would have in relation to learning.
Next up was Team D’s own Midwife, danamaia, who gave us a nice introduction to the Midwifery-project in order to set the scene before visiting the place. The project has been well documented, and it was very interesting to hear about some of the research results, and not least how participating students had reacted to the project.
Team D’s danamaia explaining the didactic design behind The Birth Place (displayed on the walls) based on Riis’ model on the floor.
MIL11 students gathering in front of Te Wāhi Whānau/ The Birth Place .
We were asked to take a tour and explore the premisses. The place is highly informative with many clickable objects leading to the extensive wiki and other materials.
Up-stairs danamaia explained the role-play that two students had to try based on materials from the purple pyramid.
Due to time constraints, we were not able to explore the role-plaing possibilities in full detail, but we did get a good impression of the potentials. After the successful birth of a new Netizen, we all went back to Team D’s sandbox, where Saxodane wrapped-up their presentation.
Team D has has had a strong focus on games throughout the course, and as I told them, I don’t think comparing and judging SL too much based on gaming theory/practice is appropriate. In my experience, the absence of a gameplay makes SL a very different VE – especially in terms of teaching and learning potential. Nonetheless, there were many fine elements in the team’s presentation and in their design, and once again, I think we all ended up having a very good and fun joint learning experience.
MIL students celebrating Team D’s presentation with some wine,