Sunday, September 4, 2011

Some more action on the island

There has been so much action going on out there on Nightingale Isle. We are working on several projects at once and are hoping to get students out and about by the beginning of November.
Here is a picture of the new Three Musketeers - partners in crime:  Zelda, Tessa and Paix.   This is one of many planning meetings. There is always a flight of ideas when this crew gets together. :)
 Here is a picture of the SLENZ birthing unit from New Zealand that was brought over by Paix. Thanks to all the folks over at Slenz for sharing your wonderful birthing house. We will make good use of it.

 Here is a picture of Starlight Harbour, Zelda and Paix hanging out on the patio outside the     Nightingale Birthing Center. Thanks again to Paix for making such a lovely patio.
 Here is a picture of Rodney, a builder who has agreed to help us out on the hospital remodel. Rodney is showing off his thousands of textures.

Here is the OB provider call room for those long nights in the birthing center.

A great article from hypergrid business about training in virtual worlds

11 tips for successful virtual training  Posted By Robin Heyden
Over the last three years I’ve planned, designed, and orchestrated a dozen learning events in the virtual world of Second Life.  I’ve been fortunate enough to work with extremely experienced and talented programmers, producers, content experts, scripters, and machinima artists from whom I have learned volumes about planning and staging successful learning events.  As I reflect on these experiences, I’ve drawn up a list of the top eleven — ten seemed so predictable — most important lessons I’ve learned.
1. Prepare them just enough — and no more
As with most virtual worlds, Second Life is chock-a-block full of intriguing possibilities. You can fly, build, photograph, gesture, control the time of day! In addition to all that, the interface is rich and complex and there is always more than one way to accomplish any task.    So it’s tempting, when first introducing someone to a virtual world, to show them everything – or to show them just one more really cool skill as it might be the tipping point to infect them with your own enthusiasm. However, I have finally learned to resist that temptation. Most people can’t absorb tons of information in one sitting. I know that I didn’t – why should I expect that others will?  Plus, there’s another reason. When the event is over, the attendees will look back at the experience and if the preparation session for the event was more intensive than the learning they received from the event itself, they will consider the event a failure.Today, our pre-event training regimes include only those skills the learners will need in order to participate in the event and no more.

2. Set learning goals upfront and use them as a filter
In the early planning stages, work with your content experts and the program sponsor to establish a short and well-defined list of learning goals. What is it that you want your learners to exit the program knowing?  That list will serve the team well in many ways. It will drive decisions about how to spend money — will that fun simulation help you meet the learning goals? — clarify how to allocate time on the agenda, and serve as a filter when the inevitable “mission creep” begins.
3. Make sure your back up plan has a backup plan
The old saying really is true, if it can go wrong, it will. I have seen so many “unexpected” problems crop up in every event I’ve been a part of – sound problems, connectivity hassles, access issues, electrical problems, region shut-downs, you name it.  It seems obvious, but the very best way to avoid these inevitable glitches ruining your event is to anticipate them and have a plan in place to address each one. For example, it’s good to have phone numbers or Skype IDs for all learner participants — if they have sound problems, you can always Skype them in.

4. The power of two facilitators
Our learning events always include a content expert who has worked with us to develop the session’s content and then, typically, serve the lecturer or facilitator role. But we now recommend two
facilitators. Hopefully you can line up colleagues who are used to working together, but it can work equally well with experts who you bring together for the cause. Why two? It’s helpful for the learner to hear two perspectives, two voices and it improves the event’s flow to hand-off one to the other. And, just as importantly, while one is speaking or leading, the other can monitor local chat, provide feedback, and address content questions that arise. If the instructional design calls for small group work, then you instantly have two small group leaders — voila! They also serve as back-ups for each other — if one is having sound problems, the other can pinch hit.

5. Measure twice, cut once
That age-old seamstress mantra totally applies to virtual learning events. There is just no substitute for rehearsals where you go through your program to work out all the kinks. Run your facilitators, producers, and other program staff through at least one full rehearsal, preferably two. If the calendar doesn’t permit time for two full rehearsals, then opt for a “blocking” rehearsal. That is, rehearse all the transitions, without the intervening content — that is, practice the parts when people come on, go off, and all the movements and changes.

6. Answer the question ‘Why are we doing this in a virtual world?’ —  before it gets asked
No doubt about it, conducting learning events in virtual worlds — any virtual world — is a lot of work for the sponsor, the producers, and for the learners. So it only makes sense to use virtual world technology if you are making use of its unique affordances. That is, if you are doing things that can only be done in a virtual world. If you bring your learners into a beautiful virtual environment and then talk at them with a PowerPoint deck for an hour, everyone will leave feeling cheated. Instead, make it work for you. Devise a simulation, do some role playing, leverage some whimsy, do some collaborative building, defy the laws of physics – make it clear why you have all gone to the trouble to be there. In a smoking cessation workshop, we had a rain of cigarettes - it was the physical answer to the question of how many cigarettes a pack-a-day smoker smokes in a year. (Image by Robin Heyden.)

7. Experienced technical support producers are essential
In addition to your upfront investment in learner training, participants will need technical support on the day of the event. Count on it. The presence of experienced, calm, and professional technical support — we call them “producers” — is a must.  Did I say “calm”? Let me say it again. Calm. My preferred ratio is one producer for every eight new learners. Make sure you have a private back-chat channel open, such as instant messaging, group chat, or Skype, for the producers to strategize, share, and hand-off among themselves. Consider asking the learners to come 15-20 minutes early in order to troubleshoot any pesky technical issues before the event gets underway — not all will be able to, but those who do will be taken care of, freeing your producers to focus on the just-on-time or late arrivals. Have your producers wear a “Ask Me for Tech Help” label on their avatar.

8. Consider venue design carefully
After playing with a number of event location design options, I’ve gravitated to the simplest possible. Our events typically have outdoor seating — no doorways to navigate, no walls to bump into, and no ceilings to hinder the view — with very large and simple visuals to avoid view problems. I tend toward natural-looking scenes — a few trees, open sky, and a blue-water view — with very little visual clutter. But, of course, you also want the design to reflect and support the content of your event. Design your seating with automatic sit upon clicking and encourage all participants to be seated as soon as they arrive, which helps to calm things down. Landscape simplicity also helps to keep the prim count low to reduce the processing load. Our continuing medical education session was held in an open-air venue - no walls or ceilings. (Image by Robin Heyden.)

9. Document everything as you go
I am continually amazed by how quickly I forget useful things. Who attended? What was the plan? How much did we rehearse? How long did it take? What happened in local chat? Keep a record of it all, including a blog post or two — like this one! — to sum up your major take-home lessons. You’ll be glad you did when the planning for the next event begins.

10. Don’t forget to assess
It is important to find a way to build evaluation into your learning plan. Often, we get so caught up in the work of producing the event, we forget to gather feedback from the learners when it’s over.  Even if it’s just a short questionnaire, provided as a link, at the end of the session, find a way for your learners to tell you honestly what worked — and didn’t work — for them.  You might also consider gathering similar feedback from the facilitators and producers. They often catch glitches that you might miss.

11. Find a way to make it fun
One of the things we all love about virtual worlds is that touch of fantasy about them. Even though it may be important for your event to project a serious and professional tone, your learners are sure to enjoy at least one touch of whimsy somewhere in the program — we typically do this on a break or at the end. It could be something as simple as some virtual food and drink, served up to your guests. Maybe an automatic dance floor for everyone to trip the light fantastic? Fireworks are always fun. And a simple T-shirt emblazoned with your company or program logo, given to each avatar at the end of the session can be a surprising hit. Avatars from a continuing medical education event, sporting their specially created T-shirts. (Image by Robin Heyden.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Starlight Harbour has been very busy!

As Tessa and Zelda work on the "Nursing" parts of the Henry and Ertha scenarios, Starlight Harbour, builder and scripter extraordinaire is busy making sets and props. As you can see from the pictures, there will be parts of a chart (EHR), and also a Pyxis machine. There will be a monitor that can be changed just like in the simulation lab. And the best part, the avatars who play the patients will be in 3D and have a real person's voice.  
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Tessa and Zelda are back in action

After a long hiatus, Zelda and Tessa are back at it. Moving and shaking and getting the island ready for students to come out and learn. They have cleaned up and are doing some remodeling to the buildings with the help of a few very talented builder/scripters. Now if they could only find some money to pay these individuals that would be great. Hopefully some small grants will come through so the island can be fully functioning.

A New Teleporter Board

Nightingale Isle finally has a Teleporter Board to make it easier to get around the island. This will help the students find where classes are being held. It is as easy as clicking on the picture and you are there. :)

Meet Henry and Ertha

Here are the first pictures of Henry and Ertha, the National League for Nursing ACES unfolding case avatars. These are the subjects of my National League for Nursing Health Information Technology Scholar Project. For this project we will have two baccalaureate programs and two Associate Degree programs run simulations both in the simulation lab and in the virtual world of Second Life. There will be a group of students from each school who will all run the identical simulations. Then we will compare and contrast metrics. 

Monday, July 18, 2011


It has been awhile since I have written! It is not because there has been nothing happening.......but instead because there has been so much happening. Since last I wrote I spent a week out at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore working with colleagues who are all  National League for Nursing Health Information Technology Scholars. It was a great week learning about what is new in nursing informatics and education. Then in June I headed out to Orlando for the INACSL conference to present about my DNP project. Once again I spent the week collaborating with many nursing scholars. In other exciting news, a group of colleagues who use Second Life for educational purposes began a group called International Cooperative of Practice (ICop). Through this group I have met a group of colleagues who encompass both nurse educators and technology specialists. There has been rich discussion and interesting information shared.  We are working on adding a senior apt and assisted living to the island, and rezzing up the home birthing center. More details and pictures to come. Exciting things are happening. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 11, 2011

New colleagues: one from across the ocean, and one from over the river right next door

Zelda has been a very busy girl. Working on a teleporter/sign for Nightingale Isle so people can move about the island with ease; attending several virtual world educational meetings (VWER roundtable discussions); and best of all - meeting new nursing colleagues who are passionate about using virtual worlds for educational purposes.

Kali Pizzaro (AKA Evelyn McElhinney from Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland)

Zelda and Kali:  We discovered yesterday that we will be presenting back to back at the INACSL 10th Annual International Nursing Simulation Learning Resource Centers Conference in June.  We took a picture that we can place in our presentations. :)

Hattie Haystack (in the red jacket: AKA Gail Hanson Brenner) from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

Evelyn and Jone at the VWER Roundtable discussion on VWERGrid (Guest speaker:Justin Clark-Casey).


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Exciting Adventures

This has been a week of new beginnings and exciting adventures! I have begun to work with Wade Schuette, an educator/scholarly person from Michigan. (AKA Starlight Harbour inworld). He has much knowledge of and expertise in building and scripting in virtual worlds! As you all know Zelda can hardly fly so she needs much help (And so does Jone in real life :) Here are a few pictures from some work done on the Reticula sim in Jokaydia. More to come on the projects. Much of the work will be tied to my Health Information Technology Scholar (HITS) project. I am awaiting word on some rental property in Jokaydia Grid. Nightingale Isle will soon be in several places. YEAH!!! Hang On!!!!  

Zelda has a new friend

Zelda has a new friend out in Second Life and Jokaydia Grid. His name is Starlight Harbour and he is going to be working with her to set up experiences for the nursing students. YEAH for new friends!!!! He is the one on the left dressed in his finest vest and tie. More to come on the projects!

Virtual World Education Round table Discussion

On February 24th I attended the Virtual World Education Round table discussion: Which Grid for Me? Pros and Cons of VW Grids for Teaching.  It was really interesting to hear other educators discuss the pros and cons of open and closed grids for teaching. Many of the educators felt educators should have a presence both in the open (Jokaydia Grid, OS Grids etc....) and closed sims such as Second Life. I am contemplating renting space over in Jokaydia Grid as well as out in Second life.  Here are some pictures from the round table discussion.

Zelda forgot to change out of her scrubs for the event. :)  She even brought her stethoscope.

Friday, January 28, 2011

National League for Nurses Health Information Technology Scholar Program (HITS)

For the year 2011, I have been accepted to the National League for Nurses (NLN) Health Information Technology Scholar Program. (HITS).  This is a year-long immersive program with the following goals:
     1.  Transform teaching and learning in the 21st century – Merge informatics, telehealth, simulation and e-  learning to create powerful learning environments.

     2.  Improve Nursing Education and Practice – develop faculty to integrate IT in curricula to educate future practitioners.
     3.  Expand Infrastructure for clinical Learning Processes – Educate a cadre of well-informed faculty who focus on real-world applications of technologies in their education practices.
     4.  Optimize Patient Safety and Drive Improvements in Healthcare Quality – Better educate future workforce with competencies to provide safe, quality and efficient healthcare through use of technologies. 

There were: 253 faculty applicants (113 Schools; 36 States) , with 52 faculty accepted from 29 diverse schools in 20 states.   (NLN HITS PPT presentation January 28, 2011).  Here are the esteemed Executive Leadership Team:

                                                    Helen Connors, PhD, RN, FAAN

                                                    Diane Billings, EdD, RN, FAAN
                                                    Pam Jeffries, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF
                                                    Diane Skiba, PhD, FAAN, FACMI
                                                    Mary Anne Rizzolo, EdD, RN, FAAN

My project will involve using Nightingale Isle for simulations and role plays for baccalaureate level students. More to come as I fine-tune the project goals.

Society for Simulation in Healthcare International Meeting (SSH IMSH)

It has been awhile since I have blogged. Since last time, I graduated with a Doctor in Nursing Practice from St. Catherine University, and have begun to write up a couple manuscripts for publication.

I spent the last week in New Orleans at the International Meeting for Simulation in healthcare. I presented the avatar project, and there was much participant interest about the project. I also joined the Special interest group (SIG) for serious games for learning. There were over 2400 people in attendance and there were offerings such as Sim Wars, Immersive Sessions, and Serious Games.  For the full story of the events go to to read musings from Eric Bauman. We are beginning to gear up for next year's conference. For starters, Nightingale Isle will be part of the serious games arcade. It will be fun to share information with nurses and physicians who are interested in how to use virtual worlds for educational purposes.