On November 11-14, the annual Conference on Information Technology (CIT) was held at the Renaissance Hotel Conference Center in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. I had caught wind of the event much earlier but hadn’t planned to attend: My one work-sponsored professional development event annually is traditionally the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) put on by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Had enough acronyms!?
Well I have one more for you: NESIM, the Nursing Education Simulator produced by a team at Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, Washington and resident in the increasingly popular 3-dimensional virtual “world,” Second Life. The CIT, after all, is an event mounted by the League for Innovation in the Community College (and co-hosted this year by the Tennessee Board of Regents) and if this wasn’t innovation I don’t know what is…
Basically Second Life allows digital representations of people, or “avatars,” to interact in a virtual world where they can fly, dance, chat with either text or digital voice, and just generally do pretty much everything they can do in the real world–plus some (did I say “fly?”). More and more educators are working to exploit the value of the engagement this platform affords participants. John Miller, a full-time professional nurse and a nursing educator at Tacoma Community College, worked with a team of innovators to create a working emergency room clinic where his students can practice those vital professional skills and can make mistakes without dire human results (if an avatar “dies” in Second Life he or she just rematerializes at the site chosen as “home”), quite a win-win situation for both learner and patient, both current and future.
That’s what drew me to the CIT on Monday, November 13, after learning from an announcement in Second Life that the ISTE Island Auditorium would be the site of the “inworld” version of the presentation. What? A local event here in Nashville that would be mirrored in my favorite MUVE (Multi-User Virtual Environment)? I simply had to go see it.
In testament to the increasing stature of the blogger in today’s world, I emailed the CIT conference organizers with a brief request for a guest pass and it was granted: Thanks to the fine folks at the League for that! The audio you hear in Snacks for the Brain! episode 35 was captured while I helped at the Nashville location as my friend Cathy Walker in Arkansas led the group in Second Life. I have a Flickr stream containing a few snapshots of the presentation and a little video celebration at the Second Life Education Video social network at ning.com. Enjoy those if you think it might help you understand what’s going on!
This podcast is just a snapshot of the session at CIT, and if you would like to learn more about NESIM, visit the information website. For more information on Second Life, you can visit the official site or google “Second Life’ and whatever term in which you are interested. “Second Life and “science,” for example, yields 3,090,000 results–at least today; who knows how many it will return by the time you click on this link!
Music for this episode comes from both Magnatune.com and the Podsafe Music Network, songstress/composer Lisa DeBenedictis’ “The Alternate World Waltz” from the former, the rockin’ Roadside Attraction’s “World of Make Believe” from the latter. Listen up right here or open the S4theB! Podcast Pickle Player to hear on your computer without leaving your browser!