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Exploring Opportunities in Second Life for Health Education and Medical Training


A round table discussion on developing health education related projects in Second Life

Time: 10 am SL (5 pm GMT), Friday 16th March 2007




This will be a round table discussion, with an opportunity for people working with health-related education and associated field to come together and identify areas in which Second Life can make a contribution, to share examples of best practice, and to formulate strategies especially for collaborative development.



Outside Resources

None at present




Pauline Woolley (SL: Polly Widdershins) and Dr Damion Young (SL: Damion Cazalet), Medical Sciences Division (Learning Technologies), University of Oxford



Power Point Slides



Note from the proceedings


Exploring Opportunities in Second Life for Health Education an Teaching - medsciox@googlemail.com


10:02] Polly Widdershins: I just want to get the presentation set up - can you give me a minute?

10:02 audio Zenith: Of course

10:02 Polly Widdershins: It's good to see so many people

10:03 audio Zenith: Am I right in thinking the volum will not be needed Polly?

10:03 Damion Cazalet: Hello everyone. Perhaps we could get everyone to introduce themselves and say where they're from?

10:03 audio Zenith: Damion I was hoping they would al swarm closer.....

10:04 audio Zenith: as some are sitting farther than 20m

10:04 You shout: Welcome Everyone, Please make yourselves Comfortable

10:04 NoiseBoy Racer: put some benches out audio

10:04 Polly Widdershins: volume won't be needed.


10:04 Vivien Hapmouche: I am Vivien from the MSD-LT group here at Oxford

10:04 Tool Rezzer: Interactive Whiteboard by Meta-Lab - version 1.0

10:04 Daphne Whittenton: thanks Poly

10:04 Grey Lock: Ah... don't actually need to sit down... unlike RL. :-)

10:04 Montian Gilruth is Offline

10:04 Autumn Maidstone is Online

10:04 audio Zenith: indeed

10:04 audio Zenith: :)

10:04 audio Zenith shouts: Huddle around

10:05 Polly Widdershins: Desideria is setting up my Powerpoint presentation.

10:05 Grey Lock: I'm from Toronto, Ontario, Canada... college faculty... involved with eLearning. One program I assist is our nursing program.

10:06 Polly Widdershins: Hello everyone, and thank you for coming.

10:07 Polly Widdershins: My name (in rl is Pauline Woolley - but you can call me Pauline

10:07 Iona Beresford: Hello everyone I'm from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

10:07 Jonny Dusk is Online

10:07 Polly Widdershins: We're the Medical Sciences Division Learning Technology at Oxford University

10:08 Polly Widdershins: Essentially, we're just getting started here in Second Life

10:08 Polly Widdershins: and we saw this as a great way to get to meet people and share ideas.

10:09 Polly Widdershins: we've been thinking about some things that we could do - and two uses of SL that have struck us at once and Social Interaction Scenarios and Simulations.

10:09 Polly Widdershins: I'm going to run through these quickly, just to get some ideas out there - and then throw this open to you for discussion

10:10 audio Zenith: Great

10:10 Polly Widdershins: Looking at Social Interaction Scenarios ...

10:11 Polly Widdershins: There are medical scanarios. We can set up what are essentially role play situations

10:11 Quirky McArdle: excuse me, is there sound to this?

10:11 audio Zenith: no sound

10:11 Quirky McArdle: oh! sorry. ws fooled by the name of the sim

10:11 Polly Widdershins: training students to take a medical history, or to explain a treatment regime, to break bad news.

10:11 Grey Lock: (that's funny coming from someone named audio... sorry... couldn't resist)

10:12 DietAdviser Vella smiles

10:12 Polly Widdershins: I'm sorry - that's our fault - we're not really at the adding sound level yet!

10:12 Polly Widdershins: Audio here can add sound just fine

10:12 Polly Widdershins grins

10:12 DietAdviser Vella is going afk to put the laundry away. brb

10:12 Kevin Vuckovic: slides look pro at least

10:13 Polly Widdershins: There's also the possibility of public health sceanrios - again for providing training - but also for research.

10:14 Polly Widdershins: for example, running a case study of a disease outbreak - or exploring the effects of disability

10:14 Polly Widdershins: please can people not click on the slides. I'll advance them

10:14 Azaphe Gwynneville is Offline

10:15 Dolly Ewing is Offline

10:15 Micala Lumiere is Offline

10:15 Lewis Trenton is Online

10:15 Alexandar Vargas is Online

10:16 Polly Widdershins: Then there's the possibility of using this for Inter-Professional Commiunication. This could involve situations like this, with people coming from different countries - or be used for, say, iter departmental training within an instiution.

10:16 Polly Widdershins: The possibilities are there.

10:16 Polly Widdershins: The next area we've been talking about is simulations.

10:17 Polly Widdershins: This can work on a variety of levels - such as creating different levels of skins for avatars to help train in the detection of diease - or even, at a basic level, the location of organs

10:17 Natasja Dwi is Offline

10:18 Polly Widdershins: There could be a possibility of creating an island that was a body.

10:18 Autumn Maidstone is Offline

10:19 Polly Widdershins: There's one being built now - a three-sim cruise ship. We could make a body - or even parts of a body to study - and to demonstrate the effects of disease.

10:19 Davis Stastny: that is a good concept

10:19 Polly Widdershins: We can also use simulations for looking at processes. On one level, studying/teaching the spread of a disease.

10:19 Emmadw Rickenbacker: I think it's an amazing idea!

10:20 Polly Widdershins: On a public health level, we could look at how an outbreak off an infectious disease would spread and be treated and contained.

10:21 Polly Widdershins: On a physilogical level, we could look at its effect on the body.

10:21 Polly Widdershins: This is a huge thing - and the possibilities are really open at the moment.

10:22 Polly Widdershins: There are opportunities for research and collaboration.

10:22 Polly Widdershins: We need to look at how we can resourde this, though.

10:22 Polly Widdershins: And we can share what is happening now ... and we can think about what we can do next

10:22 Polly Widdershins smiles

10:22 Polly Widdershins: which is where all of you come in.

10:22 Davis Stastny: yes

10:22 DietAdviser Vella: It sounds really interesting.

10:23 Polly Widdershins: We'd love to hear your views and ideas.

10:23 Polly Widdershins: Thank you.

10:23 Shannel Dulce is Online

10:23 Grey Lock: Question... I remember there was talk at one point of a virtual hospital as a simulation... is that still a go?

10:23 Vivien Hapmouche: The reason we are interested in a virtual world is that it might provide a way for our students to interact and experience things that are often difficult for medical students. Talking to patients about difficult things - at the moment we use actors. A virtual world would allow students to create their own avatars

10:23 Jaim Albert: very nice ideas Polly

10:24 Micala Lumiere is Online

10:24 Kevin Vuckovic: Has anyone read one of the recent New Scientists?

10:24 Vivien Hapmouche: sadly the funding for virtual hospital stopped but there is an archive somewhere on the web. VH was generally static web pages

10:24 Kevin Vuckovic: Nina Fefferman, apparently, was trying to do something similar to this

10:25 Micala Lumiere is Offline

10:25 Kevin Vuckovic: Simulate a p[lague in Second Life

10:25 Existential Paine: Question: How is Second Life a better choice for some of these aspects than say the simulation mannequin?

10:25 Davis Stastny: any chance we can revitalize the virutal hospital

10:25 Emmadw Rickenbacker: Yes, I was wondering the same as Exist. Paine.

10:25 Isabella Beckersted is Offline

10:25 Davis Stastny: in our opion this is a very important step in moving forward for health and the ability for medical students

10:25 You: mannequins can not give feed back

10:25 Polly Widdershins: SL allows one to build relatively easily. You don't need expensive software

10:25 Althaea Xeno: Actually we are interested in developing a virtual animal hospital, if that's of interest - I'm with the American Veterinary Medical Association

10:26 Davis Stastny: to learn within Second life...

10:26 SirLance Smallville is Offline

10:26 Emmadw Rickenbacker: Julieana - we have some that can, though you do have to have someone (real) with a microphone.

10:26 Emmadw Rickenbacker: Though I agree about the cost!

10:26 Ted Welles: We want interactive SPIs, including children, that we can't do in RL. And, change the appearance (more than we can do with expensive manequins)

10:27 Polly Widdershins: children is a very good point.

10:27 Damion Cazalet: ..and you're limited to what the manequin can do - it would be (relatively) easy to add new features/interaction to an SL mannequin

10:27 Ted Welles: And, our actors can be anywhere in the world (not just at our med school)

10:27 Vivien Hapmouche: I am much more interested in using virtual reality to teach students about difficult inter-personal situations. At the moment we have to use actors but students could cretae their own scripts and avatars.

10:27 Davis Stastny: We see this as something that would be good for students and foriegn doctors. An understanding of our hospital cultures

10:27 Polly Widdershins: It would be very good to train medics in how to get information from children

10:27 Polly Widdershins: Yes, that would be excellent.

10:28 Polly Widdershins: And also as a way of demonstrating how things can be done in different countries.

10:28 Davis Stastny: good point

10:28 Kevin Vuckovic: I'm not sure I understand, would the students be creating an avatar of how they think a patient would act?

10:28 Grey Lock: Althaea... there is a vet tech program at my college... would be interested in a virtual animal hospital as well

10:28 Polly Widdershins: Either the students could do it - with notecards to guide them

10:29 Polly Widdershins: that would be a roleplay, really

10:29 Ted Welles: We'd have staff create the avatars for scenarios we'd present to the students. We would hire actors to take the role of the avatars.

10:29 Kevin Vuckovic: How is that better than actors?

10:29 Althaea Xeno: Great! We are definitely interested in activities for vet techs as well as veterinarians

10:29 Damion Cazalet: That's one idea - if you wanted to practice delivering bad news, you would be less likely to start giggling half way through than if you were role-playing face to face.

10:29 Ted Welles: Students could also roleplay (practice) before their assessments

10:29 Polly Widdershins: your 'actors' could be technicians ... or trainers ...

10:29 Vivien Hapmouche: I was imagining an initial scenario and perhaps some stock characters with students invited to create and add an additional role. For example someone who is blind or in a wheelchair.

10:29 Polly Widdershins: there would also be a record of the discussion

10:30 Polly Widdershins: so it could be analysed

10:30 Polly Widdershins looks at Chris

10:30 Davis Stastny: could even be recorded in machinima as well

10:30 Davis Stastny: and stored for future reference

10:30 audio Zenith: :)

10:30 You: :)

10:30 Polly Widdershins: and the possibility of recording in other ways ...

10:30 Polly Widdershins: yes

10:30 Ellie Brewster: don't forget that we'll probably have voice in SL by summer

10:30 Polly Widdershins: that's true

10:31 You: yes i have heard its on its way :)

10:31 Davis Stastny: i think it is also important for the students themselves to not only roleplay the scenario but be the patient as well. it continues the learning curve.

10:31 You: there are other means of voice as well

10:31 Polly Widdershins: although there are always going to be some technological limitations

10:31 Vivien Hapmouche: Recording and analysis would add privacy issues for students and questions of whether or not this is assessed

10:31 Polly Widdershins: for example, we had difficulty running SL on all our computers in the office

10:32 Grey Lock: Yes... most computers in our labs don't meet the graphics card requirements

10:32 Ted Welles: We already record students SPI interactions on video and have stringent access controls. We'll do the same thing for SL.

10:32 Emmadw Rickenbacker: Yes, with the comments about visually impaired etc., avatars - there's also patients with learning difficulties - as well as the children. I'm not a medic (I'm an COmputing lecturer), but I have taught in special schools in the past, with stduetsn with quite complex communication difficulties.

10:32 Vivien Hapmouche: Indeed it would be very good to let students experience being told something bad - cancer for example. It might bring home the imact this news can have on both the patient and family

10:32 Polly Widdershins: But with SL, the students might feel more comfortable knowing that it was an avatar specially created, and not their real shelves

10:32 Polly Widdershins: although people can become very attached to their avatars!

10:33 Kevin Vuckovic: I'd rather my avatar got cancer then me

10:33 Ted Welles: We're certainly focused at first on communication skills and professionalism. They physics aren't there for doing an exam, though listening to heart sounds is done OK in SL>

10:33 DietAdviser Vella: True but I see my avatar as a extension of the rl me

10:33 Davis Stastny: In vancouver i believe second life is being used for people with aids to access help...assists them with keeping there identity hidden while providing a level of care they need

10:33 Micheal Moonlight is Online

10:34 Damion Cazalet: Al;though you can't actually do the examination, you can help them learn e.g the surface markers for organs that they would need in a real examination.

10:34 Damion Cazalet: possibly by adding a layer of skinn that showed organ position within an avatar?

10:35 Polly Widdershins: and then layers of clothing that made them look as though they were in their skin again!

10:35 Kevin Vuckovic: does SL have a high enough resolution to be useful in identifying markers on organs?

10:36 Vivien Hapmouche: Perhaps you could get groups of students to comment on video footage of model examinations or patient interactions (with actors to overcome consent issues)

10:36 You: I believe it can, graphics can be as real as pictures

10:36 Polly Widdershins: I think so ... you can have quite a lot of detail. But it also offers the possibility of large builds

10:36 Ted Welles: That's the attractiveness of using a sim to build a body, you'd have a lot of prims.

10:37 audio Zenith: Yes the large build concept, 4 sims etc for a body is an amazing concept... walking through viens for example.

10:37 Polly Widdershins: Indeed.

10:37 Grey Lock: That would be truly astounding!

10:37 Damion Cazalet: We seem to have dealt with the communications side of things and with mannequin type things - what about independent simulations such as the ecosystems project where they have 'life-forms' interacting indepenedntly with eachother

10:37 Polly Widdershins: and also showing the effects of a cancer within the body, for example.

10:37 Kevin Vuckovic: this is the 'create a human island idea?

10:38 DrDoug Pennell: Am I correct that real patient simulation (or interaction) in SL would require an extraordinary level of scripting?

10:38 Polly Widdershins: my comments was, but I think Damion was moving more to the broader possibilities of public health, weren't you?

10:38 Polly Widdershins: not necessarily, Doug.

10:38 Grey Lock: I would imagine... any sort of movement / response would need to be scripted

10:39 Damion Cazalet: I agree, but I was thinking possibly at the level of cell-disease interaction

10:39 Polly Widdershins: some of it could be done on a simple level

10:39 Polly Widdershins: diagnosis, for example

10:39 Damion Cazalet: or possibly even disease spread through a population - students could alter parameters of the governing equations and see how it affacted the outcomes..

10:40 Polly Widdershins: The 'patient' end of the interactyion could be given quite detailed instructions on where they were feeling pain etc

10:40 Davis Stastny: love the concept as i said, with respect does know how many man hours would need to be involved in the human project

10:40 Austin Thatcher: hi, I'm late as usual

10:40 Vivien Hapmouche: Damion, perhaps the immune system might provide some nice examples as you get changes in shape that might use the technology

10:41 Polly Widdershins: There could be considerable commitments of man hours - and finding the funding for that is an issue

10:41 Polly Widdershins: I think we'd be looking at a series of projects that could involve some collaboration.

10:42 Ellie Brewster: also, students are a source of person-hours

10:42 Davis Stastny: please don't get me wrong, we are happy to participate just wondered if anyone had thought the project that far forward.

10:42 Existential Paine: What is currently out there in Second Life in terms of Health and Medicine/

10:42 Polly Widdershins: There is the mailing list

10:42 Polly Widdershins: people have been putting ideas out on that

10:42 You: There are hospitals .. clinics. Most are not run by real life staff

10:43 Davis Stastny: yes that is true Julieana

10:43 You: Most are involved in Sl familys .. birthing and such

10:43 Polly Widdershins nods

10:43 DrDoug Pennell: What would be a genreal ball-park amount of money required to create a basic patient sim. Such as the heart murmur lab?

10:44 Polly Widdershins: I think the level some of those have reached in terms of design is impressive

10:44 Polly Widdershins: I don't know - but I think we could look into it

10:44 Davis Stastny: I can get a number on that

10:44 Davis Stastny: we have a team of five working with our sim

10:45 Vivien Hapmouche: I believe the virtual bum cost some hundred's of thousands and involved quite a large group of diverse specialists

10:45 Polly Widdershins: I imagine it could be the sort of project Lindenlab might be interested in supporting (although not necessarily funding).

10:45 Ellie Brewster: But don't forget that the students themselves are a great resourcre.

10:45 You: I am part of a team making a live birth with avatar babies that are also interactive. the total cost from pregnancy to baby is around 500 US dollars

10:45 Davis Stastny: i am sure they could estimate

10:45 Polly Widdershins: They would certainly have ideas on man hour costings, I would think

10:45 Davis Stastny: love to see it

10:45 Polly Widdershins: me too

10:45 You: :)

10:46 You: scripter pay in SL is around 3500L per hour

10:46 Davis Stastny: thats why we use an internal team

10:46 You: :)

10:47 Polly Widdershins: and might look slightly iffy on a grant proposal

10:47 Quirky McArdle: professional scripters actually get three or four times that much

10:47 You: This is true Quirky

10:47 Damion Cazalet: is this auscultation sim something that we can have a look at?

10:48 audio Zenith: Yes for drawing academic funding the Real life company approach is probably far easier, accountability etc.

10:48 Polly Widdershins: In terms of the design elements, certainly

10:48 Davis Stastny: thank you for that

10:49 Dolly Ewing is Offline

10:49 Existential Paine: Thank you for the wonderful presentation and best of luck with your research in SL!

10:50 Polly Widdershins: I think we probably need to have defined the projects we want to pursue more clearly before we can look at the resourcing of their creations

10:50 Vivien Hapmouche: MZ is right one of the problems about using games and VP in education is that the students are used to professional games environments and universities cannot afford that sort of staffing or the video cards/PCs needed

10:50 Polly Widdershins: althogh it is very important too

10:51 Skubwa Prototype is Offline

10:51 Davis Stastny: just stepping back to an earlier mention...with the Virtual Hospital that was intitlally created. Does anyone have a connection to that so we may look at the opportunity of revitalizing that project

10:51 Davis Stastny: ?

10:52 audio Zenith: OK well this has been amazing

10:52 Polly Widdershins: yes, indeed.

10:52 Desideria Stockton: yes, thank you

10:52 Desideria Stockton: I am so blown away by the ideas

10:52 Quirky McArdle: tyvm

10:53 Polly Widdershins: Chris, thank you for giving us this opportunity

10:53 audio Zenith: I would like to sincerely thank Pauline Woolley & Dr Damion Young, University of Oxford for a wonderful engaging presentation, I think we can agree it was highly thought provoking. I will make the dialogue available as a PDF and link to it from here http://audiocourses.pbwiki.com/Spring-Festival-07

10:53 Emmadw Rickenbacker: Yes, many thanks - (and sorry to whoever I sat on by accident!)

10:53 Polly Widdershins: Thank you

10:53 Polly Widdershins: I also can supply anyone who's interested with copies of the slides.

10:53 audio Zenith: Polly I can host them also in the same document if you like

10:54 Polly Widdershins: that would be great

10:54 audio Zenith: Well Im going to spend all day considering how it would be to walk inside a human body.... blown me away :)

10:54 Polly Widdershins smiles

10:55 Polly Widdershins: I'll let you have my web address, too, Chris

10:55 Desideria Stockton: If you wish to show this presentation to others, it will be on display at the Literature Alive HeadQuarters, as well.

10:55 audio Zenith: Thank you Polly

10:55 Polly Widdershins: And if people want to give me their cards or offer friendship, I'm happy to accept, so we can carry this on.

10:55 DrDoug Pennell: Perhaps it woud make sense to organize this project - have different teams working on differnt body parts?

10:56 Polly Widdershins: Indeed, we could, if people were interested, form a group to take things further.

10:56 audio Zenith: If anyone would to join our wiki, pls email me, all very welcome.

10:56 audio Zenith: chambly AT gmail.com

10:57 Ellie Brewster: yes, I cann see you now.

10:58 Polly Widdershins: and you can reach me at medsciox@googlemail.com

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