Growing numbers of men and women are working with the World-wide-web for the provision of all sorts of well being solutions, from prescribing, by way of consulting to setting up automated self-therapy applications. But what about working with it for education and therapy? Soon after all, in theory, the ultimate type of cognitive behavioral therapy should really be ” virtual reality therapy.” By just wearing your wrap-about sound and vision multimedia headset you can be immediately transported to a cliff edge, soar in a plane thousands of feet above the ground or be surrounded by a gathering of thousands of spiders – based on your phobia. And the ultimate type of on the internet education should really be totally interactive, case primarily based and student driven, all of which I now use in my teaching in Second Life.

The phrase ” virtual reality” was coined by Jaron Lanier in 1989 to describe personal computer simulations of physical environments. Considering the fact that the mid-1990s, the video game business and 3D graphics card makers have driven forward the state of individual personal computer graphics, advancing it far beyond the requires of most company customers. These systems variety in capability from easy displays of 3D objects to whole virtual cities. Virtual reality systems are now becoming routinely implemented on individual computer systems for a range of activities. 1 of the most well-liked virtual reality applications is Second Life, made by Linden Lab, Inc. Second Life is a basic-objective virtual globe accessible by way of any World-wide-web-connected individual personal computer. In order to interact in Second Life, customers generate “avatars”, or animated characters, to represent themselves. Men and women use these avatars to maneuver by way of different “worlds”, total with buildings, geographical attributes, and other avatars. Even though the program borrows heavily from video game technologies, it is not a game – there are no points, no levels, no missions, and practically nothing to win. It is just a platform by which men and women can generate virtual communities, model geological, meteorological, or behavioral phenomena, or rehearse events. I have been functioning in Second Life for various years now.

Customers of Second Life involve a range of education organizations, from Harvard Law College to the American Cancer Society. There are presently locations of the virtual globe that deliver such disparate solutions as teaching heart sounds and auscultation method, giving social assistance for people with Asperger's Syndrome, and modeling the effects of tsunami on coastal towns. The program has more than 10 million account holders from all more than the globe, most of them with absolutely free simple accounts. Roughly 800,000 of these customers are active, with more than 80,000 of them connected to the program at any time. Virtual reality applications such as Second Life are increasingly becoming utilized for educational purposes in a range of fields, like healthcare instruction and disaster preparedness. Linden Lab presently operates the Second Life Education Wiki which functions as a supply of details for educators and trainers in a range of fields who want to use Second Life for distance understanding or substantial-scale instruction purposes. A quantity of government agencies, like the Division of Homeland Safety, the Centers for Illness Handle, the National Institutes of Overall health, and the National Science Foundation, have begun working with Second Life to hold meetings, conduct instruction sessions, and discover approaches to make access to details much more readily obtainable about the globe. A current complete survey intended to collect details on the activities, attitudes, and interests of educators active in Second Life performed by New Media Consortium reported that the majority utilized it for educational purposes such as teaching and taking classes as effectively as for faculty instruction and improvement.

I have been working with Second Life as a teaching and understanding atmosphere for various years now. With colleagues I have designed a ” virtual hallucinations” atmosphere, which demonstrates the lived expertise of psychosis and permits participants who travel by way of the atmosphere to expertise each visual and auditory hallucinations visions and voices. We utilized this atmosphere to teach this expertise to our healthcare and psychology students. With the California Division of Overall health and other colleagues I have designed a virtual bioterrorism crisis clinic to train well being workers, and much more not too long ago, as portion of our Overall health Informatics Certificate Plan, with University of California Davis Extension, we have taught informatics students in a virtual conference center on our personal private island Davis Island. Students come across the atmosphere simple to study to navigate, and inside a week of our informatics students becoming introduced to the atmosphere they have been capable to travel and tour about Second Life with the rest of us with ease.

Second Life and related multi-user environments give huge possibilities in the healthcare educational globe, exactly where such applications are now known as “critical games” rather than social or exciting software program. Students of the future will adapt to them pretty effortlessly, and it is clear that applications such as Second Life have a fantastic educational future ahead of them. I appear forward to continuing to teach classes of healthcare and graduate students “inworld”.