Sex and disability seminar: another great success!

June 14, 2008

Yesterday’s seminar was a huge success! Very many thanks to our guest speaker Cory Silverberg (SL:SeeLee Markstein) and to all our audience for the very lively discussion that lasted more than two hours. More than 40 avatars visited the UOP Sexual Health SIM yesterday, including three Lindens (Pathfinder Linden, Phoenix Linden and Malbers Linden), and members of the GimpGirl Community and Virtual Ability. They spent more than 3040 visitor-minutes or >50 visitor-hours on the parcel (mostly during the seminar), as shown in the official Second Life traffic figure for the SIM today, 13 June 2008, which reflects yesterday’s usage (12 June 2008–second snapshot below).

Click the image below to launch the event’s video in HD (High Definition). This is a short 2-minute clip created by Maged 
(http://www.vimeo.com/1166607).

Click to launch HD video.
Click above image to launch the HD video clip
(http://www.vimeo.com/1166607).

Click to enlarge.
Yesterday’s official Traffic figure (3047 min = >50 hrs). Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.
Other news: New branch in Second Life and more outreach! Click to enlarge. Part of our content is now mirrored at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Upadhyaya/50/80/86 (you will be teleported nearby to the main hub and can then easily find us in The Arcade, a very short walk from the main hub). Very many thanks to the ‘Second Life HIV/AIDS Network Headquarters’ for donating the space at no charge.

New overview machinima – HD quality 2′:38″

June 14, 2008

Click to play video.
http://www.vimeo.com/1170396

Scientific discourse 2.0. Will your next poster session be in Second Life®?

June 2, 2008

EMBO reports 9, 6, 496–499 (2008)
doi:10.1038/embor.2008.86

Scientific discourse 2.0. Will your next poster session be in Second Life®?

Stephen T Huang1, Maged N Kamel Boulos2 & Robert P Dellavalle3

1 Stephen T. Huang is at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, USA
2 Maged N. Kamel Boulos is at the University of Plymouth, UK
3 Robert P. Dellavalle is at the Denver Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center and the University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA.

Full-text PDF :
http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/v9/n6/pdf/embor200886.pdf

Full-text HTML :
http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/v9/n6/full/embor200886.html

Sex and disability seminar – 12 Jun 08

June 1, 2008

CorySilverberg.jpg
This will be an open Q&A and discussion about ‘sex and disability’, featuring Cory Silverberg, co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability–For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain and Illness (Cleis Press, 2007).

When:
Thursday 12 June 2008 at noon SLT (= 8 PM BST)

Where/organized by:
University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM in Second Life
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Education%20UK/33/63/22

About our guest speaker:
Cory Silverberg (SL:SeeLee Markstein) is an AASECT certified sexuality educator and one of the worker owners of Come As You Are, the world’s only democratically run, worker co-op sex store. For the past ten years Cory has worked as a sex educator, creating and facilitating workshops for organizations and groups on subjects including male sexuality, sexuality and disability, sexual communication, sex toys, and most recently sex and technology. He also works as a media consultant for US and Canadian television production companies (he was the long standing sex toy wrangler for Sue Johanson). Along with Dr. Miriam Kaufman and Fran Odette, Cory is the co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability. He writes about sexual health and pleasure for About.com (http://sexuality.about.com/), where he has been the Sexuality Guide since 2005 (About.com is part of The New York Times Company).

Book cover.The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability is a complete sex guide for people who live with disabilities, pain, illness, or chronic conditions. Useful for absolutely everyone, regardless of age, gender, or sexual orientation, the book addresses a wide range of disabilities — from chronic fatigue, back pain, and asthma to spinal cord injury, hearing and visual impairment, multiple sclerosis, and more. Written by a medical doctor, a sex educator, and a disability activist, The Ultimate Guide provides readers with encouragement, support, and all the information they need to create a sex life that works for them. The authors cover all aspects of sex and disability, including building a positive sexual self-image; positions to minimize stress and maximize pleasure; dealing with fatigue or pain during sex; finding partners and talking with partners about sex and disability; adapting sex toys; and more.

The Sojourner is offline

May 26, 2008

It is with much sorrow and many tears that I share with you the death of one of our best friends, The Sojourner, who offered us a free booth at DREAMS 3rd Annual Fair, 4-25 Apr 08.

Soj died on Sunday 25 May 2008 of heart failure after an extended struggle with her health.

I am sure we all send thoughts and prayers to her RL husband and son, and especially her beloved SL Dreams Community.

The Dreams group will be having a memorial, and I will keep our group informed, as we will want to support their group as much as we can.

Soj will be deeply missed. (Posted by SL:Gentle Heron.)

Related blog posts:
http://gwynethllewelyn.net/2008/05/26/the-sojourners-last-voyage/
http://lifetimestwo.blogspot.com/2008/05/sojourner-is-offline.html

Latest vistors’ stats (13 Mar 08 – 12 May 08)

May 12, 2008

Latest visitors’ stats

Our in-world public Group launched on 10 August 2007 now has 130 Members as at 11 May 2008, including two admin members (the core project team).

As at 12 May 2008 (1:00 AM SLT time), our SIM received more than 3350 unique visitors / avatars (all time) since our initial launch on 12 July 2007, up from about 2650 unique vistors on 12 March 2008 (12 Jul 07 – 12 Mar 08) — the corresponding figures with repeat visitors would be much higher. The highest peak concurrency figure was 24 avatars / visitors on 17 February 2008, followed by 16 visitors on 1 May 2008 (all figures not counting owner).

The total visitor-minutes spent on our land during the past 275 days (12 Aug 07 – 11 May 08, owner minutes excluded) was >33350 minutes — that is >555 hours, of them >130 hours were spent in the past two months (12 Mar 08 – 11 May 08), including >28 hours spent on 1 May 2008 alone.

More than 200 avatars have so far taken our in-world survey as at 12 May 2008 (all instances / responses counted, including incomplete ones).

Some of our blog stats follow below (10 Jul 07 – 11 May 08). Visitors from more than 70 countries have accessed this blog.

McKinsey (and Forrester): ignore Second Life at your peril!

May 9, 2008

A senior consultant at the company (McKinsey), which generally shies away from making public statements because its clients include major high street brands, said that any consumer-facing business “absolutely” had to be “experimenting in virtual worlds” if it wanted to get the attention of under 30s.

(…)

“What’s happening with Second Life right now is exactly what happened with the web in the early days,” Mr Rosedale (Linden Lab) said at an event in London this week. “People would say ‘the internet is a horrible place for brands, there’s all this stealing of property, and pornography’, and now what you find is that the web is used relentlessly for information-sharing purposes. We’re seeing exactly the same thing in Second Life.”

(…)

About $1.5 billion has been invested in companies developing technologies for virtual worlds in the past year and a half, according to a report published this week by Forrester, the analyst firm. Driven by the near complete penetration of broadband, an increasingly technology-friendly workforce, and cheap computing tools, the 3D web would be “the next major wave of the internet’s evolution,” the report said.

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article3803056.ece
Read the full news article online at

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/
tech_and_web/article3803056.ece

Snapshots from 1st May 08 seminar

May 5, 2008

Click to browse the 1 May 08 album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Machinima video date: 1-May-08 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHyXQBVU8ro

Related posts:
http://sl-sexualhealth.org.uk/?p=142
http://sl-sexualhealth.org.uk/?p=141
From the blogosphere: Christianity gets a Second Life stage to discuss Sexual Purity – itsReal

‘Sexual Purity and Healthy Relationships’ seminar: a big success!

May 2, 2008

Yesterday’s seminar was a big success! Very many thanks to our guest speakers, Fr Johann, Fr Joshua and Prebytera Anna, who have made this event possible, to GOARCH for the great ‘Sexual Purity and and Healthy Relationships’ video clip, which we were able to show part of in-world at the beginning of the seminar, and of course to all our audience yesterday, for their stimulating questions and thoughts, and the very lively discussion that lasted more than two hours. Special thanks also go to SL:Gentle Heron, who is a sex educator for people with disabilities, for bringing unique insight to the discussion yesterday. More than 25 avatars attended all or part of the seminar–the total number of unique avatars who have visited our SIM yesterday was >30. The total visitor-minutes on our parcel yesterday was 1690 or >28 hours, as shown in the offical Second Life parcel traffic figure this afternoon, reflecting all day yesterday (1 May 08)–the official visitor-minutes figure for the day before yesterday, i.e., 30 Apr 08, was 24 (see screenshot below). The 1st of May 08 figure of 1690 visitor-minutes is the highest figure our SIM has ever achieved in any single day since project launch in July 2007! More details and colour snapshots of the event will be posted in a follow-on post on this blog. Meanwhile, if you haven’t already done so, you can visit our SIM now and grab your free copy of the event’s goodies bag, which was offered to all participants yesterday; just touch the big pistachio ball located beside our “PowerPoint”/Video Viewer in-world to receive your copy.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

We will also be posting in due course access statistics of this blog you are reading now. So far visitors from more than 75 countries around the world have accessed content on this blog! Thank you all of you who are following us in-world and/or out-world for your continuing support and interest!

Seminar on ‘Sexual Purity and Healthy Relationships: A Christian Orthodox Perspective for the 21st Century’

May 1, 2008

Fr Johann Barak
Fathers Johann Barak and Joshua Tuchs (these are SL avatar names), who in RL are two Eastern Orthodox priests in USA, together with Presbytera Anna Hirschel (again, SL name–she is also in RL Eastern Orthodox and based in USA) will be holding a 60-90 minute seminar at our SIM in Second Life this Thursday, 1 May 2008, at 1:00 PM PDT/SLT = 9 PM BST (GMT+1) about ‘Sexual Purity and Healthy Relationships: A Christian Orthodox Perspective for the 21st Century’.

Our three speakers will hold an open discussion along the lines of this video:
http://realserver.goarch.org/ram/en/sexual_pur.ram – we will be showing a short segment of it in-world at the start of the seminar. They will be responding live (in text and voice) to your questions in-world. Fr Johann Barak, Fr Joshua Tuchs, and Presbytera Anna Hirschel believe that Orthodox Christianity has a strong and very important and practical message for the whole world, especially these days with the very recent announcement of the US CDC that 1 in every 4 American teenage girls has a sexually-transmitted infection (HPV) that can lead later in life to cervical cancer
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7290088.stm).

Join us on Thursday, 1 May 2008, at 1:00 PM PDT/SLT = 9 PM BST (GMT+1) at
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Education%20UK/18/36/22

Please join the debate!

April 24, 2008

I have posted two new personal thoughts / opinion snippets at http://healthcybermap.org/sl.htm under ‘Thoughts / opinion’. Please read them and post your comments here. (Read previous comments.)

April 2008:
Why 3D?
Web conferencing: 2D vs. 3D (or both), or ‘Why conduct events and meetings in Second Life?’

Previous snippet–July 2007:
Comparing the 2D Web to 3D multi-user, immersive virtual worlds


N.B. Non-gaming 3D worlds are not just SL (better drop the ‘virtual’ between ‘3D’ and ‘worlds’, as Twinity has done)–the following videos are about Sun’s MPK20 platform (for the first three, right-click > Save Target As…):

Videos
MPK20 Demo
Demo Video Screenshot
Quicktime, 4:58
Wonderland Phone
Phone Video Screenshot
Quicktime, 2:16
Interview
MPK20 Interview Video Screenshot
MP4, 10:34
Tutorial
Tutorial Video Screenshot
Streaming video

Dreams Fair – Sexual Health Discussion (16/4/08)

April 17, 2008

Yesterday, 16 Apr 08 at 12:00 noon PDT, MB facilitated an open Sexual Health Discussion held at the Dreams Third Annual Community Fair.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Other news: We are featured on p.16 of the latest March 2008 issue of SLang Life magazine –
http://www.slanglife.com/files/No3_table_of_contents.pdf

Search healia in-world

April 9, 2008

Now available at UOP Sexual Health SIM:
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Education%20UK/8/50/23
and in our booth at DREAMS Fair. A very simple script written by MB, using llListen and llSay. Makes good use of the built-in (internal) Mozilla Web browser. Can be further refined, e.g., to prevent it from listening to objects–no longer the case, to parse/filter avatar messages in various ways (for example, to replace spaces between search keywords with %20), and/or to use llLoadURL instead of llSaydone, etc. Currently set to listen on the public text chat channel, but can be easily modified to listen to a specified channel (avatars will then need to type /<channel#> before the search keyword)done.

Click to enlarge - healia_boulos9apr08.jpg
Click to enlarge.

Other news: MB will be talking about Sexual Health at the DREAMS Community Fair 2008 on Wed 16 Apr 08 @ 12:00 pm PDT/SLT.

Intute in SL: guess what are the most popular terms and their source?!

April 5, 2008

Quoting http://www.intute.ac.uk/blog/2008/03/28/dispatches-
from-the-virtual-frontier/

“Intute’s search terminals continue to be popular. (…) There are 80+ distinct search terms captured in the database, the most popular of the user entered terms (ie, not just the default terms initially loaded into the terminal) are ‘STD’ and ’sexual health’ which come from the Plymouth University Sexual Health project in SL.

 Plymouth University Sexual Health Project
Read more at http://www.intute.ac.uk/blog/2008/03/28/
dispatches-from-the-virtual-frontier/

Second Life is a trademark of Linden Research, Inc.

Visit our booth at DREAMS 3rd Annual Fair, 4-25 Apr 08

April 4, 2008

Thanks to SL:The Sojourner and her community/SIM for assisting people with stroke, Asperger Syndrome/autism, social phobias, and other neurological/mental difficulties, we have been offered a free space at DREAMS 3rd Annual Fair, 11-25 April 2008. Visit us at
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Dreams/219/85/25 (follow the red arrow to the red beam)

Click to enlarge.
Our booth at DREAMS 3rd Annual Fair, 4-25 Apr 08 (click to enlarge).

There will be lots of entertainment opportunities; a like-real, fully interactive amusement park; great games, visuals and music; other interesting health-related projects to learn about in the exhibition; and an excellent scientific programme (see below — as at 3 Apr 08).

Dreams Community Fair 2008 Schedule
April 4-11, 2008 – Booth Set-up
April 11-25,  2008 – Fair Presentations and Events
April 26, 2008 – Booth Take-down

April
F11     – 3:30-4:00 pm PST – Opening Remarks
              4:00-5:00 pm PST – Ideaman Concert
              5:00-8:00 pm PST – Dance for Life and Health with DJ Ricken Flow
             
Sa12     –  12:00 – 1:00 pm PST –  Intro to Sculpted Prims – Vlad Bjornson
                 2:30-3:30 pm PST – Gemini Glitter – Ouchies
                 4:00-5:00 pm PST – Overview of Free Sculpty Tools – Vlad Bjornson
                 5:00-6:00 pm PST – Survivorship – Marymac Dougall
                    
Su13     – 12:00-1:00 pm PST – Spaceman Opus Concert
                 1:00-2:00 pm PST – Grace McDunnough Concert
                 4:00-5:00 pm PST – Alphabet Soup of the Arteries – Ren Stonecutter
                 5:00-6:00 pm PST – Mental Health – Avalon Birke
                
M14     – 12:00-1:00 pm PST – Disabled SL-Peoples Association Discussion – Arcadian Meili
                 3:00-5:00  pm PST – T1 Radio Rock Block
                 6:00-7:00 pm PST – Speed Build with Golda
                
T15     –   1:00-2:00  pm PST – Tringo with Soj
                2:00-3:00 pm PST – Understanding Depression and its Link to Suicide – Amaya Summers
                6:00-7:30 pm PST – TongRen Therapy w/Tong Ren Writer/Support for Healing
                7:30-8:30 pm PST – Improving Memory as we Age – Arwen Gadsby
                
W16     – 12:00 pm PDT/SLT – Sexual Health – MB Chevalier
               5:00-7:00 pm PST – AS Meeting with Ariel Miranda
               (5:00-6:00 pm PST) – The Role of a Neuropsychologist – Arwen Gadsby

Th17     –  1:00-2:00 pm PST – Art and Museums in SL – Arria Perreault- Confederation of Democratic Simulators
                 3:00-4:00 pm PST – Coming of Age in SL Discussion with Tom Bukowski
                 5:00-7:30 pm PST – T1 Radio Mady’s Music Marathon
              
F18     – 1:00-3:00 pm PST – Brainacs – Basic Scripting – Deevyde Maelstrom
               3:00-4:00 pm PST – Women and HIV – Lizzette Zenovka
               4:00-5:30 pm PST – Warbot Construction – Deevyde Maelstrom
               5:30-7:00 pm PST – Brainiacs – Warbots Competition
             
Sa19    –    12:00-1:00 pm PST – Blue Angel – Poetry Reading – Persephone Phoenix
                  1:00-2:00 pm PST – GimpGurl  Community Info Session  – Aleja Asturias
                  1:00-2:00 pm  PST – The Show Must Go On – Osprey Therian /Enjah Mysterio
                  2:00-4:00 pm PST – Motorability Dance – DJ Amanda Shinji
                  4:00-5:30 pm PST – Crohns & Colitis – KirstenAnn Beck

Su20      –    8:00-9:30 am PST – TongRen Therapy w/Tong Ren Writer/Support for Healing
                   12:00-1:00 pm PST – Fighting Spirit Discussion – Poppy Zabelin ACS/Relay
                   3:00-4:00 pm PST – ACS Caregivers Discussion – Marissa Goodliffe
                   4:00-5:00 pm PST – Stroke Prevention and Early Recognition – Ren Stonecutter
                  5:00-7:30 pm PST – T1 Radio Play Something

M21       – 6:00-7:00 pm PST – Speed Build with Golda

T22        – 1:00-2:00 pm PST – Tringo with Soj
                 5:00-7:30 pm PST – T1 Radio Play Something
                 6:00-7:30 pm PST – TongRen Therapy w/Tong Ren Writer/Support for Healing

W23     –  5:00-7:00 pm PST – AS Meeting with Ariel Miranda

Th24    –   6:00-7:00 pm PST – Micala Lumiere Concert

F25     –   12:00-1:00 pm PST – Medical Ethics – Avalon Birke
                1:00-4:00 pm PST – Linden Dunk – Mia Linden
               7:00-8:00 pm PST – Understanding Depression and its Link to Suicide – Amaya Summer

Second Life is a trademark of Linden Research, Inc.

HTML-on-a-prim Sexual Health Web Content browser test

March 19, 2008

How to use it: While standing close to the new UOP logo panel at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Education%20UK/18/37/23, click the Movie/ Web Content Play (>) button to start. The panel will then cycle through a number of Web pages, displaying them one after the other (the pages are retrieved and rendered in real time; these are not stored Web page images). If you find a page of interest to you, click on it to further open it in an in-world Mozilla Web browser instance. (These instructions will also display in-world the first time your avatar comes close to the HTML-on-a-prim panel.)

Click to enlarge.
HTML-on-a-prim experiment. Click to enlarge.

SIM promotion at SFEU event

March 18, 2008

On Monday 17 March 2008, the UOP Sexual Health SIM was featured at an in-world event organised by the Scottish Further Education Unit (SFEU) in Second Life. You can watch the intro clip by Annamarie Kelly (SL:Edugirl Okelly), E-learning Advisor, SFEU, by clicking her image below. (It’s an excellent introduction, apart from her wrong pronunciation of Maged’s name — the ‘g’ should be pronounced like the ‘g’ in ‘get’ :-)

 http://annamarie.sweetchucks.com/annamariewelcome.m4v

—————————————————————————
Schedule for SFEU Second Life Event: Monday March 17th 2008

10.45 – 11.00 Welcome and ‘Meet and Greet’ opportunity to network in world

11.00 – 11.05 Introduction to Second Life and focus of event from Annamarie Kelly

11.05 – 11.15 Presentation from Pauline Randal from Elmwood college – using Second Life within Scottish Colleges with Q&A opportunities

11.15 – 11.25 A YouTube presentation from Maged N Kamel Boulos from Plymouth University, on how they are using Second Life as part of their sexual health teaching with Q&A opportunities

11.25 – 11.35 Networking opportunities and exploration of spot-lighted resources (BlendED, SOLAR, TESEP, Subject Mentors)

11.35 – 11.55 Tour of Second Life teleporting to 2 locations of interest

11.55 – 12.10 Questions and Answers – “How can SL be used to support learning?”

12.15 Close
—————————————————————————

Many thanks, Annamarie, for organising and hosting this excellent event and offering us the opportunity to promote our work!

newhivcentre.jpg
Also yesterday evening, Maged was invited to contribute to the initial closed discussions about populating (with suitable content) a new ‘AIDS and HIV CENTER’ that will soon open at Healthinfo Island.

Latest vistors’ stats (13 Feb 08 – 12 Mar 08)

March 12, 2008

Latest visitors’ stats

Our blog is still the first hit in Google for the keywords “sexual health” + “Second Life”. Our in-world public Group launched on 10 August 2007 now has 128 Members as at 12 March 2008, up from 92 Members on 12 February 2008, 84 Members on 12 January 2008, and 80 Members on 14 December 2007 — figures include two admin members (the core project team).

Also as at 12 March 2008 (1:00 AM SLT time), our SIM received more than 2650 unique visitors/avatars (all time) since our initial launch on 12 July 2007, up from about 2170 unique vistors on 12 February 2008 (12 Jul 07 – 12 Feb 08), 1890 unique visitors on 12 January 2008 (12 Jul 07 – 12 Jan 08), and 1650 unique visitors on 13 December 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Dec 07) — the corresponding figures with repeat visitors would be much higher. The highest peak concurrency figure was 24 avatars/visitors on 17 February 2008, followed by 14 visitors on both 12 September 2007 and 13 December 2007 (all figures not counting owner).

The total visitor-minutes spent on our land during the past 214 days (12 Aug 07 – 11 Mar 08, owner minutes excluded) was >25500 minutes — that is >425 hours, of them >95 hours were spent in the past month (12 Feb 08 – 11 Mar 08), (including >26 hours spent on 17 February 2008 alone), and >65 hours between 13 January 2008 and 11 February 2008.

More than 170 avatars have so far taken our in-world survey as at 11 March 2008 (all instances/responses counted, including incomplete ones).

At last: flat Web browsing now “fully” integrated into/inside Second Life!

March 9, 2008

Introduced in the latest Second Life RC viewer 1.19.1.0. This is excellent news for our SIM and all other Second Life places pointing visitors to flat Web content or offering them large collections of flat Web URLs to browse! Click the snapshot below to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.
See also:
http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Media_on_a_parcel (more is in the pipe; this is just the start) and
http://ddmcollective.blogspot.com/2008/03/html-on-prim-sort-of.html and
http://www.sluniverse.com/pics/Default.aspx?Search=html%20on%20a%20prim and
http://sl-sexualhealth.org.uk/?p=131

[Update – 2 Apr 08] Now also supported in the latest official viewer: Second Life Release 1.19.1 (4).

Project to be featured in next issue of the printed SLang Life magazine

March 5, 2008

SL'ang Life Magazine logo.On Saturday, 9 February 2008, Maged delivered an invited session about the UOP Sexual Health SIM at an event hosted by SL’ang Life island (Webin-world). Today, he received the following note in-world from the event organiser (posted here with permission):

We’d like to thank you once again for your participation in the Health Care Conference at SlangLife Library. We are happy to inform that the event will be featured in March issue of the SL’ang Life magazine. In order to get free copy, please fill in the subscription form at
http://www.slanglife.com

We will be very pleased if you consider joining us on the last weekend of March at the conference on mental health support. Please note that your presentation will be considered as a eventual article for April issue of our magazine. More info soon.

Please contact Uzi Boa or Morrigan Polanski with any suggestions or questions.

Best Regards,
Uzi Boa

Another project dissemination opportunity (8 May 2008)

March 4, 2008

8 May 2008Maged has accepted an invitation to speak about the UOP Sexual Health SIM at the Changes in the Higher Education Market Conference to be held on 8 May 2008 at the London School of Economics (LSE) on the South Bank in London. More details will be posted on the conference Web site in due course.

UOP Sexual Health SIM featured in UK universities SL picture set

March 4, 2008

Click to enlarge.Check out:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/silversprite/2304824921/in/set
-72157603982005324/

This is part of a larger effort, study and Flickr picture set. The latest Eduserv Foundation-funded study into UK universities, colleges and academics developing “stuff” in Second Life, and using this for teaching and learning, is underway. Fuller details are blogged here: www.silversprite.com/?p=460

Other recent online mentionings of our project:
> http://midwiferyeducation.blogspot.com/2008/02/
birthing-centres-in-second-life.html

> http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/335/7630/1122

Featured comment on ‘Free (virtual) male condoms for every visitor!’

February 23, 2008

Kix Kayamanu
Comment by Kix Kayamanu on 23 February 2008:
http://sl-sexualhealth.org.uk/?
p=14#comment-3426

    

Well, our virtual condoms remain 100% free, and also come with a comprehensive information pack! Thanks, Kix, for stopping by our blog and joining our in-world group!

A century of Members!

February 19, 2008

Our in-world public Group now has more than 110 Members as at 19 February 2008, up from 92 Members on 12 February 2008. A big ‘thank you’ to all our audience/community and supporters in Second Life! Seems our latest seminar has resulted in some very strong ‘after-effects’! How amazing are the social dynamics of 3-D blended realities!

Click to enlarge.

However, our audience is not fully represented by/in this Group. We don’t put much emphasis/attention on the number of its Members (but still take it as a positive sign/metric), since the largest majority of our daily and seminar visitors (>95%) are not Members of this Group and, in many cases, cannot be, as Linden imposes a limit on the number of Groups an avatar can join (25). Groups are needed for building and for other land permissions, and for many other in-world transactions that cannot be done without joining a corresponding Group. So with the limited quota of 25, people have difficult choices and priorities to make in this respect.

‘Opening Up – A Guide for Women’ seminar: a huge success!

February 18, 2008

18 February 2008: Yesterday’s seminar entitled ‘Opening Up – A Guide for Women’, the third in our bimonthly sexual health seminar series, was a big success! Many thanks to our guest speaker SL:Jenn Twin from Canada, and to all those who have attended and contributed to the long chat with Jenn after the seminar.

Snapshots of the event are available at
http://sl-sexualhealth.org.uk/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=3
http://sl-sexualhealth.org.uk/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=3

We chose a starting time that would suit both people in North America and those in Europe (7pm GMT). The seminar went very well. It lasted about an hour and half (one hour for the formal seminar, followed by half an hour of informal audience chatting with Jenn), and involved lots of audience-speaker and audience-audience interactivity/chatting.

About 41 unique avatars visted our SIM on the day of the seminar (17 February 2008). They spent in total more than 1600 minutes on our parcel (that’s >26 hours). Peak concurrency was 24 avatars during the time of the event, excluding the project’s team. This is our highest ever peak concurrency since project launch in July 2007. The event had a solid attendance, with most of the peak concurrency maintained (>20 avatars present) throughout almost the whole formal seminar duration (7-8pm GMT).

Click to enlarge.
Our Second Life official parcel Traffic figure on 18 February 2008 at 15:30 GMT, reflecting actual traffic/total visitors’ minutes on 17 February 2008, the day we had the ‘Opening Up – A Guide for Women’ event: 1687 visitor-minutes, the highest figure our SIM has ever achieved in any single day since project launch in July 2007! Also as at 17 February 2008, our in-world public Group now has 99 Members, up from 92 Members on 12 February 2008.

Why ‘in SL and not in “any” website’?

February 13, 2008

A user on the SLHEALTH list recently wrote: > “One of the aspects that would interest me is what are the benefits of using a serious game in SL and not in “any” website“.

MNK Boulos replied: This is indeed one of the most important and challenging questions/tasks. Question: Why ‘in SL and not in “any” website’. Task: To identify the unique affordances/’raison(s) d’être’ of Second Life (and direct compatibles)*** in medical/health education, what it can do better or best (there are many things), and what it can’t do at all or well. Many simulations can still be designed and run more efficiently and effectively in Macromedia Flash, e.g., Edheads’ interactive Virtual Hip Replacement http://www.edheads.org/activities/hip/index.htm and Knee Surgery http://www.edheads.org/activities/knee/index.htm. Flash also allows multi-user interactive applications/chat (in fact Metaplace http://www.metaplace.com/ is based on Flash). Other more powerful platforms also exist, e.g., http://www.trusim.com/

MNK Boulos – 13 Feb 08
*** Like the new OpenLife Grid http://openlifegrid.com/ and the other OpenSim-based public grids, e.g., http://virtualworldgrid.com/http://deepgrid.com/http://centralgrid.com/ and http://osgrid.org/
(see this message)

[Update] Another reply: “The most interesting thing about SL is the communication with many different cultures, ages, and nationalities, people with different interests and goals. Having activities in a more sterile environment is less interesting, even though the game quality could be better.  Support groups are here also, a key aspect of learning.

MNK Boulos‘ reply: I agree, but many social networking and communication sites are already doing exactly this, e.g., Sermo http://sermo.com/, Facebook, Paltalk http://www.paltalk.com/, YouTube, etc. and also feature embedded games and videos (not just links to them), both synchronous and asynchronous discussion/chat tools, as well as vibrant ‘support groups’ for all sorts of topics/themes and communities.

More replies: [1], [2].

3D tour of the testis in Second Life

February 13, 2008

Information and landmark are currently available at the Sexual Health SIM (inside the glass building).

Click to enlarge.
Access point for the new 3D virtual tour of the testis (touch in-world for info and landmark–thanks to SL:DrDoug Pennell from The Ohio State University for sharing his 3D tour with us).

Latest vistors’ stats (13 Jan 08 – 12 Feb 08)

February 12, 2008

Latest visitors’ stats

Our blog is still the first hit in Google for the keywords “sexual health” + “Second Life”, and was also featured as a ‘rceommended resource’ in an article by Elisabeth Marrapodi (SL:Brielle Coronet) entitled ‘Get a Second Life’ that was published in the latest issue of National Network vol. 32 (3) January 2008 pp. 12-13.

Our in-world public Group launched on 10 August 2007 now has 92 Members as at 12 February 2008, up from 84 Members on 12 January 2008, 80 Members on 14 December 2007, and 66 Members on 13 November 2007 — figures include three admin members (the core project team).

Also as at 12 February 2008 (1:00 AM SLT time), our SIM received more than 2170 unique visitors/avatars (all time) since our initial launch on 12 July 2007, up from about 1890 unique visitors on 12 January 2008 (12 Jul 07 – 12 Jan 08), 1650 unique visitors on 13 December 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Dec 07), and 1300 unique visitors on 13 November 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Nov 07) — the corresponding figures with repeat visitors would be much higher. The highest peak concurrency figure was 14 visitors on both 12 September 2007 and 13 December 2007 (all figures not counting owner).

The total visitor-minutes spent on our land during the past 184 days (12 Aug 07 – 11 Feb 08, owner minutes excluded) was >19940 minutes — that is >330 hours, of them >65 hours were spent in the past month (13 Jan 08 – 11 Feb 08), and >50 hours between 14 December 2007 and 12 January 2008.

More than 150 avatars have so far taken our in-world survey as at 11 February 2008.

Project promotion at SL’ang Life Health Care Event

February 9, 2008

SL'ang Life Magazine logo.On Saturday, 9 February 2008, SL’ang Life island (Webin-world) hosted a large Health Care Event from 9 am – 5:30 pm SLT. They invited Maged to talk about the University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM. The session about our SIM was very well attended and received by an audience of more than 30 avatars, and was a good opportunity to promote our work, as well as next week’s seminar.

Event snapshots:
http://sl-sexualhealth.org.uk/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=2
See also:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/slml/2251734386/ and http://bloghud.com/id/18528/

Our next seminar: ‘Opening Up – A Guide for Women (and their lovers)’

February 8, 2008

jenn.jpgThis brief presentation will give women of all ages a starting point in which to speak to their partners about their own sexuality, their preferences, and their boundaries.  Men interested in improving their own sexual health are also welcome to attend.  This will be a fun and practical session where audience participation is encouraged.  :) 

About the Presenter: Jenn Twin is an experienced Sexual Health Educator based in Canada in RL, with nearly 10 years experience in the field.  She has written a literature review on condom distribution programmes in schools, has worked to develop programming for Planned Parenthood, and is currently working on developing services for sexual assault victims.

When/where: Sunday,  17 February 2008 @ 11:00 AM SLT/7:00 PM UK/GMT at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Education%20UK/33/63/22

Have you tried the new WindLight viewer? The snapshot below shows our new sky and sea as rendered in WindLight (click to enlarge).

boulos_uopshsim_windlight.jpg
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Warning: Requires beefy graphics card to cope with ‘Ultra’ quality settings (in SL ‘Preferences’)!

Featured comment on Second Life impact measurement and metrics

January 23, 2008

Virtual Psychology - Real ResearchBy Simon Bignell (SL: Milton Broome):
http://sl-sexualhealth.org.uk/?p=77#comments

See also:
http://artfossett.blogspot.com/2008/01/thinking-about-learning-impact-of.html
and http://dis.shef.ac.uk/sheila/evaluating-notecard.pdf

Join our in-world group today

January 19, 2008

Direct link:
secondlife:///app/group/55909603-c4a1-ff83-a0e7-53f114f6398b/about

BoulosSHSIMGroup19Jan08.jpg
Our in-world public Group launched on 10 August 2007 now has 87 Members as at 21 January 2008. We regularly send information Notices and updates to our members (some of our latest Notices are shown above – Notices are archived for 30 days).

Interactive exhibit design in Second Life

January 19, 2008

“What makes a great interactive exhibit?  How can you turn your wild ideas into experiences that excite and inspire visitors?  How can you create virtual exhibits that translate well to the real world?

These galleries explore these questions and provide some starting points for you as you design your own exhibits:”
http://slurl.com/secondlife/The%20Tech/128/128/30

BoulosTheTech19Jan08.jpg
“Give people facts and you feed their minds for an hour. Awaken curiosity and they feed their own minds for a lifetime.” –Ian Russell

Latest vistors’ stats (14 Dec 07 – 13 Jan 08)

January 13, 2008

 Latest visitors’ stats
Our blog is now the first hit in Google for the keywords “sexual health” + “Second Life”. Our in-world public Group launched on 10 August 2007 now has 84 Members as at 12 January 2008, up from 80 Members on 14 December 2007, 66 Members on 13 November 2007 and 25 Members on 12 August 2007 — figures include three admin members (the core project team). Also as at 12 January 2008 (end of the day, SLT time), our SIM received more than 1890 unique visitors/avatars (all time) since our initial launch on 12 July 2007, up from about 1650 unique visitors on 13 December 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Dec 07), 1300 unique visitors on 13 November 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Nov 07), 940 unique visitors on 13 October 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Oct 07), 590 unique visitors on 13 September 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Sep 07), and 210 unique visitors on 11 August 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 11 Aug 07) — the corresponding figures with repeat visitors would be much higher. The highest peak concurrency figure was 14 visitors on both 12 September 2007 and 13 December 2007 (all figures not counting owner). The total visitor-minutes spent on our land during the past 154 days (12 Aug 07 – 12 Jan 08, owner minutes excluded) was >15900 minutes — that is >265 hours, of them >50 hours were spent in the past 30 days (14 Dec 07 – 12 Jan 08), and >95 hours between 14 November 2007 and 13 December 2007 (including >20 hours on 13 Dec 07 alone)! More than 140 avatars have so far taken our in-world survey as at 12 January 2008. (P.S. We had a nice Christmas tree and snow emitter in our SIM over the Christmas and New Year period.)

Healthcare on Web 2.0 (including Second Life)

January 8, 2008

Expert View, HIMSS EMEA Web site (8 Jan 08):
http://emea.himss.org/enewsletters/expert_archive/2008/expertviews_01-1.html

A PDF copy is also available here.

A Second Life for education?

December 18, 2007

Article by Chris Stephens (Intute.ac.uk) mentioning the UOP Sexual Health SIM and much more:
http://www.intute.ac.uk/artsandhumanities/blog/2007/12/15/advent-calendar-a-second-life-for-education

Latest visitors’ stats (monthly update)

December 14, 2007

Latest visitors’ stats

Our Technorati blog authority is now 26 (up from 21 on 14 November 2007, 16 on 14 September 2007 and 5 at the beginning of August 2007). Our in-world public Group launched on 10 August 2007 now has 80 Members as at 14 December 2007, up from 66 Members on 13 November 2007 and 25 Members on 12 August 2007 — figures include three admin members (the core project team). Also as at 13 December 2007 (end of the day, SLT time), our SIM received more than 1650 unique visitors/avatars (all time) since our initial launch on 12 July 2007, up from about 1300 unique visitors on 13 November 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Nov 07), 940 unique visitors on 13 October 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Oct 07), 590 unique visitors on 13 September 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Sep 07), and 210 unique visitors on 11 August 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 11 Aug 07) — the corresponding figures with repeat visitors would be much higher. The highest peak concurrency figure was 14 visitors (not counting owner) on 12 September 2007 and 13 December 2007, followed by 12 visitors on 6 December 2007, 11 visitors on 29 November 2007, and 7 visitors on 2 November 2007 (again, all figures not counting owner). The total visitor-minutes spent on our land during the past 124 days (12 Aug 07 – 13 Dec 07, owner minutes excluded) was >12900 minutes — that is >215 hours, of them >95 hours were spent in the past 30 days (14 Nov 07 – 13 Dec 07, including >20 hours on 13 Dec 07 alone)! More than 130 avatars have so far taken our in-world survey as at 13 December 2007. Our project has been presented at various in-world and out-world/local and international events and conferences, and even briefly featured in the sBMJ issue of Dec 07.

Family planning and contraceptives seminar: a big success!

December 14, 2007

14 December 2007: Yesterday’s seminar about family planning and contraceptives, the second in our bimonthly sexual health seminar series, was a real success! Many thanks to our guest speaker SL:Babette Hoobinoo, and to all those who have attended and contributed to the discussions during and after the seminar.

Contraception1_Boulos13Dec07.jpg Contraception2_Boulos13Dec07.jpg Contraception3_Boulos13Dec07.jpg
Contraception4_Boulos13Dec07.jpg Contraception5_Boulos13Dec07.jpg Click to enlarge.
Snapshots taken during the ‘Family planning and contraceptives’ seminar on 13 December 2007, 8-10pm GMT.

We tried a time that would suit both people in North America and those in Europe (8-10pm GMT). The seminar went well. It lasted about two hours and involved lots of audience-speaker and audience-audience interactivity: discussions, questions/answers, and even an avatar from the audience relating their personal experience with one of the contraceptive methods! We also had a quiz (a copy of the questions and answers is now available via the Notecard giver ball beside our PowerPoint display unit by the ocean).

About 33 unique avatars visted our SIM on the day of the seminar (13 December 2007). They spent in total more than 1200 minutes on our parcel (that’s >20 hours). Peak concurrency was 14 avatars during the time of the event.

Click to view full size image.
Our Second Life official parcel Traffic figure on 14 December 2007, reflecting actual traffic/total visitors’ minutes on 13 December 2007, the day we had the ‘Family planning and contraceptives’ event: 1276 up from 304 the day before.

Join us this Thursday 13 Dec 07 at 20:00 GMT / noon SLT

December 12, 2007

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

One of our visitors sent us a message saying “Isn’t it an oxymoron to have a Christmas tree (the celebration of a birth) during the Contraception Seminar….?  Not judging… just find this humorous….“.

Our reply was “Not at all. Our position is neutral; please read this: http://sl-sexualhealth.org.uk/?p=49  Plus there are natural methods and very valid reasons for family planning approved by the Eastern Orthodox Church http://orthodoxwiki.org/Contraception“.

At CELDA 2007

December 11, 2007

celda2007.jpgKamel Boulos MN, Wheeler S, Toth-cohen S. Designing for learning in 3-D virtual worlds: the University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM experience in Second Life. In Proceedings of IADIS International Conference on Cognition and Exploratory Learning in Digital Age (CELDA 2007), 7-9 December 2007, Algarve, Portugal. Edited by Kinshuk, Sampson DG, Spector JM, Isaías P. IADIS Press, 2007, pp. 401-406 (ISBN: 978-972-8924-48-5) – Full text (PDF); slides (PDF)

Project promotion at key in-world event

December 2, 2007

Yesterday (1 December 2007), Healthinfo Island celebrated the World AIDS Day 2007, and invited Maged to talk about the University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM. The session about our SIM was very well attended and received by the audience (see snapshots below).

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World AIDS Day 2007 at Healthinfo Island (1 December 2007) – snapshot by Namro Orman
HII_W-AIDS-D_MB-talking_Boulos1Dec07-1.jpg
World AIDS Day 2007 at Healthinfo Island (1 December 2007)
HII_W-AIDS-D_MB-talking_Boulos1Dec07-2.jpg
World AIDS Day 2007 at Healthinfo Island (1 December 2007)

Wear a skin disease!

December 1, 2007

Try it out in-world now at our SIM!  (look for our new ‘AIDS-related Kaposi Sarcoma Experience’ dispenser inside the glass building)

Below is a snapshot of a very ‘quick-and-dirty’ AIDS-related Kaposi Sarcoma “skin” for use in-world (it’s actually a transparent undershirt with the lesions). People wearing it are able to see and experience on their own avatar how Kaposi Sarcoma looks/feels in AIDS patients. Of course the same principle can be expanded, refined and used to role-play patients with various skin conditions/presentations and at various stages of their disease (to show progress, worsening or healing). Such “patients” (driven by real humans behind the PCs, who should also have full patient knowledge about the conditions they are role-playing) can be used to train clinicians in-world (esp. on rare conditions and for undergraduate teaching). A kind of a virtual clinical round, you may call it, where trainee clinicians can also ask these virtual patients questions (history taking) and get intelligent answers by the patients in real time (using voice or text or both), conduct clinical examination in the usual way (avatars can take off clothes :-), ask for investigations, receive feedback, and have additional sensorial inputs in-world like streaming audio/videos (live or on-demand), photos and text, as well as links to flat Web pages and resources.

aids_kaposi_skin.jpg

One can easily zoom into the lesions, and high-resolution is possible. One can wear a skin and take it off/wear another one in almost no time (but it takes considerable skill and time to develop these skins–thanks to SL:Bailey Yifu for the AIDS-related Kaposi Sarcoma one). This can help demonstrating the progress of a lesion/response to treatment (e.g., depending on trainee clinician’s answers in-world, the person role-playing the patient can switch to/show the appropriate corresponding or matching skin, so that the trainee doctor is also able to see the effect of their diagnosis and treatment).

See also: IBM uses 3D imaging to visualise patient records (E-Health Insider – 27 September 2007)
http://www.e-health-insider.com/news/3066/ibm_uses_3d_imaging_to_visualise_patient_records

–M.N.K. Boulos – 30 Nov 07

[Published] When mirror and virtual worlds converge…

December 1, 2007

Web GIS in practice V: 3-D interactive and real-time mapping in Second Life
Maged N Kamel Boulos, David Burden
International Journal of Health Geographics 2007, 6:51
[PubMed/MEDLINE]

geslmashup.jpg

The paper covers is the convergence potentials of mirror worlds and virtual worlds, which together with lifelogging and augmented reality, will create the full 3-D Internet/Metaverse in a decade or so from now.

Access to Worldmapper’s HIV/AIDS maps

November 25, 2007

Click to enlarge.
New rotating Earth globe providing access to two Worldmapper‘s maps of HIV prevalence and HIV/AIDS deaths.

1 December 2007 is World AIDS Day.

Seminar and sex education material by Barbara Hastings-Asatourian

November 19, 2007

Barbara Hastings-Asatourian (SL:Babette Hoobinoo), Managing Director of Contraception Education and Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing at the University of Salford, has kindly agreed to deliver an in-world seminar about Contraception on 13 December 2007 at 8:00 PM (UK/GMT time = 12:00 PM/noon SLT) at the University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM in Second Life. Barbara also contributed some excellent material (20 video links, in-world slides/quiz and articles) to the UOP Sexual Health SIM (see snapshot below).

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge. ‘Learning to prevent AIDS‘ interview/article display and link to 20 YouTube videos (blue HTTP cube) contributed to the UOP Sexual Health SIM by Barbara Hastings-Asatourian (inset bottom right).

Second Life impact measurement and metrics

November 18, 2007

Second Life impact measurement and metricsI recently received the following query via e-mail:

How can (if it can) the “impact” of using SL for educational purposes such as an in-world seminar or tutorial, over not using SL, be “measured” or quantified?

Following is my quick reply (copied from two separate e-mail replies of mine):

e-mail 1: SL has its parcel traffic metrics/user tracking tools like any other more conventional Web-based system. You would measure the impact (depending on specific contexts/subject matters) like you would do for any more conventional Web-based or digital (e.g., CD/DVD-ROM) system; surveys, focus groups and interviews are among the tools + the more quantitative automatic usage metrics (see my second e-mail below).

e-mail 2: “Measuring” the “impact” is very tied to the subject you are using SL for, AND the way you are using SL to serve this subject, plus other factors like audience profiles, etc. Hence I would avoid saying that one would be measuring the impact of SL in education in general, or comparing SL with the flat Web. A bad production or movie should not be taken as an evidence that the motion picture/cinema has no impact or is all bad, just because some producer doesn’t know how to use it properly. Also in addition to the points mentioned in my first reply to you concerning this question, I would also include analysis of chat logs/session recordings, course outcomes/exam results and effect on drop-out rates (esp. in distance learning courses) among the evaluation tools/metrics. But everything should be interpreted with a grain of salt (you might be measuring ‘production quality’ or ‘fitness for purpose’ of the specific instance at hand, rather than SL (or the flat Web) as a tool). And quantitative metrics alone are not a very useful measure; a popular site is not necessarily one that users have found (later, after visiting) useful, or one that has resulted (again, later after the visits have been counted) in a positive change in their knowledge, attitude and behaviour! (Behaviour is the most difficult of the three, (knowledge, attitude and behaviour–in this order), to change/measure.) For some SL metrics tools, check out:
http://www.second-labs.com/
http://www.mayarealities.com/
http://www.code4software.com/VTracker.aspx
http://www.slmetrics.com/

[N.B.: In SL, users can frequently zoom into some object and even fully interact with it at a distance (Client menu > untick ‘Limit Select Distance’ and tick ‘Disable Camera Constraints’). In such cases a parcel’s visitor counter/sensor would be useless, as it would fail to count this type of usage/interaction with content on the parcel. But individual objects on the parcel can be designed to have their own scripts for logging such interactions that involve touching or clicking the object at a distance (but still not simple ‘zooms into’ the object).]

M.N.K. Boulos – 13, 18 Nov 07

When mirror and virtual worlds converge…

November 17, 2007

First let me thank all those who sent me words of praise and encouragement in private e-mails or on the Second Life Healthcare Support and Education list and elsewhere online concerning the Health Information and Libraries Journal paper. Maged’s next, soon-to-be-published Second Life paper is co-authored with Eur Ing David Burden of Daden Limited, and is about the convergence of mirror worlds and virtual worlds, which together with lifelogging and augmented reality, will create the full 3-D Internet/Metaverse in a decade or so from now. The paper also covers and reflects on original health-related work we have done in this area, so watch this space!

New improved Second Life search makes the Sexual Health SIM more findable

November 17, 2007

The UOP Sexual Health SIM can now be found using a much wider range of keywords, including keywords that don’t appear in the SIM’s parcel description like ‘herpes‘. Maged did the necessary changes last week to enable this new SL functionality for the UOP Sexual Health SIM. The main parcel description string now supports longer, multiline text, plus individual objects can be made “searchable” by ticking the new ‘Show in Search’ option in the object Edit dialog box. This “adds” object descriptions to the main parcel description, thus increasing the range of keywords that can be used to search for our SIM.

The new ‘Show in Search’ option in the object Edit dialog box

Just published

November 15, 2007

HIR cover.Article title: Second Life: an overview of the potential of 3-D virtual worlds in medical and health education

Authors: Maged N. Kamel Boulos, Lee Hetherington & Steve Wheeler

Volume 24, Issue 4, Pages 233-245, Cover Date December 2007

Journal Name: Health Information and Libraries Journal

Click here to go to the abstract of this article in Blackwell Synergy:
http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1471-1842.2007.00733.x  [PubMed/MEDLINE]

Latest visitors’ stats

November 14, 2007

Latest visitors’ stats

Our Technorati blog authority is now 21 (up from 16 on 14 September 2007 and 5 at the beginning of August 2007). Our in-world public Group launched on 10 August 2007 now has 66 Members as at 13 November 2007, up from 25 Members on 12 August 2007 — figures include three admin members (the core project team). Also as at 13 November 2007 (end of the day, SLT time), our SIM received more than 1300 unique visitors/avatars (all time) since our initial launch on 12 July 2007, up from about 940 unique visitors on 13 October 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Oct 07), 590 unique visitors on 13 September 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Sep 07), and 210 unique visitors on 11 August 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 11 Aug 07) — the corresponding figures with repeat visitors would be much higher. The highest peak concurrency figure was 14 visitors (not counting owner) on 12 September 2007, followed by 7 visitors on 2 November 2007 (again, not counting owner). The total visitor-minutes spent on our land during the past 94 days (12 Aug 07 – 13 Nov 07, owner minutes excluded) was >7300 minutes (that is >120 hours!). More than 110 avatars have so far taken our in-world survey as at 13 November 2007.

UOP Sexual Health SIM on CNN SL I-Reports

November 10, 2007

Get the CNN HUD at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Future/214/203/27

Click to enlarge - UOP Sexual Health SIM on CNN SL I-Reports.
UOP Sexual Health SIM on CNN SL I-Reports (click to enlarge).

Women’s health expo and conference

November 7, 2007

On 7 November 2007, starting at 8 AM SLT, on Oleander island there will be an island-wide women’s health expo and conference. SL:PCOSGurl Infinity was very kind to offer us an exhibit space for the UOP Sexual Health SIM.

women_health7Nov07.jpg women_health7Nov07-2.jpg
Maged speaking about the Sexual Health SIM at the women’s health expo and conference Click thumbnails to enlarge.

Plymouth 2.0!

October 31, 2007

We had a RL visit on 30 October 2007 by Andy Pulman (SL:Andy Ginsberg) from Bournemouth University. Andy wrote about his visit in his blog:
http://andyp.edublogs.org/2007/10/31/plymouth-20-trip/
and
http://andyp.edublogs.org/2007/10/31/nhs-in-second-life-second-health/

Maged also delivered a short presentation and LIVE tour of the Sexual Health SIM in Second Life on 31 October 2007, 11am-12pm, to a mixed audience of staff and students from various faculties, schools and departments across the University of Plymouth. The session took place in room 011 in the recently-opened Roland Lewinsky Building at the main Plymouth campus, and was very well attended and received by the audience.

New ‘AIDS Group’ display

October 19, 2007

Click to enlarge.
Please touch the display in-world. (Click above image to enlarge.)

Latest visitors’ stats and dissemination activities

October 15, 2007

Our in-world public Group launched on 10 August 2007 now has 64 Members as at 13 October 2007, up from 25 Members on 12 August 2007 — figures include three admin members (the core project team). Also as at 13 October 2007 (end of the day, SLT time), our SIM received more than 940 unique visitors/avatars (all time) since our initial launch on 12 July 2007, up from about 590 unique visitors on 13 September 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 13 Sep 07), and from 210 unique visitors on 11 August 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 11 Aug 07) — the corresponding figures with repeat visitors would be much higher. The total visitor-minutes spent on our land during the past 63 days (12 Aug 07 – 13 Oct 07, owner minutes excluded) was >5200 minutes (that is >85 hours!), including >850 minutes on 12 September 2007 alone (the day we had the ‘Broken Wing’ Event). More than 100 avatars have so far taken our in-world survey as at 13 October 2007.

Maged’s avatar in Second LifeWe also carried out several dissemination activities over the past weeks, including presenting ‘A quick tour of the University of Plymouth’s Sexual Health Project in Second Life’ at the Rethinking Interprofessional Education and Development Conference, Plymouth, UK, on 8 October 2007 — Maged did a short PowerPoint about the 3-D Internet, plus a 15-minute LIVE tour of our SIM in Second Life, which was extremely well received by the audience (from all over the UK and also Canada). More dissemination activities are planned in the near future, so stay tuned.

New interactive 3-D Earth globe (STIs in Europe) and Silent Witness display

October 1, 2007

1 October 2007: Maged set-up a new scripted 3-D Earth globe for accessing STIs/HIV/AIDS statistics and information from 53 European region countries (compiled by the WHO’s Regional Office for Europe).

Click to enlarge.
Our new interactive 3-D globe for accessing STIs/HIV/AIDS statistics and information for Europe.
Where: Look for the 3-D globe beside the giant yellow-red flowers outside the glass building.
Use is very simple: In the public chat box, type:
/8 where is country-name
to find country-name in a list of 53 European region countries and plot it on the globe as red marker. Once plotted, touch the marker to access the latest STIs/HIV/AIDS statistics and information for that country.

The underlying technology from Daden.co.uk can also be used to geographically map and access live news stories in-world, as well as all sorts of real-time Google Earth (KML) feeds and Geo/RSS data by plotting points on the globe (in-world), and further linking those points to images and Web URLs. One can have more than one function/target info item associated all at the same time with a plotted location (Landmarks, Notecards, other Inventory items, and/or Web URLs). Users can also do the reverse: put pins on a map in-world, and then view the data points on the Web in Google Maps or Google Earth.

Related: See ‘Second Life GIS’ section at
http://healthcybermap.org/sl.htm (regularly updated).

Click to enlarge.
Thanks to SL:Ziolla Magpie, we now also have a new interactive ‘Silent Witness‘ display about domestic violence and its victims, just beside our CDC podcast player by the sea.

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Aerial view of the University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM in Second Life. The land is 1760 m2, with a 402 prim quota, of which 344 prims were used as at 1 October 2007 when this screenshot was made.

One in 10 young women in England infected with HPV!

September 20, 2007

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In-world message about human papillomavirus (HPV) sent to our public group members on 19 September 2007. Members can view past Notices and Attachments as shown above.

For multimedia information about HPV, please visit our interactive STDs info kiosk/atlas in-world (located near the fountain).

P.S. We have updated the video stream in our SIM, so that the AIDS programme loads faster and plays smoothly (it now points to an .mp4 file specifically hinted for streaming).

‘Broken Wing, Learning to Fly’: a big success!

September 14, 2007

Machinima video date: 12-Sep-07 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKIIB1WTA4w

The ‘Broken Wing’ Event on 12 September 2007 was a real success! Many thanks to our guest speaker SL:Beacon Becloud, and to all those who have attended and contributed to the discussions during and after the seminar (about 20 avatars — peak was 14, and more than 10 stayed from start to end: 8-9 pm BST). (On the day of the event, 12 September 2007, our SIM received more than 40 unique visitors/avatars (peak unique visitors was 14), who spent >850 minutes on our land.)

To view clearer snapshots of the ‘Broken Wing’ Event held at the UOP Sexual Health SIM on 12 September 07 at 12:00 noon SLT/PDT (08:00 PM UK Time), please visit our Image Gallery Search page http://www.sl-sexualhealth.org.uk/gallery/search.php and search for: BrokenWing (type it as one word). Maged uploaded 20 full-screen snapshots he took during the event.

Click to enlarge.
Our Second Life official parcel Traffic on 13 September 2007 (reflecting actual traffic on 12 September 2007, the day we had the ‘Broken Wing’ event): 855, up from 95 on the day before!

//www.sluniverse.com/aw/Story.aspx?StoryID=96) was also displayed on all PR Newswire kiosks around the Grid.
Our PR Newswire press release of 12 September 2007 (see: http://www.sluniverse.com/aw/Story.aspx?StoryID=96) was also displayed on all in-world PR Newswire kiosks around the Second Life Grid, including kiosks at the central plaza in Midnight City, Aqua, Kula 1, Hawthorne, Lukanida, Slackstreet, Isles of Intrigue2, Fusion Bay, Text 100 Island, Ruby–Ivanova, and many other locations.

Click to enlarge.
Promoting our SIM: A copy of our historical STDs posters kiosk and SIM landmark/URL giver is now on permanent display at Healthinfo Island (95, 152, 21). Many thanks to SL:Carolina Keats.

Latest stats: Our Technorati blog authority is now 16 (up from 5 at the beginning of August 2007). Our in-world public Group launched on 10 August 2007 now has 57 Members as at 13 September 2007, up from 25 Members on 12 August 2007 — figures include three admin members (the core project team), and, as at 13 September 2007 (end of the day, SLT time), our SIM received more than 590 unique visitors/avatars (all time) since our initial launch on 12 July 2007, up from about 210 unique visitors on 11 August 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 11 Aug 07) — the corresponding figures with repeat visitors would be much higher. The total visitor-minutes spent on our land during the past 33 days (12 Aug 07 – 13 Sep 07, owner minutes excluded) was >3000 minutes (that is >50 hours!), including >850 minutes on 12 September 2007 alone (the day we had the ‘Broken Wing’ Event).

Click to enlarge.
Our public Group in Second Life: 57 Members as at 13 September 2007.

For the latest news and resources about Second Life in Medicine and Health, please visit http://healthcybermap.org/sl.htm

Additional touches…

September 10, 2007

10 September 2007: Added new rock paths, some assorted pansies in a planter (near the plumeria tree beside the glass building), a potted plant (inside the glass building), and a few new links (to the blue http cube) and interactive slides (to the STDs kiosk beside the http cube).

Click to enlarge.
Aerial view of the University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM in Second Life. The land is 1760 m2, with a 402 prim quota, of which 341 prims were used as at 10 September 2007 when this screenshot was made.

Broken Wing: live seminar at UOP Sexual Health SIM in Second Life

September 8, 2007

Click to enlarge.
In-world listing of the Broken Wing Event – 12 September 2007 @ 8:00 PM UK Time. Out-world Broken Wing event info:
https://secure-web1.secondlife.com/events/event.php?
id=839049&date=1189580400
 — http://www.sluniverse.com/aw/Story.aspx?StoryID=96

Next Wednesday, 12 September 2007, at 12:00 noon SLT/PDT (= 08:00 PM UK Time), SL:Beacon Becloud, will be delivering a live seminar at the University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM about their new ‘Broken Wing, Learning to Fly’ project in Second Life. The project provides in-world services for all RL victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, with two certified counsellors, support groups, and even free in-world housing for those victims (housing is offered at the Narnia SIM).

The project is unique of its kind in SL, as the previous SL project/ display entitled ‘Silent Witness/Broken Silence’ and targeting victims of domestic violence is no longer active –
http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=8641115756819649936

Landmarks:
University of Plymouth Sexual Health SIM
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Education%20UK/33/63/22
(the event will take place in our open-air seminar area)

Broken Wing – Narnia
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Narnia/160/220/23

Knowledge is the enemy of (sexually transmitted) disease

September 7, 2007

The goal of our SIM is to help young adults make well informed choices of their own. We provide strong messages and education about sexually transmitted infections and the dangers of unprotected sex. Our in-world objects provide information about both condoms and abstinence, so our presentation is not biased towards one camp or the other, nor imposing any particular direction/method on our visitors.

Watch two related videos…

More Sexual Health/Sex Education videos from teachers.tv:
Sexual Health/Sex Education videos

Creative Archive Licence Group Logo

Condom Tac Toe, pamphlets, new quality links, map, historical posters and flowers!

August 26, 2007

Condom - O wins ;-)26 August 2007: We have a new two-player board game, Condom Tac Toe (pictured below). Come with your friend(s) and play by the ocean, while listening to soothing music streamed over our SIM’s audio channel! The game’s key message is ‘Safe Sex Always!’ 

Click to enlarge.
Condom Tac Toe!

Other additions: There are free sexual health pamphlets below the laptop in the glass building. Please help yourself! We have also added new links, including ‘DIPEx Sexual Health of Young People Module’ and more, to the blue http cube, which is now also animated. The voice-enabled STDs info kiosk/atlas beside the cube also has an additional slide/link to an ‘Interactive Map of STDs in London PCTs, 1997-2003’.* And lastly, we have some new giant flowers beside the fountain. Enjoy!

 Click to enlarge.
Pamphlets, new links, map and flowers!  (Inset: The new pamphlets rack; touch to get a pamphlet.)

Click to enlarge.
Historical STDs posters stand.

*The map is described in Boulos et al. Int J Health Geogr. 2005 Jan 18;4:4.
P.S. A Notice entitled ‘UK: Rise in sex infections continues’ (with a Notecard attachment about the latest UK STIs stats from HPA has been sent today to members of our in-world public group.

Live meetings in 3-D virtual worlds vs. conventional interactive webcasting / Web videoconferencing

August 24, 2007

For those attending in-world, 3-D virtual worlds like Second Life add emotion / pseudo-body language communication (thanks to sophisticated avatars — closer to face-to-face contacts, but less “threatening” / with more “protection” for those needing this) and a shared pseudo-physical 3-D space. These features are lost when watching a live Second Life broadcast on SLCN–Second Life Cable Network or via Mogulus (if you don’t already know this, Mogulus can be used to broadcast / stream in-world events live to the Web, when combined with tools like ManyCam, which can be set to directly stream a user’s Windows Desktop/Second Life client instead of a webcam–Windows Vista users having difficulty capturing / streaming sound can additionally use SoundTap). (To do the reverse, e.g., stream a RL surgical operation live in Second Life, you will need a service that outputs in QuickTime like Veodia.)

Click to enlarge.
M.N.K. Boulos‘ comment on above slide from IBM (click to enlarge): A 3-D virtual world offers a shared virtual space, enabling students and tutors to feel more naturally, closely and strongly together because of the shared spatial dimension, which can also have other educational uses during a voice conferencing session, including scenarios involving avatars and various in-world objects. You don’t get the same shared pseudo-physical spatial dimension in conventional flat text (and emoticons) / voice / video conferencing and chatting over the Web.
(To see the above slide in-world, visit Info Island (54, 95, 36).)

A custom Intute search engine for our in-world visitors

August 24, 2007

24 August 2007: We have just installed a custom Intute search engine inside the glass building in our SIM (pictured below). The object was created and donated by SL:Csteph Submariner and lets the owner specify multiple search terms on a notecard inside it. We currently have four search terms specified, covering sexual health and related topics.

Intute is a free UK online service providing access to the very best Web resources for education and research. All material in the Intute database is evaluated and selected by a network of subject specialists from a consortium of seven UK universities. ‘Intute: Health and Life Sciences’ is led by the University of Nottingham.

Click to enlarge.
Our custom Intute search engine retrieves quality search results from http://www.intute.ac.uk/ and displays them in-world.

Latest stats: Our Technorati blog authority is now 14 (up from 5 at the beginning of August 2007). Also our overview machinima clip has been watched 5,679 times during the first month after its posting on YouTube (25 Jul 07 – 24 Aug 07 noon BST). Our in-world public group launched on 10 August 2007 now has 42 members as at 24 August 2007 @ 13:00 BST (up from 25 members on 12 August 2007), and as at 23 August 2007, our SIM received more than 340 unique visitors/avatars since our initial launch on 12 July 2007, up from about 210 unique visitors on 11 August 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 11 Aug 07) — the corresponding figures with repeat visitors would be much higher. The total visitor-minutes spent on our land during the past 12 days (12 Aug 07 – 23 Aug 07, owner minutes excluded) was >850 minutes.

A visitor from Singapore!

August 14, 2007

Vanessa Tan (SL:Vantan Gray) visited our SIM today and blogged about it on her blog–read her article:
Sexual Health in Second Life (15 August 2007) –
http://vantan.org/archives/2007/08/sexual_health_i.php

She also uploaded a nice Flickr collection of snapshots that she took during her visit to our SIM:
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Sexual%20Health&w=21548501%40N00

Vanessa works at the Health Promotion Board of Singapore, handling the new media aspects of their HIV/AIDS campaigns. Welcome Vanessa!

Snapshot by Namro Orman.Guus van den Brekel (SL:Namro Orman), who oversees HealthInfo Island with Carol Perryman (SL:Carolina Keats), also visited our SIM this week and blogged about it:
Sexual Health Info Station! (14 August 2007) –
http://bloghud.com/id/12343/

A new interactive STDs info kiosk / atlas with voice

August 12, 2007

12 August 2007: We now have a new interactive mulitmedia STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) info kiosk/atlas with voice (pictured below). It is located by the fountain, beside the blue ‘http’ cube in our SIM. Operating the new kiosk is very simple. Touch the <o> arrows to navigate the slides/topics; touch a slide to listen to associated voice narration (thanks to Microsoft Anna) or load associated material (PowerPoint quiz game or Web page). The aim of the new kiosk is to send a serious and strong message about STDs to young adults visiting our SIM. Happy learning!

Click to enlarge.
Our new interactive STDs info kiosk/atlas with voice narration. The pre-recorded voice files are stored on the Web outside Second Life to ensure faster access, and also to avoid playing them in-world, (which may annoy other visitors in our SIM), and give our visitors more individual control over voice clip playback without interference by others.

Other news: Our public group launched on 10 August 2007 now has 25 members as at 12 August 2007 @ 20:30 BST, including three admin members (the core project team). We have also installed a new advanced traffic monitor that can track repeat, as well as unique/new visitors, and provide us with useful statistics, including visitors per day, peak visitors and total time visiting (owner’s visits are not counted/monitored). The latter statistic (‘total time visiting’) can serve as a rough measure of visitors’ interest in/perceived utility of our SIM (see this related news item: [1]).

Resources on Sexual Health

August 11, 2007

11 August 2007: The Sexual Health SIM represents a synthesis of current approaches to both MUVEs and sexual health. More content on sexual health is under development, including its socio-cultural context.

Key resources that we have consulted and are currently using to guide the development of this content include the UK’s Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV/AIDs publications and selected peer reviewed articles on interventions targeting sexual health. For an excellent perspective on the social and contextual factors contributing to HIV/AIDS, see Logan, Cole, & Leukefeld’s (2002) meta-analysis in the latter.

Hand-picked Web resources that our SIM visitors currently have access to via in-world links include:

Join our new in-world public group (L$0)

August 11, 2007

10 August 2007: Designing a proper 3-D virtual world service in Second Life presents a social engineering challenge. As Kemp [1] stresses, this is not (just) one of ‘technology and scripting’ but of ‘community scaffolds’. Second Life is part of the Web 2.0 movement, which is all about people and online communities/social networks [2,3].

Second Life is a unique and rich 3-D social networking experience. It allows people from all over the world to meet, share objects and collaborate in many novel ways, using a comprehensive and well-integrated suite of asynchronous and synchronous multimodal communication tools. One of these powerful social networking/ communication tools is the ‘Groups’ functionality in Second Life.

Click to enlarge.
Our public in-world ‘Sexual Health SIM’ group. Joining this group is FREE (L$0) and open to anyone in Second Life. Note our new ‘Touch to join our Group’ ball inside our glass building.

We have now created a new in-world public ‘Sexual Health SIM’ group (pictured above) for young adults and health educators interested in our subject. (Creating a new group in Second Life costs L$100. This is our second group; we have another private/closed group limited to the project’s core team and tied to our land, which we created at the start of the project to enable us to collaboratively create and edit objects on our parcel.)

It is hoped that our new public group and communication channel, and the material/info and forthcoming event notifications that will be exchanged through it, will grow to attract and accommodate dozens or even hundreds of users and supporters over the course of the project. The group has been set so that all members can:

  • Invite others/friends to join the group;
  • Join Calls/Send group IMs (Instant Messages/group chat that can reach all group members, irrespective of their locations in-world, with a single click — we will be closely monitoring this functionality for any abuse/spam and will eject abusers from the group);
  • Receive Notices and view past Notices; and
  • Vote on Proposals.

The new group charter reads as follows:

An open group/communication forum dedicated to ‘Sexual Health’ public education and outreach in Second Life.

Web: http://sl-sexualhealth.org.uk/
SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Education%20UK/33/63/22

The group covers Sexual Health topics like Sexually Transmitted Infections and Contraception. Joining this group is FREE!

The group is branded with the University of Plymouth logo. You can find the group and join it in-world, if you search for Groups and type in ‘Sexual Health SIM’. Visitors to our SIM can also request to join the group by simply touching the ‘white ball with the University of Plymouth logo’ inside our glass building (the new ball is also pictured above).

Our latest in-world visitor statistics show that we have had more than 210 unique visitors/avatars in the first four weeks after our initial launch, between 12 July 2007 and 10 August 2007, up from about 160 unique visitors on 4 August 2007 (12 Jul 07 – 4 Aug 07) — the corresponding figures with repeat visitors would be much higher.  

Ask Alice a question!

August 5, 2007

5 August 2007: Want to chat or ask a question but cannot find someone to talk to during your visit to our SIM? Alice, our new 24/7 in-house resident “expert” (pictured below), might be able to help you and also put a smile on your RL face! She never gets tired, but won’t allow you to repeat the same words over and over again. She will even direct you to some suitable Web sites if she is unable to fully understand your question/answer you!

Click to enlarge.
Ask Alice (our pseudo-intelligent chatbot) a question about contraception or STIs! Alice can be found 24/7 inside our glass building. Click her to hear a warm ‘Welcome’ in a female voice and then start chatting with her! Inset: Human help is also available using our new ‘online tracker’ gadget, which visitors can use to send us instant messages when we are in-world but not in our SIM.

Our ‘Alice chatterbot’ is intended to present some simple facts about contraception and STIs in a fun way, but cannot replace consultation with a real human expert. For best results, try including common keywords like ‘condom’ or ‘herpes’ in your questions, and only ask her simple questions, e.g., ‘What is…’ or ‘Tell me some info about…’ type of questions. (Her answers may sound silly or out of context sometimes, but at least will never harm you or offer you incorrect facts/info.)

Maged built this gadget using only one prim (plus L$20 to upload Alice’s picture and voice), and powered it by creating a modified version of SL:Dedric Mauriac’s public domain Eliza Chatbot script. (A second script is also included to play Alice’s sound when a user clicks the gadget.)

Click to enlarge.
We have also uploaded a few useful slides about the prevention of STIs into our in-world PowerPoint Viewer, which is located by the sea in our open-air seminar area. (Our 3-prim Slide Viewer object is a creation of SL:Eloise Pasteur and can be obtained from her in-world vendor at the ICT Library Shop.)

Our latest in-world visitor statistics show that we have had more than 160 unique visitors/avatars in the first three weeks after our initial launch, between 12 July 2007 and 4 August 2007 (the figure with repeat visitors would be much higher for the same period — the corresponding SL traffic figures for our SIM fluctuated up and down between 10 and >300 over the same three-week period; SL traffic calculation takes into account the length of visits), but our YouTube video has been viewed more than 1500 times between 25 July 2007 and 4 August 2007! Also during the same short period of about three weeks our blog’s Technorati Authority jumped from 0 to 5! (This blog entry describes a similar observation: “a SL presence has a ‘long tail of impact’ (including on the Web, outside SL) that’s measured in more than the number of avatars in any one place at any one point in time”.)

Automatic tracking of visitors’ interest in, and interaction details with, specific individual objects in our SIM would be more useful, though also technically much trickier to implement and sometimes not feasible, reliably or at all, with some object types/scenarios. But thanks to our in-world questionnaire tool we are still able to gain some insight about (some) users’ preferences/interest in, or dislike of, partcular objects or aspects of our SIM.

Voice at last!

August 3, 2007

3 August 2007: Our SIM is now fully-voice enabled, but visitors will have to install the latest main Second Life viewer from Linden Lab to make use of the new feature (some of the elements of the new voice interface are pictured below). Read more at
http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/08/02/the-second-life-voice-viewer-is-live/

Click to enlarge.
Voice at last!

Access the latest CDC podcasts in-world

August 1, 2007

1 August 2007: Visitors to our SIM can now click a giant podcast player (pictured below) to start browsing and listening to the latest podcasts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A few of the featured podcasts are about Sexual Health/STIs, e.g., ‘HIV/AIDS and Women’. Users can continue listening to the podcasts after leaving our SIM/teleporting elsewhere.

Click to enlarge.
Our podPlayer (powered by podcastpickle.com) allows our SIM visitors to access and listen to the latest podcasts from the US CDC.

Latest news media coverage of our project:

Chronicle of Higher Education takes note

July 28, 2007

The US-based Chronicle of Higher Education included a brief news item about our Sexual Health SIM in Friday’s (27 July 2007) edition. See the full item at The Wired Campus blog. The Chronicle states that its Web traffic  routinely is more than 12 million pages a month, seen by more than one million unique visitors.

Also Rod Ward posted an entry about our project in Informaticopia (27 July 2007):
http://www.rodspace.co.uk/blog/2007/07/sexual-health-sim-project-in-second.html

Catch them with your mouse if you can!

July 28, 2007

Click to enlarge.
Learning can and should be fun! Our giant and colourful, butterfly-emitting flowers are a good example of how we designed our SIM to be a truly immersive world in which reality (RL) and fantasy are seamlessly mixed in a carefully balanced way that is warmly-inviting, youthful, cheerful, enjoyable, practical and functional, and aesthetically pleasing, all at the same time (apologies for the long list of adjectives :-). We avoided the replication of a boring and often intimidating RL institutional or classroom environment in SL, but at the same time maintained solid and familiar links with RL.

Our in-world objects are not too abstract, thus reducing learners’ cognitive load — even if over-sized or presented on purpose in some other “odd” way, they remain in essence familiar RL objects that visitors can easily relate to, without being at the same time boring exact replicas of the RL objects they represent. (But faithful replicas of RL objects and buildings in SL are sometimes necessary and to be encouraged depending on context/application, e.g., virtual tourism/history and architectural modelling of RL buildings in SL for various RL planning/testing, simulation, training and marketing purposes. On the other hand, very abstract creations also have a place as forms of art in SL.) Realistic sound effects can also greatly enhance the ambience and immersiveness of educational SIMs.

But too much fun and fantasy (‘bells and whistles’ not directly reinforcing the educational message) might also negatively affect the learning process by acting as distractors. So again a good balance is needed.

We hope this approach will positively effect our young visitors’ learning experience and retention, and also encourage longer visits and more exploration of, and interaction with, our SIM’s educational objects, as well as more repeat visits and ‘teleport offers’ to friends.

These beautiful flying butterflies (pictured above) are continuously emitted by a hidden scripted object that is only one prim (bought for L$100). Catch them with your mouse if you can! (The giant flowers were created by SL:Troy McLuhan and were free to ‘Take Copy’ at another SIM, and that’s how we acquired them, a good example of how (prefab) objects can be reused unchanged or modified, remixed and repurposed in many creative ways in the immersive, vast 3D wiki that is SL, much à la Web 2.0 (subject to the object having its SL DRM properties set to allow reuse/modification).)

Related food for thought:

 —M.N.K. Boulos – 28 July 2007

Open-ended questions added at last! Thanks Eloise!

July 27, 2007

27 July 2007: Eloise Pasteur (pictured below during her visit today to our SIM) has kindly helped us add the functionality for open-ended/free-text questions to our in-world survey tool by editing the LSL script that powers our questionnaire inside the blue ball at the entrance of the glass building.

Our in-world questionnaire now features three new open-ended questions (including ‘What did you like the most?’ and ‘What did you like the least?’), which respondents can answer in free text by typing in the chat box, in addition to the original six close-ended/fixed-choice questions. (The script then e-mails all answers to the project team.)

It is also worth noting that we are already using Eloise’s scripts elsewhere in our SIM, e.g., the slide/PPT viewer in our open-air seminar area and the script powering our blue obelisk quiz game, both of which (and many more) can be bought from her in-world vendor at the ICT Library Shop. Eloise also wrote a nice article about our project for Second Life Insider (see link below). Thanks Eloise!

Latest blog entries about our project:

Our in-world questionnaire tool.
Left: Eloise Pasteur during her visit to our SIM on 27 July 2007 – Right: Our in-world questionnaire tool.

Tour of Sexual Health SIM

July 25, 2007

Machinima video date: 24-Jul-07 – Music by Medwyn Goodall http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKL3GZUDudg 

This video provides an introduction to some of the resources currently available at the Sexual Health SIM, a snapshot of our “work in progress.”

Opinion: apples and oranges — I like them both!

July 24, 2007

Comparing the 2D Web to 3D multi-user, immersive virtual worlds can be tricky, and some might consider it like comparing apples with oranges or comparing the experience of reading an online health information leaflet to that of having a face-to-face meeting with a clinician. The affordances of both media are different; they are also not mutually exclusive or a substitute for one another, but rather very complementary and synergistic in many ways.

The sea of our SIM in SL. Click to enlarge.

We need to especially identify and focus/capitalise on what 3D virtual worlds are best at–those (useful) things/scenarios that can only be effectively carried out in virtual worlds and not via any other ‘e’ medium (as effectively), and also determine the optimal formulae for blended approaches that combine 2D and 3D media.

Eloise Pasteur.

Online leaflets and static information materials have no social component–even those materials offering single-user interactivity or asynchronous, multi-user (predominantly textual) interactivity remain seriously lacking in this respect. Second Life, on the other hand, is about 3D social networking par excellence; it has this unique ‘human touch’ and is instantaneous, something not found (in a similar way) in 2D social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook or in instant messaging/voice chatting services like Paltalk. Second Life is closer in many respects to face-to-face/social encounters, but also adds to them many exciting new dimensions, fantasy, and virtually endless possibilities–you name it. And let’s not forget that Second Life is a collaborative 3D wiki and an immersive audio-visual spatial experience that users can edit, experiment with, and see the changes in real time!

People also have different tastes/preferences and currently the audiences of the 2D Web and the 3D Web/Second Life are overlapping but still different (read the US CDC arguments about this: “going where people are… yet another opportunity to learn and teach about public health”). Furthermore, and in support of the above mentioned potential complementarity and synergy between both media, we are starting to see the 2D and 3D Webs gradually converge and merge; see, for example, the Flux project, this blog article and this application.

So 3D virtual worlds are here to stay and eventually become one with/tightly and seamlessly integrated with the 2D Web over the coming months and years (rather than replace the 2D Web). Indeed, a recent futuristic/visionary American report entitled VISIONS 2020–Transforming Education and Training Through Advanced Technologies suggests that by 2020 (or before) we will see new jobs like “simulation and virtual environments engineers who build and maintain the components for synthetic environments, including specialised scientific software, e.g., a digital human that can be used for a variety of learning situations; specialists in building the components of simulated towns, instruments, landscapes, biological systems, or physical phenomena”.

M.N.K. Boulos – 24 July 2007

Environmental sound effects: turn your speakers on and enjoy!

July 24, 2007

24 July 2007: We now have some excellent 3D spatialised ambient environmental sound effects in our SIM for the ultimate immersive edutainment experience! Our new refreshing and relaxing sounds include gentle waves at seashore, birds in the trees and water flowing (for the fountain we have in the corner). The sounds are subtle and non-intrusive, and become practically imperceptible when voice or music are played in-world. Click the sunset screenshot below to listen to a recorded MP3 sample of our new ambient sounds.

Click to listen.SexualHealthSIM_Ambience.mp3
Click the image above to listen to a sample of our new ambient sounds.

Related SL function: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/LlLoopSound

Free (virtual) male condoms for every visitor!

July 23, 2007

23 July 2007: We now have a Free Condom Dispenser inside the glass building, offering visitors free (virtual) male condoms and practical information (pictured below – only one prim)! We hope this will prove to be a useful ‘raising awareness’ edutainment artefact.

We have also added a virtual bookshelf (beside the mock laptop, again inside the glass building), which visitors can interact with to browse a collection of 22 PowerPoint FLIPCHARTS and other documents from the World Health Organization that together make an excellent decision-making and how-to tool for family planning and sexual health.

Finally, we have contacted the UK Family Planning Association (fpa) for possible collaboration with them, and added an in-world link to their homepage to our blue Web URL Cycler/Launcher cube by the fountain.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
Our Free (virtual) Condom Dispenser: dispenses two 3D male condom objects to user’s inventory, plus an information notecard on how to use a (real) male condom. Maged built the dispenser using only one prim, and textured it using two uploaded images (at L$10 each), one for the front of the machine and the other for the remaining sides. The virtual condom objects (do not count as simulator prims) and information notecard are stored inside the dispenser object (as ‘Content’), together with a script to offer (copies of) them to the user upon clicking on the machine (try it now in-world).

A radio tuner in the form of a Coca-Cola can

Some have argued that you cannot use an SL virtual condom in RL sex, but you also cannot drink a Coca-Cola radio! It is the message that matters in both cases (‘remember to use a condom’; ‘drink Coca-Cola’)!

‘Preserving Fertility’ materials added

July 21, 2007

21 July 2007: Our group is now collaborating with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, a US based non-profit, to help educate residents of Second Life about  lifestyle choices that may preserve fertility. A continuous slide show of Preserving Your Fertility, excerpted from a 2004 brochure published by RESOLVE, is now live. RESOLVE’s mission is to “provide timely, compassionate support and information for people experiencing infertility and to increase awareness of infertility issues through public education and advocacy. ” 

Click to enlarge.
Our new Resolve.org multi-slide information display about ‘Preserving Fertility’ (slides used by permission).

Our project is covered in Eduserv’s July 2007 snapshot of UK HE and FE developments in SL

July 20, 2007

20 July 2007: We have just received an e-mail from John Kirriemuir (SL: Silversprite Helsinki) saying that the report he was collecting information for is now published online:

[…]

If you are reading this, then you sent me a good reply to the request for information about your Second Life development. To which: thanks very much. The report is finished, and online at:

http://www.eduserv.org.uk/foundation/sl/uksnapshot072007

[…]

Thanks John!

Other updates:

  • Added new/more questions to our in-world survey tool;
  • Added new right/wrong textures and an additional prize (prizes are given by the game at random) to our Big Quiz Game; and
  • Increased size of our video screen (inside the glass building).

The Big Quiz Game!

July 18, 2007

18 July 2007: Touch the obelisk (pictured below) and test your knowledge. You could win a surprise prize!

Click to enlarge.
The Big Quiz Game – an interactive graphical ‘Contraception and STDs’ quiz with a prize to win if your answer is correct (the prize is delivered to your inventory in-world). The four photo tiles change position randomly each time the game is played.

We also have another new gadget to show you today:
Click to enlarge.
Our new Web URL Cycler/Launcher featuring a hand-picked collection of Online Sexual Health Resources from NHS Direct and Mayo Clinic.

The latest Sexual Health news for our in-world visitors

July 17, 2007

17 July 2007: We now have a newsstand displaying the latest Sexual Health news from Yahoo! (pictured below – bought for L$350 from the ICT Library shop in-world, then customised to parse the Yahoo! News RSS feed for the phrase ‘Sexual Health’). The gadget does not use a proxy server. The included script parses the XML directly! The newsstand will refresh every 10 minutes, and will display the top two Sexual Health headlines on Yahoo! News in hover text. If you click on the newsstand, it will load the top story in a Web browser.

Click to enlarge.
Our newsstand displaying the latest Sexual Health news from Yahoo! News.

A new open-air seminar area

July 15, 2007

15 July 2007: Susan has been very active today using her creative talent to experiment with various designs for our open-air seminar area. The current design at time of writing is pictured below. Thanks Susan.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
Our new open-air seminar area.

Welcome ChaCha!

July 14, 2007

14 July 2007: ChaCha Biedermann (pictured below) has agreed to join our project and build a new interactive AIDS/HIV/STD information kiosk on our land. She has many exciting low-prim plans and ideas, including making the kiosk read content aloud using pre-recorded voice files. You can also find ChaCha’s Second Life group for supporting HIV-positives in-world, if you search for Groups and type in “AIDS”. Her group is named “AIDS and HIV HELP”.

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ChaCha Biedermann visiting our Sexual Health SIM land (14 July 2007).

Privacy in the skies!

July 13, 2007

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Click to enlarge.
13 July 2007: We now have our own very low-prim, private skybox high in the sky above our land. Skyboxes can be used (instead of/in addition to private IM) to ensure privacy for realistic one-to-one visitor-advisor/counsellor voice and text consultations. It is noteworthy that the ‘Health and Wellness Center’ at HealthInfo Island, which was developed to bring patient advocacy to Second Life, uses skyboxes, so that support groups or smaller consultations are ensured privacy.

New screenshots – 12 July 2007

July 12, 2007
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Open-air seminar area with presentation/video screen (still under construction)
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Our glass building entrance – Video screen playing/streaming a programme about AIDS/HIV
Note our new water fountain (to the right)!
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Nice flowers!
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Laptop displaying a page from Contraception Education – clicking the laptop in-world will launch the corresponding Web page
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Taking a visitor survey in-world – user feedback is then sent via e-mail to the project team
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Teleport station to the new AIDS/HIV/STD display at HealthInfo Island – click cube (in-world) for teleport landmark (night view)
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Our new in-world noticeboard – click in-world to visit sl-sexualhealth.org.uk
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As at 12 July 2007 noon our traffic value has increased to 215 (up from 54 in above screenshot taken on 11 July 2007)! (This is a daily value that flactuates up and down.)

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Our new interactive EZ-Note Message Board (bought for L$100) – visitors can click in-world to leave a note. We also have a ‘visitor counter’ installed beside it to monitor land traffic.

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Another view of the glass building – when the video is playing it makes nice reflections on the glass walls.

Initial construction work and networking began

July 11, 2007

10-11 July 2007: Some initial construction work has been carried out, with new functionality added to the land, e.g., an ‘info notecard/landmark giver’ and test audio/video streams. The land is also now listed in Second Life Search (pictured below – costs L$30/week). Maged contacted (in-world) Karen Ngowe (SL: Wuzzadiva Iddinja) who manages the US CDC presence in Second Life and Carol Perryman (SL: Carolina Keats) who oversees HealthInfo Island, a project funded by the US NIH/NLM. Wuzzadiva warmly welcomed the news about the new project and said she will relay the info to her CDC colleagues working on sexually transmitted infections. Carolina expressed her willingness to help promote the project, and asked for a poster or display about the project (which I sent to her this morning) to have a copy of it at HealthInfo Island. She also mentioned that they have a display on AIDS/HIV and that she is working with a student who is creating an interactive STD display. She said that one of the co-creators of the AIDS/HIV display is a young person who is HIV positive, who had really wanted to begin an AIDS/HIV support group. This has not been successful, but the person is still active in SL, and we hope to invite them to contribute to our project. We will also definitely explore further opportunities and possibilities to collaborate with Karen and Carol/the CDC and HealthInfo Island, and exchange relevant in-world objects/materials and expertise with them over the course of the project.

Elizabeth Grigg, Senior Lecturer in Adult Nursing at the University of Plymouth (Taunton site), is an expert in sexual health and might also help us in this project–maybe as one of our invited speakers in future in-world events. Another potential speaker is Barbara Hastings-Asatourian from Salford University; she is the inventor of the very successful Contraception Board Game.

Click to enlarge.
Our Sexual Health SIM is now listed in Second Life Search (costs L$30/week).

New project land granted on 9 July 2007 until 31 July 2008!

July 10, 2007

Welcome to SL-SexualHealth.org.uk! Yesterday (9-Jul-07) we heard the great news that our grant application to SLEducationUK.net was successful! They granted us a 1760 m2 land in Second Life (pictured below – SLurl), plus other in-world goodies and this Web site. The land is very nicely sized with a 402 prim quota, and we very much like its waterfront location.

The University of Plymouth team (in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University, USA) will design and implement a sexual health education programme targeting young adults in Second Life that focuses on:

  • Prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s);
  • Prevention of unintended pregnancy;
  • Promotion of equitable sexual relationships;
  • Developing methods for systematic data gathering on users’sexual health concerns and response to programming in Mutli-User Virtual Environments (MUVEs); 
  • Identifying best practices for delivery of health education programmes in Second Life and other MUVEs; and
  • Developing recommendations for ways that MUVEs can contribute to comprehensive health education programmes that include multiple educational venues.

You can learn about our project in detail and what we are planning to do over the coming year by downloading and reading our winning proposal: A ‘Sexual Health’ Public Education and Outreach SIM in Second Life.

Maged N Kamel Boulos, Faculty of Health and Social Work, University of Plymouth, UK
Susan Toth-Cohen, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Thomas Jefferson University, USA

Our new presence in Second Life! Nothing built yet (10-Jul-07).
Our new presence in Second Life! Nothing built yet (10-Jul-07).


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