Compare and contrast

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Ulster Hospital Maternity Unit. Image by Deverra. Second Life build by Aaron Griffiths for the SLENZ project. CC By

This lesson will take around 60 minutes and is appropriate for junior midwifery students. This activity is designed to encourage you to think about the ideal environment of birth that is modeled in "Te Wāhi Whānau/ The Birth Place" compared to alternative environments in Second Life, as well as the the actual environment where women birth in hospitals and maternity units. This lesson will be open to anyone who has access to the Internet.


  • Computer and Internet with access to Second Life and web sites such as blogs and/or wikis.
  • Basic ability to use Second Life and access the virtual birth unit
  • Extra resources to support this lesson either as links or printed handouts:

Learning objectives

  • Demonstrate an understanding of childbirth as a normal life event which occurs within diverse social and cultural contexts.
  • Discuss the impact of the underpinning philosophies of midwifery on the childbirth experiences of women and the development of midwifery knowledge.


1. Attend one of these two meetings in Second Life at the landing stage of the birth unit at 10am and meet the designated lecturer:

Friday 24 July - Sarah Stewart (Petal Stransky)
Friday 7 August - Deborah Davis (Aastra Apfelbaum)

2. Sarah or Deborah will take you to possible alternative birthing environments in Second Life, including some of the maternity units mentioned in this blog post Maternity units in Second Life By Sarah Stewart 2009.

  • If you have visited a place in Second Life that you feel could be an alternative birthing place, let Sarah or Deborah know and they will help you take everyone to the place for a visit.

3. Meet back in the meeting room on the second floor of the birthing unit.

4. Discuss the following questions:

  • How could the features of the alternative birthing environments that you have visited today be incorporated into the virtual birth unit?
  • How do the features of our idealised virtual birthing environment match up with what you see in real life?

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