Introduction for students

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Learning, Second Life and midwifery

Te Wāhi Whānau/ The Birth Place. Image by Sarah Stewart. Second Life build by Aaron Griffiths for the SLENZ project. CC By

Second Life is a virtual world. The video Second Life and Public Health provides examples of how Second Health can be used in health care practice and education. Second Life gives us the opportunity to practice our clinical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making in a safe environment not easily reproduced in clinical laboratories or real-life clinical situations.

Te Wāhi Whānau/ The Birth Place is a place to learn more about birth, the birthing environment and how the environment affects outcomes for women and their families. Here is a video Te Wāhi Whānau/The Birth Place that shows you what the birth unit looks like, how it was designed and developed. It also explains how we can use Second Life to explore the tension between the increasing medicalisation of birth in hospitals and normal birth in a more natural environment. You can also meet other students and midwives from all over the world here.

Making your way to Second Life

The first thing you will need to do is set up your own Second Life account, create an avatar and download Second Life, if you are using your own computer. Here are full instructions on creating your account.

Once you have created your account you might find this orientation package helpful to get you started in the Second Life world.

If you have problems getting into Second Life, it may be because your firewall or virus checker is preventing access. So make sure you have set your firewall/virus checker to allow you to have access to Second Life.

Second Life Facebook Page

The Birth, birth environment and Second Life Facebook page will be our meeting place/classroom. This is the place we will discuss our experiences in the virtual birth unit and our learning.

The page is a closed page so please apply to join the page but clicking onto "Request to join group". It may take up to two days to have your request approved.

When you get to the Facebook page, it may look as if some information is missing eg some of the questions on the Discussion Board. If this is the case, make sure you click onto the "See All" links.

NB: You do not have to be 'friends' with other students or lecturers to join the group. The only information about other members of the group you will have access to is their front page. Other group members will only have access to your personal information and updates if you make them a 'friend'.

Joining the SLENZ Midwives Group

Once you have set up your avatar, we would highly recommend that you join the Second Life Education New Zealand Midwives Group, which is a group within Second Life. This group is made up of all the students and midwifery lecturers involved with the virtual birth unit.

1. Join the Second Life Facebook page.

2. Please post your real name and Second Life name in the "Second Life Identities" section of the Second Life Facebook Group. That allows us all to see each others' names.

3. You will be posted invitations to join both the SLENZ Midwives and the SLENZ Student groups. You will receive the invitations next time you log in to Second Life. Please click onto the 'join' button of the invitation cards that you will receive. The SLENZ Students group will allow you to set your Second Life home to the land around the birthing unit if you wish.

Once you have joined the groups, you will be able to see who else is a member, when they are in Second Life and communicate with them. This will help us meet each other and share resources and learning experiences.

First year midwifery students

If you are confident with getting about in Second Life, please make your way to the learning activities that have been designed to support your learning in Te Wāhi Whānau/ The Birth Place.

Click on this slurl which will take you directly to the Te Wāhi Whānau/ The Birth Place once you understand what you need to do.

Every Friday there will be a midwifery lecturer available in Second Life at the birth unit at 10am to support your learning. Please make use of this time to not only meet with your lecturers, but also your class mates so we can all learn together.

Friday 10 July...Deborah Davis...Aastra Apfelbaum
Friday 17 July...Carolyn McIntosh...Dacary Dumpling
Friday 24 July...Sarah Stewart...Petal Stransky
Friday 31 July...Ruth Martis...Victory Seerose
Friday 7 August...Deborah Davis
Friday 14 August...Carolyn McIntosh
Friday 21 August...Sarah Stewart
Friday 28 August...Ruth Martis
Friday 4 September...Deborah Davis
Friday 11 September...Sarah Stewart

Second and third year midwifery students

Te Wāhi Whānau/ The Birth Place is more than a place to visit and walk around, it is also a place where you will be able to work through a normal birth scenario involving a mother in labour. Here is a video that will give you an overview of how the Second Life normal birth scenario can be used to support you as you learn more about clinical midwifery practice. The normal birth scenario will support you as you learn the skills of being a midwife. It will be a valuable resource for learning, and will also encourage collaboration with other students, midwives and women. The birth scenario will be available for you on the 11th August.

How to use the normal birth scenario

1. Make your way to the birthing unit with your partner. Decide who is going to play the mother and who is going to be the midwife.
2. Go to the meeting room on the first floor which is up the stairs in the foyer.
3. Go to the far room at the back of the meeting room. Open the door by a left click on the door.
4. In the room you will see the Resource Pack. Right click on the Resource Pack to open it. This will put a folder in your inventory called "Midwifery Resource Pack" which contains all the instructions and items you need to operate each scene.
5. Allow at least 30 minutes to read all the instructions and orientate yourself to the resources. Start with the notecard called "#Scenario Instructions-READ ME FIRST". All the instructions can also be found here.
6. There are five scenes in the normal birth scenario. The scenario has been designed with the thought that you will follow through these scenes in order but you can stop at any time and return later, or just pick up one of them and work on that one.
7. The scenes involves role play so do not be shy; let your imagination run so that you and your partner gain maximum learning benefit from this simulation. At the same time, have fun. If you make a mistake or miss an action or assessment, you can start all over again and keep practicing until you are happy with your performance.
8.Feel free to ad lib and role play as much or as long as you like but please remember that the scenes are programed to be 'normal' labour and birth. For example, if you decide you would like to practice how to deal with an obstetric emergency, you will be unable to do so because the scenes has not been set up to present that eventuality.
9. We hope you enjoy this innovative resource for learning. If you have any queries about the scenario, please contact:
Sarah Stewart (
Carolyn McIntosh
Deborah Davis
Ruth Martis.


We will be seeking your feedback about the project, what and how you learned, what worked and what didn't work in September. More information about that will be available later.

Problems or queries?

If you have any queries about about Second Life or the learning activities, please feel free to contact any of your midwifery lecturers or Sarah Stewart (