College turns to virtual world to train emergency workers

Faculty members have used virtual settings for weekly office hours.

Bringing firefighters, police officers, nurses, and doctors together for emergency training can be a logistical – and expensive – nightmare, so Algonquin College in Ontario has brought the emergency workers together for practice runs in a 3D virtual setting.

Algonquin, a campus of 18,000 students in Ottawa, has held several practice sessions this year for the myriad experts who come together at the scene of an emergency, where a variety of pressing security and health issues must be addressed, and addressed quickly.

Using avatars in a virtual meeting space, firefighters, for example, interact with police officers at the make-believe scene of a disaster. The interactions, officials said, were realistic and served as worthwhile training for the unpredictable surroundings of an emergency.…Read More

Nursing students can learn in a virtual world at UTA

UT Arlington will hold a conference on Second Life in education.

In the virtual world, nurses in training from Texas, New York and Denmark can practice alongside other emergency personnel before an anthrax attack, pandemic or tornado grabs headlines.

Via computer, students participate in a simulated event that provides a role rehearsal, say experts at the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Nursing, where educators are taking lessons, discussions and conferences into the 3-D virtual world of Second Life.

Second Life allows people to create avatars and environments in spaces called islands. Avatars, which are free, can interact on the islands (which cost real money). Second Life received much hype about six years ago as a fantasy place to re-invent oneself. Now, it provides an educational tool for many universities.…Read More