Generous Donation to Expand Adapting Environments Exhibit

The IM came in out of the blue, from Kathee Gibbs, whom I’d never met. She and partners Lucinda Bergbahn and Pecos Kid were finalists in the Second Life and the Public Good: A Community Challenge from USC. Kathee IM’d because she wanted to talk to me about donating the award Lindens to our Center. When we had a chance to talk yesterday, I found out that we shared the same idea for a program development project in Second Life: educate people about adaptations that can be put in place at home, to improve daily life. Specifically, Kathee’s proposal was to “provide a tool that persons with mobility impairment can easily and cost effectively access to explore ways in which they can improve accessibility in their homes and thus the quality of their daily lives. ” We met at the OT Center to talk, and Kathie shared her ideas about how the adaptation exhibit at the Center might be further developed to incorporate more interactivity and consumer choice.

Kathie and Zsu discuss ideas for expansion of the adapted home

Kathie and Zsu discuss ideas for expansion of the adapted home

Today, Kathie told me she discussed the donation with partners Lucinda Bergbahn and Pecos Kid, who gave the green light to provide funding to our Center! I’m amazed at their generosity and so pleased to know that their gift will enable us to expand our work and, we hope, benefit persons with and without disabilities and raise awareness of the possibilities that can be achieved through home adaptation.

The dilemma of “structure” in Second Life(R) program development

One of the challenges of working with a group of 7 to create a Second Life project is: how much structure should the team leader provide? One of our aims is to provide a venue for graduate students to actively create content related to healthcare education. Graduate students are expected to think critically, problem solve, and innovate. However, the context of Second Life program development is complex because of the steep learning curve (even for digital natives) and the limited availability of information about the process. And yet…
An idea I’ve been thinking about quite a bit is that innovation requires us to pull from our experience and knowledge, our reference materials, and so forth to do something new, put a different spin on an existing idea or program or approach it in an entirely different way. Even though we start from such tools, in a sense it is like “creating something out of nothing” because we cannot rely on tried and true approaches because there aren’t any (yet). In my view, this is a requirement for graduate education given the way the world is, with the dizzying pace of technology, the complexity of diverse societies, and the expectations of health and human service providers. I don’t have to tell the educators among us that there are many other areas that are equally ill-defined where grad students need to have and further refine these abilities.
But then again….I want this exhibit to open on time and be worth residents’ time to visit. The focus on adapting environments is much broader than stroke awareness and will require even more thought and more work. So, I decided to create a chart of tasks, dates, and personnel and distribute to the grad students, to make our process more efficient. I’ll provide updates about how this more directive approach works. I’m also very interested in any comments about the issue.