Sunday, December 14, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Our goal is to create a "template" house that includes 25 or so foundational Universal Design principles. In order to do this, Sarah, our housing expert, will first work on developing a list and creating a set of note cards that outline the W questions. For example, each principle would have information regarding What it is, Who might benefit from it, Where it might be useful, etc.
Second, we will sponsor a contest in Second Life to build the template house. All builders who want to participate would have full creative freedom to create any type of single-residence home as long as it included the 25 principles, which we will provide to them. All entries would be reviewed to ensure that they meet the criteria, and placed on the sim. Then, residents of Second Life would be invited to visit all of the homes and vote for their favorite. This would be a "People's Choice" Award. The winner and runner-up would receive a monetary award for their efforts.
Third, because we now have a "template" house, we will overlay assistive technology into the house, depending upon the needs of particular populations. We plan to begin with outfitting the house with assistive technology that would benefit the caregivers of--and people with--traumatic brain injury.
After this pilot, we could then begin creating a neighborhood of houses that would represent some possible choices for people with other diagnoses or disabilities. For example, there might be a home for caregivers of, and people with, Alzheimer's disease, or for those who have had a stroke.
We would also like to be able to create a livable neighborhood, that would take into consideration needs of the built environment, such as curb cuts, wide sidewalks, large signs, etc.
All of this would be turned into an online course, so that people outside of Second Life could also benefit. After all, we would never be able to build anything like this in RL, as I am sure you can imagine. It is one of the reasons why SL is so well-suited to this project. However, even working in SL will take some funding, so as Sarah is working on this part of the project, I am beginning to look at funding opportunities. I have a 10-page pre-application for an opportunity due January 15. I will do my best to accomplish that in this short time frame.
Your thoughts and ideas are welcome!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
VOA.com has a good article highlighting the benefits of virtual worlds for people with disabilities: Second Life Frees Disabled from Restrictions of Everyday Life. The article describe several educational applications made possible by the Second Life environment:
There are a variety of skills that people learn, and that Krueger teaches, through Virtual Ability. The organization, based in Colorado - as well as in Second Life - highlights the benefits of virtual worlds for people with disabilities. Virtual Ability helps them learn how to get around in Second Life, which often makes a positive difference in their real life.
Let's discuss: Did reading the article give you any ideas for things that Extension educators might want to enable through Second Life?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I am at the Joint Council of Extension Professionals Convention in Indianapolis this week, doing a demonstration of Second Life. Many colleagues are learning about Second Life and the work we are doing here. It is really fun to have this Family Caregiving project as a highlight. It is inspiring a great deal of discussion about other projects that might be started in the near future, such as a demo kitchen for safe food handling.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
In regard to the Demonstration House, we have concluded that the model home and garden structure is about 90% completed, with shower modifications still to come. We would like to begin thinking more concretely about the additional educational content to be added. For example, we need a leader's guide for educators wanting to visit and use the project for teaching. We would really like to see some additional animated content, but we must identify what items need to be interactive, and how we will use that to our best advantage.
In regard to the Showcase of Accessible Homes Competition, we revised the timeline, and plan to have the judging and exhibition in May, which is Older Americans Month.
We are always interested in your ideas as well!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Jeb is modeled after a real life dog of the same name, who has been assigned to one of our bloggers since 2000. The real life Jeb comes from an organization called Canine Companions for Independence (www.cci.org).
CCI provides dogs to people with a variety of physical disabilities (service dogs), children or adults with a variety of disabilities who also have a facilitator as part of the team (companion dogs), people with hearing impairments (hearing dogs), and human service professionals who provide services to people with disabilities (facility dogs).
Although many people are familiar with guide dogs for people who are blind, Jeb's mission, and that of other dogs like him, are to help people with disabilities other than blindness. And, there are many organizations that work to provide these specially trained dogs to the people who can benefit from them.
Jeb is wearing a cape, which is a sign of a "working" dog (a term that is used to indicate any type of specially trained canine, from service dogs to rescue dogs). Although the real life Jeb does not typically wear his cape when inside of his residence, for our educational purposes, we are putting him within the context that he and his handler are getting ready to go out the door--in which case, it would be appropriate for Jeb to get "dressed" (with the cape) to go out in public. And, we have put the "eXtension" logo on his cape!
Right now Jeb is walking through the house, sitting and laying down, and not actually obeying commands as we might expect...but the real life Jeb can turn lightswitches on and off, take clothes out of the dryer, carry packages, pay for items at the grocery store, and perform an endless array of needed tasks. He knows about 50 different commands, including the basics (heel, sit, down) and more advanced (back, push, tug, visit).
We think Jeb is a great addition to the house, and hope that you think so too.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
We've posted a picture of project in process, to give those of you who are new to the SL concept a better idea of how this is accomplished. If you would like more information about accessible gardens, visit: http://www.ncpad.org/gardening/index.php?section=overview.
On another note, we are still struggling with finding a really good name for the project. Our working title is The Live-Ability Home, which is certainly a better choice than The eXtension Family Caregiving Second Life Project...
However, if you have some ideas for us, we would love to hear from you.
Here is a picture of the outside of the house, just to give it some context. We have a slideshow of some of the assistive technology devices that can be found inside. You'll note that we have also added a ramp and some other cool features. Again, your ideas are welcome!
Monday, August 4, 2008
The members of the eXtension family caregiving SL project are so glad that you have joined us. Let's answer a few fundamental questions first.
What is eXtension?
(Visit us at www.extension.org)
From our website: "eXtension is an interactive learning environment delivering the best, most researched knowledge from the smartest land-grant university minds across America. eXtension connects knowledge consumers with knowledge providers - experts who know their subject matter inside out.
- Credible expertise
- Reliable answers based upon sound research
- Connections to the best minds in American universities
- Creative solutions to today's complex challenges
- Customized answers to your specific needs
- Trustworthy, field-tested data
- Dynamic, relevant and timely answers
eXtension is unlike any other search engine or information-based website. It's a space where university content providers can gather and produce new educational and information resources on wide-ranging topics. Because it's available to students, researchers, clinicians, professors, as well as the general public, at any time from any Internet connection, eXtension helps solve real-life problems in real time."
One of the areas addressed through the eXtension initiative is Family Caregiving.
On the Second Life® web site, the following description is used to explain the Second Life® concept:
"A 3-D virtual world created by its Residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by millions of Residents from around the globe.
* From the moment you enter the World you'll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. Once you've explored a bit, perhaps you'll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business.
* You'll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow Residents. Because Residents retain intellectual property rights in their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other Residents.
* The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions. This commerce is handled with the inworld unit of trade, the Linden™ dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online Linden dollar exchanges."
Who are the eXtension Family Caregiving Second Life® Project Members?
The active members include staff and faculty members from eXtension, Kansas State University and North Carolina State University.
What is the Goal?
The goal of this initial project is:
To raise public awareness of design features and assistive technology that can make it possible to remain in the home with physical or cognitive challenges due to aging, illness, or disability.
How Are We Getting There?
We are building a simple prototype home featuring universal design features and assistive technology devices to help provide guidance to builders within the Second Life® environment. Our next step will be to sponsor a design competition in the virtual world. This design competition is for an accessible housing design to include assistive technology.
We are just beginning this process. We hope that the pictures included here, which show our prototype design build under construction, will give you an idea of what this is all about. Please check back!