Thursday, January 21, 2010

Proposal for Funding

I wanted to let you know that we (TLH) are part of a proposal from the eXtension family caregiving CoP to improve and expand TLH to make it more applicable to military families. We would contract with K-State to do much of the work. The proposal is below.

The LiveAbility Home in Second Life®
Kansas State University and North Carolina State University and collaborators have partnered within Second Life® to create an educational tool, The LiveAbility House, for consumers. The goal of this initial project was: To demonstrate design features and assistive technology that enable a person to live at home despite physical or mental challenges caused by aging, illness, or disability. A simple prototype home designed to help caregivers understand universal design features and assistive technology devices has been built and is currently functional within the Second Life platform (see http://extensionfamilycaregivingslp.blogspot.com/).

The home has applicability to a military audience. Returning veterans who have injuries from the current conflicts need to become aware of how to create a home environment that supports their current level of ability and functional level. Increasing environmental competence for individuals within the home also benefits caregivers by assisting them to provide appropriate care and reduces the number of hours spent on caregiving and the costs for in home care. An adapted home also supports the family unit so that all individuals can co-exist in a friendly environment that supports environmental competence for all members.

In order for military families to fully take advantage of the educational opportunities and social networking offered by The LiveAbility Home, it must be enhanced. Funding would be used to develop and improve The LiveAbility House through the addition of features and content specific to military families. Ultimately, the goal of the project is to have an immersive and educational tool that military families can use to identify and incorporate into their own living environment those features and technology that may have applicability for their individual situation.

Specifically, we propose to:

• Recreate and adapt the current LiveAbility Home on a new Second Life island. This is necessary due to current technical constraints that limit further expansion in its current location.
• Expand and improve upon specific items in the home that are more specific to a military population (an example would be to include assistive technology items related to cognitive challenges for veterans with traumatic brain injury).
• Improve interactive features, including audio, two-dimensional visual text, and animations that can be manipulated by veterans and caregivers.
• Develop new content and add examples specific to military families.
• Create a marketing plan with specific outreach to military audiences.
• Create machinimas to assist with marketing efforts that are geared toward a military audience and that include situations relevant to veterans and caregivers.
• Evaluate the adaptations through evaluation within the Second Life environment with veterans and caregivers. Incentives will need to be provided to encourage participation.

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