Monday, September 29, 2008

Stepping into health in virtual worlds

Using virtual worlds to promote health and healthcare is the topic of the next installment of the popular "Stepping into Virtual Worlds" conference series, to be offered October 7th, 2008 in Second Life. Hundreds of people have attended this series, which began with "Stepping into History" in June and continued with "Stepping into Literature" in August. The series is sponsored by Alliance Library System and LearningTimes. The day-long conference is open to the public, with more information available at It will take place entirely in the virtual world of Second Life.

During this conference, participants will make virtual "field trips" to some of the best and most creative locations that are using virtual worlds to promote health. During these field trips, they will be able to speak with those responsible for creating the simulations, and have time to explore them on their own. Among the field trips for this conference are Healthinfo Island, a health education simulation where visitors can test their knowledge of strokes by walking through a giant artery and destroying clots by correctly answering questions, and ToxTown, a typical American town where potentially dangerous chemicals can easily be seen.

In addition to the field trips, the conference includes:
Keynote presentations by Randy Hinrichs, founder of 2B3D and developer of the "Medipelago," a group of health related simulations in Second Life; and Ramesh Ramloll, creator of Play2Train, a virtual world simulator used to prepare healthcare professionals and others for crisis situations

•Table Talks on subjects such as "Healthcare Education and Advocacy in Virtual Worlds," "Virtual World Health Librarianship" and "Using Virtual World for Training Medical Personnel."

•A panel discussion, allowing participants to question and interact with a variety of experts in the use of virtual worlds in health and healthcare.

Alliance Library System, co-sponsor of the "Stepping Into" series, is a multi-type library system headquartered in East Peoria, Illinois. Alliance has been a leader in developing ways for libraries to expand their missions and serve patrons in virtual worlds. Alliance is on the web at

LearningTimes, the second co-sponsor, is the leading producer of online communities and online conferences for education and training. Their clients and partners include educational and cultural institutions, non-profit organizations, associations and membership groups.

LearningTimes provides the training, platforms, applications and expertise these organizations need to make their conferences a success. More information about LearningTimes can be found at

The cost for this day-long conference is $79, and participants may register for the conference at

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