Sunday, July 1, 2012


This morning, we (students from TLVW) had the pleasure of meeting Luann Phillips (SL Thynka Little), the builder of Grandma's Birthday Party . I was intrigued with this video and the winter safety project she had done in Second Life for her Capstone project at Marlboro.

I could see so many applications for the disaster preparedness ideas. Too many times folks head out the door unprepared for what they may encounter. Recently, there have been TV commercials addressing the same issue. They bring up the idea of having "emergency kits" with spare medications and other first aid items.

Not long ago (in the winter), a friend's college-aged son and a friend traveled home from their school. The college isn't far away and they weren't planning for any stops along the way. They dressed in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. Their apartment was always warm so they didn't feel a need to layer any more than that. Also, he had plenty of spare clothing at his house so, again, no need to bring more. About a half mile from his house, he slid off the road. A car had come to close to him and in his attempt to avoid the oncoming car on the icy road, he swerved and ended up in the ditch. Fortunately, he had his cell phone and was able to call his folks. They weren't far away and were able to get to him quickly. The possible "what if" scenarios are astounding and frightening.

Disaster plans are not meant to scare people but to help them work through emergencies. Technology is such a part of every day life and can be part of the emergency plan but they can't be the whole plan...

So, what do we need to do to address this? As educators, we can use/create/locate resources such as "Grandma's Birthday Party." We need to address these issues early with our students but we also need to target community members. Consider the number of stories we hear of people (adults) heading into the wilderness armed only with technology (cell phones, GPS devices). Sometimes the "wilderness" is a remote highway such as the upper areas of the Adirondack Northway.

Thynka addressed the need to "reinvent" the Cooperative Extension to be more relevant to today's society. I see all sorts of possibilities with the kinds of work she's doing to provide education to the overall community. Help in making plans for both personal and community emergencies can be part of that role for the Cooperative Extension and educators in general.

1 comment:

  1. First of all, I am glad to hear that your friend's son was alright. That is certainly a scary scenario and luckily he had a cell phone.

    I also participated in Grandma's Birthday Party with the rest of the class. I think that the concept that Thynka had was good and I can certainly see the tremendous amount of work that went into it. However, I feel as though the activity and the design of the game did not fit the intended audience. There was a lot of useful information on the site, but it was certainly not geared towards an adult or teenage audience. I think that this is a difficult thing to accomplish. How do you make the activity interesting and challenging, and also educational while designing it to be age appropriate? I think that Thynka Little has a lot of potential with this activity and she mentioned that she is taking a course on gaming, so it should help her in the long run. I applaud her efforts in putting this together. It must have been a daunting task for her - but, clearly, a labor of love.