Lynne Berrett (Lissena aka Wisdomseeker in SL), psychotherapist and coach to writers and artists, has first hand experience dealing with aging individuals. She gained this insight after she and her husband took care of several older family members. She observed the effects of dementia on these individuals, and decided she wanted to learn all she could about ways to maintain brain health. This knowledge is shared with all of us through the Whole Brain Health Program (WBH) on their SIM Inspiration Island in Second Life. The umbrella organization is a nonprofit called the Ageless Mind Project. “A vision to help older adults maintain good self care habits, have lives filled with meaning, enjoy many opportunities for creative expression and positive relationships and always continue to learn and grow.”
Who is their target audience? You may be surprised to learn that they are targeting those who are 50 plus years old. It may seem an early age to worry about aging problems, but it is the perfect age to gain an awareness of the multiple intelligences each of us have, and work with them to help our individual aging process. It is the research of Howard Gardner, psychologist and Harvard graduate, that the apply to the activities at their SIM.
Arguing that traditional intelligence measures are too narrow, Howard Gardner developed a theory of multiple intelligences. ‘With his colleagues at Harvard Graduate School of Education, he established the master’s degree program Mind, Brain and Education.” His theory is based on our brain’s ability to process information or “computing power”. It is a natural progression then that each of us pursue the kinds of activities because our brain processes that area well. In the terms of the WBH notecard ‘because we have “think-ability” or talent in those areas.” Gardner has defined eight intelligence modalities [abilities] with a ninth under consideration. These areas are:
- Musical-rhythmic and harmonic; also referred to as Musical Intelligence
- Verbal-linguistic; literary
- Interpersonal; social
- Intrapersonal; focused inward
- Naturalistic; not part of Gardner’s original seven but added after consideration. A nature focused area
- Existential [Proposed]
Gardner assigns equal value to each of these abilities we may possess. Traditionally we think of language and math as intelligences but ignores many other intelligences we possess. Whether you believe in multiple intelligences or not, the activities at the WBH SIM will engage you at all levels. This SIM is laid out with resources that are far easier to use than those at LL Orientation Island. The first time I walked around the SIM all I could say was “FANTASTIC”.
The SIM is full of notecards and notecard-receiving boxes for ease of interaction. You may be completely unfamiliar with SL and this SIM will introduce you to the basics of SL with a nice step by step walk through --- a specially designed Orientation Center you can reach by using the teleporter at the center of the SIM. This is a handy walk through you may visit again at any time to tune up your expertise. One item I found handy for those new to WBH or new to SL is a Buddy System. There is a board with the names of members of the Collective who will assist and who will answer questions about WBH or SL.
Those familiar with the basics of SL are encouraged to explore the island. Everything there gives you the opportunity to try out a holistic approach to keeping your brain sharp. You do not have to experience it in any particular fashion. The Multiple Intelligences Experience build was originally created by Zotarah (Zo) Shepard and it is periodically updated/modified by Associate Director Thuja (Tooyaa) Hynes and Media Director Francisco (Fran) Koolhoven. It is set up using the Gardner eight intelligences in this fashion:
1. Interpersonal (Social) Intelligence
2. Visual/Spatial Intelligence
3. Literary/Linguistic Intelligence
4. Naturalistic (Nature-focused) Intelligence
5. Intrapersonal (Inward-focused) Intelligence
6. Mathematical/Logical Intelligence
7. Kinesthetic Intelligence
8. Musical Intelligence
The introduction notecard gives you these recommendations:
- Here in the Multiple Intelligences Experience (MIE), you will find 8 areas, each highlighting 1 of these categories. They are not arranged in any particular order. There is no hierarchy among intelligences, according to Gardner. They are all equally valid and valuable. [**The MIE is actually a powerful diagnostic tool. It can also help you expand your modes of thinking through action.]
- Wander around and investigate each area. In front of each is a sign announcing the kind of intelligence you can explore there. Click on the sign for a notecard.
- The notecard explains that particular intelligence in more detail and gives you a list of suggested activities to sample right there.
- On the notecard are one or more challenges, some of which can earn you rewards.
- Try at least 3 activities in each of the 8 areas. Which areas are you most attracted to? Which frustrate you fastest? Which feel most familiar to you? Which would you like to develop more?
The note card continues with adding that by trying 3 activities in each of the 8 areas you will identify your strongest affinities. “Gardner says that we can have high brainpower in more than one area – but a single type of intelligence is still likely to be somewhat stronger than the rest. He also says we all need to cultivate the highest level of intrapersonal (inward-focused) intelligence possible for us, in order to live well in the world today.”
When you visit this sim there is even a HUD to take you around via TP to the various areas. It is obvious to the visitor that the designers of the SIM took a lot of time to review how to best navigate the SIM. You may even ride a bike or a skyway tram. There are several ways to explore this engaging SIM. You will recognize some of the activities such as a SUDOKO, and other activities will be new to you. Some activities put a new twist on a familiar look such as one of the Chess Board challenges. They have regular activities and you can either visit the SIM to use the large interactive calendar or join the group.
Visit WBH for your brain, for your health and for your curiosity. You will probably learn something and find new resources all over the grid for your interests by using the LMs in their Community Cultural Hub. Questions are encouraged with the multitude of Drop boxes and their encouragement for messages. And responses are quick!
SL Group Name: WHOLE BRAIN HEALTH
Google Plus Community: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/113895635480695815911
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