This is a program for everyone at every age. We are pleased to be able to offer it to people in the second half of life, especially, because that is when brain functions slow down and the brain mass itself can deteriorate…or continue growing.
Our logo reflects the two main goals of Whole Brain Health (WBH) brain training – to improve current brain functioning AND to strengthen the long-term physical vitality of the brain itself through evidence-based activities in Second Life that are innovative, inspiring, interactive, and lead to positive change.
We start from the concept that the human “mind” is made up of all the interactions connecting the brain to the rest of the body and to the intangible thing we call “spirit.” This is what we consider WHOLE BRAIN HEALTH.
GOALS OF WBH – Our Multi-Dimensional Model
This model is built on research about brain health that strongly suggests the value of establishing a BALANCE among five domains of daily life. The domains are:
- Self-care (diet, exercise, sleep)
- Cognitive stimulation and effort
- A sense of Purpose and meaning (spiritual)
- Positive Social connections
- Creative expression of any kind
All of these together make up part of our brain-training toolkit.
THE BRAIN IS LIKE A MUSCLE
It’s important to learn WHAT helps us live our best lives. But having the ability to put theory into practice is equally important.
Many of the challenges on Inspiration Island address this by focusing on specific personal resources and habits that will help us make the positive changes we seek. These give the brain real “muscle.”
The brain CAN be trained to improve memory, focus, concentration, attention, processing speed. It can also be nourished to increase synaptic connections and even grow new neurons at any age.
(That’s apparently how some people who are found to have Alzheimer’s tangles after death do not exhibit signs of the disease while alive.)
The value of online “Brain Games” (like Lumosity) is still unclear. However, many, many activities and places in virtual worlds can give the same benefits with much less cost and much more fun.
(A PDF of a new report on brain games is available by writing to wisdomseekersmeetinghouse@GMAIL.COM)
NEW FRONTIERS IN AGING COURSE –
HOW TO USE VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS TO KEEP YOUR BRAIN GROWING AT EVERY STAGE IN LIFE
How are we feeding and training the brain/mind on Inspiration Island?
A major way is through our free “brain training” course, utilizing builds and programs created by members of our ever-growing Collective of dedicated individuals. This picture shows an overview of the ground level of our region.
If you are interested in joining us, contact Lissena.
The New Frontiers in Aging course takes place both in Second Life and in Moodle, an online Learning System, where background materials add to the total learning experience. You can read more about the course near the end of this page.
INSPIRATION ISLAND COLLECTIVE
Collective = a group of individuals with a common purpose
OUR LANDING POINT & ORIENTATION CENTER
To bring Newcomers into Second Life for the course:
Instructions on How to Sign Up and Enter Second Life can be found by clicking HERE.
Just type Inspiration Island into the Location box at login to come to this landing point.
Click on the blue disk to be transported to our basic orientation area, where very basic skills are taught very simply. It is self-guided and self-paced, a generous gift from Grizzla that we have adapted.
Old-timers can choose to start in the Orientation Center too. They often discover some gaps in their knowledge of Second Life when they use “Beginner’s Mind” there.
*Invite your friends and colleagues to try entering SL through our portal and give us feedback so we can keep improving it!
THE BUDDY BOARD
Our support system for visitors is available on these boards (created by Maximillian Merlin), which you can find at various points around the island.
We have volunteers who will help anyone who uses the board. If no volunteer’s picture is on the board, I, Lissena (the Director of WBH), will get your message in my email and contact one of them.
*Send me a notecard if you would like to become a volunteer Buddy.
THE LIBRARY IN THE MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES EXPERIENCE AREA (MIE)
The 2nd phase of orientation takes place in the Multiple Intelligences Experience (MIE) area.
Howard Gardner’s theory of eight kinds of intelligence is demonstrated in this richly developed build, originated by Zotarah Shepherd. Newcomers continue to add skills here.
And all students begin to learn how to use their own personal combinations of intelligence as resources they can draw on to turn well-being theory into everyday practice.
The Library here represents one kind of intelligence – the Literary/Linguistic. (Map Reading probably involves several kinds of intelligence, by the way – a good example of combinations.)
SAMPLE LITERARY/LINGUISTIC CHALLENGE
The purpose of challenges on Inspiration Island is to engage people in activities that exercise brain, body, and spirit. This is one of the literary challenges in the MIE.
Each of the station signs holds a notecard detailing its challenges. (Some of them offer Linden rewards.)
Look especially for the challenges in the INTRA-PERSONAL (the cave) area. This form of intelligence is vital to cultivate for personal and societal well-being, Gardner says – and we agree.
THE GROVE OF WISDOM
The Strengths Challenge here is based on Positive Psychology research and practice.
Newcomers learn a new skill – hunting for clues.
And all students learn how to identify and understand their strengths, then how to combine them with their forms of intelligences to make positive changes in their lives more easily.
Positive Psychology – the science of optimal well-being – is the keystone of our work on Inspiration Island.
This challenge, created by Dancers Yao, leads seekers of inner growth to uncover the things that help them build resilience in adversity – personally and socially.
It adds another tool to the highly individualized “tool kit” of personal resources they are gathering, which can be used both inside and outside of Second Life.
Don’t forget to get a Solar Light in the grotto (your light of inspiration) – and put on a diving suit to find the pearl of great price in the abyss.
This beautiful build, created by Thuja Hynes (Tooyaa) – our Associate Director – contains Inspiration Island in miniature.
Each of its 5 levels reflects 1 of the 5 domains in our multi-dimensional model: self care (exercise/diet/sleep), positive social connection, creative expression, cognitive stimulation, and purpose and meaning. Many of our Collective members have contributed to its contents.
Here students in the course can see the overall framework for everything Inspiration Island does to promote brain health.
We also have a beautiful Rainbow Bridge, created by Hannah BlueMood, that leads from our upper landing point into the Lotus via a Waypoint about Dreams. Our many Waypoints are designed to stimulate thought and imagination.
This is an example of a fantastic scriptless machine, also created by Tooyaa, filled with delighted tourists riding above the ground level of the sim.
We just hosted a Physics Discovery Fair on Oct. 14, 2016 where several SL inventors demonstrated their scriptless machines. I am still smiling at their creativity and playfulness.
Watch for Notices of our quarterly Discovery Fairs. Join our open groups: WHOLE BRAIN HEALTH, COMMUNITY OF CREATIVE ELDERS, ADVENTURES IN LIFELONG LEARNING.
You can see the Towers of Invention, Brodmann’s Brain (created by Osangar and Biru so you can walk inside it!), the amazing 3D Maze of AlmostThere Inventor (he creates a new maze every week), and the location of Study Buddies, hosted by Bhelanna Blaze.
At the present time, the tramway ride is NOT self-guided. Please contact Thuja Hynes if you wish to take a tour using the tramway.
COMMUNITY CULTURAL HUB
When the training course ends, we send students out into the greater world of Second Life through the Hub.
This provides vetted landmarks and a depth of information about safe SL communities and programs – especially important for Newcomers
Ewan Bonham and Starlight have designed and maintain this invaluable resource.
YOU AND US
So, we think of ourselves as an immersive special library focused on whole brain well-being. (And isn’t our planet one giant brain too?)
We like to partner with others in virtual worlds who also view places like SL as a powerful force for good.
We hope to introduce more new people to the benefits of an online life that can enhance their outside life as well.
Our goal is to introduce more people in SL to holistic brain training.
*We would like to enlarge the concept of a Collective beyond our own island. If you are interested in co-sponsoring events or offering programs through us, for example, contact us.
MORE ABOUT THE NEW FRONTIERS IN AGING COURSE
To complete the New Frontiers course, we ask students to investigate Inspiration Island’s more than 30 locations and programs.
Their task is to discover how they can best achieve a BALANCE among all 5 domains by matching specific kinds of activities to their personal strengths and interests.
We ask them to try out
- our group programs like meditation (led by Dani), collaborative sculpture (facilitated by Marly), world music (hosted by Sunshine), Hero Walk (run by Tooyaa), a book group (hosted by Xeno), The In-Possible You Empowerment Program (created by Ghaelen); or enjoy our many other musical events presented by Ari and Keko and Stranger.
- as well as standalone activities like our mazes and games area, our Health Literacy Exhibits (Brielle), the Climate Sustainability Platform (courtesy of Marly), yoga and Qi Gong mats – you can enjoy a full Qi Gong and Lovingkindness meditation session here (audio provided by JenLan).
These explorations will help them decide what kinds of activities they want to incorporate into their daily lives to make an individualized lifestyle plan that will allow them to flourish over time.
*If you would like to learn more about our New Frontiers course, send Lissena a notecard in SL or write to her at wisdomseekersmeetinghouse@GMAIL.COM.
HOW TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH US:
Click our Whole Brain Health group joiner, or click on our subscriber board, both found at the landing point and throughout the sim.
WEBSITE: http://www.virtualwholebrainhealth.org (all of the information below is also here)
YOUTUBE CHANNEL: http://tinyurl.com/youtube-virtualWBH
**Special thanks to Francisco Koolhoven, our Media Director, for making so much of this possible.
Lissena (“Liss”), aka Wisdomseeker