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More Universities Experiment with Virtual Classrooms, Student Avatars

More Universities Experiment with Virtual Classrooms, Student Avatars

The University of Virginia is the latest university to add the virtual classroom to what it offers teacher hopefuls in their respective training.

In its pilot program, UVA’s Curry School of Education is now using a computer-based Mursion classroom to provide pre-service students with 10 minutes of opportunity to teach to a virtual classroom.

According to a researcher on the project, the virtual classroom is particularly helpful in providing students with immediate feedback as opposed to having them wait weeks or months.

"According to professor Catherine Bradshaw, a researcher on the project, pre-service teachers offering lessons in real classrooms often receive feedback from their supervisors that is significantly delayed, by hours and sometimes days or weeks,” said UVA Today.

"With the simulator, the faculty supervisors who are teaching the pre-service teachers are watching the pre-service teacher live and evaluating how they implement classroom management strategies. Upon completion of the lesson, the supervisor offers immediate feedback during a debriefing session.”

In addition to immediate feedback, the virtual program also allows students a unique ability to practice trail-and-error that is not possible in a real classroom.

UVA hopes that the Mursion simulator will prove to be a pivotal part in many of its professional preparation programs going forward.

“Clearly this type of experience is of great value in preparing teachers, but we also see its value in preparation across a number of professional roles – for example, in school counseling, psychology, educational leadership and in the broader area of working with youth,” said Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School.

According to EdTech Magazine, about 80 campuses nationwide are trying out the virtual classroom include the University of Maine; UMaine began using the virtual classroom in undergraduate classrooms in September.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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