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Teachers-in-Training Try Out Simulated Classrooms Using New Program

New Technology Helps Teachers-in-Training Experience Simulated Classroom Experiences Complete with Virtual Students

The University of Maine* is now one of 65 colleges and universities in the country using a program called TeachLivE, technology which provides virtual students and a virtual classroom setting to teachers-in-training.

Traditionally, educators are thrown into the classroom setting as an intern or teaching assistant with a kind of "sink or swim" mentality.

In order to address this issue, the people behind TeachLivE argue that this new technology not only prepares soon-to-be teachers better, but also gives students a better idea on if the profession is actually for them by removing that "sink or swim" kind of pressure.

According to the  Bangor Daily News, 50 University of Maine education professors recently attended a demonstration introducing the TeachLivE program and a new TeachLivE lab for students with an 80-inch TV and new computer will be open next month.

The virtual students each have a different personality and therefore represent the challenge of engaging different learners. The virtual students also represent the challenges that come with teaching a classroom- such as virtual student Cindy, who is seen in the demonstration texting on her phone.

"The virtual students respond through a technician, who used a different voice to represent each of the avatars. Technicians also are responsible for controlling the students’ actions and movements, from Cindy’s texting to Sean’s hand raising," the article said.

And not only does the program simulate students within a classroom, it also has the capability to simulate other important components of the profession like relationships with parents.

"For example, a principal can sit down with an avatar simulating a parent upset with the school’s decision to suspend their child for getting in a fight."

As many experts agree that teacher preparation programs need to be reinvigorated to better prepare teachers for the classroom, the simulations available through TeachLivE might just be part of the solution.

Read the full article here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

*An earlier version of this story erroneously listed the University of Michigan as the university providing this program.

09/22/2015

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