Oct 1, 2013

Learning to Teach through Mixed Reality: UCF's TeachLivE

Imagine this.  A mixed-reality environment designed to provide pre-service student teachers and teachers looking to improve their skills a chance to try out new strategies, without messing up with real kids!   TLE TeachLiveEwas developed by researchers at the Synthetic Reality Lab located at the Institute for Simulation & Training at the University of Central Florida. It  looks like a great training tool for young college students who are planning to take on the challenge of a career in education.  

With modifications, the TeachLivE system looks like it would be a good tool for building skills of principals-in-training, as well as others who plan to work in the schools, such as  future school psychologists, school nurses, and school resource officers.

Below is a description of the system from the TeachLivE website, along with some videos and related links. 

(Be sure to watch the video of MILES, near the end of this post. MILES is a similar application designed to support the training of social workers and therapists, and features that could be used to enhance the TeachLiveE system.)

"TLE TeachLivE™ is a mixed-reality classroom with simulated students that provides teachers the opportunity to develop their pedagogical practice in a safe environment that doesn’t place real students at risk. This lab is currently the only one in the country using a mixed reality environment to prepare or retrain pre-service and in-service teachers. The use of TLE TeachLivE™ Lab has also been instrumental in developing transition skills for students with significant disabilities, providing immediate feedback through bug-in-ear technology to pre-service teachers, developing discreet trial skills in pre-service and in-service teachers, and preparing teachers in the use of STEM-related instructional strategies." -TeachLivE 

Virtual Reality Classroom Trains Teacher

"There is a child with ADHD, there is a child who is going to take out their cell phone, and do something with his cell phone right there for our pre-service teacher, if our preservice teacher is not paying attention to that child.  So what they've tried to do is actually program different types of children into each simulated avatar." -Dr. David Rock, Dean, School of Education, University of Mississippi. 

A good overview of the use of virtual worlds and environments for learning.At 7:44, Stephen Bronack, of Learn NC, provides an overview of TeachLivE at TEDX Greenville. TeachLivE is in place at Clemson University in S.C.

MILES: Motivation Interviewing Learning Environment and Simulation (MILES) was created by researchers at the USC Institute of Creative Technologies and uses the power of a game engine to create the main character.  MILES is used at the USC School of Social Work to help future therapist develop their therapist/client interactive skills to provide treatment for service members, veterans, or family members of people impacted by the military, and is used by group of students in social work graduate courses in a way that tracks learning progress and informs classroom discussion.

TeachLivE Website
TeachLivE program at UCF attracts interest from Sesame Street Creators
Amanda Palmiera, Central Florida Future, 7/21/13
My World Has Been Rocked: Educator reviews 'TeachLive', a virtual teaching environment
Brian Greenberg, edSurge 6/24/13
UM Uses Student Avatars for Teacher Training
Andrew Mark Abernathy, Ole Miss News 3/18/13
SLU using avatars, virtual classrooms as teaching tools
The Times-Picayune, 4/9/13

TeachLivE publications:
Elford, M., Carter, R., & Aronin, S. (2013). Virtual reality check: Teachers use bug-in-ear coaching to practice feedback techniques with student avatars. JSD34(1), 40–43.

Hayes, A. T., Straub, C. L., Dieker, L. A., Hughes, C. E., & Hynes, M. C. (2013). Ludic Learning: Exploration of TLE TeachLivETM and Effective Teacher Training. Int. J. Gaming Comput. Mediat. Simul., 5(2), 20-33. doi: 10.4018/jgcms.2013040102

Andreasen, J. B. & Haciomeroglu, E. S. (2009). Teacher training in virtual environments. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Atlanta, GA. 

USC Develops Virtual Tool to Train Child Interviewers
Evy Jacobson, USC Gould School Of Law, 5/14/13
Emergent Leader Immersive Training Environment
USC Institute for Creative Technologies

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