This report presents the methodology and findings of a feasibility and acceptability study of the TeachLive mixed-reality teaching simulator, which was used as a supplemental guided practice opportunity for pre-service student teachers enrolled in classroom management and special-education methods classes.
With TeachLive, preservice teachers enter a virtual classroom where they see a group of five avatar students. These images are projected onto a typical TV or LCD screen connected to a computer with a live Internet connection. Participants in the simulator interact with and teach lessons with the virtual students as they would perform these activities with actual students. By participating in TeachLive, participants can be coached on specific strategies aimed to improve their practice in a safe, controlled, and interactive environment. The current study describes the implementation of TeachLive in a university-based traditional teacher preparation program, and it examined the feasibility and acceptability of mixed-reality simulation for use within teacher preparation as a supplement for students enrolled in either a classroom management or special education methods class. The current study used a sample of 62 preservice teachers enrolled in two education courses at a large mid-Atlantic public university. All participants were enrolled in a graduate-level teacher education program leading to licensure in elementary or special education. After completing the simulation, the lead investigator and research assistants conducted focus groups to collect feedback on participants' experiences. Pretesting and post-testing revealed the benefits of the simulation technology for preservice training. The focus groups resulted in several suggestions for improving the use of simulator technology in teachers' preparation for interacting with students in a classroom setting. 3 figures, 3 tables, and 69 references