News from the Ossining Union Free School District on a new technology for teachers to learn using avatars:
Known as “Teach LivE,” with the emphasis on E for education, the technology is similar to a flight simulator for pilots in that it offers teachers the opportunity to practice real-world skills in a virtual environment.
Using a headset and microphone, teachers interact with five virtual students, called avatars, projected onto a video screen. Each avatar is imbued with a personality and learning style all its own, giving teachers as realistic an experience as possible.
“We’re going to be using this laboratory as a resource to support teachers and their practices. It is like going to a basketball court to shoot a round of baskets,” said Deputy Superintendent Ray Sanchez. “Newer teachers will work with a mentor to gain experience while veterans use it to improve methods, try new practices or prepare for teacher evaluations, all in a risk-free environment.”
Participants will be able to present or review lessons, differentiate instructional strategies and assess their own ability to engage students in learning activities. Because it is a risk-free environment with no real students being affected, TeachLivE will give teachers a chance to experiment with new approaches.
TeachLivE was developed at the University of Central Florida and has been implemented in only 10 universities across the country. Pace University began using the program a year ago with Teaching Fellows in Special Education and Adolescent Science to teach lessons in classroom management, observing and recording student behavior, differentiating instruction and refining instructional strategies.