For Hometown news
TREASURE COAST --
Indian River State College has been awarded a grant to investigate the use of virtual reality to enhance teacher effectiveness and student achievement.
Ten sites across the country will participate in the national research project led by the University of Central Florida using TeachLivETM, a computer- simulated classroom using avatars replicating middle and high school students.
The grant includes $8,000 to IRSC provided by the University of Central Florida through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to assist with data analysis.
On the Treasure Coast, Indian River State College will work closely with 22 teachers from St. Lucie, Martin and Indian River counties to evaluate how TeachLive can be used to enhance teacher behaviors to support student learning.
The teachers have been observed by IRSC education faculty prior to using the multi-reality system and will be observed following sessions with the virtual reality program to determine changes in classroom management skills.
In addition to current teachers participating in the research project, college-level education students at IRSC also use the system to practice classroom management methods.
The TeachLive simulator allows teachers or teacher candidates to interact with real-time student avatars who exhibit the most challenging behaviors of middle-school students through a projection system.
The student avatars are controlled by "interactors," professionals trained in voice impersonations and developmentally appropriate behaviors, resulting in unscripted scenarios, including disruptions, giggling and non-speaking outbursts.
To create a realistic classroom environment, the students represent the five most common categories of behaviors common to middle school students as classified by psychologists:
Sean. Always seeking affirmation (with a perpetually raised hand). Maria. Shying away from teachers and peers;
Cindy (CJ). Constantly testing authority.
Kevin. Looking for affirmation from other students, even if they misbehave.
Ed. Shy but willing.
"TeachLive provides a unique opportunity for teachers and education students to react to all types of classroom behavior, practice the best classroom management methods and positively impact student learning," said Marta Cronin, director of the IRSC School of Education.
IRSC offers bachelors in education degree programs in middle and high school math, middle-school science, high-school biology and exceptional student education.
Students gain a firm foundation in all aspects of teaching practice and complete students teaching at local schools during their senior year.
For more information, call (866) 792-4772 or visit www.irsc.edu.