Preparing future teachers requires teacher educators to share both theory and its translation to best practice. Traditional approaches to this learning process include textbooks, case studies, role-play, observation, and eventually fieldwork in a classroom. Understanding what their future students need or appropriately responding to situations in the classroom is far different than the reality of teaching in schools. Although case studies provide an opportunity for perspective taking, collaboration, and developing problem solving skills in a safe environment, it is still a relatively passive experience. The use of virtual worlds to create engaging simulations offers a possibility in bridging this gap between theory and practice. The School of Education and Human Services at Seton Hall University has designed a virtual world simulation to provide college students with the opportunity to be immersed in a virtual classroom setting in which they take on the roles of avatar teachers and grade school students who may require various modifications/accommodations. This chapter will discuss the design and implementation of this project. Data were collected on the students’ experiences in order to assess possible learning gains, affordances of the technology, and lessons learned for future educators who are considering the implementation of virtual world technologies.
Mirliss, D., May, G. and Zedeck, M. (2012), "Bringing the Classroom to Life: Using Virtual Worlds to Develop Teacher Candidate Skills", Wankel, C. and Blessinger, P. (Ed.) Increasing Student Engagement and Retention Using Immersive Interfaces: Virtual Worlds, Gaming, and Simulation (Cutting-Edge Technologies in Higher Education, Vol. 6 Part C), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 129-160. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2044-9968(2012)000006C008Download as .RIS
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