Today I participated in a webinar designed to share a new possibility in teacher education. As a technologist, I am often approached about the potential for using immersive virtual environments as a way of training teachers to interact with a classroom full of students.
The technology is becoming much more engaging and the experience of interacting with student avatars is very real, some would say “surreal.”
As a teacher, you can write on a virtual blackboard and interact verbally with the avatars. Note that there is a real human being behind the avatars following scripts designed to encourage or challenge the teachers.
I am not at all sure that future Colleges of Education will ever see these simulators as part of their training but that may because I was trained with real students in real classrooms. That said, aircraft pilots have had trainers for decades and nurses and doctors are using 100,000 dollar simulator mannequins that bleed and breath at the push of a button in a control room, so it is not unreasonable that these simulators should be used to train new teachers in “high-leverage” practices.