Using TeachLivE™ to Prepare Teaching Interns for the Social and Emotional Dimension of Practice

Using TeachLivE™ to Prepare Teaching Interns for the Social and Emotional Dimension of Practice

Academic Year:
2015 - 2016 (June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016)
Funding Requested:
Project Dates:
Overview of the Project:
During the 2013-2014 academic year, secondary teacher education faculty in the School of Education updated our program outcomes, competencies, and the related rubric that is used by field instructors and mentor teachers to evaluate interns' performance in the field. In both of our secondary teacher education programs these guiding curricular documents now include noncognitive factors (i.e., academic behaviors, academic perseverance, academic mindsets, learning strategies, and social skills) and social-emotional learning competencies (i.e., self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making). Because these factors and competencies are relatively new to our interns, we would like them to have opportunities to practice using their emerging knowledge of these factors and competencies without adversely affecting the learning of real secondary students. We propose to do this by using TeachLivE™, a virtual classroom setting with avatars as students. TeachLivE™ is unique because it uses a human-in-the-loop paradigm that allows for a simulation that presents the complexities of dealing with real students. We seek funding to pilot TeachLivE™ in the Secondary MAC program which would involve a) developing four modules for use with the TeachLivE™ simulation, b) providing interns with small group and individual opportunities to engage with avatars through the simulation, and c) appraising the value added by having interns practice with the TeachLivE™ avatars. We are also seeking funding to demo TeachLivE™ with faculty and instructors not participating in the pilot to determine how to expand the use of TeachLivE™ to our other teacher education programs.
Final Report Fields
Project Objectives:

1. Allow students to interact in virtual classrooms in a low stakes environment. 2. Measure students’ perceived understanding of relevant course concepts embedded in competencies (prior to and after TeachLivE™). 3. Measure students’ perceived preparedness to engage in the competency behaviors in school settings (prior to and after TeachLivE™).

Project Achievements:

1. Results from our analyses of students’ experiences in the TeachLivE™ indicated that students benefitted from the hands-on experience of interacting in their virtual classrooms, particularly in their preparedness to implement various course concepts into their own classrooms. Based on results from student surveys, we recommend more hands-on scenarios with ample opportunities for students to reflect on their internship experience individually and with fellow classmates. 2. How many students were impacted by this project? Graduate students:
 47 (summer), 45 (fall), 44 (winter). 3. How many courses were impacted by this project? 
Two (EDUC 649 Foundational Perspectives on Educational Reform and EDUC 510 Teaching and Learning). They also had a fall experience that was not attached to a course.


We received funding from a donor and will continue to use it in EDUC 649. Methods instructors will be incorporating it into secondary methods courses (math and world languages) that are taught to undergraduate teaching interns as well as secondary MAC teaching interns. At the elementary level, it will also be incorporated in EDUC 392 (Educational Foundations in a Multicultural Society). We are also using funding from the donor to create a TeachLivE™ lab on the 3rd floor of the SOE.
Researchers at the Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER) have prepared a final report that will be distributed to the project team as well as any other constituents of the TeachLivE™ program. These recommendations will be used to further inform future iterations of this program.

We will also hold a brown bag discussion about the results and what we learned from the project with teacher education instructors and others interested in the simulation.
Advice to your Colleagues:
We received some great information from our collection of data before and after students’ TeachLivE™ experience. For any design of any “intervention program” such as this one, we recommend offering some type of randomly designed trial so that researchers can examine the direct impact of similar programs on their target audience.