Gary Stern from The Journal News visited Pace teacher education classes to learn about and report on a new teaching tool – avatars in a new program, TeachLivE.
From the article in The Journal News:
Until recently, teachers-in-training at Pace University in Pleasantville did not get to step in front of a class until their senior year. They learned the theories behind curriculum and instruction without having to face the unpredictable and sometimes unruly element of classroom life: students.
But recently, 19-year-old sophomore Charles Link got up in front of a small class of jumpy and easily distracted seventh-graders to teach a basic lesson on the states of matter. When he explained how boiling water turns to steam or gas, the class giggled.
“When you said gas, I was just doing a demonstration,” one student, Marcus, said. More chuckles.
Link ignored the remark — as so many middle-school teachers have before him — and went on with his lesson. It was a taste of the real world for him, even though his students were not of flesh and blood.
They were avatars.
Pace is one of 10 universities in the country that are putting its students in front of digital classes connected to the “Teach Live” laboratory at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
Education majors at Pace teach to five digital avatars who appear on an interactive board and are controlled and voiced by actors in Orlando wearing “motion capture” suits, not unlike those used to create digital movie characters. The avatars — Marcus, Maria, Vince, Francis and never-stop-talking Monique — have distinct personalities that are supposed to represent real adolescent behaviors.
Read the rest of the article at lohud.com.