The Tribeca Trib featured Pace School of Education’s TeachLivE Lab.
From the Tribeca Trib:
The first time Aldajana Adovac stood in front of her tutoring class of five sixth-grade students, she knew right away she’d have trouble.
There was Marcus, the smart aleck in the back row, Monique, a chatty know-it-all in front who could hog class time with her ramblings, and Francis, a willing audience for every one of Marcus’ quips. Then there was Maria, in the corner, who was smart but too shy to speak.
“Man, this is B.S.,” Marcus sighed, slumping over his desk as Adovac suggested he reread a passage from the lesson. “I already said my words.”
With the five of them, keeping this class on track wouldn’t be easy, but Adovac, a Pace University graduate education student who teaches in a girls’ middle school, had an out: her students were digital—avatars animated by an actor in a sound studio in Florida who can see and hear the teacher. If she lost control of the class, or wanted to test an approach with a student, she could simply take off her headphones and try again another time. Meanwhile, her classmates watched from around the real classroom, taking notes.
After “teaching” her short lesson, Adovac said she realized that she had given too much attention to the trouble-making Marcus. “The next time I get into a situation with a student who is combative or disruptive, I won’t be so quick to answer everything they say,” she said.
Avatars are not just for Hollywood anymore. Pace University’s School of Education is one of 10 campuses around the country using a program called TeachLivE in the classroom to train teachers. Developed by the education and computer science departments at the University of Central Florida, the program’s goal is to allow new teachers to practice on “students” without leaving the building on Spruce Street.
“It’s wonderful if you want to try out a strategy or a lesson,” said Sharon Medow, a veteran professor in Pace’s School of Education. “We can teach about a theory, then actually practice it.”
Find the rest of the story at The Tribeca Trib.