Virtual classrooms: A vision of the future of teacher training — from by D. Frank Smith
A classroom simulator platform operating out of UCF is breaking new ground for how teachers hone their craft.


Stepping in front of a classroom of skeptical students can be nerve-wracking for first-time teachers, but a new teaching platform at the University of Central Florida gives educators-in-training the option of conquering their classroom jitters in a virtual environment.

Educators must navigate social, pedagogical and professional hurdles all at once. And TeachLive is the first of its kind — a classroom simulator that can emulate these challenges and scale its difficulty to the specific needs of the teacher.

TeachLive places a teacher-in-training in a virtual classroom populated by computer-generated students. A Skype conference call and a Microsoft Kinect motion sensor power the high-tech pantomiming behind the platform. It’s currently being used at more than 80 campuses across the U.S. to train some of the next generation of educators, and it appears to be working.


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TLE TeachLivE™ is a mixed-reality classroom with simulated students that provides teachers the opportunity to develop their pedagogical practice in a safe environment that doesn’t place real students at risk.  This lab is currently the only one in the country using a mixed reality environment to prepare or retrain pre-service and in-service teachers. The use of TLE TeachLivE™ Lab has also been instrumental in developing transition skills for students with significant disabilities, providing immediate feedback through bug-in-ear technology to pre-service teachers, developing discrete trial skills in pre-service and in-service teachers, and preparing teachers in the use of STEM-related instructional strategies.