Avatars to Teach the Teachers

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In the July 7, 2010 issue of InsideHigherEd linked above, avatars in Second Life are being used to emulate students such that teachers-in-training can learn to instruct and manage their behaviors.

"Dieker and the TeachME team -- which includes members of the university's education, engineering, computer science, mathematics, and theater departments -- believe they have created a virtual classroom so real-seeming that it could drastically improve how prepared novice teachers are by the time they venture into the blackboard jungle as student teachers -- and in so doing, reduce teacher turnover by weeding out likely candidates for burnout."

Designed for preparing public education teachers, this technology may have useful ramifications for college faculty as well. Keep your eyes open! Wouldn't it be cool if teaching and learning centers set up virtual classrooms as part of their "Course in College Teaching"?

..."most importantly, it could limit the students' exposure to underprepared, ineffective teachers. And, the team assumes, improve learning outcomes."

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