TeachLIVE in Demand - Not at WMU

Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2012

As a student of education, the thought of managing 30+ students in a classroom may be a little daunting. Until a teaching student jumps into the classroom, they may not know if they’re stepping into a well-suited career, or jumping into the deep end. That’s why TeachLIVE was created at the University of Central Florida (UCF). WMU is one of only 10 schools lucky enough to implement this groundbreaking teaching technology.

TeachLIVE is a mixed reality teaching environment. Here’s how it works: the teacher-in-training stands in front of a projection screen that depicts five students in two rows. These students are avatars, and are controlled by ‘interactors’ from UCF. The ‘interactors’ have studied the behaviors of the students they are embodying—each avatar student represents a major personality type. This means they can turn up the negative behaviors and responses if the teacher-in-training is using ineffective teaching methods, and vice versa.

The beauty of the TeachLIVE system is that it can detect potentially unfit teachers early, reducing teacher turnover, and saving some students a lot of time and effort preparing for the wrong career. It also allows teachers-in-training to learn from their mistakes without becoming detrimental to the learning process of their students.

Teachers-in-training have the ability to interact with students, review previous work, present new content, and monitor students while they work independently. As a result, teachers-in-training can learn about classroom management without stepping foot into a real classroom. This game-changing program signifies the future of University Education and Teaching programs.

In the beginning of 2011, Dr. Elizabeth Whitten implemented the WMU TeachLIVE lab into her coursework. TeachLIVE is in high demand because the virtual classroom is controlled at UCF by UCF faculty and students— sessions must be scheduled in advance. Currently, TeachLIVE is working to develop a system that has more automated capabilities, in addition to a system that will focus on disabled, illiterate, and autistic students.

The College of Education and Human Development at WMU is one step ahead of teacher training—with only ten schools to implement this technology, WMU graduates will certainly be at the top of the class when entering the teaching world.