Lesley Graduate School of Education (GSOE) faculty members Maureen Creegan Quinquis and Susan Patterson are wrapping up a successful year piloting TeachLive, a new immersive technology to prepare teachers for classroom experience. TeachLive (produced by Mursion) allows faculty to guide teacher candidates through several types of classroom situations from behavior management to practicing for parent-teacher conferences.
To learn more about this initiative, rewind to the summer of 2016. Faculty members Maureen Creegan Quinquis and Susan Patterson, collaborating with GSOE Dean Jack Gillette wrote a grant proposal to the Department of Education (DESE) to allow Lesley students to gain access to a new technology tool that blends an immersive experience with live action by an actor. They wrote a proposal detailing the elements of teacher preparation that immersive virtual reality could most effectively address. Specifically, it provides students with experience in:
Special education practice, particularly developing skills in differentiation
Job interview practice
Lesley was awarded the grant for equipment and services in August 2016, allowing GSOE to offer this experience for candidates in initial licensure programs. The equipment for the program is situated in a dedicated space in University Hall. Faculty schedule time with their students to interact with virtual students. Faculty introducing the tool have work closely with students on the preparation, the live simulation itself, and then debriefing after the simulation—all of which are essential components to learning from an immersive simulation.
In Fall 2016, Elementary/Creative Arts in Learning and Elementary and Middle/High School students began working with two of the simulation scenarios:
a classroom setting of 8th graders with a variety of personalities and levels of knowledge;
a parent teacher conference where the teacher is speaking with family members about their child’s progress or presenting a serious issue to the family.
image from http://www.rdmag.com/article/2016/04/simulation%E2%80%99s-teaching-moment
The faculty members report that in addition to providing the space to “practice” with simulated students, there is a real benefit to being able to also pause the simulation to debrief specific moments or to step back from the situation. As Professor Creegan Quinquis notes, “If I have a group of students who have been working on differentiated ways to present a lesson; they can all be in the room fishbowl style– they can watch each other to try and present the lesson. If the student candidate suddenly freezes– he/she can say “pause” and then ask for help or let someone else step in, or we can have a discussion right there in the room. You get to practice it several time. What’s interesting is how much like real life it is. You have this experience of feeling like it’s really happening…The beauty of this is that they can make mistakes and have a safe space to practice” …before ever getting in front of real students.
Join your Lesley faculty colleagues for an exciting, immersive professional development opportunity!
The Summer Academic Technology Institute is an opportunity for faculty to participate in a learning community across disciplines and schools engaged in an exploration of the effective uses of technology in teaching, learning, collaboration, and scholarship. This event is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Scholarship, and organized by eLearning and Instructional Support. To apply for the Summer Academic Technology Institute, please complete the brief application form here.
All faculty — core or adjunct — are welcome to apply. Faculty who consider themselves basic technology users or who do not currently use technology in their teaching are especially encouraged to apply. Faculty selected through the application process receive a $500 stipend for participation in the institute.
The program features a 4-day institute in June, held at University Hall. Faculty engage in a rich mix of dialogue, hands-on practice, project-based learning, reflection, and application to explore innovative ways technology can be integrated into their teaching.
Examples of workshops from past Summer Tech Institutes include:
Putting Technology in Its Place
Designing Lessons for Engagement
OneDrive: Collaboration Made Easy
The Student Experience in Online Learning (panel)
Designing and Facilitating Online Discussions
Introducing Media Into Your Blackboard Course
Expectations for Summer Academic Technology Institute Participants
Faculty are expected to:
Participate in all four days (~9am to 4 pm) of the institute: June 5-8, 2017
Develop a technology-enhanced learning activity for a 2017-2018 course
Attend or participate in at least one professional development outreach activity during the 2017-18 school year
As a way to incorporate Lesley University’s Inclusion Plan into teaching and learning opportunities, we created a new activity in our Online Teaching Seminar this February.
eLIS’ Teaching Seminar is designed to help prepare first-time online instructors to facilitate their courses. One of the exercises in the seminar is to participate in a discussion about scenarios that instructors may encounter when teaching an online course. We created a new example where one student makes a racist remark towards another student in an online discussion. We then ask our seminar participants how they would handle the situation if this happened in their course.
We had the instructors prepare for the discussion by reading a couple of resources on diversity and inclusion teaching:
Based on the readings, the instructors had a great conversation and offered advice to one another.
One question that was heavily discussed was the idea of depersonalization when debating potentially sensitive topics. Instead of asking students how you may feel about a topic, you can ask them to present an argument for or against said topic.
Additional topics that developed during the conversation included:
After an incident occurs, do you address the whole class or just address the students directly involved?
Is there a need to provide statistics or studies to controvert racist assumptions?
There may not be a definitive answer to these questions, but we wanted instructors to wrestle with these questions and deepen their own standards for teaching.