Staff profile

Project lead
Dr Fiona Mayne
Graduate School of Education

Project outline

The aim of this project is to evaluate the TeachLivE virtual classroom as a tool to develop teaching skills of pre-service teachers in Australian contexts. TeachLivE is an emerging mixed-reality simulation technology where novice (pre-service) teachers conduct lessons with a virtual class consisting of five avatar students programmed with distinctive personality types. Pre-service teachers practice foundation skills in both behaviour and academic domains as a basis for developing more complex teaching repertoires for use with real children.

Developed by the University of Central Florida in 2008, and extensively funded by the Bill Gates Foundation, TeachLivE has since been used by approximately 10,000 teachers in 37 universities (mostly in the US). TeachLivE avatars are controlled by a combination of automated software and a trained interactor who remotely controls the behaviours and responses of the avatars during the lesson simulation. US-based interactor time costs $120 per hour while the simulation is running. Typically, up to six students can successfully teach lessons in each hour.

Murdoch University in Perth has begun trialling TeachLIvE with their pre-service teachers and approached the UWA Graduate School of Education (GSE) to partner with them in this trial. This is the first ever trial of TeachLivE with pre-service teachers in Australia. The project research will involve pre-service teachers enrolled in the UWA Master of Education course and their tutors. The purpose of this research is to obtain pre-service teachers’ perspectives on how their experience in the TeachLivE  virtual classroom influences skill development of praise, questioning, error correction and classroom management.

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