Redefining and Transforming Field Experiences in Teacher Preparation Through Personalized Mixed Reality Simulations
March 17, 2021
Bondie, R., & Dede, C. (2020). Redefining and Transforming Field Experiences in Teacher Preparation Through Personalized Mixed Reality Simulations. What Teacher Educators Should Have Learned from 2020, 229.
In What Teacher Educators Should Have Learned From 2020, Professors Rhonda Bondie and Chris Dede discuss opportunities for improved teacher education programs in their chapter “Redefining and Transforming Field Experiences in Teacher Preparation Through Personalized Mixed Reality Simulations.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an abrupt, unplanned pivot and reimagining of field experiences for teacher education programs. Overnight, many faculty moved from partnering with mentor teachers at local schools to using mixed reality simulations to develop and assess preservice teachers’ (PSTs) skills. Mixed reality simulations offer opportunities to practice teaching through interactions with avatar students in a virtual classroom. The avatars, controlled by a human simulation specialist, respond to teaching practices and may also initiate challenges, feedback, and coaching. Teaching practices learned through experiences in the virtual classroom may build confidence and skills that transfer to PSTs’ interactions with real students. For faculty, mixed reality simulations provide benefits, such as a standardized experience for assessing growth. By leveraging the technology’s affordances (e.g., online access, immersive learning, standard challenges, and pausing or restarting), mixed reality simulations can redefine and transform field experiences, increasing opportunities for differentiated instruction, personalization, and formative assessments in ways not possible through in-person field experiences. However, little information is available regarding effective simulation design, use of culturally relevant pedagogies, and integration of simulations as field experiences within teacher preparation course work. This chapter provides practical guidelines and examples that support preservice faculty in developing simulation scripts, embedding simulations in course syllabi, and training simulation specialists to conduct mixed reality simulations.