Virtual Reality Teacher Training
I was reading a post on the many applications of Virtual Reality (VR) in different applications. Such applications consist of virtual tours to virtual surgery. These applications are great for training or just for entertainment.
While the list does not include the use of VR specifically for teacher training, a quick search on the internet reveals a few projects such as Google cardboard. These projects aim to use VR to help children learn better. However, there is a rather interesting article on how some are attempting to use VR in the classroom, not for teaching the students, but the teachers.
One of the hardest thing part about teacher training is, well, the teaching part. Most teacher training courses would put the trainees through a four year program. The first three years is mainly spent in the lecture theaters learning about theory and principles of teaching. While learning about theories is fine, the problem is that on the final year, the teacher trainees will be thrust into the classroom for their teaching internship, hoping that all the theories is enough to help them survive teaching in the classroom.
As a teacher trainer, that is often not the case. A lot of new teachers enter into their first class completely unprepared. If luck is on their side and divine favor shines upon them, their first class would be a breeze. However, if the opposite happens, the teacher trainees may encounter problems ranging from poor time management to outright anarchy in the classroom.
Thus, the use of VR could help better prepare the teacher trainees for that final year teaching internship.
VR Teacher Training
The case for VR teacher training is akin to having VR training for surgeons or even pilots. The point is to ensure that those conducting their first surgery or flying their first flight would be familiar doing so. The same applies for the teacher trainee.
For many teacher trainees, the first day in class has a lot of unknown variables, but most teacher trainees would enter into the class with a lesson not aware of their personal strengths and weaknesses. Some may even apply ‘standard procedures’ from theories, which could be effective, but not as effective as having a simulated classroom before hand and knowing how to hide your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths.
A way this can be done in Virtual Reality is by having a simulated class using VR. Through this, the teacher trainee can have a better idea of how they manage time and how they can best maximize learning in the class. Furthermore, the simulation in VR could have a difficulty setting, with the highest difficulty consisting of the most difficult and disruptive classroom scenarios imagined.
Such a simulation, done often enough, would help the teacher trainees learn how to manage their own stress and stay calm no matter how difficult the situation may be.
In addition, another potential great feature of a VR teacher training tool is the ability for classmates or lecturers to join into a VR teaching simulation. The lecturers and classmates could add scenarios that are otherwise not available on the simulation. This could be used to assess how teacher trainees may react and offer feedback that can help them improve.
I believe such technology is not far off and I may be teaching my teacher trainees wearing a VR headset one day. I think this holds such great potential because it offers invaluable hands on experience. While such experience may not be in real life, it is much better than spending time sitting down in the lecture hall.
For me, I believe that it would be great if we can have practical VR classroom teaching simulations replace long academic essay assignments. Now, won’t that be cool? I hope you have enjoyed this post and if you do know of anyone who has done VR classroom simulation before, do let me know in the comments below.