AACTE and Mursion Offer Technology Solution for Virtual Clinical Practice
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
AACTE and Mursion have partnered to offer educator preparation programs a solution to an acute need caused by the global pandemic. Teacher candidates’ opportunity for face-to-face classroom training has been suspended, which has resulted in a risk for future teachers to not complete their course work. The AACTE and Mursion collaboration provides virtual reality classrooms for teacher candidates to receive experiential learning through simulations. Mursion is rooted in teacher training and has conducted 50,000 simulations. Through the new offer, AACTE members receive a 10% discount to access innovative technology, thanks, in part, to an anonymous donor underwriting a portion of the cost.
Mursion has worked with over 70 educator preparation programs at colleges and universities. Here’s what a few participants had to say about the benefits of virtual reality classrooms:
“Mursion has been instrumental during the COVID-19 crisis in providing our students a timely variety of experiences from teaching students vocabulary and literacy while addressing the unique needs of students with a disability and those who are learning English. Our students are going back to their recorded sessions and reviewing and reflecting on their teaching and that of their peers. They are getting much better in identifying what they needed to do to improve their teaching practices and how to meet the targets for the professional standards for teachers. We have also provided the students an opportunity to practice parent-teacher meetings, pre-referral meetings, and special education IEP meetings. These last few weeks our faculty also added experiences to help our students who are preparing for interviews. Mursion has supported us and our students to think outside the box and create experiences that sometimes are out of the realm of a traditional student teaching experience.”
– Claudia Rinaldi, associate professor of education, program chair of education, Lasell College
“Mursion has provided our students with an opportunity to hone their interpersonal skills in very realistic simulations that are about as close to “real life” as one can get without actually being in front of real students in a classroom or concerned parents discussing their child’s progress in a parent teacher meeting. The actors behind the characters are great! Their creativity in taking on the different personalities of the avatars really adds to the realism and makes our students have to think on their feet and react to unpredictable situations. The ability to pause a simulation and discuss with the professor and classmates, in a supportive and constructive manner has been a valuable and fun learning tool for our students. Since we are all using Zoom to teach remotely during this pandemic anyway, the transition to completely online Mursion sessions has been very smooth. We look forward to continuing with Mursion in whatever form our classes take in the days to come.”
– Kent Barcla, associate dean of academic technology, Endicott College
“A lot of our scenarios are centered around the complex conversations that special educators might have with parents of a child with disabilities or with their colleagues around special education legal matters. Although it is common practice for teacher preparation programs to utilize research and case studies to review that information, oftentimes, the first time a student will play that role in a conversation is as a practicing teacher alone in a room with a parent or colleague. That is really high stakes. Now, I have had students come back to me after being in the field for a while to say, “I just had a conversation with a parent that was so similar to the simulation, and I was prepared for it!” That’s the thing with Mursion, right? The chance to practice. My students really appreciate being able to pause a simulation and receive on the spot coaching from their peers and me, and especially the debrief conversation afterwards. The conversations that emerge after a simulation are unique to the experience. We wouldn’t have those conversations after a purely theoretical unit. It’s also given them a shared frame of reference that helps them relate their experiences to each other. They can talk about how they have a student that’s “such an Ava” or “a real Ethan” and they can discuss strategies with each other from that shared experience.”
– Kristin Murphy, assistant professor of special education, College of Education and Human Development, University of Massachusetts Boston
Learn more about how to take advantage of virtual reality classrooms and the special AACTE member discount at aacte.org/vrclassrooms. Plan now to join the AACTE and Mursion webinar to talk with experts about this technology on May 19 at 1:00 p.m. EDT. Register here for the webinar.