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Avatars to the Rescue: How Virtual Reality is Helping to Move Teacher Preparation Forward

Education leaders’ outlook for the 2020-21 academic year anticipates a widening gap in the supply of new teachers, according to a recent survey of nearly 200 responses from individuals in leadership roles at colleges of education. The survey, conducted by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting educator preparation programs, reveals that nearly half of respondents indicated that field placements (student teaching) have been discontinued for at least some of their students.

Teacher preparation is multidimensional, and clinical experience is an essential aspect in becoming a successful educator. However, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, teacher candidates’ face-to-face classroom training has come to a halt, causing them to miss out on the opportunity to hone their in-class, instructional skills before they are in front of their own students.

“Our survey examines the critical demands in teacher preparation as we continue to navigate the global health pandemic and prepare for the academic year beginning in the fall,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and CEO. “With critical shortages already in the teacher pipeline, it is more important than ever to use technology innovation to move field placements forward.”

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