Avatars and Partnerships Improving Teacher Education

It takes a village to stay on top of the latest educational trends, methodologies and curricula.  Within Rohan Woods, faculty and staff impart interesting articles and educational research as a means of sharing professional knowledge.  Externally, I receive information from colleagues that is thought provoking and cutting edge and quickly provide it to the faculty for reactions and feedback.

Recently, I watched a program on how universities across the nation are better preparing the educators of the future.  The University of Maine introduced TeachLivE, a mixed-reality, immersive space where students have the opportunity to practice teaching and classroom management systems on avatars prior to beginning student teaching.  This new method allows students to interface with avatars in order to hone their skills and become more confident in the classroom and learning process.  Situations are paused and reviewed providing immediate feedback.  As reported by the University of Maine, simulated classrooms have been used with approximately 10,000 educators and are now being implemented in about 75 educational sites around the United States.  

Rohan Woods has built a strong relationship with St. Louis University for the past several years.  We have hosted student teachers, classes have come for tours and SLU professors have conducted in-service sessions for faculty.  Again this year, we are partnering with SLU as a host school to four students conducting 20 hours of required observation.  Also, two students, one of which is an RWS alumnus, came to the school to conduct interviews with faculty and staff for a Foundations in Education class.  I had the pleasure of meeting with our guests on several occasions and delight in the questions they ask and the perceptions they have of education.  Two students recently shared with me that SLU provides a strong emphasis on project learning – teaching students to conduct research, create a project in order to become an expert on the subject and then share it with the school community.  The students noted Rohan Woods is one of the few schools they observed where they can see project in action.  They have raved about our school environment, our outstanding faculty and our academically well prepared students.  Both agreed that while our students work hard, they enjoy learning, are engaged and incredibly inclusive.  I feel honored that some of the upcoming generation of teachers recognize and relish the special nature of our school.

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