Teachers at eight different HISD schools have been spending more time with avatars this spring—but it’s not because they’re playing on FarmVille, The Sims, or Second Life.
Instead, these educators have been fine-tuning their instructional skills using TeachLivE, a pilot program in which flesh-and-blood teachers deliver actual lessons to virtual students in a computer-simulated classroom. The students are programmed to respond in real time to the actions of the teacher, so instructors can identify ways to improve their lessons almost immediately.
“The TeachLive gave me insight on how I actually ask questions,” said Kashmere High School teacher Monisha King. “We can ask questions all day long, but it’s the way you ask the questions that gets the students’ minds going and gets them to investigate their own answers.”
“One of the things that’s really, really awesome about TeachLivE is that no matter where you are on the continuum, there is an opportunity for growth and development,” added Lance Menster, officer of Elementary Curriculum & Instruction. “The feedback we’re getting from teachers is that they can use this information to change the way they’re delivering instruction the very next day.”