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Liminal Learning In Mixed Reality Teaching Environments



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5th Annual
Virtual Human Interactive Performance
JUNE 7-9, 2017
5th Annual
Virtual Human Interactive Performance
JUNE 7-9, 2017
Conference Co-Chairpersons:
Taylor Bousfield & Michael C. Hynes
Conference Organizing Committee:
Lisa A. Dieker
Charles E. Hughes
Donna Martin
Kathleen Ingraham
Angelica Fulchini
Maureen Au
Matthew Taylor
Claire Donehower
Faith Ezekiel-Wilder
Celestial Wills-Jackson
Benjamin Gallegos
Morgridge International Reading Center
Orlando, Florida
The UCF TeachLivETM team is very appreciative of
the willingness of researchers from across the
country and around the globe to share their
experiences with the use of simulation in their
training efforts at the 5th Annual TeachLivE
Conference: Virtual Human Interaction
Performance (VHIP).
We feel privileged to show conference participants new
TeachLivETM developments for use in teacher, administrator, and
counselor education. New in the conference program this year was
an increased amount of information on how TeachLivETM inspired
technology used in areas other than education. As in the past, sharing
by the new and continuing research and development partnerships
that have emerged with researchers and institutions formed the main
thrust of the conference. Sharing their efforts at this conference and
in journal publications is essential to the growth of knowledge about
how to best apply simulation to improving education.
A special thank you goes out to Dr. Taylor Bousfield, for her tireless
efforts at organizing this year’s conference while preparing to defend
her dissertation. Through her efforts a significant poster session was
added to the conference. The posters gave participants more
opportunities throughout the conference to read and discuss research
with presenters. Dr. Bousfield was supported in her efforts by many
staff members including: Dr. Lisa Dieker, Dr. Charles Hughes, Dr.
Kathleen Ingraham, Damien Chaffin, Donna Martin, Maureen Au,
Angelica Fulchini, Dr. Matthew Taylor, Dr. Claire Donehower, Faith
EzekielWilder, Celestial WillsJackson, and Dr. Benjamin Gallegos.
Planning has begun for the 2018 conference.
Mark your calendars for May 23 -25, 2018!
Watch for a conference paper proposal announcement soon. We look
forward to seeing everyone at UCF for the 6th TeachLivE
2017 Conference Co-Chair: Michael C. Hynes
Simulations as apprenticeship in teacher education: Designing parent-
teacher conference simulations that involve delivering unwelcome news
about a students academic performance
Joan M.T. Walker &
Angela M. Legg Pace
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to:
Joan Walker, School of Education, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY
10570. E-mail:
Communicating with families is a common aspect of teachers’ work yet few
teachers are well- prepared for this professional activity. Addressing this
practice-preparation gap, we drew from theories of experiential learning,
frameworks of effective parent-teacher communication and social psychology
research on bad news delivery to design and implement two simulated parent-
teacher conferences focused on sharing unwelcome information about a student’s
academic performance. The simulations were conducted in a mixed-reality
environment that approximates a video- conferencing interface. During the 15-
minute conversations, candidates interacted with the student’s mother (an avatar
on a screen) who was trained to present a standardized level of difficulty and
conversational challenges (e.g., “Are you sure? How do you know?”). Data
sources included video recordings of the simulations, which were reliably coded
for seven parent-teacher conferencing skills. Candidates’ written reflections
provided insight into their experiences. This paper offers an example of
theoretically grounded simulation design and implementation and a window into
how teacher educators can use simulations to assess and advance candidates’
professional readiness for family engagement.
Keywords: Simulation training; experiential learning; parent-teacher
communication; teacher education; news delivery
Teaching is a complex profession that demands significant content knowledge and social
competence. Yet, educator preparation programs in the United States tend to focus more on
novices’ knowledge acquisition and less on fostering their ability to use their knowledge fluently
in the social context of schools. The gap between what teachers do and how they are prepared is
particularly visible around the common professional activity of parent-teacher conferences.
(deBruine et al., 2014; Epstein & Sanders, 2006; Walker, in press).
Parents want teachers who invite and value their ideas (Pruitt et al., 1998; Zeitlin & Curcic,
2014). What they typically get is a business-like teacher who dominates the conversation and uses
jargon without explanation (Martin et al., 2006). In turn, poor alignment between home and school
impacts students academically and motivationally (Dearing et al., 2006; Hill & Chao, 2009;
Walker & Hoover-Dempsey, 2014). For their part, teachers regard family engagement as one of
the most challenging and dissatisfying aspects of their work (Markow & Pieters, 2012). Each day,
dissatisfaction drives nearly a thousand teachers from the profession; this attrition costs the U.S.
economy about $2 billion a year (Haynes, 2014).
Drawing from pedagogies of enactment (Grossman et al., 2009) and Dewey’s (1904)
longstanding vision of “the educational situation,” we developed two standardized parent-teacher
conferences that involved sharing unwelcome news about a student’s academic performance. We
explored three research questions:
1. Could we design valid and reliable simulations that merged content knowledge and
social competence?
2. Once designed, could we reliably evaluate candidates’ performance?
3. What did candidates take away from their simulation experiences?
Experiential Learning, Apprenticeship and Simulation Training
Simulations allow learners to experience a real-world professional task rather than being
told about it. An experience has two distinct characteristics. First, it is interactive and inherently
uncertain (Dewey, 2007; Shulman, 2005). What transpires is the result of the individual’s moves
in response to emergent elements of the designed environment. Second, it is continuous. Learners
must continuously construct and reconstruct their understanding of the situation as it unfolds and
integrate it with prior knowledge. With deliberate practice, experiential learning enhances pattern
recognition, fluent retrieval and flexible knowledge use (Ericsson, 2006).
In professional education, experiential learning is manifested as apprenticeship. However,
this model relies on naturally occurring events in the day-to-day social context. Critical events
may occur infrequently, which slows learning. Further, if important challenges are never
experienced or observed, then uneven skills and knowledge can develop. Finally, there is little
guarantee that novices will have supported opportunities to reflect on their experiences to improve
future performance. Simulations offer a promising avenue for addressing these drawbacks. Our
work had two specific aims: (1) integrate assessments of candidates’ professional content
knowledge and social competence and (2) observe how candidates adapted their knowledge and
social skills across related conditions (i.e., delivering unwelcome news).
The Social Psychology of Bad News Delivery
Giving bad news is difficult for most people. In fact, giving bad news poses such a threat
that social psychologists coined the term ‘MUM effect’ (i.e., keeping Mum about Undesirable
Messages) to describe people’s tendency to avoid or delay delivering negative feedback to others
(Tesser & Rosen, 1975). Bad news has three characteristics—controllability, severity, and
likelihood of future negative outcomes—that in turn, dictate specific responses (Sweeny &
Shepperd, 2007). When bad news is highly controllable (i.e., a solution exists for the problem),
severe and likely to lead to additional negative outcomes, then news-givers should assume the
response of active change, which involves taking immediate action to improve a situation.
However, if the bad news is less severe and has low likelihood of leading to other future negative
events, taking a “wait and see” or watchful waiting approach is a better response. Drawing from
the Bad News Response model we created two simulated conference conditions that elicited active
change and watchful waiting responses.
Designing the Simulation Tasks
In the Watchful Waiting simulation, the student Ed Lewis, performed below grade-level
on the previous year’s standardized test but is performing at grade-level on class assignments. This
condition elicited candidates(1) understanding that every assessment has strengths and limitations
and (2) ability to explain how different assessments of the same academic skills can yield different
results. In the Active Change simulation the assessment data are consistent. Ed’s performance on
the standardized test and class assignments is below grade-level. Without intervention, this
situation could escalate. This condition assessed candidates’ ability to enact the initial steps of
response-to-intervention (Burns et al., 2008), which legally requires explaining that they will (1)
try an instructional intervention to improve Ed’s performance, (2) monitor his progress and (3)
meet with the parent again to discuss the intervention’s results.
Establishing Val idity
We aligned our simulations with three Interstate Teacher and Support Consortium
(INTASC) standards (2011): Standard 6, Assessment (e.g., “the teacher understands multiple
methods of assessment;” Standard 7, Planning for Instruction (e.g., “the teacher plans instruction
that supports every student … by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, pedagogy,
learners and the community context”); and Standard 10, Leadership and Collaboration (e.g., “the
teacher [collaborates] with learners and families to establish mutual expectations and ongoing
communication to support learner development and achievement.”
Establishing Reliability
The simulations were standardized in three ways. First, they were limited to 15 minutes.
Second, we established an initial moderate level of difficulty characterized by the parent’s mild
resistance. Third, we created ‘if-then’ propositions. Mindful of the MUM effect, if the teacher
delayed sharing information, then the parent would focus the conversation (e.g., What do you want
to talk about today?). Once the conference was initiated if the teacher marginalized the parent’s
participation, then the parent would become more resistant. Candidates could de-escalate the
difficulty level by using partnership-oriented practices such as expressing empathy, showing
interest in the student and family, and giving clear, non-defensive responses to parent questions.
If the conference was coming to a close but next steps had not been discussed, then the parent
pressed the issue by asking, “So what happens now?”
Participants. The simulations were completed by 12 graduate students enrolled in a
secondary education program. Of these 12, six gave informed consent. To illustrate the range of
individual performance, we selected four candidates for analysis. Of these four, two were female;
all were Caucasian in their late 20s-early 30s.
Procedures. Before the simulations candidates analyzed Ed’s standardized test
performance in math or literacy. Analytical prompts guided candidates’ analysis and
interpretation of the data (e.g., What are this student’s strengths? How did this student
perform relative to peers?). Other prompts encouraged candidates to consider what they did not
know (e.g., How can you enhance your understanding of the student’s abilities?). Candidates
also constructed a
conference plan according to seven criteria of effective parent-teacher communication (Walker &
Dotger, 2012). Candidates were instructed that the 15-minute conference was the first contact
between the teacher and parent; school had been in session for eight weeks. Providing a
‘wraparound’ experience, candidates had previously engaged with Ed in classroom management
simulations (Pankowski & Walker, 2016). The Watchful Waiting conference was completed first.
Analyses and Results
Coding Video Data
We began by drawing from prior content validation work (Walker & Dotger, 2012) that
outlined seven performance criteria. To define performance levels for each criterion across
conditions (1 = below expectations; 2 = meets expectations; 3 = exceeds expectations), the authors
and a doctoral student in psychology simultaneously viewed video of six candidates who had
completed the BND simulations during pilot work. In the secondary discussion phase, these same
three coders individually scored randomly selected videos for two candidates from the current
sample. Finally, four undergraduate coders who were naïve to the study’s purpose watched the
videos for our four participants in a randomized sequence. Ratings had good internal consistency
(range = .68-.86). Table 1 presents the final coding scheme.
Table 1
Simulated Parent-Teacher Conferences Coding Scheme
Exceeds expectations
Below expectations
Meets expectations
parent; Thanks parent;
Identifies student’s
No introductions;
Fails to thank parent or
state conference purpose.
Frames the meeting
as a two-way
purpose of conference.
Meets expectations
Offers vivid
examples of
academic skills, test
items, etc.
explains student’s
academic performance
as measured by the
most recent
standardized test.
Correctly explains
student’s performance
relative to peers.
Explains how
standardized test results
relate to other
Explanation of student’s
performance is:
Harsh or blunt
Meets expectations
Asks partnership-
oriented questions
(e.g., How can
questions (e.g., What is
hard or easy for your
child? What do you wish
every teacher knew about
your child?)
Asks no questions
Does not respond to
parent questions
Fails to acknowledge
parent’s comments
Action plan
Meets expectations
Thanks parent for
their ideas /
Emphasizes ‘keep doing
what we are doing;’ If
asked, shares ideas for
how to support the
student’s progress at
Active Change:
Clearly and accurately
explains next steps: (a)
Intervention; (b) Progress
monitoring; (c) Sharing
Does not outline next
Offers vague or
contradictory plan.
Watchful Waiting:
overprescribes, suggests
an intervention
Active Change:
promises intervention
Meets expectations
Non-verbals indicate
understanding, active
listening and
parents’ emotions
including confusion and
Conveys sincere interest
in the family and student
Words and non-verbals
convey lack of empathy.
Overly reactive to
parent’s emotions
Meets expectations
Focuses on student’s
(tone of voice and body
language does not
defensiveness, anxiety
or blame).
Expresses positive
expectations for the
student’s educational
Displays unprofessional
behavior including:
Overly familiar
Dismisses parent
Meets expectations
States time frame at
Moves seamlessly
between phases.
Covers all major points
in the allotted time
Does not delay or rush
the conversation.
Fails to keep
conversation on track
Goes well under or
over allotted time.
Delays / rushes
sharing information
Post-Simulation Reflections
Candidates rated their confidence before and after each simulation using a three-point
scale (1 = not at all, 3 = very). They also answered six open-ended questions regarding what they
did successfully, what they found challenging and easy, what they would change if they could do
the simulation again, and ‘lessons learned’ from the experiences. The sixth question allowed for
any other comments.
Figure 1 summarizes the overall mean performance ratings for each candidate by condition.
Figure 2 illustrates each candidate’s performance by criterion on the Watchful Waiting condition.
Figure 3 illustrates performance by criterion for the Active Change condition.
1 Mary Dave Ann Sean
Watchful Waiting Active Change
Figure 1. Mean performance ratings for each participant by condition.
Overall, coders rated candidates slightly better on the Active Change task. The one
exception is Ann who excelled on both conditions. Greater within-subjects variability was
observed during the Watchful Waiting task. While candidates had similar scores for Opening
across conditions, BND shaped the trajectory of their conversations. For example, on the Active
Change condition Dave and Ann had strong Sharing Information scores and their ratings remained
high throughout the simulation. By contrast, Mary and Sean scored low on Sharing Information
and their subsequent scores remained low. Candidates were less confident pre-simulation (M =
1.75, SD = .50) and more confident afterward (M = 2.25, SD = .71; range = 1-3). Pre-simulation
confidence was identical across conditions. Post-simulation confidence was higher for the Active
Change condition (M = 2.50, SD = .58) than the Watchful Waiting condition (M = 2.00, SD = .82).
Mary Dave Ann Sean
Figure 2. Performance scores across the seven criteria for the Watchful Waiting condition.
Mary Dave Ann Sean
Figure 3. Performance scores across the seven criteria for the Active Change condition.
This project designed and piloted simulated parent-teacher conferences that demand social
competence and real-time application of professional content knowledge. To establish validity we
drew from professional teaching standards and a previously validated framework of effective
parent-teacher communication (Walker & Dotger, 2012) and populated the framework with BND
responses of active change and watchful waiting. Task reliability involved standardized duration,
context and difficulty level. Three ‘if-then’ conditions based on BND research (Legg & Sweeny,
2014) and teacher candidate communication skills (Walker & Marksbury, 2015) allowed for
candidates’ individual moves. The coding scheme yielded good internal consistency. Profiles
elicited by the BND simulations identify potential points of entry for individualized instruction.
How candidates delivered the bad news appeared to shape the trajectory of their conversations.
As an exploratory study, this research is limited by sample size, replication and
generalization. While offering a road map for simulation design, further validation is needed.
Comparison of simulations alongside traditional assessments of knowledge would give insight into
what each measure uniquely provides. Further, experts could complete these performance tasks to
establish benchmarks and developmentally appropriate targets for growing novices’ competence.
Future Directions
Given the simulations’ focus on teachers’ ability to interpret and explain assessment data
(i.e., their quantitative data literacy), future work—perhaps when candidates advance to a
pedagogical methods course—could take a sharper focus on content knowledge, pedagogical
content knowledge and candidates’ analysis of assessment data and the quality of rationales
underlying their plan of active change. However, simulations are resource intensive. Faculty
aiming to adopt this kind of personalized training would benefit from other examples that integrate
content methods with family engagement contexts (e.g., Dotger, 2010; Mehlig & Shumow 2013).
Assessment, I. T., & Support Consortium. (2011). InTASC model core teaching standards: A
resource for state dialogue. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers.
Burns, M. K., Jacob, S., & Wagner, A. R. (2008). Ethical and legal issues associated with using
response-to-intervention to assess learning disabilities. Journal of School Psychology,
46(3), 263-279.
Dearing, E., Kreider, H., Simpkins, S., & Weiss, H. B. (2006). Family involvement in school and
low-income children's literacy: Longitudinal associations between and within families.
Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(4), 653-664.
de Bruïne, E. J., Willemse, T. M., D’Haem, J., Griswold, P., Vloeberghs, L., & Van Eynde, S.
(2014). Preparing teacher candidates for family–school partnerships. European Journal
of Teacher Education, 37(4), 409-425.
Dewey, J. (2007). Experience and education. Simon and Schuster.
Dewey, J. (1904). The educational situation. The University of Chicago Press.
Dotger, B. H. (2010). “I had no idea”: Developing dispositional awareness and sensitivity
through a cross-professional pedagogy. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(4), 805-
Epstein, J. L., & Sanders, M. G. (2006). Connecting home, school, and community. In Handbook
of the sociology of education (pp. 285-306). Springer US.
Ericsson, K. A. (2006). The influence of experience and deliberate practice on the development
of superior expert performance. In K.A. Ericsson, N. Charness, P. J. Feltovich, & R.R.
Hoffman (Eds.). Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance (pp. 683-
703). Cambridge University Press.
Grossman, P., Hammerness, K., & McDonald, M. (2009). Redefining teaching, reimagining
teacher education. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and practice, 15(2), 273-289.
Haynes, M. (2014). On the path to equity: Improving the effectiveness of beginning teachers.
Alliance for Excellent Education.
Hill, N. E., & Chao, R. K. (Eds.). (2009). Families, schools, and the adolescent: Connecting
research, policy, and practice. Teachers College Press: New York.
Legg A. M., & Sweeny, K. (2014). Do you want the good news or bad news first? The nature and
consequences of news order preferences. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40,
Markow, D., & Pieters, A. (2012). The MetLife survey of the American teacher: Teachers, parents
and the economy. New York: Metlife.
Martin, J. E., Van Dycke, J. L., Greene, B. A., Gardner, J. E., Christensen, W. R., Woods, L. L.,
& Lovett, D. L. (2006). Direct observation of teacher-directed IEP meetings: Establishing
the need for student IEP meeting instruction. Exceptional Children, 72(2), 187-200.
Mehlig, L. M., & Shumow, L. (2013). How is my child doing?: Preparing pre-service teachers to
engage parents through assessment. Teaching Education, 24(2), 181-194.
Pankowski, J., & Walker, J. M. T. (2016). Using simulation to support novice teachers
classroom management skills: Comparing traditional and alternative certification
groups. Journal of the National Association for Alternative Certification, 11(1), 3-20.
Pruitt, P., Wandry, D., & Hollums, D. (1998). Listen to us! Parents speak out about their
interactions with special educators. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for
Children and Youth, 42(4), 161-166.
Shulman, L. S. (2005). Pedagogies. Liberal Education, 91(2), 18-25.
Sweeny, K., & Shepperd, J. A. (2007). Being the best bearer of bad tidings. Review of General
Psychology, 11, 235-257.
Tesser, A., & Rosen, S. (1975). The reluctance to transmit bad news. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.),
Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. New York: Academic Press.
Walker, J. M.T. (in press). Recognizing family engagement as a core practice: Using situated
pedagogies to prepare future educators for teaching content and inviting families.
Chapter to appear in (S. Sheldon and T. Turner-Vorbeck, Eds.) Handbook of Family,
School and Community Partnerships in Education. Wiley.
Walker, J.M.T., & Dotger, B. H. (2012). Because wisdom can’t be told: Using comparison of
simulated parent-teacher conferences to assess prospective educators’ interpersonal
skills. Journal of Teacher Education. 63(1), 62-75.
Walker, J.M.T. & Hoover-Dempsey, K.V. (2014). Parental engagement and classroom
management: Unlocking the potential of family-school interactions and relationships.
E. Emmer & E. Sabornie (Eds.), Handbook of Classroom Management: Research,
Practice, and Contemporary Issues, 2nd edition, (pp. 459-478). Taylor and Francis.
Walker, J.M.T., & Marksbury. N. (2015). Can a case-based, online learning environment
prompt positive change in pre-service teachers’ knowledge and dispositions for
parent- teacher communication? Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the
American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.
Zeitlin, V. M., & Curcic, S. (2014). Parental voices on Individualized Education Programs:
‘Oh, IEP meeting tomorrow? Rum tonight!’ Disability & Society, 29(3), 373-387.
Teaching Functional Analysis Procedures Using TeachLivE
Claire Donehower, Eleazar Vasquez III, and Jaime Becker-Best
University of Central Florida
One of the greatest challenges facing educators in today’s classrooms is the problem
behavior students display in educational environments. For teachers working in inclusive settings
or self-contained special education classrooms, this challenge may be further magnified as the
prevalence of challenging behaviors is significantly elevated in children with disabilities
(Emerson et al., 2001; Murphy, Healy, & Leader, 2009). The ability to understand and manage
student behavior is one of the core characteristics of teachers who are classified as highly
effective practitioners (Garland, Garland, & Vasquez, 2013).
Teachers and other practitioners must understand the function of a student’s behavior in
order to effectively address behavior issues. A functional analysis (FA) is a controlled procedure
for determining what variables in the environment are reinforcing or maintaining problem
behavior and is considered the most accurate methodology for completing a functional behavior
assessment (FBA; Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, & Richman 1982/1994). When conducting a
FA, the practitioner systematically manipulates controlled environmental variables to precisely
identify the maintaining variable, or variables, associated with a specific target behavior (e.g.,
aggression, stereotypy; Carr & Durand, 1985; Iwata et al., 1982/1994). Despite the strong
evidence supporting the use of FA procedures to identify the function of a student’s behavior
(e.g., Iwata et al., 2000; Moore et al., 2002; Wallace, Doney, Mintz-Resudek, & Tarbox, 2004),
many schools underuse or avoid using this type of behavioral assessment. Some of the reasons
contributing to this are: (a) the lack of trained practitioners to implement the procedures, (b)
misconceptions about the difficulty of the procedure, (c) questions about feasibility of
implementation in the school environment, and (d) lack of other resources (Gable, Tonelson,
Sheth, Wilson, & Park, 2012).
Overview of Traditional Functional Analysis Training Practices
Previous studies have utilized a training protocol for FA that involves a didactic
component, a role-playing or practice component, and a post-training assessment (Lambert,
Bloom, Clay, Kunnavatana, & Collins; Lambert, Lloyd, Staubitz, Weaver, & Jennings, 2014;
McKenney, Waldron, & Conroy, 2013). Teachers and other practitioners have generally shown
the ability to implement a traditional FA or trial-based functional analysis procedure with fidelity
given this training protocol, however the generalizability of the skills using the traditional
training protocols is questionable.
Using Simulation to Enhance Current Training Practices
Simulation and virtual environments may offer a more realistic rehearsal experience
during FA training as compared to role-play with a colleague or graduate student. TeachLivE™
is a mixed-reality teaching environment supporting teacher practice in pedagogy and content.
The lab’s innovative technology affords participants the opportunity to build content area and
pedagogical skills with an understanding of how skills will transfer to a real classroom situation.
The results of a large national research study involving over 150 practicing teachers indicate that
four, 10-minute sessions in the simulator can impact at least one teacher behavior transferring
back to the “real” classroom (Straub, Dieker, Hynes, & Hughes, 2014; 2015). TeachLivE is used
by universities around the country to develop specific skills in educators including use of open-
ended questions, discrete trial training, reinforcer sampling, and classroom or behavior
management strategies. TeachLivE or other virtual classroom environments may offer a
controlled environment to train pre-service and in-service teachers in FA procedures.
Pilot Study
A small pilot study replicated the procedures from Kunnavatana and colleagues (2013)
and substituted the role-play with an opportunity to implement each of the FA conditions in a
virtual classroom environment. This pilot study used a multiple baseline across participants
design to examine the effects of role-play in the virtual classroom environment on
implementation of attention and escape conditions in three public school teachers. The
researchers found that teachers demonstrated an increase in their fidelity of implementation
within three sessions to an acceptable level of competence for generalizing to the classroom with
children (Vasquez, Donehower, Koch, Marino, & Schaffer, 2017).
Functional analysis is generally considered to be the most accurate and reliable method
for identifying behavioral function, and yet it is not widely used in schools due to lack of trained
practitioners, misconceptions about procedural difficulty, and questions about feasibility in the
school environment. The purpose of this study was to determine whether rehearsal in a virtual
environment would improve the participants’ ability to implement functional analysis (FA)
procedures with fidelity.
The participants for this study were in-service teachers enrolled in an online course on
Applied Behavior Analysis at a large university in the southeast United States. The participants
had between one and ten years of teaching experience. There were 5 male participants and 24
female participants.
Adobe connect is an online, video conferencing program. The didactic training portion
of this study took place via AdobeConnect.
TeachLivE™ simulator.
The TeachLivE simulator is a mixed-reality program in which participants interact with
avatars in real time. The version of the simulator that was used for this study houses five middle
school avatars, including one student with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The student with
ASD presented with limited expressive language and behaviors including verbal disruptions
(e.g., yelling, crying), physical disruptions (e.g., banging on the table), and stereotypy (e.g., hand
movements). The participants implemented each condition of the FA with the avatar with ASD
in the context of this virtual classroom environment.
Classroom environments.
The classroom environment for participants ranged from inclusive to self-contained, 1:1
direct teacher instruction. Participants worked in elementary classrooms and secondary
classrooms. Instruction was based upon the student’s grade/age level. Some classrooms
experienced normal day-to-day interruptions from related services personnel (e.g., occupational
therapist, physical therapist, speech and language therapist) co-teachers, or other students.
Research Design
A posttest-only control group design was used for this study. Although participants were
not randomly assigned, there was a treatment group and control group, and both groups were
administered a posttest (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2007). Due to the nature of the target skill or
dependent measure (functional analysis), it would not have been ethical to conduct an in situ
pretest because untrained teachers would have to implement a procedure that was likely to elicit
problem behavior from students with disabilities.
Didactic training.
The didactic training for this study had three components requiring participants to: (a)
read several articles on FA procedures (i.e., Bloom, Iwata, Fritz, Roscoe, & Carreau, 2011;
Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2007; Iwata et al., 2000; Moore & Fisher, 2007; Najdowski, Wallace,
Penrod, Tarbox, Reagon, & Higbee, 2008; Wallace, Doney, Mintz-Resudek, & Tarbox, 2004);
(b) participate in an online training on FA via Adobe Connect facilitated by a board certified
behavior analyst (BCBA); and (c) complete and score above 80% on an online assessment on FA
procedures. Participants in both the control group and the treatment group participated in this
portion of the training.
TeachLivE™ training.
Participants in the treatment group took part in a session in the TeachLivE simulator that
gave them the opportunity to practice each of the three FA conditions (i.e., attention, demand,
and play) in the virtual classroom. One participant interacted with TeachLivE at a time while
one or two participants observed each session. During the session, the implementation checklist
for each condition was reviewed and each participant was asked to run all three conditions for
three-minutes each. After each condition, the participant was given feedback on their
implementation of the procedure. Participants who were not running the FA conditions were
asked to collect frequency data on the student avatar’s problem behaviors. This gave them the
opportunity to practice the data collection for an FA and also observe the FA procedure being
implemented. All participants were scored by two observers for reliability purposes.
Classroom-based functional analysis.
All classroom-based FA videos were scored by one observer and 30% of the videos were
scored by two observers for the purposes of calculating inter-observer agreement (IOA). Inter-
observer agreement was calculated by dividing the number of agreements by the number of
agreements plus disagreements and then multiplying by 100. After one round of scoring, IOA
was calculated at 76%. Both observers then reviewed the implementation checklist and recoded
the five videos with the lowest agreement. Inter-observer agreement was then recalculated for
classroom-based FA videos at 81%.
Implementation checklists were developed for each of the three FA conditions. The
didactic training and online pretest incorporated the information contained in these task analyses.
Additionally, participant performance in both the TeachLivE training sessions and the
classroom-based FAs were scored using these checklists.
There was more variability in total implementation fidelity for the participants who only
received didactic training. Almost 100% of the participants who received the didactic training
and a TeachLivE role-play experience scored above 75% of the participants who only received
the didactic training.
An independent t test was statistically significant, t(18.515) = -5.282, p < .001. The
treatment group had higher average fidelity scores (n = 15, M = 89.422, SD = 9.34563) than the
control group (n = 14, M = 59.4048, SD = 19.25278). The effect size was calculated by Cohen’s
d (specifically, the difference in means divided by the pooled standard deviation) and found to be
1.02 indicating that there is over one standard deviation unit difference between the treatment
and control group. This is generally thought to be a large to very large effect. Post hoc power
was computed to be 0.75.
The purpose of this study was to replicate Kunnavatanna and colleagues’ (2013) role-play
study in a simulated environment. The TeachLivE mixed-reality simulator was used in place of
role-play and participants practiced three FA conditions (i.e., attention, demand, and play). A
treatment group and control group were given didactic training, and only the treatment group
practiced FA procedures in TeachLivE. The results of the independent t test were statistically
significant (p < .001) and had a large effect size (d = 1.02), suggesting participants who received
practice opportunities in a virtual classroom prior to implementing FA procedures with a student
in their classroom demonstrated greater procedural fidelity than those who did not. The results
suggest that participants who received the didactic training plus TeachLivE™ demonstrate
greater procedural fidelity, on average, as compared to the participants who received the didactic
training only.
Carr, E. G., & Durand, V. M. (1985). Reducing behavior problems through functional
communication training. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 18(2), 111-126.
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2006). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Emerson, E., Kiernan, C., Alborz, A., Reeves, D., Mason, H., Swarbrick, R., ... & Hatton, C.
(2001). The prevalence of challenging behaviors: A total population study. Research in
developmental disabilities, 22(1), 77-93.
Gable, R. A., Tonelson, S. W., Sheth, M., Wilson, C., & Park, K. L. (2012). Importance, usage,
and preparedness to implement evidence-based practices for students with emotional
disabilities: A comparison of knowledge and skills of special education and general
education teachers. Education and Treatment of Children, 35(4), 499-520.
Garland, D., Garland, K. V., & Vasquez, E. (2013). Management of classroom behaviors:
Perceived readiness of education interns. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and
Learning, 13(2), 133-147.
Iwata, B. A., Dorsey, M.F., Slifer, K. J., Bauman, K. E., & Richman, G. S. (1994).
Toward a functional analysis of self-injury. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis,
27, 197-209. (Reprinted from Analysis and Intervention in Developmental
Disabilities, 2, 3-20, 1982).
Lambert, J. M., Bloom, S. E., Clay, C. J., Kunnavatana, S. S., & Collins, S. D. (2014). Training
residential staff and supervisors to conduct traditional functional analyses. Research in
Developmental Disabilities, 35(7), 1757–1765. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2014.02.014
Lambert, J., Lloyd, B., Staubitz, J., Weaver, E., & Jennings, C. (2014). Effect of an automated
training presentation on pre-service behavior analysts’ implementation of trial-based
functional analysis. Journal of Behavioral Education, 23(3), 344–367.
McKenney, E. L. W., Waldron, N., & Conroy, M. (2013). The effects of training and
performance feedback during behavioral consultation on general education middle
school teachers’ integrity to functional analysis procedures. Journal of Educational and
Psychological Consultation, 23(1), 63–85.
Moore, J. W., & Fisher, W. W. (2007). The effects of videotape modeling on staff acquisition of
functional analysis methodology. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 40(1), 197-202.
Murphy, O., Healy, O., & Leader, G. (2009). Risk factors for challenging behaviors among 157
children with autism spectrum disorder in Ireland. Research in Autism Spectrum
Disorders, 3(2), 474–482. doi:10.1016/j.rasd.2008.09.008IN
Najdowski, A. C., Wallace, M. D., Penrod, B., Tarbox, J., Reagon, K., & Higbee, T. S. (2008).
Caregiver-conducted experimental functional analyses of inappropriate mealtime
behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 41(3), 459-465.
Straub, C., Dieker, L., Hynes, M., & Hughes, C. (2014). Using virtual rehearsal in TLE
TeachLivE™ mixed reality classroom simulator to determine the effects on the
performance of mathematics teachers. 2014 TeachLivE National Research Project: Year
1 Findings. University of Central Florida: Orlando, FL.
Straub, C., Dieker, L., Hynes, M., & Hughes, C. (2015). Using virtual rehearsal in TLE
TeachLivE™ mixed reality classroom simulator to determine the effects on the
performance of science teachers: A follow-up study (year 2). 2015 TeachLivE National
Research Project: Year 2 Findings. University of Central Florida: Orlando, FL.
Vasquez, E., Donehower, C., Koch, A., Marino, M., & Schaffer, K. (In Press, 2016). Functional
analysis in virtual environments. Submitted to Rural Special Education Quarterly (Invited
Special Issue).
Reactions and Insights from First Time Users
Dr. Anni Reinking
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
In this project, early childhood teacher candidates interacted in a simulated situation
where they were co-teachers with different roles. Due to the restraints of Southern Illinois
University-Edwardsville’s virtual practice lab license, the professor designed simplified
personalities for each of the avatars. Furthermore, as part of the research, all of the involved
parties were interviewed including the students, actor, and personal reflections from the
For generations, teacher candidates have received training through coursework and field
experience hours. In most settings, practicum or clinical hours consist of the teacher candidate
going into a real classroom to be mentored by the cooperating teacher, plan and try new lessons
as well as behavior management ideas, and engage with students. Using real classrooms during
the last semester of teacher training programs is a great way for teacher candidates to gain
knowledge and experience in real life situations. However, in most teacher training programs
teacher candidates are placed with students in their first semester, which is before teacher
candidates learn about lesson planning, methods, or behavior management. During these first
experiences in the classroom, teacher candidates learn in the moment, which at times can be
detrimental to students’ learning environment. As Portner (2005) suggests, teachers need added
support during their induction year, and they cite classroom management as the primary area in
which teacher candidates need support.
In addition teacher candidates, cooperating teachers, and college professors are regularly
communicating that there is an increased need for more exposure in the field through practicum
and clinical experiences to ensure teacher candidates are proficient upon graduation. Dieker,
Hynes, Hughes, and Smith (2008) report that prospective teachers need more early and sustained
experiences with children in the classroom. One way to provide these sustained and early
experiences is in a safe, low-stress environment, which can be accomplished through Virtual
Learning Environments (VLE). VLEs are rapidly demonstrating utility for expanding
experiential learning for teacher candidates.
VLEs incorporate the coursework with “real life” situations in a simulated environment.
These experiences offer safe, flexible, and appropriate training conditions to practice
pedagogical skills. In this environment teacher candidates are coached, paused, and given real-
time feedback, rather than after-the-lesson feedback. Additionally, in the VLE’s there are avatars
that are able to provide real-life responses, interruptions, questions, and answers. The research on
VLE classrooms indicates that there is a nine second suspension of disbelief, which means that
after nine seconds teacher candidates feel as though they are teaching in a real classroom rather
than in a simulated classroom (Dieker, Hynes, Hughes, & Smith, 2008).
In this brief description of VLEs as a means to train teacher candidates, one simulated
scenario will be described. The scenario for this project occurred in an early childhood course at
a state university focused on collaborative relationships, specifically co-teaching. The benefits of
incorporating the VLE into initial coursework in the teacher training program are evident.
Co-Teaching in Early Childhood
In one early childhood course, teacher candidates were taught about collaborative
relationships in the early childhood field, including collaborating with community members,
parents, and co-teachers. Co-teaching, the sharing of instruction by two trained adults in the
classroom, is becoming more and more common in K-12 classroom settings. Co-teaching,
however, has always been a staple in early childhood environments. While co-teaching can take
many forms (Friend, Cook, Hurley-Chamberlain & Shamberger, 2010), the goal of this
assignment was for teacher candidates to plan and instruct a lesson in the VLE to practice
collaboration, cooperation, and compromise.
Prior to the Virtual Professional Practice lab experience, the professor created altered
personalities for the avatars that were accessible through the Mursion license SIUE purchased.
While this process was time consuming, the benefits were worth the time and planning. In Table
1, the avatar descriptions provided by the professor to the actor are presented.
Table 1. Avatar Early Childhood Personalities
Do Not Have
Suggested Actions and
Tired and Distracted
Slow Talker
Knows a lot about sports
(including basketball, but
also wrestling and
YOUNGEST brother of
Likes wrestling
Not the war piece
for history (change
that to wrestling)
“I’m tired. I cried when I
got up this morning.”
“Hey, Ms. I played with
my brother last night. I
threw the football like
“My big brother jumped
on me last night in bed.
It hurt.”
Interrupts to state animal
Teacher pleaser
Gets sad when there is
not attention on him
(always wants to be the
one with the answers)
Knows a lot about
animals because of the
show Wild Kratts
HATES being
physical—wants to look
at books instead
“Did you know that
worms have slime on
their bodies?”
“Hey, hey Ms. I love
dogs. My dog licks my
face. My sister gets a
rash when the dog licks
“No! I am not going to
the gym. I hate the ball
Always talking to the CJ
Loves to DANCE to
music and make random
beat noises or bang on
his desk
Does not make
Do not have the
“female boundary”
characteristic – but
does compliment in
a little kid way.
“Ms. , I like your
necklace. My mommy
has a necklace that is
pretty too.”
“Put on that song, Ms. I
want to dance.”
“Ms., hey Ms. Can you
sing so we can dance?”
Likes to watch Disney
Shows (Liv and Maddie,
Stuck in the Middle, The
Loves Disney Princesses
No cell phone, no
boyfriend (I know
the cell phone is to
make it look like she
is not paying
attention, I am going
to direct students to
“You have to call me
Cinderella today. My
daddy called me a
princess and today I
want to be Cinderella.”
“Ms. he’s touching me.
Stop touching me”
say that it is a toy
she shouldn’t have
during the lesson)
No reality TV
(Disney princesses
“Get away from me.”
“I got this toy cell phone
from my mom’s drawer.
She doesn’t want me to
have it, but I look cool,
right Ms.?”
Very shy and inattentive
Loves to look at books
Do not like to be active
or physical
She likes to be by
herself. Her favorite
thing is to get a book and
look at it in a corner all
by herself.
“I want a book.”
“Please stop, I want to
“Get away. That is my
The assignment associated with the VLE required early childhood teacher candidates to
co-plan a lesson using Google Drive with a randomly assigned classmate. The total number of
teacher candidates in the course totaled 30, which created 15 scenarios in the VLE. The teacher
candidates were given two weeks to co-plan. Once their lessons were completed, the professor
uploaded the lessons, with comments and suggestions for the actor, to a shared drive that only
the actor and the professor had access to.
After the planning and submission of the lesson plans, the teacher candidates presented
the planned lessons in the simulated classroom environment. During the lesson in the VLE other
teacher candidates observed in order to provide feedback and to learn from the feedback
provided from the professor. After the entire experience, the teacher candidates were asked to
reflect on their experiences in the VLE and the process of co-planning.
On the day of the simulation the teacher candidates were prepared. Each lesson lasted
approximately seven-nine minutes resulting in mini-lessons. During the first few co-teachers the
professor paused the classroom in order to coach the teacher candidates on implementation skills.
As the simulation continued students began learning from the feedback provided and appeared to
become more comfortable in the VLE.
After the simulation, the teacher candidates were not only asked to complete a written
reflection, but were also asked to take a short survey on their experience. On the survey a
majority of the students stated that the coaching and feedback were the most beneficial portions
of the experience. The ability to stop, receive feedback, and implement the strategies
immediately prepared the teacher candidates for future co-teaching in their placements.
Additionally, the teacher candidates reflected in the survey that the ability for the avatars to
respond with correct and incorrect answers, as well as unexpected comments created a real-life
situation that the teacher candidates could work through with peers and a faculty member readily
available to provide feedback.
Furthermore, the professor spoke to the actor, the person who controlled the avatars at
SIUE’s Virtual Professional Practice Lab. The biggest feedback he gave to the professor was
how grateful he was for the detailed information regarding early childhood personalities and
responses, as depicted in Table 1. Additionally, he appreciated the time and energy the professor
put into ensuring all of the information he had was up to date, such as the lesson plans.
Furthermore, he reflected that he learned a lot from the experience of hearing the professor
debrief with each set of co-teachers. He was able to use that information and incorporate ideas
into future sessions.
Overall, the early childhood co-teaching simulation was a learning experience for the
teacher candidates. They were able to plan together, use technology, and begin to understand
how to instruct and manage students’ behavior in the moment, before entering a classroom with
real human students. This experience was a crucial to the teacher candidates’ learning and
professional development as future early childhood teachers.
Dieker, L., Hynes, M., Hughes, C., & Smith, E. (2008). Implications of mixed reality and
simulation technologies on special education and teacher preparation. Focus on
Exceptional Children, 40(6), 1.
Friend, M., Cook, L., Hurley-Chamberlain, D., & Shamberger, C. (2010). Co-teaching: An
illustration of the complexity of collaboration in special education. Journal of
Educational and Psychological Consultation, 20(1), 9-27.
Portner, H. (2005). Success for New Teachers: Five reasons your school board should support
induction and mentoring programs-plus three decisive actions you can take. American
School Board Journal, 192(10), 30.
Applications of TeachLive in Counselor Training
Annette F. Nelligan
University of Maine
Counselor preparation courses that focus on skill development typically require students
to develop discreet micro skills in active listening and intervention through practice with peers
and actual clients. Students then receive feedback through live observation and submitting video
recordings to faculty and supervisors. The methods of skill development in early stages have
significant drawbacks in terms of ethical and pragmatic considerations. TeachLive offers a
platform that allows students to develop skills in a safe environment that provides immediate
feedback from peers and instructors.
Keywords: Counselor skills training, TeachLive
Applications of TeachLive in Counselor Training
Perhaps the most challenging courses in counselor preparation are those that center on skill
development, the courses typically categorized as counseling skills, practicum, and internship.
Graduate students are often competent and comfortable in courses centering on understanding
theories, conceptual frameworks, diagnosis, and treatment modalities. These courses require
students to utilize texts, readings, and examples, and to display knowledge of content through
typical academic structures such as writing assignments and exams. However, when future
counselors enter the skills-based courses where the process of counseling takes precedence over
content knowledge, many struggle with the tasks of counseling skill development within the
context of a relationship with another person, whether that person is a peer with whom one
practices skills or an actual client. The use of TeachLive in skills courses provides an
opportunity for students to gain confidence in counseling skills in a safe environment with no
risk of harm to actual clients.
Counseling Skills
What basic skills are necessary for beginning counselors to begin working with clients?
Many students believe that counseling involves helping through directive work such as giving
advice, influencing others to make positive changes, and assisting with decisions. Most are
surprised to learn that counseling is actually a process of re-storying in relationship with another
person; that is, the client is the author of their own story, but together the client and counselor
discover a new story, one with a better outcome (McAuliffe & Ericson, 2011). The challenge
before these students is the development of discreet micro skills, or communication units that
allow one to interact more effectively with the client (Ivey, Ivey, & Zalaquett, 2012). Rather
than leaping into the counseling relationship and offering solutions, counselors must learn to
listen carefully, gather information, and provide meaning within the helping relationship.
Individual counseling skills:
The development of micro skills in individual counseling requires students to first become
active listeners. Active listeners are able to use encouragers, such as nodding and single words,
and to ask open-ended questions to gather additional data. Additionally, the use of skills such as
summarization, clarification, reflection, and non-verbal responses solidify the understanding that
takes place between client and counselor. These skills are non-evaluative and non-judgmental,
and convey the counselor’s interest and understanding to the client. More advanced skills
include challenging discrepancies, informing, interpreting, probing for meaning, goal setting, and
evaluation. (Parsons & Zhang, 2014).
Group counseling skills:
Although group counseling utilizes many of the same active listing skills exercised in
individual counseling, group leadership requires subtle facilitation of intrapersonal and
interpersonal growth in communication among members. Psychoeducational, counseling, and
therapy groups progress through distinct stages of development (Jacobs, Schimmel, Masson, &
Harvill, 2016), and effective leaders must not only recognize the stages of their groups, but also
be prepared to subtlety lead the group towards the next stage. Additionally, group members may
assume roles within the group that may assist or impede both their own progress and the groups
progress. Some examples of group leadership skills needed by new counselors are developing
group norms, setting a tone, facilitating eye contact and communication among members,
drawing out reticent members, cutting off members who monopolize, pacing,
establishing/holding/changing focus, and using group exercises. Group work requires use of a
complex skill set designed to help members experience therapeutic factors (Yalom, 2008) that
lead to change and meaning within the group.
TeachLive and Counseling Skill Development
Although TeachLive was developed for applications in pre-service teacher preparation, the
scenario formats present numerous opportunities for application to counseling skill development.
For the past several years, the University of Maine Counselor Education program has been
employing TeachLive in several courses to teach and reinforce counseling skill development.
Specifically, the use of the parent avatar and the middle school group has been utilized in several
courses to allow students to practice skills within the safe environment of working within the
scenarios and receiving immediate and constructive feedback from faculty and peers. Although
use of technology in counselor education has been prominent for years (Jencius, 2010), the
existing technologies centered on blogs, web development, social networking, and virtual world
environments that were initially developed for gaming. Counselor educators had little control
over these environments except in cases where individual university programs were able to
develop counseling-specific applications incurring considerable cost and years of effort.
Traditional skill development teaching:
In many counselor education programs, skill development begins early in the student’s
program through use of occasional role plays used to demonstrate content knowledge, such as
knowledge of a specific theory in practice. In the later stages of the educational program,
students typically enroll in a skills class (often titled pre-practicum or counseling skills),
followed by a practicum requiring students to work with actual clients under close faculty
supervision, and finally internship, the cumulative course where students are placed in a school,
mental health agency, or a hospital setting to practice skills under the guidance of an experienced
counselor acting as a site supervisor.
In a counseling skills class, students typically practice skills using peers in class as “clients”
or “students”. Supervision by the instructor may include live observation or reviewing audio or
video recordings and providing feedback. Direct observation can be achieved through sitting in
on sessions, using rooms with one-way mirrors, or the co-therapy model where a faculty member
works directly with the student providing feedback throughout the session. Video recordings
may be completed in a counseling training clinic equipped with cameras or at an off-campus site
using cameras or computers for recording. A similar model exists in practicum classes when
students work with actual clients but receive both supervision from faculty and feedback from
peers in class.
Recording, direct observation, and co-therapy models have drawbacks including an impact
on client comfort levels as well as the frequent sense of awkwardness that is reported by student
counselors (Kadushin, 1992). Some methods of providing immediate feedback have been tried
including a “bug-in-the-ear” method where supervisors provide feedback via an earbud worn by
the counseling student, or providing breaks in the session where the student may receive
feedback from a supervisor who has been observing from another room by camera or one-way
mirror. Supervision through recordings creates barriers for clients who may not wish to
photographed at vulnerable moments in therapy and creates additional ethical and legal concerns
for student counselors who must get informed consent to record sessions. Often a delay in
feedback occurs when the student submits recordings after the sessions and faculty may need
time to review the recordings of a number of students in the course.
None of these methods are ideal because they either create a contrived and unnatural situation for
both the counselor and counselee or there is a significant delay in achieving feedback.
Furthermore, a potential impact on ethical standards for confidentiality exists through the need to
encrypt recordings and solicit client permission for observations.
TeachLive: Advantages as an Alternative
The TeachLive platform offers multiple opportunities and advantages for counselor training.
Presently, the parent scenario and the middle school classroom scenario are being used at the
University of Maine in the following courses: Pre-Practicum, Counselor Education Practicum,
and Effective Group Work in the Helping Professions. The individual parent avatar scenario
provides ample opportunities for students to practice active listening skills as well as more
advanced skills including probing and interpretation of meaning. Since the scenario can be
controlled through the collaboration of interactor and faculty member, it can be modified
depending on the skill levels of individuals in the course. The avatar, Stacey, has a full range of
emotions; she can express anger, cry, and display frustration and other affective states. Students
who might later be intimidated by a client displaying emotion can become comfortable dealing
with typical client emotions that might be displayed in a counseling setting. Furthermore, the
Stacey scenario environment is particularly useful for future school counselors who will certainly
eventually be faced with parents expressing frustration with school policies.
The middle school classroom has been used for students preparing for the school counseling
profession to practice leading a typical classroom guidance lesson. For beginning students, the
use of open-ended questions and active listening skills can be employed in working on beginning
group work skills such as setting a tone and developing group norms. Students with more
experience can facilitate the group in a social skills discussion. Particular avatars are very useful
in helping students develop more advanced skills like cutting off or drawing out. Most people
are not socialized to comfortably deal with an overzealous individual by cutting the person off
effectively and directing the group direction elsewhere, so this skill is difficult for most
counselors-in-training. Shawn is a particularly energetic avatar and the perfect student to
practice cutting off skills on, while the Maria avatar will respond to the use of drawing out
techniques. Conclusion
The design of TeachLive lends itself well to applications in teaching future counseling
professionals active listening, counseling, and intervention skills. Due to the range of emotions
possible with the adult avatar, students can practice their skills and learn to deal with people with
affective expression in a safe environment before they begin working with actual clients. The
middle school scenario is ideal for future group counselors to develop facilitation skills and
practice advanced interventions such as cutting off and drawing out group members. The
platform provides the opportunity for practicing skills without danger of making an error that
could be hurtful to an actual client. Because TeachLive can be paused, faculty are able to
provide immediate feedback. Students and faculty can avoid the ethical dilemmas and
awkwardness posed by recordings and live observation with actual clients while skills are being
At this time, informal data has been collected from students concerning their experiences with
TeachLive with the intention to develop a research methodology for further exploring the use of
TeachLive in counselor preparation over the coming year.
Ivey, A.E., Ivey M.B. & Zalaquett (2012). Essentials of Intentional Interviewing: Counseling in
a Multicultural World. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Jacobs, E.E., Schimmel C. J., Masson, R. L., & Harvill, R. L. (2006). Group Counseling:
Strategies and Skills. Boston, MA: Cengage.
Kadushin, A. (1992). Supervision in Social Work. New York: Columbia University Press.
McAuliffe, G. & Eriksen, K. (2011). Handbook of Counselor Preparation: Constructivist,
Developmental, and Experiential Approaches. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Parsons, R. D. & Zhang, N. (2014). Becoming a skilled counselor. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
West, J. D., Bubenzer, D. L., Cox, J. A., & McGlothlin, J. M. (2013). Teaching in Counselor
Education. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
Yalom, I. (2008). The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books.
Negotiating LivE: Integrating TeachLivE to Improve University Faculty-to-Faculty
Cyndi Walters, UCF College of Education and Human Performance
Amanda Anthony, UCF Department of Sociology
Linda Walters, UCF Center for Success of Women Faculty & Department of Biology
Mentoring has been shown to have numerous positive benefits in the realm of academia and
beyond, including the two primary functions of career advancement and psychosocial support.
More specifically, mentoring contributes to increasing self-confidence and self-esteem; personal
satisfaction; competence; and for both mentors and mentees, further exposure that can lead to
professional networking, development, and respect from colleagues (Chandler 1996; Chesler and
Chesler 2002; Darwin and Palmer 2009; Wasburn 2007). In higher education, mentorship can
increase research funding and publication rates (Darwin and Palmer 2009); as faculty networking
is critical to timely career progression and development, mentoring has also been identified as a
strategy to help address gender inequalities in higher education (Chandler 1996; Wasburn 2007;
see also Dobele et al. 2014 on gender inequalities in higher education). Not only have women
been shown to provide greater support through mentoring, but it can offer camaraderie and
support for the particular issues women faculty and women faculty of color face in the academic
institution (Chandler 1996; Wasburn 2007).
Even so, as based in the particular obstacles women can face in higher education, an almost
greater amount of issues with the traditional dyadic mentoring model have been identified. When
the term “mentoring” is used, many think of the traditional model, in which a mentor, identified
as having greater experiences and knowledge to impart, is paired with a mentee (protégé), who is
often younger, early in their career, and seen as lacking experience. However, such a
development pairing is based in a male standard, where such one-on-one guidance and advice
can lead to a paternalistic power dynamic (Chandler 1996; Wasburn 2007). Not only this, but
such career patterns may not reflect women’s experience in academianor, for that matter, the
current setting of higher education (Lipton 2017; Powell and Mainiero 1992). In today’s
knowledge economy and neoliberal socio-economic context, higher education is much more
competitive, based in research dollars and a mentality of publish early and often (Chandler 1996;
Darwin and Palmer 2009; Lipton 2017). Many academic tracks are less stable (Darwin and
Palmer 2009), which can again affect power dynamics and additional issues when one can feel
reliant on a singular mentor relationship.
Women have traditionally been excluded from informal mentoring, based on spaces where
mentoring takes place and concerns for the “gossip-factor” or other tensions that can arise in
cross-gender relationships (Wasburn 2007: 59). Social norms and stereotypical gender roles can
also be reinforced in such pairing. More generally, people often select younger versions of
themselves for mentoring purposes, as they feel they can help this individual the most; however,
as academia has been a traditionally white male space, such mentor pairings can leave women
and women of color at a disadvantage (Chandler 1996). Even in the case of more formal mentor
pairing, advanced women may feel they are tokens, needing to represent every woman, over-
stretched due to the lack of senior women representation, or concerned about perpetuating
stereotypes of the woman as the caregiver (Chandler 1996; Wasburn 2007). This can lead to a
lack of time or individuals to participate in mentoring initiatives.
As such, there have been calls for “new, more inclusive peer-oriented models to be
developed” (Wasburn 2007: 58), helping to support “collaborative models” that support
innovation (Darwin and Palmer 2009) and women’s experiences, which often integrate family,
caregiving, and service into career planning in a way that men often do not adopt (Wasburn
2007). This trend can be seen in the mentoring alternatives offered through prior initiatives and
research, including mentoring circles (Darwin and Palmer 2009), collective mentoring (Chesler
and Chesler 2002), group mentoring (Hiuzing 2010), and strategic collaboration (Wasburn
2007). While each offers a specific model, the intent of group mentoring is to pair more than two
people together, offering support from peers, the sharing of resources and wisdom from multiple
people at once, and helping to address tokenism or a lack of senior faculty through pairing
multiple junior faculty with a few senior faculty (see also Balint et al. 1994; Dominguez and
Hager 2013). Additionally, such group work can bring multiple perspectives together, including
pulling individuals from multiple disciplines and across campus.
Mentoring Community and TeachLive
The context of the University of Central Florida (UCF) mirrors these broader concerns for
recruiting, retaining, and advancing women faculty and faculty of color. The Center for Success
of Women Faculty (CSWF) specifically looks to help address these concerns through focusing
on mentoring opportunities, building community, creating opportunities for recognition, career-
life balances initiatives, and making UCF more family-friendly. Accordingly, CSWF looked to
construct and implement a women faculty mentoring community that would address the needs of
our faculty in an applied, pragmatic manner. While the reviewed research offered insight into
practical models for supporting women faculty, a key component remained unaddressed: How
can a mentoring model reveal and affect participants’ perceptions of success? Although much
research documents women’s unique experiences and stressors, there lacks research that
integrates how collaborative mentoring models can help to support our discovery of women’s
definitions of success, with the intent that future communities can better support their realization
of these definitions and associated goals (see Johnsrud and Wunsch 1994 for a discussion of
perceived barriers to success for women in academia; see also Miller and Noland 2016;
Stupnisky et al. 2015 for new faculty success).
During the 2015-2016 academic year, CSWF initiated a mentoring community that was
designed to: 1) learn what women faculty define as success at different points in their careers,
and 2) apply programming to address deficiencies in current mentoring models. We recruited
across campus to obtain a mix of ranks, ages, ethnicities, and college affiliations, creating a
community of 35 women faculty. We specifically created the small groups (3 women/group) to
combine three individuals who were unique in all of these categories. To meet our mentoring
needs, we created a community that included vertical and horizontal mentoring components. We
combined monthly large group sessions on specific topics, including a focus on mentoring and
career-life balance, and small monthly group topics that were self-guided, intended to be held in-
between large group sessions.
As such, our goal for TeachLive was to improve our mentoring capabilities. To help
participants train, practice, and experience mentoring, we used TeachLive in a novel way:
faculty-to-faculty communication. Combining the “willing suspension of disbelief” with a safe
environment, we provided a virtual rehearsal for the real-life scenarios we developed with
support from TeachLivE.
A total of 35 women faculty participated in the mentoring community; each additionally
consented to participate in research coinciding with definitions of success and mentoring
experiences. The participants ranged from assistant to full professors, instructors, lecturers, and
staff. The eight large group sessions and monthly small group sessions were spread across one
academic year.
Data collection entailed pre- and post-surveys distributed in the opening and concluding
sessions, inclusive of open-ended responses. 35 pre-surveys were completed, with 32 completed
post-surveys. The surveys were grouped in themes of career success (also addressing work-life
balance topics), perception (related to gender issues and connectivity on campus), experience
(with mentorship), expectations and factors (related to retention and promotion in academia), and
career paths (addressing gender stereotypes). The second author held focus groups, as based in
the assigned small groups, in the month of January with a total of 33 participants, focused on the
topics of success, goals, obstacles, and retention.
Data analysis consisted of a mixed-methods approach to the quantitative and qualitative data
collection. Utilizing contemporary grounded theory and a social construction perspective, the
researchers were sensitized by prior research on mentoring and categories of the survey data, yet
also allowed for themes to organically emerge from participants’ responses (Berger and
Luckmann 1967; Charmaz 2006). The social constructionist perspective, influencing grounded
theory, is a perspective that puts forth our understandings of reality are based in interactions.
Meaning is based in shared symbols, so that our understandings of reality are both subjective, as
based in interpretations of objects, experiences, and interactions, and objective, as there is a
world that is ‘out there,’ and its influence is felt as a reaction to our actions (Berger and
Luckmann 1967). Over the course of time patterns of action can become habitualized, both in
larger society (e.g. institutions) and in our everyday life (e.g. habits such as brushing one’s
teeth), helping individuals and society to function without the need to constantly and explicitly
make new decisions. This allows room for innovation, as it frees space for creativity (Berger and
Luckmann 1967). Last, language is critical to interactionism and constructionism. Language
comprises the shared knowledge and symbols that allow communication, realization of the self
through viewing oneself as an object, and can transfer knowledge through written form (Blumer
1969; Mead 2015; Phillips and Hardy 2002).
For the purposes of this project, we performed a content analysis of the open-ended responses
to each of the survey topics. For the first round of coding, in-vivo codes (codes arising from the
wording of the responses themselves) were used to respect the power of the participants’
language, with codes that could be unique or overlapping to each set of responses (Berg 2009).
After the first round of coding, a second round of coding was used to determine similarities or
differences across each set of responses, helping to work towards developing primary themes.
During this second round of coding, the researchers worked to develop categories based on the
first round of coding. These groupings were then determined to offer primary themes per survey
topic, helping to reveal the influence of mentoring and women’s success factors.
TeachLivE was used for practicing mentoring and negotiation skills for faculty members as
part of our 2015-16 academic year mentoring community for women faculty. We used Ms.
Stacey Atkins as our avatar. In one series of scenarios, Stacey participated in a mentor-mentee
relationship as a very needy, naïve, new faculty member asking her mentor (live participant) for
all sorts of professional and personal advice. In a second scenario, Stacey becomes a senior
faculty member mentor who tried to bully her mentee (live participant) into doing something that
was in Stacey’s, but necessarily the mentee’s, best interest. Live participants interacted with
Stacey for approximately 6 minutes while watched by the rest of the faculty mentoring
community. The interaction was followed by a large group debrief. Women faculty considered
TeachLivE to be an excellent way to work on their mentoring and negotiation skills that
promoted suspension of disbelief and avoided the sometimes negative issues of traditional role-
In the first scenario, Stacey is a new Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department. The
purpose was for the participant to practice mentoring new faculty and help improve participants’
mentoring outcomes. The scenario was described as:
You are a current faculty member told to mentor a new, assistant professor. The new
assistant professor is a young, sweet, naive, woman named Stacey Adkins. This is your
first meeting to discuss annual evaluation criteria since you know that it is better to know
what is expected in your department up front, rather than being surprised in May when
reports are due. Please begin the conversation and answer any questions and concerns
that may be brought to light. Remember, this can be quite stressful for new professors
and you will need to manage her emotional well-being as you relay the criteria and
demands of the job.
For the second scenario, we focused on practicing negotiation skills, placing Stacey in the
role of the senior faculty mentor in the Sociology Department. The participant therefore played
the part of a mentee, practicing how to say no to authority, as this is a known difficulty
particularly for women faculty. The scenario included that:
Stacy is a senior faculty member in your department who was assigned to be your faculty
mentor. She would like you to be on a faculty job search committee with her. The Chair
is hesitant to ask you and told Stacy that you would need to volunteer for the
position. The hire will definitely impact your research and teaching in the department, as
the field closely complements your own. However, the job ad is really broad so hundreds
of applicants are expected. Additionally, the search committee chair seems to dislike
As TeachLive was integrated into the mentoring community, we next discuss participants’
responses in relation to the mentoring community overall. First, we asked questions regarding
their experiences with mentoring, outside of the mentoring community, to better understand the
context of mentoring at UCF. While they stated their experiences within the mentoring
community did not change their survey responses to this group of questions, the women
described how the community made them more critical of mentoring and mentoring
relationships. This included knowledge of what “good” mentoring looks like, the availability of
mentoring, type of mentoring, and their own role as a mentor. For instance, participants
explained that the mentoring community helped in “building a more productive relationship with
a mentor,” while another explained that “I have seen what good mentorship can provide. I don’t
think I’ve had particularly good mentorship in the past, based on what I’ve learned through this
program.” While one participant stated that “I am more critical of mentoring. I have higher
expectations,” another participant explained that “I see more clearly the important role of
mentoring and have tried to be a better mentor to the junior faculty in my department.”
Representing the different types of mentoring, a participant stated,
It has made me realize that there are many off shoots/types of mentoring. In our group,
we talked about things that relate to mentoring on UCF institutional knowledge, not on
particular aspects of professional advancement because our fields are different. Overall
valuable and positive experience.
While the prior quotes represented how the experiences helped them become critical of
mentoring, in such a way they can look for and build better mentoring relationships (as mentor
and/or mentee), a final participant revealed the integration of success when she stated, “I finally
feel as if I know what I need to succeed and know what to ask for and how to ask for it. Before I
had no idea what I didn’t know.”
The final two quotes also represent a more over-arching theme, as related to resources.
Generally, participants expressed that the practice of mentoring, experiences in small groups, and
the topics covered in the large group sessions helped them to understand what resources are
available at UCF, that they are not having these experiences in isolation, and that with the proper
support they can realize their goals. Although some women expressed that increased awareness
of gender obstacles and shared obstacles could influence their perceptions of the academy, the
same women then explained how the mentoring community “helped them become even more
persistent and tenacious,” and that the even though expectations “are all still issues that I’m
learning to accept/navigate, [it] feels more manageable.”
Once again in relation to obstacles, in relation to their expectations and factors for staying in
academia and UCF, women explained the critical nature of the mentoring community for feeling
more included, increased knowledge of resources, support, and focus on their goals. For instance,
participants stated “I feel that I could contact my mentoring group to discuss issues and gain
support,” while another stated “I feel a better sense of community within UCF, like I am a piece
of a bigger whole rather than an island unto itself. I’ve enjoyed the interdisciplinary aspect and
interactions outside of my college.” Another similarly stated that it “has provided resources and
support in regards to a successful academic career” and another participant declared, “I feel more
included at UCF. I feel more confident that I want to and can be here in 10+ years.”
In relation to the combination of the vertical (small groups included women from different ranks)
and horizontal (each level was represented, allowing women to have peer and collaborative
relationships), one participant explained that,
I like the small group discussions which have led to support for all members to apply for
awards and promotion. The workshops and supportive environment have helped me feel
empowered to work forward promotion and awards.
We found this theme of support and empowerment through the additional question on definitions
of career and faculty success. Collective, women explained how the community helped to
reinforce their perspectives on work-life balance. Three women’s descriptions help to represent
the sense of accepting prioritization of “life” into their career planning:
I feel better/safer admitting the importance I place on family and the lower importance I
place on administrative work.
It has allowed me to get answers to questions that I had about managing my group and
developing an appropriate work/life balance. It has also placed me into discussions about
issues that haven’t shown up in my life yet, so that I'm better prepared to address them.
I don't think I've changed, but it has allowed me to think about family relationships more,
as well as friendships and normal life. I am aware of the guilt I feel for dedicating time to
one place or another (work or family) and I try to let it go. Still hard, but I'm aware of it
and I feel like I'm not alone.
With a mentoring community constructed to address issues of recruitment, retention, and
advancement of women faculty, the integration of TeachLive offered the possibility of both
using TeachLive in a novel way—through faculty-to-faculty communication across campus—
and to address building community and mentoring skills in a novel way—through the use of a
mixed-reality environment.
The creation of a collaborative mentoring community and the integration of TeachLive helped
to address key, established issues of traditional mentoring in higher education. The environment
of TeachLive allowed for women to practice mentoring with an avatar, decreasing potential
power issues that could come from traditional role play. It additionally supported the
collaborative atmosphere through the “fish bowl” setting; while the participant faced the screen
and therefore individually could act through the suspension of disbelief, all 35 participants
remained involved through observing the interactions. The follow-up discussions helped for
everyone to offer feedback and critically consider how they would have participated, placing
everyone on a level playing field. It additionally allowed all ranks to experience the position of
mentor and mentee, helping to move past the dyadic dynamics of those with experience and
those lacking experience.
Even as one session, TeachLive allowed for further community building and discussions
occurring during the session contributed to women, as noted in their quotes, to discover
similarities across disciplines. Even if disciplines may differ, the skills of mentoring and
negotiation cross contexts, just as obstacles in saying no to opportunities that may not best serve
women faculty. Women can also see themselves in other participants who interact with the
avatar, offering a sense of empowerment by not only offering a platform to offer common
advice, but a platform to determine shared experiences across women of diverse positions and
Overall, we found the integration of vertical and horizontal pairings, along with large and
small group sessions, to be helpful in creating collaborative spaces for determining and
supporting women’s definitions of success. Future research can be sensitized to further
determine how such interactive technology supports such community building and mentoring
skills. Additionally the context of UCF as a large, aspiring university may have helped to create a
safe space for community development, as it offered a place of both openness and anonymity
from the usual work space. Last, future research can work to understand what faculty benefit
most from this model of mentoring, to best help women define and achieve their definitions of
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Setting the Course: Mursion@ECU
Implementing Mursion® for Sustainable Educational Support
Christine Wilson, Holly Fales, and Chris Moore
East Carolina University
We will walk you through the experience of initiating, implementing, and institutionalizing
(Fullan, 2007) Mursion®, the corporate entity that grew out of UCF’s TeachLivE at East
Carolina University (ECU). The theoretical framework we’ve used to frame this experience
report contextualizes Fullan’s (2007) phases of change within Rogers’s (1995) innovation-
decision process and Bandura’s (1977) social learning theory.
ECU Pirates Set Sail in Search of Innovative Educator Professional Development
The ECU College of Education (CoE) sustains and supports a dedicated faculty that provides
high quality education for teachers and seeks innovative ways to improve teacher education. One
of the ways that the CoE’s Office of Assessment, Accreditation and Data Management
(OAADM) works to support faculty research and innovation is to seek new developments in
educator preparation and sources of funding for faculty who may want to evaluate and/or
implement new strategies. The newest major innovation we have been researching through the
OAADM is the Mursion® mixed reality simulator, the corporate iteration of TeachLivE.
Theoretical Foundation
Change is a constant in education, and 21st century educators must be prepared to leverage
what we have learned about change (Fullan, 2007), innovation (Rogers, 1995), social learning
theory (Bandura, 1971), and self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977) to equip 21st century learners with the
tools they need to survive and thrive.
As new educational mandates get passed down each year, many contain requirements that
candidates spend more time practicing. No one disputes the usefulness in a teacher candidate’s
training for them to get into the classroom with students and teach; however, as Anderson, Labij
& Barr (2013) point out, the biggest limiter to providing teacher candidates with opportunities to
practice is the lack of access to students (p. 9). The paradoxical lack of and need for access to
learners for teacher candidates served as a primary inspiration for the development of
TeachLivE (Hayes, 2013) and the adoption of its commercial iteration Mursion® by ECU.
Methodological Framework
Diffusion of Innovation, Perceived Characteristics, and the Decision-Making Process
Tasked with the immense responsibility of decisions regarding such a powerful educational
tool, the Mursion@ECU team sought to apply Rogers’s (1995) five-step innovation-decision
process: (1) knowledge of an innovation, (2) formation of a favorable or unfavorable attitude
about the innovation’s fit, (3) decision to accept, reject, or adapt the innovation, (4)
implementation of the decision, and (5) institutionalization or rejection of the innovation
(Rogers, 1995, p. 162). The common theme throughout the research discussed here on sustaining
innovation in higher education is the hard work of the individuals who take innovations through
Fullan's phases: initiation, implementation, and institutionalization (2007, 2016).
Fullan’s Phases: A Fluid Foundation
According to Fullan (2007), the three phases of change are initiation, implementation, and
institutionalization, which must be planned for simultaneously (LearningForward, 2016). The
first stage, initiation, is extremely important. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Once an innovation is launched, the implementation stage begins. If an innovation isn’t launched
well, it rarely moves beyond implementation. This is the stage when support and feedback are
crucial (LearningForward, 2016, p. 19). The final stage is institutionalization, dependent upon
the previous phases being successful and fully implemented (LearningForward, 2016, p. 20).
Initiation: Testing the Waters with Pilot Program Design
Initiation began with a visit by a small team from ECU that included the CoE Dean, Associate
Dean of Research, Elementary and Middle Grades Department Chair and Instructional
Technology Consultant and current Mursion lead coordinator, Christine Wilson, to UCF’s
TeachLivE lab in the Summer of 2015. Excited at the prospect of offering Mursion® at ECU,
the Department Chair and Instructional Technologist planned to conduct a pilot of Mursion®
during Spring 2016 to explore logistical options for implementation and determine if it was
worth further investment. To this end, during Fall 2015 the team planned and facilitated a
demonstration for the Elementary and Middle Grades (ELMID) faculty and a Mursion®
orientation session to all interested faculty within the College. To get started with this
innovation, it was going to be necessary to spend money on the technology, training, and hourly
usage. The team used the funds set aside for research to purchase Mursion® services, materials,
and equipment.
The best fit for a pilot course was an Elementary Classroom Management Course. Dr. Brian
Housand, who taught two sections of this course in Spring 2016 was selected for the pilot.
During the pilot, students developed lesson plans and taught twice in the Mursion® simulator. All
of the sessions were recorded and other faculty were encouraged to watch the recordings to get a
better idea of how Mursion could be used.
Once the pilot concluded, the College of Education determined that we would continue to
offer Mursion®, as the budget would allow. To seek additional funding and start engaging
stakeholders, the Mursion@ECU team planned buy-in-oriented events for each semester. We
also requested and received funds from student technology fees to continue to grow the program.
Implementation: Charting the Logistic & Curricular Conditions
In Summer 2016, the Mursion@ECU team underwent a structural change. With the original
Department Chair moving to another university, another CoE Instructional Technology
Consultant, Holly Fales, joined the team to assist with the Mursion@ECU program. The two
CoE ITC’s continued to build on the implementation steps embedded in the initiation phase, and
added a new member to the team: graduate research assistant, Chris Moore. We spent the Fall
2016 semester working through contract details to secure a Mursion® license, creating resources
for Mursion® interaction, presenting to groups of CoE donors and partners, planning and
facilitating Mursion® Open Houses for faculty and staff, drafting the application for an NSF
grant, and creating the Mursion@ECU website. All that hard work proved worthwhile: In
response to the donor presentations, the CoE received funding from a donor to hire an Interactor
for the program and began the search.
Meanwhile during Fall 2016, Mursion® use expanded to include courses serving 122
candidates from four program areas: Elementary Education, Special Education, Art Education,
and Educational Leadership. Candidates participated in 26 hours of simulation. Between
Mursion®-created and faculty-created scenarios, we had accumulated 27 scenarios, 12 of which
are complete with thorough materials for the instructor, the candidates, and the Interactor.
Several members of the Special Education faculty became the first at ECU to conduct
research in Mursion when they completed a study of candidate perception of the Mursion®
experience. Voytecki, Hudson, & Zhang (2017) conducted brief interviews with 44 Special
Education candidates (adapted curriculum and general curriculum) who participated in Mursion®
simulations as part of a special education course. Candidates audio recorded their answers to
three perception-oriented questions in the presence of an interview facilitator immediately after
leaving their third Mursion® session for the course.
To prepare for more diverse faculty participation, we have modified the scenario design
template and planner to meet our locally situated needs. We have also gathered sample scenarios
for healthcare, leadership, human resources, customer service, and sales. For Mursion@ECU to
be a success, faculty must work to include Mursion® scenarios and lab time within their courses
as well as provide effective feedback and reflective activities. In addition to availability to pre-
service educators, we intend to expand our Mursion® use to include educational leadership,
counseling and adult education in the near future. As part of the College of Education’s mission
to serve NC school districts and educators, the college also is extending Mursion® immersive
simulations to districts as a professional development tool for educators.
Navigating the Shoals: Monitoring, assessing, and evaluating early challenges and solutions
Spring 2017 introduced new logistical and buy-in challenges. The first search for on-site
Interactors did not produce any candidates that met Mursion®’s hiring standards. In the interim,
we’ve hired one of Mursion®’s experienced Interactors to work remotely. Much of Spring 2017
semester’s innovation-oriented energy has been spent fostering buy-in across stakeholder groups:
we have published an article on campus and were featured in two magazines, offered grants to
K-12 schools and educators for professional development that includes both scenario
development and Mursion® lab time, added a session scheduler to the Mursion@ECU website,
sought additional funding sources, and presented to the local Principals and Assistant Principals
association (PAPAS) and several CoE departments.
In Table A, you will find descriptions of the challenges faced by each group of stakeholders
identified during the initiation and implementation phases and the solutions proposed by the
Mursion@ECU team based on programmatic assessment and faculty research findings.
Table A
Stakeholder Analysis: Mursion @ ECU
Limited practice in
delivering instruction in a
Pilot Mursion® to provide candidates the
opportunity to practice in a safe space prior to
real classroom prior to
instructing students in a real classroom.
Limited opportunities to
allow candidates to practice
and provide valuable and
real-time feedback and
Although excited about the
prospect of Mursion®,
hesitant to incorporate the
technology in courses.
Provide training for faculty members to facilitate
Mursion® sessions and design custom scenarios.
Host Mursion® Open Houses that include live
demonstrations of candidates teaching lessons and
allow faculty to interact in the Mursion®
Increase marketing efforts to include emails,
digital signage, and news articles to increase
excitement and usage of Mursion
Interested in supporting tools
for students learning that will
increase post-graduation
success, but limited
knowledge of simulation
Work with College of Education Director of
Outreach and University Advancement officers to
inform donors of Mursion® including invitations
to Open House and personalized demonstrations.
Effective communication is
critical for success as a
school leader; candidates cite
limited opportunities for
practice as an issue.
Immersive simulations allow leaders to build
capacity in the different types of interactions
required of school leaders.
Work with faculty to develop custom scenarios
for administrator interactions. Record simulations
for reflection and feedback. Share positive faculty
and candidate feedback with other stakeholders.
School &
Desire professional
development for teachers
that will build professional
capacity, leading to teacher
retention and increased
student performance.
Limited funding for
professional development.
Geographically dispersed,
making it difficult to access
the Mursion® lab on campus.
Market Mursion® specifically to administrators
through the College of Education Clinical School
Partnership. Demonstrate that Mursion® is
compatible with existing professional
development strategies and has a relative
advantage over many traditional professional
development models.
Develop a grant for schools and/or districts that
will award hours of Mursion® to schools with a
proven need and a plan to integrate simulations as
part of their professional development plans.
Provide flexible scheduling for teachers to visit
the Mursion® lab outside of school hours. Provide
equipment lists and facilitator training to districts
that would like to set up a Mursion® lab for
Beginning &
Need an avenue to refine and
practice new skills outside of
Mursion® simulations can allow teachers to hone
skills. Teachers can gain efficacy in using new
Institutionalization: Turning the Tide
Successful institutionalization, as we demonstrated throughout our analysis, can be a long,
winding, and challenging path. Once an innovation has reached this stage, the innovation
becomes part of a regular routine (Fullan, 2007). We have not yet reached this stage in project
development, but as Fullan (2007, LearningForward 2015) recommends, we keep the goal of
institutionalization in our sights along the journey.
Sustaining Commitment to Purpose
Based on the growth and positive response from all stakeholders involved since the project’s
initiation, ECU has committed to allocating funds in 2016-2017 to increase the availability of
Mursion® interactive simulations within all educator preparation programs, and the university
has expressed intention of continued funding in subsequent years.
Due to this investment, the CoE now has increased autonomy and flexibility to design
scenarios, schedule simulations, design and offer professional development, and collaborate with
regional school districts, institutions, and organizations. The Mursion@ECU team committed to
sustaining this innovation is dedicating Summer 2017 to making Mursion® more accessible to
regional stakeholders. We are upgrading the Mursion@ECU lab to make the space more
conducive to mixed reality simulation and more appealing and engaging for participants. We are
also in the process of planning professional development modules for lateral entry teachers and
planning to incorporate Mursion® into professional development events that align well with it as
well as to host Mursion®-specific professional development events like workshops and
conferences. Our team also continues to seek both one-time and sustainable funding sources.
the real classroom.
Many educators struggle
with communicating
effectively with parents,
students or other
strategies learned in professional development
and can receive real time coaching from
instructional coaches and/or administrators.
Mursion® has the flexibility to allow teachers to
practice in a classroom environment or in a one-
on-one environment with an adult avatar utilizing
a variety of scenarios.
Students &
Students stand to lose
valuable instruction if
teachers are not adequately
prepared to teach and
manage a classroom.
Need to have a confident and
competent teacher leading
the classroom that
communicates in a
professional and caring
Students will benefit from teachers that are
adequately prepared in instruction, classroom
management, discourse and pedagogy. Teachers
stand to increase their own efficacy which will
have a profound impact on student efficacy
(Bandura, 1994).
Students and the community only stand to benefit
from more effective classroom instruction and
school to home communication.
Fostering, Assessing, and Sustaining Faculty Buy-in
As the 2016-2017 academic year progressed, it became clear that the innovation would not
stand the test of time if we do not quickly find solutions for some of the problems arising. First,
to get Mursion® fully integrated into the curriculum as the Dean continues to advocate for, it will
be necessary to achieve full faculty buy-in. As part of CoE leadership’s support for
Mursion@ECU, this innovation was added to the College’s strategic plan update in Summer
2017, with the expectation that programs will effectively integrate this instrumental resource
within their curriculums in upcoming academic years. We anticipate that being able to provide
open lab hours will encourage faculty to drop by the lab when it suits their schedules instead of
requiring that they shoehorn yet another meeting into their already overwhelming workloads.
Second, since we have purchased a license and hired a Mursion® Interactor in the interim as
we conduct a second search for two in-house Interactors, we will need to ensure steady traffic in
the lab once the Interactors are in place to justify the price tag. Third, it would be optimal to find
a way for the Mursion® program to become self-sustaining, as budget constraints seem to keep
getting tighter. Attendance and engagement are monitored by the Mursion® team at every
Mursion®-related interaction to assess the effectiveness in the immediacy of the situation as well
as to collect data for future assessment. At information sessions, attendance rosters are collected,
and after simulation sessions, participants complete a brief perception of experience survey or
Monitoring, Assessing, and Addressing Ongoing Needs
Unfortunately, while faculty buy-in is a major concern, it’s not the only challenge. As
evidenced in the stakeholder analysis, each group of stakeholders faces a unique set of
challenges, and the Mursion® team will need to continually revisit the analysis to monitor for
emerging challenges, assess the effectiveness of the solutions, and address needs and concerns as
they arise.
Promoting Widespread Implementation
Taking Mursion® to the K-12 schools contributes to both the CoE mission and the ECU
mission and vision by providing professional development opportunities to education partners
across the state. In order to ensure that Mursion® is being used effectively to provide candidates
with meaningful professional development experience, a variety of research projects have been
and continue to be designed and implemented surrounding the incorporation of Mursion® into
the College of Education curriculum.
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Liminal Learning in Mixed Reality Teaching Environments
Jody S. Piro
Catherine O’Callaghan
Western Connecticut State University
Effective practice-based teacher education programs (PBTE) are grounded in research
and provide pre-service teachers with the opportunities to enact high leverage core practices
(Forzani, 2014). Coupled with research based practices (e.g. Lowenberg-Ball, 2012) and
traditional clinical placements, mixed reality simulations such as TeachLivE can provide a
powerful application of situated learning for pre-service candidates. For example, creating
rapport with student is one of Lowenberg-Ball’s (2012) high leverage practices. Situated learning
within an immersive learning environment connects high leverage practices to situated learning
prior to clinical placements (O’Callaghan & Piro, 2016).
The purpose of this study was to understand how threshold concepts were experienced in
mixed reality simulations. The central research question for this study was: How did pre-service
teachers experience threshold learning within the liminal learning spaces of mixed reality
simulations? A qualitative collective case study (Yin, 2009) was used to understand the
experiences of the participants, who were bound by the level of exposure (Exposure Level
Three) to mixed reality simulations using three different High Leverage Practices (e.g. three
semesters, three simulations a semester).
Context of the Study and Participants
The research was conducted in a teacher education program at a public university in the
Northeast of the United States. Purposeful sampling of 29 pre-service teacher education
candidates participated in one cohort of students who experienced three semesters of a mapped
curriculum in a teacher education program that included use of a mixed reality simulations
throughout the curriculum. Participants taught three different 5-8 minute sessions within the
mixed reality teaching lab with a 2-3 minute subsequent coaching element following the
simulation in introduction, intermediate and advanced level courses in teacher education, each of
which were videotaped. Each of the 29 candidates was part of the cohort of three consecutive
courses that were exposed to three High Leverage Practices in three different courses in their
program, three sessions per semester, for three semesters. The High Leverage Practices
(Lowenberg-Ball, 2012) identified as the focus for threshold practices were selected to
coordinate with the program curriculum map. Table 1 illustrates the participant courses and
Table 1: Exposure to Coursework and Simulations
Total Exposure: Exposure Level 3
Total Courses
3 courses (2 sections each semester for 3
Total Simulations
9 simulations with coaching
Total approximate exposure time in
simulations and coaching
90 minutes
In semester one, participants used Creating rapport with students and routines for
classroom discourse and work as High Leverage Practices. In semester two, participants used
Eliciting and interpreting individual students’ thinking through the use of a graphic organizer
and as the High Leverage Practices. In semester three, participants used Leading a group
discussion with higher order questions as the High Leverage Practice. All enrolled students for
the courses participated in the study. Table 2 illustrates the course and the High Leverage
Practice used for mixed reality simulations.
Table 2: Course and Associated High Leverage Practice
Course and Level
High Leverage Practice
Course 1—Exposure Level 1
Creating rapport with students
Implementing norms and routines for
classroom discourse
Course 2—Exposure Level 2
Eliciting and interpreting individual students’
thinking through the use of a graphic
Course 3—Exposure Level 3
Leading a group discussion with higher
order questions
Data Collection
The researchers collected 54 hours over three semesters of video data depicting
participant performances and subsequent or within simulation coaching of teaching one of three
high leverage practices (HLP’s) per semester within the mixed reality simulations. Each course
had two sections. Video data were collected via digital camera in semester one and through a
computer camera connected to the TV screen during semesters two and three.
Data Analysis
Data were analyzed through Verbal Protocol Analysis (VPA). Verbal reports and
protocol analysis is a method for exploring the thinking processes of preservice teachers as they
puzzle through difficult situations (Afflerbach, 2002). According to Ericsson & Simon (1993),
think-aloud protocols use the preservice teachers own verbalizations to codify knowledge.
Participants control their metacognitive reflection on action and the researcher records their
thought process. Protocol analysis may also be used for the construction of emerging theories.
Using both inductive codes and codes informed by the literature, we analyzed individual
instances from the data, followed by an aggregation of participants’ words and phrases to allow a
new understanding of a phenomenon to emerge (Stake, 1995). From these data, we reduced the
data to final themes. Findings
This section presents the results related to the phenomenon of the study from the analysis
of videotaped data collection of 29 participants in 9 simulations per class over three semesters.
Threshold learning emerged through the mixed reality simulations. Participants demonstrated
transformative, integrative, irreversible, troublesome and bounded concepts as part of their
experience of developing professional identities within the simulations. Each of these threshold
concepts was evidenced by several themes grounded in participant words or behaviors.
Finding 1: Participants experienced pre-liminal moments. These pre-liminal instances were
characterized as troublesome. Themes that supported this troublesome knowledge were mimicry,
stuckness, oscillations, unpreparedness and the performance of various threshold concepts
Finding 2: Participants experienced liminal learning as integrative. These liminal learning
instances were characterized by integrative behaviors, such as professional artistry. Themes that
supported this professional artistry included professional concepts and improvisation.
Finding 3: Participants experienced liminal learning as irreversible. These liminal learning
instances were characterized by irreversible assimilation or accommodation behaviors. Themes
that supported these behaviors were reconstitution of the self and teacher voice.
Finding 4: Participants experienced professional knowledge as transformative. This
transformation was characterized by professional confidence, as demonstrated by shifts to
professional language, teacher stance and preparedness.
Finding 5: Participants experienced professional knowledge as bounded. This bounded learning
was characterized through knowledge structures. Instances of these knowledge structures were
found through professional learning community building and with one Threshold Learning
Concept (HLP), rapport building.
Table 3 demonstrates the findings.
Table 3: Findings
Various other HLP’s
Professional Artistry
Professional Concepts
Irreversible: Assimilation/Accommodation
Reconstitution of the Self
Teacher Voice
Professional Confidence
Shifts to Professional Language
Teacher Stance
Knowledge Structures
Rapport Building
Findings indicated that the integration of mixed-reality simulations within initial teacher
preparation core courses facilitated the journey of pre-service candidates towards professional
identities as they faced instructional and behavioral challenges over the course of a semester.
Preservice candidates in mixed-reality simulations fluctuated between pre-professional and
liminal portals as they struggled to grasp threshold concepts. The pre-professional portal denoted
‘stuck’ or ‘troublesome’ places where preservice candidates mimicked teachers’ discourse yet
retained the skills, and knowledge of a university student. Characteristics of this stage of pre-
liminality are unpreparedness, rigidity of thinking, and student stance. With increased
experience in mixed-reality simulations, participants began to oscillate between the pre-
professional and liminal portals.
Pre-service candidates journeying towards the liminal portal were assimilating and
accommodating threshold concepts to reconstitute their professional identity. While the pre-
professional portal denoted a ‘student stance and discourse’, preservice candidates moving
towards the liminal portal were creating a new identity as an educator. This creativity was
evidenced in their use of ‘teacher voice’ and improvisation in responding to misbehavior. It was
through the act of ‘puzzling through’ those instructional or behavioral problems that were
presented to them in mixed-reality simulations that pre-service candidates began to feel
comfortable in their new professional identity.
While the majority of participants oscillated between pre-professional and liminal portals,
a few journeyed from liminal towards professional trends portal. Characteristics of pre-service
candidates ensconced in this portal were self-confidence, preparedness, as well as teacher stance
and discourse. In their reconstituted self and identity as an educator, participants participated in
professional learning communities with the discourse and cognition of an educator. Their use of
professional terminology to coach their fellow peers in simulations was evidence of the
transformative journey from liminality to professional.
There is an uneasy relationship between Threshold Concepts and developmentalism
(specifically Piaget’s concepts of assimilation and accommodation) and between the notion of
common and individual outcomes of pre-service teacher candidates. We recognized that
candidates entered simulations with varying levels of learning with Threshold Concepts,
regardless of which skills were identified. While Threshold Concepts are communal outcomes
for the program (and some would say, for the profession), the nature of liminality and
developmentalism suggests that individuals will be at varying levels and will oscillate between
pre-professional, through liminality, to professional behaviors.
We offer a model of the findings below in Figure 1:
Figure 1: Model of Findings
In this section, we offer suggestions for program development for using Threshold
Concepts within mixed reality environments. First, for curriculum development, it is necessary to
plan where simulations should occur in the program and which professional skills to target. Use
mixed reality simulations with identified Threshold Concepts. We studied four High Leverage
Practices which were the Threshold Concepts within our liminal learning environment, our
mixed reality simulation lab.
Second, write scenarios for students that emphasize problem solving within those
Threshold Abilities. Prior knowledge and schema become significant concepts for performance
Professional Concepts
Reconstitution of the
Teacher Voice
Liminal Transformative
: Professional
Shifts to
Teacher Stance
Rapport Building
outcomes within this problem solving and students may enter and exit in various places within
the liminal spaces.
Third, use coaching within and after the simulations. Help students to understand how
scholars in the field use the Threshold Concept and Ability. Professors are able to help scaffold
through coaching. For example, focus on Hattie’s (2008) three questions: 1. “Where are you
going?” What are your goals? 2. “How are you going?” What progress is being made toward the
goals? 3. “Where to next?” What activities need to take place to make better progress?
Fourth, use reflective activities following simulations to increase student metacognition
regarding their performance of the Threshold Concepts and to set goals for subsequent
simulations. Modifying Hattie’s (2008) three questions for coaching can also provide structure
for students’ post-simulation reflections: 1.What was my goal in the simulation as it related to
the Threshold Ability? 2. How did I do? 3. What do I need to focus upon and practice prior to my
next simulation using this Threshold Concept?
Last, assist students to understand the connections between professional practices within
simulations. Professionals do not use Threshold Concepts in isolation but as part of a connected
and integrative practice. Using focused scenarios with Threshold Concept outcomes and
supporting those practices with scenarios that invite students to perform the Threshold Concepts,
and then using coaching and reflective activities to further scaffold the relationships between
Figure 2 illustrates this model of process for using Threshold Abilities within Mixed Reality
Figure 2: Model of Process for Threshold Abilities
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Abilities in
Mixed Reality
Identify the
Threshold Abilities
( HLP's)
Write scenarios
for problem
solving within
these specific
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within and after
practice of
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activities focused
upon problem
solving within the
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understand and
across Threshold
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Finding the Silver Lining: Co-Teaching in a Virtual Learning Environment White Paper
Barbara Martin and Susanne James
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
This white paper will discuss the co-teaching collaboration between preservice general
education and special education students with shared planning and discourse through the use of a
cloud platform. The students were then required to deliver specific content and practice effective
co-teaching pedagogy in a virtual learning environment, the Southern Illinois University
Edwardsville Virtual Professional Practice Lab. The silver lining for the teacher candidates was
the opportunity to experience co-teaching before being in the field!
A need exists in teacher education for enhanced experiential learning, especially focused
on applying collaborative planning practices which have a high impact on student performance.
Teacher educators must consider enhancing their programs by providing instruction to preservice
teacher candidates in authentic experiential learning pedagogy. Virtual Learning Environments
(VLE) are rapidly demonstrating utility for expanding experiential learning. VLEs offer safe,
flexible, and appropriate training conditions to practice pedagogical skills.
All aspects of a VLE used in the training of teachers are embodied in TeachLive ™
virtual classroom-training simulator (see Dieker, Hynes, Hughes, & Smith, 2008). The VLE is a
simulated practice experience that offers several value-added qualities. Preservice teachers can
have a VLE “experience” individually or collectively, receive immediate feedback on their
performance and attempt teaching the lesson again. The VLE is an opportunity for preservice
teachers to practice teaching content before going into a classroom. It provides them with a space
to test out classroom management strategies, pedagogy, content strategies, etc. without the
negative consequences that would come with beginning teaching skills such as loss of academic
time and engagement.
The objective of this study was to build collaboration skills between preservice general
education and special education teacher candidates to deliver evidenced-based instruction in a
virtual classroom setting with shared planning and discourse. This research project examined
how co-teaching practice delivered in a VLE impacted co-teachers’ skills and thus had an effect
on the outcomes for the students they teach. In this study, preservice teacher candidates planned
and co-taught in a virtual classroom to practice collaboration skills, delivering specific content
and pedagogy, and behavior management skills. Rather than teacher candidates testing out their
skills in a real classroom setting to assess their strengths and weaknesses, this study used the
VLE to practice on virtual students with immediate feedback on performance. The virtual
students were programmed with distinctive personality types that are similar to students in a
“real” classroom. Using the VLE, systematic training related to participating preservice teachers
observed teaching behaviors is possible.
Despite the popularity of co-teaching as a service delivery model, there are few known
studies on how to implement specific instructional techniques in co-teaching arrangements or on
whether such instruction improves outcomes for students. Lundeen and Lundeen (1993) found
only two studies selected for a meta-analysis reported how co-teaching was implemented and
with no reports of treatment fidelity. Magiera & Zigmond (2005) substantiate there is little data
regarding the effectiveness of co-teaching under routine conditions of instruction. In a recent
study, Haselden (2011) found that a co-teaching support model increased academic achievement
in biology for at-risk students on high stakes assessments. However, recent research findings
have found only moderate effect size on student outcomes, especially students with disabilities,
in co-teaching arrangements (Cook et al., 2011; Murawski & Swanson, 2001; Packard et al.,
2011). While schools have been implementing the co-teaching model for years, there is no
guarantee that having a general and special education teacher share in the responsibility to
deliver content results in improved outcomes for the students in the classrooms (Scruggs,
Mastropieri, & McDuffie, 2007). This discrepancy in effectiveness clearly illustrates the need for
training for our future general and special educators. The research question that informed this
study was: “How can technology encourage collaboration between general education and special
education teacher candidates in the planning process, delivery of co-teaching instruction and
managing the learning environment collaboratively?”
This study attempted to build collaboration skills between general education and special
education teacher candidates to deliver evidenced-based instruction in a virtual classroom setting
with shared planning and discourse. The goal was to practice collaboration skills, delivering
specific content and pedagogy, and behavior management skills. General education teacher
candidates in a first semester course that focused on the classroom communication, procedures,
and classroom management policies were paired with a special education teacher candidate in
their first semester of a teacher preparation program. The special education teacher candidates
were taking course on instructional planning with co-teaching being one of the service delivery
models for this instruction. Both groups of teacher candidates ranged in their experiences in
instructional settings and previous exposure to inclusive practices. All of the teacher candidates
had limited exposure to teaching students in a classroom setting.
The teacher candidates were tasked with collaborating with their randomly assigned co-
teaching partner to modify a provided exemplar lesson plan to the co-teaching lesson plan format
designed by Dieker in 2008. The co-teaching dyads were required to collaborate using a cloud
platform that allowed for web-conferencing and synchronous document composition. This
collaboration was monitored by both instructors of these courses. In addition, the instructors
lectured to the teacher candidates in each other’s courses on specific co-teaching concepts and
communication skills that will facilitate the learning environment. Finally, the co-teaching dyads
of teacher candidates executed the planned lesson in the VLE. Data was collected in the VLE
using an assessment rubric that evaluated their ability to clearly present information, evidence of
instructional collaboration, and clear co-teaching strategy. In addition, student communication
skills were evaluated such as student articulation, pronunciation, inflection, and active listening
skills. A post implementation survey was administered to both groups of teacher candidates to
assess their perceptions of co-teaching collaboration and executing the lesson in VLE.
Three themes emerged through data analysis. First, collaboration was facilitated using
the cloud platform with over 71% of the respondents felt better prepared to co-teach and
collaborate after participating in this study. Second, 90% of the respondents felt their knowledge
of co-teaching and collaboration had increased. Finally, 68% strongly agreed that practicing in
the VLE was an effective way to refine new instructional skills. Overall, this study found that
technology can encourage collaboration between general education and special education teacher
candidates in the planning process, delivery of co-teaching instruction, and managing the
learning environment collaboratively.
For teacher candidates to effectively deliver instruction to students with disabilities in the
least restrictive environment, inclusive services in the general education classroom must be
utilized. Co-teaching pedagogy is often used to ensure the least restrictive environment for
students to have access to the general education curriculum. However, co-teaching instructional
strategies are often not integrated into preservice teacher preparation programs.
In addition, teacher candidates have limited opportunities from their college professors
to model this co-teaching pedagogy. Friend & Bursuck (2006) recommend that general
education and special education teacher candidates must have many opportunities to collaborate
and apply co-teaching competencies. In addition, teacher education programs should develop
opportunities for teacher candidates to learn inclusive practices such as co-teaching (Brownell et
al., 2005).
A need exists in teacher education for enhanced experiential learning, especially focused
on applying collaborative planning practices in explicit instructional strategies that facilitate
inclusion. The objective of this study was to build collaboration skills between preservice
general education and special education teacher candidates to deliver evidenced-based
instruction using a cloud technologies for shared planning and discourse. Teacher candidates in
the Elementary Education and the Special Education program were required to collaborate via
Google cloud platform to create a co-teaching lesson. This cloud platform allowed access for
planning, collaboration, and discourse between busy college students, similar to the planning
constraints experienced once they are working in schools. Teacher candidates resolved the most
common barrier noted in co-teaching research of limited time to plan effectively for inclusive
instructional strategies by using this cloud format (Chapple, 2009).
Furthermore, the VLE provided the teacher candidates a profound application of the
models of co-teaching that will enhance their future practice. Overwhelming, the teacher
candidates appreciated the opportunity to practice and refine their instructional collaboration
skills when delivering explicit instruction.
Teacher candidates need various opportunities to see co-teaching being modeled and
experience collaborative lesson delivery with guided practice and feedback (Bateman &
Bateman, 2002). This study demonstrated that co-teaching and using the VLE in general
education and special education teacher preparation programs builds collaboration and
communication skills.
This study also found that technology can mediate the collaboration of co-teachers when
using cloud based shared documents and web-conferencing. In addition, the VLE technology
assisted teacher candidates in their understanding of instructional concepts and communication
skills needed to successfully provide a least restrictive environment for all students.
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illustration of the complexity of collaboration in special education. Journal of
Educational and Psychological Consultation, 20(1), 9-27.
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Simonds, C., & Cooper, P. J. (2011). Communication for the classroom teacher. Allyn & Bacon.
An Ontology based Serious Game Design Methodology for Teacher Training
Veysi Isler & Sanam Dehghan
University of Central Florida
A serious game design should utilize the domain fundamentals as well as game design
principles carefully. This study proposes an ontology-based methodology to design a serious
game of various genres. To develop the methodology, a variety of educational and instructional
theories were surveyed and Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction has been selected due to its
compatibility with video games’ elements. This theory, in addition with main and essential
elements of video game design composes the concepts of Ontology based Serious Game Design
Methodology, OSGAM. Unified Modeling Language (UML) has been chosen as the ontology
development language. The proposed methodology has been used for developing a serious game
for teacher training, called as Game Based Teacher Education System (GATES).
Automated Affect Capture, Analysis, Recognition and Incorporation
Scenarios and Reflection
Charles Hughes
University of Central Florida
Using tracking sensors (image and depth information), we created a gesture database and used it to implement a machine
learning-based real-time gesture recognition and feedback application. In a separate but related project, we have developed
a large database of participants’ emotional responses to situations that might elicit emotional responses of surprise, disgust,
curiosity, etc. This work uses computer vision and machine learning techniques to assess facial expressions, hand to face
actions, upper body movement and vocalizations. Our intent is to integrate this research into TeachLivE to understand the
dynamically changing emotions of our participants, using this to drive aspects of avatar behaviors and to support both real-
time and reflection-based learning.
Virtual Simulations to Increase Teacher Candidates’ Knowledge
of Behavior
Kate Zimmer & Melissa Driver
Kennesaw State University
Presenters will share results from a study on the effects of using virtual avatar students with
teacher candidates on learning and using effective behavioral strategies. Teacher candidates
collected data, created, and implemented an intervention all within a virtual environment. Results
of study and implications for teacher preparation and in-service teachers will be discussed.
Graduate Speech Language Pathology Students’ Self-Efficacy in Working with English
Learners in a Mixed Reality Classroom (TeachLivE)
Hilal Peker & Liying Feng,
Florida State University
The purpose of this study was to investigate graduate speech language pathology (SLP) students’
self-efficacy in working with English learners (ELs) in a mixed reality classroom (TeachLivE).
The results indicated pre-service SLPs need more opportunities to practice questioning skills
especially while working with lower-level ELs compared to advanced level ELs.
Comparing simulation to traditional role-play: Which is most effective at increasing
students’ understanding of co-teaching?
Sally Spencer, California State University, Northridge
Talya Drescher, California State University, Channel Islands
Jennifer Holbrook, Angelica Fulchini, & Jillian Schreffler, University of Central Florida
This presentation shares the results of a study that compared traditional role-play in the
classroom to the use of a simulated environment as a tool for developing collaborative
interpersonal problem-solving skills with a co-teacher. Preliminary analysis found the simulator
to be more effective in building understanding of co-teaching behaviors and skills.
Project MELTS
Joyce Nutta, Leslie Davis & Cynthia Walters,
University of Central Florida
Project Micro-credentialing of English Learner Teaching Skills (MELTS), funded by a US
Department of Education National Professional Development grant, has developed a four-
semester sequence of ten performance tasks that differentiate instruction for English learners at
different proficiency levels that will be embedded into the Elementary Education bachelor’s
degree curriculum at the University of Central Florida. Teacher candidates who demonstrate
mastery of each skill will earn digital badges. At the end of the curricular sequence, Project
MELTS will compare the effectiveness of teacher candidates’ EL instructional skills between
those who practiced the skills through simulation (TeachLivE) or through micro-teaching and
examine both groups’ impact on English learners’ gains on classroom-based unit tests compared
to non-MELTS pre-service elementary teachers during participants’ final internship.
High Leverage Simulation Practices for a Secondary Inclusive Classroom
Taylor Bousfield
University of Central Florida
There is a lack of literature in teacher pedagogical practices for serving students with ASD in a
secondary inclusive classroom. The purpose of this study was to determine the most important
teacher practices using a Delphi study to identify those skills perceived as important by national
experts in teacher preparation and ASD to be used by experts in a simulated secondary inclusive
Using Virtual Simulation to Prepare Preservice Special Education Teachers for Inclusive
Melissa Driver & Kate Zimmer
Kennesaw State University
We present results from a mixed-methods study investigating the use of TeachLive in teacher
preparation course on collaboration. There were significant differences in preservice teacher
perceptions of inclusion, readiness to co-teach, and working in collaborative settings at the
beginning and end of the study. Findings hold implications for preparation of special and general
education teachers.
The Influence of a Simulated Environment on Tutors and Supplemental Instruction
Talitha Hudgins & Kolene Mills
Utah Valley University
The purpose of this study is to use TeachLivE simulated environment to provide training for
tutors and SI leaders in how to handle difficult situations while interacting with virtual students.
We argue that tutors will be better able to deal with difficult situations after interacting with
student-avatars and that it will transfer to real-world situations.
Reactions and Insights from First Time Users
Anni Reinking
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
In this project early childhood teacher candidates interacted in a simulated situation where they
were co-teachers in different with different roles. Due to the restraints of SIUE’s site license the
professor designed simplified personalities for each of the avatars. Therefore, all included parties
were interviewed about the experience.
Sharing iPad Screens to Rehearse Instructional Conversations with TeachLivE Avatars
Michael Hynes and Kathleen Ingraham
University of Central Florida
Teachers of all content areas are being challenged to change their instructional practices to
include increased dialog about content. Due to the school district provision of iPads or laptops
for all students, sharing screens is commonplace and the shared screens become the catalysts for
instructional discourse. The presenters will demonstrate the use of the TeachLivE avatars to
provide teachers opportunities to rehearse discourse using iPads. Some participants will have an
opportunity to interact with the avatars and their iPads during the session.
Scenarios for avatars with disabilities
Taylor Bousfield & Kate Ingraham
University of Central Florida
Be a part of scenario creations for utilizing the secondary inclusive classroom. Join us as we take
you along a step-by-step process of creating a scenario of your choice! This workshop will
provide a framework for creating scenarios, specifically, with the use of the secondary classroom
including Martin and Bailey. Attendees are welcome to work on their personal scenarios while
we collaboratively create one together. The scenario that is collaboratively created will be
available for use after the conference!
Developing Elementary Teachers’ Ability to Facilitate Discussions
in Science and Mathematics
via Simulated Classroom Environments
Jamie Mikeska, ETS
Heather Howell & Carrie Straub, Mursion
This session highlights ongoing work studying how teacher educators use a series of simulation
tasks in their methods courses to develop elementary preservice teachers’ abilities to facilitate
goal-oriented discussions in science and mathematics. We will share example tasks, a scoring
rubric, and our newly developed upper elementary avatars and classroom.
Using the mixed reality classroom as a preparation tool for novice qualitative researchers
working with K-12 students
Kristin Murphy
University of Massachusetts Boston
In this paper and presentation, findings will be presented from using the Mursion classroom as a
scaffolded qualitative research learning tool for undergraduates in a research seminar preparing
to engage in youth participatory action research with students from a public urban high school.
The Effects of Immersive Simulation on Teacher Efficacy
when Supporting Executive Functioning in Students with Dyslexia
Sandra H. Robbins & Jill M. Drake
University of West Georgia
Students with dyslexia are increasingly underserved in K-12 schools. This investigation
examined the effects of immersive simulation on teacher efficacy when supporting executive
functioning in students with dyslexia. Pre-post surveys were administered to measure changes in
efficacy. Findings related to organization, prioritization, and planning skills will be shared.
Lessons Learned From a First Year Laboratory
Kate D. Simmons
Auburn University Montgomery
The College of Education (COE) at Auburn University Montgomery (AUM) is proud to house
Alabama’s first Virtual Avatar Laboratory (VAL). The goal of this presentation is to: 1: outline
successful grant and IRB processes, and 2: describe lessons learned to help others be successful
in starting a full license lab.
Using TeachLivE™ to Improve Practice for Pre-Service and In-Service Teachers and
Diane Myers, Patsy Sosa-Sanchez, Teresa Starrett & Edward Steffek
Texas Woman’s University
At Texas Woman’s University, we have been using TeachLivE™ since 2013 to enhance
instruction across all of our programs in the Department of Teacher Education. During this
presentation, we will discuss our application of TeachLivE™, our students’ responses to using
TeachLivE™, and goals for teaching and research related to TeachLivE™.
Liminal Learning in Mixed Reality Teaching Environments
Jody Piro & Catherine O’Callaghan
Western Connecticut State University
Liminal learning describes a condition of between-ness for individuals who are between states or
places. This session will explore a research project that explored how mixed reality simulations
in teacher education can assist preservice teachers in navigating this ‘state of between-ness’ and
in the acquisition of threshold concepts of professional educators.
The Use of Authentic Case Studies of Diverse High Ability and Gifted Students in the
Simulated ELEVATE Classroom to Examine the Nature of Ability, Achievement, and
Appropriate Curriculum.
Gillian Eriksson & Jennifer Sanguiliano
University of Central Florida
Meet Ji-ho, TeachLivE’s newest student with a unique profile who is part of the UCF Project
ELEVATE Gifted Classroom! This presentation focuses on the use of TeachLivE in conjunction
with authentic case studies as a professional development tool, bringing awareness to the
identification and needs of high ability, low income, and English Language Learner students.
Practicing Group Mathematics Discussion in Middle School: The SIM Study of Teacher
Professional Development
Rachel Garrett & Bri Monahan
American Institutes for Research
Deep student engagement with mathematical content during whole group discussions is a critical
but challenging part of middle school mathematics instruction; classroom simulation provides
new opportunities for teachers to practice and receive feedback on leading these discussions. The
SIM Study will pilot a new teacher professional development (PD) program that uses TeachLivE
to support teachers in building their skills to conduct rich mathematics discussions in middle
school classes.
“Have you ever been confused about your sexuality?”:
Urban Youth Leverage TeachLivE to Become Critical Qualitative Researchers
Jevon Hunter
Buffalo State University
Urban youth practitioner-scholars working at the intersection of criticality, educational justice,
and technology regularly advocate for providing adolescents with learning experiences that
center youth voices and foster the development of a critical consciousness to reflect upon and
redress social injustices faced by our young people (Haddix & Sealey-Ruiz, 2012; Morrell,
Dueñas, Garcia, and López, 2013).
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
For two decades, the field of teacher education has been shifting towards the medical model of teacher education (Doyle, 1990). Despite efforts to use case study methods and clinical rounds, the field has struggled to provide a cohesive, integrated curriculum that prepares candidates for the classroom. Practice-Based Teacher Preparation (PBTE) provides a model for programs to situate practice within the context of use. Part of the challenge facing teacher educators is the act of teaching itself. In order to teach effectively in today’s diverse classroom, pre-service teachers need contextualized preparation on high leverage practices in a supportive environment (Matsko & Hammerness, 2013). The use of virtual simulations such as TeachLivE (Dieker, Kennedy, Smith, Vasquez, Rock, & Thomas, 2014) in pre-service education has the potential to bridge the theory to practice divide for situated cognition, supporting the notion that what is learned cannot be separated from how it is learned and used (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989). TeachLivE simulations enhance the clinical experience by providing a virtual situated learning environment with avatar students prior to clinical experiences with live students.
Full-text available
The main aim of this review article is to understand and discuss the concept of improvisation as a professional skill for teacher educators. The literature review suggests that five academic traditions are especially relevant to examine: Rhetoric, music, theatre/ drama, organizational theory and education. The dialogic, open-scripted, interactive and responsive aspects of improvisation are common features for all the traditions we have examined and could provide a common basis for improvisation as a key curricular concept in teaching, and hence teacher education. Every day teachers are challenged to act in accordance with the situational needs and requirements arising in different pedagogical situations. We have identified four different aspects of improvisation, which appear to be of crucial importance in any discussion about improvisation as a key concept in education: (1) Communication and dialogues: Communication in improvisation can be described along a continuum of two positions: From the internal process of communication itself to the external intended result of it. The purpose can also vary from emphasizing the effect on the audience to emphasizing the process of exploration. (2) Structure and design: All traditions claim that to be a good professional improviser, you have to be aware of and be skilled in planning and structural thinking. (3) Repertoire: Learnable repertoires, shaped by content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, are an underlying prerequisite for improvisation in education. (4) Context: Professional improvisational practices are context dependent and domain specific to a great extent.
This book first appeared in 1970 and has gone into two further editions, one in 1975 and this one in 1985. Yalom is also the author of Existential Psychotherapy (1980), In-patient Group Psychotherapy (1983), the co-author with Lieberman of Encounter Groups: First Facts (1973) and with Elkin of Every Day Gets a Little Closer: A Twice-Told Therapy (1974) (which recounts the course of therapy from the patient's and the therapist's viewpoint). The present book is the central work of the set and seems to me the most substantial. It is also one of the most readable of his works because of its straightforward style and the liberal use of clinical examples.
Presents an integrative theoretical framework to explain and to predict psychological changes achieved by different modes of treatment. This theory states that psychological procedures, whatever their form, alter the level and strength of self-efficacy. It is hypothesized that expectations of personal efficacy determine whether coping behavior will be initiated, how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of obstacles and aversive experiences. Persistence in activities that are subjectively threatening but in fact relatively safe produces, through experiences of mastery, further enhancement of self-efficacy and corresponding reductions in defensive behavior. In the proposed model, expectations of personal efficacy are derived from 4 principal sources of information: performance accomplishments, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and physiological states. Factors influencing the cognitive processing of efficacy information arise from enactive, vicarious, exhortative, and emotive sources. The differential power of diverse therapeutic procedures is analyzed in terms of the postulated cognitive mechanism of operation. Findings are reported from microanalyses of enactive, vicarious, and emotive modes of treatment that support the hypothesized relationship between perceived self-efficacy and behavioral changes. (21/2 p ref)
This paper examines the reworking of gender in the measured university and the impact this has on gender equality in academia. Neoliberal market rationalities and measurements embedded in academic publishing, funding and promotion have transformed Australian higher education and impacts upon the careers of academic women in ways that are gendered. Based on a series of in-depth qualitative interviews with female academics, this paper focuses on the performative and discursive decisions women make in regards to their academic careers, and argues that the mainstreaming of gender equity in Australian universities seeks to render gender inequality invisible. It employs ‘cruel optimism’ to highlight how our optimistic attachment to gender equity and diversity policies as tools for improving the representation of women may be detrimental to academic women’s career progression and the realisation of gender equality in academia.
Handbook of Counselor Preparation: Constructivist, Developmental, and Experiential Approaches Handbook of counselor preparation: Constructivist, developmental, and experiential approaches Garrett McAuliffe Old Dominion University Karen Eriksen Eriksen Institute for Ethics SAGE Publications, Inc. 2455 Teller Road Thousand Oaks California 91320 United States 2011 9781412972130 9781452230498 20120531 10.4135/9781452230498 Encoding from PDF of original work Converted January 2012 per SAGE/CQ Press S3O Conversion Specification v1.3 Executed XSLT to parse author/editor element persName into four constituent elements, and to insert bio IDs, abstract, and online publication date. Handbook of Counselor Preparation Constructivist, Developmental, and Experiential Approaches Garrett McAuliffe, Old Dominion University, Karen Eriksen, Eriksen Institute for Ethics SAGE Los Angeles London New Delhi Singapore Washington DC Copyright © 2011 by the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, …. © 2011 by the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. All rights reserved.