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ERIC Number: EJ1092478
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 53
ISSN: EISSN-2469-9896
Learning from Avatars: Learning Assistants Practice Physics Pedagogy in a Classroom Simulator
Chini, Jacquelyn J.; Straub, Carrie L.; Thomas, Kevin H.
Physical Review Physics Education Research, v12 n1 p010117-1-010117-15 Jan-Jun 2016
Undergraduate students are increasingly being used to support course transformations that incorporate research-based instructional strategies. While such students are typically selected based on strong content knowledge and possible interest in teaching, they often do not have previous pedagogical training. The current training models make use of real students or classmates role playing as students as the test subjects. We present a new environment for facilitating the practice of physics pedagogy skills, a highly immersive mixed-reality classroom simulator, and assess its effectiveness for undergraduate physics learning assistants (LAs). LAs prepared, taught, and reflected on a lesson about motion graphs for five highly interactive computer generated student avatars in the mixed-reality classroom simulator. To assess the effectiveness of the simulator for this population, we analyzed the pedagogical skills LAs intended to practice and exhibited during their lessons and explored LAs' descriptions of their experiences with the simulator. Our results indicate that the classroom simulator created a safe, effective environment for LAs to practice a variety of skills, such as questioning styles and wait time. Additionally, our analysis revealed areas for improvement in our preparation of LAs and use of the simulator. We conclude with a summary of research questions this environment could facilitate. [This paper is part of the Focused Collection on Preparing and Supporting University Physics Educators.]
American Physical Society. One Physics Ellipse 4th Floor, College Park, MD 20740-3844. Tel: 301-209-3200; Fax: 301-209-0865; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE1347515|DUE1246024|0808790|0108787|0833210