Virtual reality tool helping NSU education students prepare for the classroom

Local News

ABERDEEN, S.D. (KELO) — A virtual reality tool is helping education students prepare to teach in the classroom.

Northern State University senior Sarah Schafer begins student teaching this fall.

Before she enters the classroom she’s getting an idea of what it’s like to interact with students thanks to a Mursion virtual reality simulation program.

“It’s basically real people behind avatars and my teacher candidates are able to join the classroom as the teacher and they’re able to engage with the avatars,” NSU assistant professor of education Anna Schwan said.

“It was nerve-racking, but that’s exactly what it’s going to be in the classroom, so it was really good to just jump right in and just dive into it with the students,” NSU student Sarah Schafer said.

NSU assistant professor of education Anna Schwan says the simulations are customizable.

“For example, for classroom management, I can choose classrooms that have students who have been identified with having behavior issues or I can even set the behavior to a different level,” Schwan said.

Schwan says it’s safe practice for teaching candidates before they encounter a real classroom.

“I can say all the things and I can tell them this might happen, but when you’re dealing with human beings you can’t prepare for everything, so this helps them practice it a little bit without having the constraints of a full classroom where somebody needs you right now and this is happening and you’re trying to figure everything out,” Schwan said.

“It’s like a stepping stone between what you learn in a textbook and what goes on in the classroom,” Schafer said.

And it’s building Schafer’s confidence as she prepares to begin her career in education.

Schwan started using the technology in her classroom last year.

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