FGCU education students use A.I. platform for classroom management training

Author: Kellie Miller
Published: Updated:

At Florida Gulf Coast University, education students are testing out their lesson plans, teaching methods, and disciplinary styles through a modern platform called Mursion.

The digital tool does not replace in-person training, but it gives new teachers a chance to put their skills to the test, and receive immediate feedback from their peers and instructors.

“The simulation technology that we are using is not unlike a video game in that it uses similar graphics, except the setting is a classroom and the avatars are the students,” said FGCU instructor Jamie Shaffer. “The avatars are controlled by a simulation specialist in the background, that is using a pre-set-up scenario.”

The virtual reality platform provides a simulated classroom with students, who sometimes blurt out answers, use their cellphones, fall asleep, or become overwhelmed. Each student has very particular needs and personalities.

“This scenario is targeting specific teacher skills such as behavior management, giving clear directions, we can even do a parent-teacher conference with this technology,” Shaffer said.

FGCU senior Sarina Sabella said the experience was a bit nerve-wracking, but it taught her a lot about how to overcome behavioral problems.

“It felt like I was in the classroom, and I could do my lesson and any behavior problems that did arise I could suppress and keep my lesson going,” Sabella said.

Sabella and her peers were each required to present a short lesson, give clear directions, correct bad behavior, and check for understanding.

“I’m glad that I went through it because it showed me that I can do hard things,” said Megan Lamb, FGCU senior. “I can jump in and use the training that I’ve learned at FGCU in the College of Education, and apply it in any circumstance via virtually, via in person, with avatars or with real students.”

The Mursion platform is also used for training in healthcare, sales, and customer service. Each simulation is unique, and can be personalized for every user. FGCU’s College of Education started using the technology last year.

“It’s beneficial because our students are in a risk-free environment,” Shaffer said. “They are practicing a teaching skill, and then they can take the feedback that we’ve given them, and that their peers have given them, and apply that in their internship classrooms.”

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