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  1. John Pecore
  2. https://uwf.edu/ceps/departments/teacher-education-and-educational-leadership/our-faculty/faculty-profiles/dr-john-pecore.html
  3. Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of West Florida
  1. Melissa Demetrikopoulos
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/1Piu8IFNGNSk5/bibliography/40979939/public/?sort=date&direction=descending
  3. Chair; External Evaluator for Noyce and ITEST projects
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Institution for Biomedical Philosphy
  1. Minkyoung Kim
  2. Assistant Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of West Florida

Online Deliberate Practice of Questioning and Discussion Techniques

NSF Awards: 2020972

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Undergraduate

The shift in teacher preparation from knowledge acquisition to practice-based instructional activities has moved online, which has been accelerated by COVID-19.  As a result, more students may be opting for virtual learning in the future.  This provides the opportunity for pre-service teachers to engage in the deliberate practice of questioning and discussion techniques before delivering actual instruction (virtual or in person) to students in a safe virtual environment.  Additionally, pre-service teachers are prepared through an equity lens to engage all students in discussions.  Using Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle, participants experience teaching a STEM lesson in an online real-time simulation to avatars. After receiving feedback and viewing the video of their teaching, participants reflect on the experience.  They then complete an online module modeling for skill development and understanding after which they apply their newly developed knowledge and skills in the simulation.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (17 posts)
  • Icon for: Mesut Duran

    Mesut Duran

    Facilitator
    Professor of Technology
    May 11, 2021 | 10:33 a.m.

    Very creative!  I was wondering how the scenarios for avatar students were selected/developed?  Thanks, Mesut

     
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    Minkyoung Kim
  • Icon for: John Pecore

    John Pecore

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 11:06 a.m.

    Thank you for your comment.

    Our research project required STEM content that focused on questioning and discussion.  We reviewed available scenarios from Mursion to avoid the expense and time of creating one.  We determined that the math scenario of long division would work.  An appropriate science scenario did not exist.  However, another institution created a science scenario about the water cycle and gave us permission to use the scenario.

     
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    Minkyoung Kim
  • Icon for: Mesut Duran

    Mesut Duran

    Facilitator
    Professor of Technology
    May 11, 2021 | 11:09 a.m.

    Very helpful!  Thanks, Mesut

  • Icon for: John Pecore

    John Pecore

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 10:50 a.m.

    Thank you for watching our video. A few questions we have for you are:

    • Do you have any experience using simulated teaching opportunities that you could share?
    • This project used the deliberate practice approach where students have multiple opportunities to refine their skills. How can this be applied in other areas of STEM education?
     
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    Minkyoung Kim
  • Icon for: Neela White

    Neela White

    Facilitator
    Project Director
    May 12, 2021 | 03:29 p.m.

    Great video.  I enjoyed learning about your project.  Do the avatars offer opportunities for the pre-service teachers to simulate teaching for students with learning disabilities?

     
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    Toby Baker
    Minkyoung Kim
  • Icon for: John Pecore

    John Pecore

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 03:51 p.m.

    The avatar software is developed by the company Mursion. The Mursion team spends a lot of time developing avatars with unique personalities.  They have existing avatars that can be used for a project and you can pay to have an avatar developed.  In one of our other projects focused on teaching culturally and linguistically responsive teaching, the class includes an English Learner avatar from Cambodia.

    Mursion does have several avatars with learning disabilities including one autism and auditory/verbal communications.

     
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    Minkyoung Kim
  • Icon for: Melissa Demetrikopoulos

    Melissa Demetrikopoulos

    Co-Presenter
    Chair; External Evaluator for Noyce and ITEST projects
    May 13, 2021 | 05:17 a.m.

    As John mentioned, Mursion allows for the development of new avatars.  So, while we are not aware of any current avatars with learning disabilities, it may be possible to work with them to develop one. The students report that the avatars seem very much like real students even though they are generated by adult actors.  Each avatar has a back story so that they have unique personalities.  It might be challenging to avoid stereotyping when developing an avatar with learning disabilities, but it was something that did come up in the focus group with the students as something that would be helpful.  In fact, in the one focus group, the participants reported that they felt that this experience should be a component of each of their classes because it was both engaging and gave them practice teaching.  

     
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    Minkyoung Kim
  • Icon for: Cathy Lussier

    Cathy Lussier

    Researcher
    May 13, 2021 | 10:40 p.m.

    This was such an interesting approach. Many of our student teachers are used to full role-playing in video games so I imagine this would engage their interest and low stakes environment to try new things and make mistakes. I'm reminded of a paper I've read in the past (I'll put the citation below) where they found that STEM students who were working on problems during a simulated video game who were scaffolded by handouts performed better if the handout asked the question while they were in the simulation.

    Pilegard, C., & Mayer, R. E. (2016). Improving academic learning from computer-based narrative games. Contemporary Educational Psychology44, 12-20.

  • Icon for: Melissa Demetrikopoulos

    Melissa Demetrikopoulos

    Co-Presenter
    Chair; External Evaluator for Noyce and ITEST projects
    May 17, 2021 | 09:50 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing the resource Cathy. 

    You are correct that it allows them to "try new things and make mistakes."  One of the things that some of the pre-service teacher reported was that it did allow them to not worry about impacting a real student while they were developing their skills, and to concentrate on the improvement of those skills.  

  • Icon for: Alexander Rudolph

    Alexander Rudolph

    Facilitator
    Professor of Physics and Astronomy
    May 16, 2021 | 10:54 a.m.

    This is a very creative approach, particularly the use of avatar students. I would like to know more about how the avatar students are programmed to respond to the teacher's questions appropriately. I also wonder if the teacher-students might get more out of the post-reflection exercise if they had a guided debriefing with an instructor. There is a great deal of literature about debriefing virtual, simulated experiences effectively, which shows that the participant's learning can be enhanced from that achieved through self-reflection alone.

  • Icon for: John Pecore

    John Pecore

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 17, 2021 | 09:51 a.m.

    The avatars are controlled by a real person (interactor) in real time os their is no "programming.'  Each avatar has an individual profile that helps the interactor determine how to respond.

    We did pilot a guided reflection/debriefing where we paused the simulation  and then resumed the simulation. We did not see gains to justify the added cost of simulation time.  Our model of deliberate practice where participants get timely feedback and reflection after the synchronous experience and more practice and feedback during the asynchronous learning (i.e. theorizing) component works well.  Additionally, participants are provided three simulation experiences teaching the same lesson with the modifications based on feedback and reflection.

  • Icon for: Melissa Demetrikopoulos

    Melissa Demetrikopoulos

    Co-Presenter
    Chair; External Evaluator for Noyce and ITEST projects
    May 17, 2021 | 07:02 p.m.

    Thanks Alexander.  The program includes feedback from a trained facilitator and did not rely on self-reflection alone.  This debriefing included general review as well as explicit comments based on particular sections of their teaching simulation.  So, as John mentions, their modifications are based on both reflection and on the professional feedback that they obtain. 

  • Icon for: Toby Baker

    Toby Baker

    Researcher
    May 17, 2021 | 10:40 a.m.

    My dissertation is in teacher training and higher education faculty training, so this is fascinating! This is an excellent tool for Pre-service teachers. Do you think colleges and school districts will adopt this form of Preservice learning?

    Thanks. Toby at IC4.

  • Icon for: John Pecore

    John Pecore

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 17, 2021 | 10:46 a.m.

    We are working on a website and making the asynchronous component available through Canvas Commons.  We are also working with our local school district on securing grant funding to offer the program as an inservice opportunity.

  • Icon for: Melissa Demetrikopoulos

    Melissa Demetrikopoulos

    Co-Presenter
    Chair; External Evaluator for Noyce and ITEST projects
    May 17, 2021 | 07:08 p.m.

    As I mentioned in a prior post, the pre-service teachers indicated that they would like to have this be a component of all of their classes as it was engaging and it gave them simulated practice working directly with students.   They reported that they need as much time teaching to students as possible and that this was like teaching to students.  The biggest challenge is the cost of the avatar time which is why John mentioned that he is working towards additional approaches to this that are more economically scalable. 

  • Icon for: Jamie Mikeska

    Jamie Mikeska

    Researcher
    May 18, 2021 | 11:04 a.m.

    It is exciting to see the outcomes that you are achieving with this important research. Can you say more about some of the different approaches your team is working on that are more economically scalable?

  • Icon for: John Pecore

    John Pecore

    Lead Presenter
    Professor
    May 18, 2021 | 12:18 p.m.

    We will be making the asynchronous modules available through Canvas Commons.  The synchronous avatar simulations could be replaced with a classroom experience or simulation.

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