What We Do
In 2016, the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development began a partnership with Mursion to utilize their mixed-reality simulation program that takes the form of virtual school spaces with student and adult avatars. The simulator is used to prepare students for work in K-12 settings and provides a unique opportunity for researchers to measure its effectiveness and impact.
Simulator Provides Students Fail-Safe Opportunities to Teach, Lead, Mentor
The computer-based simulator provides hours of meaningful practice for UVA students training for a variety of professions in education and human development.
Students preparing to become teachers and educational leaders are using the Mursion simulator to practice implementing some of the theory of teaching and leadership skills that traditional teaching programs provide, without having to enter a physical school. Via Zoom, students are placed in a variety of scenarios, such as leading a small group discussion on a text, engaging with a student's caregiver during a conference, or meeting with a colleague. By engaging in low-risk, virtual experiences, participating students build knowledge, skills, and practice decision-making without consequence. Students regularly reflect on the experience as positive and impactful.
The EHD School is also using the simulator to train undergraduate women participating in the UVA Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP). The tool allows students to practice having challenging conversations with middle school students, like those they will mentor in the program.
These simulation experiences also provide EHD researchers an opportunity to test the efficacy of the experience and the impact these sessions may have on training effective teachers and leaders.
Current SimLab Areas of Work
Take a look at the programs and projects across EHD that are currently utilizing the simulator.
Teacher Education (CISE)
- Reading Sims (Running Record, Comprehension, Vocabulary, Multisyllabic Decoding, Spelling)
- Social Studies Sims (Difficult conversation with colleague sim, book talk sim about colonization/perspectives, and book talk sim about assimilation/perspectives)
Special Education (CISE)
- Transition conversation with student sim & follow-up conversation with the student’s caregiver sim
- Talking with and establishing norms with a paraprofessional
- Introducing a behavior contract sim
English as a Second Language (CISE)
- Advocating for a middle school ESL student
- Teaching a content lesson to a small group of students, where one ESL student is present
Administration & Supervision
- School Law: Bullying Sim & Suspension Sim
- Leadership: Discussion of Instructional Quality & Teacher Effectiveness (some discussions include the need to integration of technology)
- Leadership/Cultivating Professionalism: Screening Interviews of teacher candidates
- Family & Community Engagement: Conversation with caregiver who is upset about curriculum being taught
Youth & Social Innovation
- Difficult Conversation with Middle Schooler: In preparation for mentoring students through the Young Women’s Leadership Program
TeachSIM Research Project
Giving Feedback, Classroom Management, & Family Engagement
Mindfulness Research Project
How Mindfulness Can Help Teachers