WCSD Administrators recently had the opportunity to participate in a coaching and feedback workshop led by Dr. Rosemarye Taylor using TeachLive - a mixed-reality classroom simulator with avatars. This cutting-edge classroom/conference simulator provided administrators, supervisors and instructional coaches with opportunities to practice and strengthen their coaching skills in closely realistic settings.
The system, developed through a unique partnership between education and computer science professors at the University of Central Florida, works from two ends. On one end, an administrator views a screen on which a teacher avatar is projected. A motion-capture device and camera read the administrators movements. On the other end, an interactor controls the teacher avatar, speaking through a microphone and using head-mounted and handheld controllers programmed to respond to certain movements. Using student avatars, this virtual lab can also be used to allow teachers the opportunity to address a variety of classroom scenarios that occur every day without the worry of "making a mistake". Each avatar has it's own unique "personality", and the program provides the opportunity to practice handling various degrees of situational difficulty.