TLE TeachLivE™ is a mixed-reality classroom that provides teacher candidates at SUNY New Paltz the opportunity to develop their pedagogical practice in a safe environment that does not place real students’ learning at risk.
In the TLE TeachLivE™ Lab at SUNY New Paltz, teacher candidates enter a virtual middle- or high-school classroom of student avatars. Depending on the objectives of the lesson, the virtual students may display typical or atypical learning behaviors.
New Paltz SOE faculty plan and design classes in which their students teach in the TLE TeachLive™ simulator. Teacher candidates may find themselves working with an attentive classroom of typical students, or perhaps encounter difficulties teaching one or more students. Candidates may practice whole-class and one-on-one instruction while working with a continuum of behaviors and abilities in the virtual classroom.
All qualities of the classroom are under the control of the SOE faculty member teaching the class. Just as pilots practice in a flight simulator, teacher candidates can practice the instruction and management skills needed to become effective teachers and classroom teachers can hone and refine their skills in the TLE TeachLive™ simulator.
Over the course of an hour, several teacher candidates can instruct the student avatars in the TLE TeachLivE™ Lab. Depending on the lesson objectives, sessions typically last anywhere from 10 – 20 minutes. Furthermore, if a candidate felt a lesson went poorly, s/he can re-enter the virtual classroom and teach the lesson again without having affected student learning.
Teacher candidates at SUNY New Paltz may also interact with an adult avatar to practice parent/teacher communications skills. A new virtual elementary-level classroom is in development.
The School of Education at SUNY New Paltz is the second TeachLive lab in the SUNY system. The mixed-reality environment was developed at the University of Central Florida and is in use at 42 colleges across the United States. While the original intent of the program was to assist in teaching science, technology, and math (STEM), its uses in practicing classroom management and differentiating instruction are already in place at SUNY New Paltz.