The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Penn State Prof Develops VR Classroom

Colleges and universities are looking at how virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in the classroom. A professor at Pennsylvania State University, State College, is working on ways to use both as the classroom.

Ann Clements, associate professor and graduate program chair for music education at Penn State, has developed an AI virtual classroom that lets teachers practice student-engagement techniques before they begin their student-teaching requirements. The classroom prototype, known as First Class, allows pre-service teachers to use a motion-sensing device employed in video-game consoles to experience what can happen in a classroom setting.

Modules in the AI program allows the teachers to call on individual students by their first name after they raise their hands, while attention meters measure if the class is paying attention. The teacher also receives evaluations based on answers the virtual students give on a basic yes-and-no test.

“Teaching is a complex craft because it involves human engagement,” Clements said in an article for eCampus News. “So we can talk to someone about how to teach and best practices and provide them with curricular content, but they need to engage with students in some way to have the skills to become solid teachers.”

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