Using Human Controlled Student Avatars To Train New Teachers
The TeachME system provides a challenging virtual environment for prospective educators.
A team at the University of Central Florida has created the TeachME project, a virtual space filled with student avatars to train new teachers in classroom-management.
The unique characteristic of the project is that, unlike conventional virtual worlds with artificially intelligent personalities, the avatars here are being controlled in real time by humans, thereby making it a realistic and dynamic activity. The trainee teacher stands in a room in front of a projection screen that displays five students controlled by acting professionals who have learned the behavior of the students they are embodying. Each of these students is meant to fit a personality type as classified by psychologists. Another professional, connected to the classroom via Skype, controls a series of knobs to prompt non-speaking outbursts commonly seen in classes. Based on how the teacher reacts to the antics and idiosyncrasies of students, the TeachME system identifies potential teachers and eliminates the rest.