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Assessing “Risk” in Augmented and Virtual Reality in Pre-service Teacher Education

by Joanna Weidler-Lewis - July 06, 2020

This commentary considers the rise of augmented and virtual reality simulators (AR and VR) as a proxy for teacher education preparation in classrooms through the example of Mursion. AR and VR Simulators are a promising technology to meet the educational and clinical training needs of student teachers in the face of the current global pandemic that has canceled in-person options. Simulators allow pre-service teachers the opportunity to practice interactions with student avatars by either walking through pre-recorded scenarios or engaging in real-time sessions with a simulation specialist. The discourse surrounding this technology and simulators is one of reducing “mistakes” and “risks” and maximizing “authenticity” and “safety.” In some cases, these concepts have taken on new meaning post COVID-19, particularly with respect to keeping students, both pre-service teachers and PreK-12 students, healthy and safe. However, we must interrogate what these concepts entail and ask for whom is the learning environment made authentic and who is taking what risks. In this commentary, I call on teacher educators and professionals to examine the broader consequences of implementing AR and VR simulations, the underlying theories of learning and behavior that influence their design, and the costs incurred by this technology.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: July 06, 2020
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 23360, Date Accessed: 7/31/2021 9:47:27 PM

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About the Author
  • Joanna Weidler-Lewis
    The Pennsylvania State University
    E-mail Author
    JOANNA WEIDLER-LEWIS, Ph.D., earned her doctorate in Learning Sciences and Human Development from the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research examines the processes of learning and becoming from critical, spatial, and feminist perspectives. In her role as the director of EDUCATE, a teaching and learning with technology initiative at The Pennsylvania State University, she supports faculty reimagining and designing teacher education through the integration of technology. Her work is dedicated to informing the ways educators organize for learning and identity development.
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