NSU education students practicing for classroom through virtual reality

ABERDEEN, S.D. (Press Release) – A new learning tool offers Northern State University education students the chance to experience the classroom using virtual reality.

The Mursion Virtual Reality Simulation offers an innovative approach for teacher candidates to acquire and practice new skills, said NSU Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Anna Schwan. Schwan brought the technology to Northern after trying it out at a conference in Maryland.

“As a former secondary classroom teacher, I would have given anything to be able to practice before I stepped into the classroom,” Schwan explained. “I knew right then that I had to do whatever I could to offer this simulation technology to our students at Northern State University. We are the teaching university in the area; it’s only right that we give our students everything we can think of to help them be successful as teachers.”

To help implement the technology, Schwan wrote and received the NSU Extended Realities Grant. Now, teacher candidates in her Classroom Management Course are trying out the Mursion Virtual Reality Simulation, which allows them to enter a world where students are virtual (avatars) but the teaching is real. They can practice privately or in group settings, teaching avatars ranging from elementary through high school age.

Schwan said students were nervous at first, but handled the avatars very well.

“They are very receptive to anything that will help foster their self-efficacy as confident classroom managers and effective teachers,” she said. “They are excited to be able to use the technology on an individual basis in the safety and security of their own environments.”

To learn more about how Northern State University enhances teacher education, visit the NSU Millicent Atkins School of Education online.