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  1. null (Ed.)
    Structures such as rehearsals have been designed within mathematics education to engage teacher candidates in deliberate practice of specific teaching episodes before enacting within classroom settings. Current research has analyzed traditional rehearsals that involve peers acting as K-12 students as the teacher candidate facilitates an activity; however innovative technologies such as virtual simulation software — Mursion® (developed as TeachLivE™) — offer new opportunities to use student avatars in this context. This work explores the use of rehearsals within virtual simulations as compared to traditional rehearsals by using (nonpooled) two- sample, t-tests to compare changes in the control and comparison groups regarding their use of eliciting strategies. Similarity of the groups in how they develop eliciting strategies presents evidence that virtual simulations have the potential to provide comparable contexts for rehearsals. At the same time, the specific differences between groups prompts further examination of the contexts and patterns in discussion to better understand what is influencing differential change. 
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  2. This study investigated the influence of immersive classroom simulation activities on the development of elementary pre-service teachers in two separate mathematics and science education courses that simultaneously focus on pedagogy and content. Participants submitted written personal reflections about their teaching experiences using the immersive classroom simulation activities. These reflections were analyzed for common emergent themes within and across courses. The participants discussed the benefits of the immersive classroom simulation activities in their written personal reflections. They viewed the experience as helpful in developing their skills as a practicing teacher in mathematics and science. Specifically, participants identified three sub-themes including: (a) the immersive classroom simulation activities as being beneficial by providing more authentic real-life teaching experiences than those experienced during peer-group teaching activities; (b) the importance of holding complete and appropriate understandings of content when teaching mathematics and science; and (c) the role of deep content knowledge in the process of developing high quality questions for students. This study has shown immersive classroom simulation activities to be a viable alternative for teacher education programs to engage elementary pre- service teachers in developing skills regarding classroom mathematics and science discourse. 
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