Southern Miss Education majors get new virtual reality teaching experience

Pine Belt News

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – For the first time, virtual reality will now be apart of the Education program at the University of Southern Mississippi. According to leaders, high level practice scenarios will be part of educating students on how to manage children of various agaes.

Dr. Audra Classen said professors witnessed education majors at USM struggle to complete their practicum experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, professors at the university composed a grant proposal for the GEER fund program. Their proposal was awarded $115,736.

The technology was already in place at Kennesaw State University. Southern Miss was able to implement the technology at the university through a partnership with the AVATAR Lab at Kennesaw State University. It is now known as the Golden Eagles Teaching in Virtual Reality (GET-VR) program.

In practice, the program utilizes state-of-the-art technology to create an immersive, mixed-reality environment for students to practice and master their skills. The program will present professional challenges graduates will encounter on the job.

Funds are being used to implement training scenarios and VR simulations focused on high-leverage teaching practices. Southern Miss students are among the first in the nation to participate in these simulations developed by KSU and the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform (CEEDAR) Center at the University of Florida.

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