The Virtual Avatar Lab (VAL): Tapping into Virtual Live Environments to Practice Classroom Feedback Conversations

Erin F Klash, Kate D Simmons


Providing effective feedback is a skill preservice teachers develop through practice. According to Hattie (2012), feedback is essential in the learning process, is prevalent in effective teaching, and its purpose is to help students determine current level of performance, so adjustments can be made to enhance performance to desired level. This qualitative case study was developed to provide 16, K-12 preservice teacher candidates with an opportunity to practice providing feedback in a virtual live environment. Candidates participated in (e.g. interacted with avatar, observed interaction, and/or critiqued interaction) a 60-minute simulation to practice feedback, then completed oral reflection and a written reflective survey (questionnaire) consisting of rating scales and corresponding written response items. Qualitative data collected was coded and analyzed for themes, while quantitative data explored central tendencies, and variations for each survey indicator. Results indicate live simulated sessions in the Virtual Avatar Lab (VAL) were beneficial in developing feedback skills. Teacher candidates reported favorable perceptions with respect to preparation to facilitate feedback conversations, in most cases felt the student avatars were authentic, and felt better prepared to help their future students take ownership of their own areas of strength and room for growth.

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Journal of Curriculum and Teaching

ISSN 1927-2677 (Print) ISSN 1927-2685 (Online)

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