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Board 27: Using an Immersive Classroom Simulated Environment for Math and Science Discourse Development in Preservice Teachers

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Ricky T. Castles East Carolina University

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Dr. Ricky Castles is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University. He is primarily affiliated with the ECU Electrical Engineering concentration. His research work focuses on the use of wireless sensor networks, microcontrollers, and physiological data collection for a variety of applications. His primary interest is in the area of adaptive tutorial systems, but he has ongoing projects in biomedical engineering. He is actively engaged in K-12 outreach through several venues.

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Carrie W. Lee East Carolina University

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Dr. Carrie W. Lee is currently teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in Mathematics Education in the College of Education at East Carolina University. In addition to her teaching she is involved in research exploring the development of teachers’ discourse practices in elementary mathematics instruction. Her research particularly investigates the development of preservice teachers and innovative approaches to approximation of practice.

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Christine Wilson East Carolina University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Christine Wilson is the Mursion coordinator at East Carolina University. She is primarily affiliated with the College of Education but works on several Mursion projects across the university and community. Her research work focuses on the use of immersive simulated role play activities with avatars as an alternative to traditional role play to improve students' interpersonal communication skills in a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, education, social work, counseling, business, and athletics.

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Holly Heath Fales East Carolina University


Daniel Dickerson East Carolina University Orcid 16x16

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DANIEL DICKERSON, Ph.D., is Professor of Science Education in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technology Education, Coordinator of the STEM CoRE (Collaborative for Research in Education) at East Carolina University, and Co-Director of ECU’s pan-institutional STEAM Education Research Cluster. His research focuses on the teaching and learning of earth and environmental science content, environmental education, and STEM instruction. He is a former high school earth science teacher who has served as PI, Co-PI, or Evaluator on NOAA, NSF, NIH, US Department of Education, IMLS, state, and foundation funded projects.

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An interdisciplinary team of researchers from <this institution>’s College of Education and College of Engineering and Technology were funded in 2017 by a three-year, $599,939 grant through the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program (Grant #<redacted>). This project focuses on the development of discourse on math and science topics between teacher candidates and students using an immersive classroom simulator to practice math and science methods with student avatars. This project follows cohorts of students through a mathematics methods course or a science course, and into their internship in schools. The goal of the project is to determine if the integration of interactive classroom simulation activities (ICSAs) in math and science education courses improves teacher candidates ability to communicate and to facilitate discussion on math and science topics. Pre-service teacher candidates exposed to the immersive classroom simulator are compared to a control group of pre-service teachers who practice math or science methods through peer roleplaying.

The immersive classroom simulator used in this project features a diverse group of five student avatars who have distinct personalities and aptitudes. Teacher candidates have multiple opportunities in their math methods course or a science course to lead a short lesson and subsequent discussion with students in the immersive classroom simulator. In addition to leading lessons, students also have multiple opportunities to observe other pre-service teacher’s lesson delivery in the simulator. Each session is recorded allowing students to critique their own interaction with students and to learn from their successes and failures. Each session is immediately debriefed by the student’s professor with both positive and negative feedback provided.

The immersive classroom simulator is designed to provide opportunities for rehearsal that will improve teacher-facilitated discussions on various topics fundamental to engineering practice including the engineering design process, experimental design, arithmetic, data analysis, and hypothesis testing. This study is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of immersive classroom simulators in the preparation of STEM educators. This study also addresses issues of diversity in STEM education by examining the types of interaction pre-service teachers have with each of the students in the classroom to determine if the interactions are equitable or if certain students are addressed differently based upon disability status, gender, or race.

Videos of each session have been recorded, transcribed, and coded. Preliminary analysis of data collected during the first year of the project are presented including documentation of teacher moves and evaluation of the level of discourse elicited by pre-service teachers through their lesson delivery.

Castles, R. T., & Lee, C. W., & Wilson, C., & Fales, H. H., & Dickerson, D. (2019, June), Board 27: Using an Immersive Classroom Simulated Environment for Math and Science Discourse Development in Preservice Teachers Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32311

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