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Supporting Student Teaching through Virtual Classrooms

Educause Quarterly Volume 30, Number 2, ISSN 1528-5324


All teacher education programs require teacher candidates to have in-school practicum experiences. Placing student teachers in schools is not always easy, however, and it is getting harder. According to the field experience office at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, it is getting more difficult to find schools where the teacher candidates can practice because of the limited number of local schools and the increasing competition for spaces from competing institutions. Even after schools agree to participate in the student teacher program, teachers at those schools must agree to work with the teacher candidates. These mentor teachers spend considerable time with the teacher candidates, helping them get oriented to the school and sharing what they have learned about teaching. Their participation in the practicum program requires teachers to invest additional effort and patience to work with student teachers. Because of these challenges, many school administrators and teachers do not want teacher candidates in their schools. It thus becomes more difficult to find proper schools for the teacher candidates to practice teaching. To address these problems, the author proposes using a cyber practicum in the form of a three-dimensional, online world adapted for student teaching. With the cyber practicum, the teacher candidates create their own classroom spaces rather than sharing a supervising teacher's classroom. The teacher candidates would create avatars (an interactive representation of a human in a virtual reality environment), develop lesson plans, and teach in the virtual classrooms. The cyber practicum thus eliminates the need to place teacher candidates in practicum schools, although it does not eliminate the need for mentors and students willing to participate in the online classrooms, or the need for program administrators.


Yoon, J. (2007). Supporting Student Teaching through Virtual Classrooms. Educause Quarterly, 30(2), 10-11. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from .

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