VRTEACHER

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Full project title
Virtual Reality-based Training to improvE digitAl Competences of teacHERs
Project acronym
VRTEACHER
Coordinator/applicant
Cyprus University of Technology
Country of coordinator’s
or applicant’s residence
Cyprus
Contact person
Kalliopi Evangelia Stavroulia
E-mail address
Programme/fund
Erasmus+
Project duration
01062021 - 31052023
Project weblinks
EU project showcase
Project description
The COVID-19 pandemic had a tremendous impact on the delivery of education and training and highlighted the urgent need to use innovative and technology-based pedagogical approaches in teaching and learning while stressing the need to empower the digital competences of educators. Due to the fact that a crisis such as COVID-19 results in a learning crisis with a catastrophic impact not only for future generations but for societies as well, urgent actions must be taken to adopt novel and technology-based support tools that can strengthen educator’s skills and knowledge and promote the exchange of good practices ensuring the delivery of high-quality learning during crisis situations, such as a pandemic. In light of these exceptional circumstances, the VRTEACHER project has the ambition to provide effective education responses related to educators’ training via using a novel VR-based pedagogical approach for virtual practicum. The project aims to address the need for modernization and digital transformation of teacher education and training and reinforce educators’ digital skills and readiness through a Virtual Reality (VR) training method and tool. The innovation of the project lies in addressing challenges related to class management in crisis situations, such as a pandemic, with the vision to equip teachers with key skills (e.g. empathy, perspective-taking, self-efficacy, adaptability, etc.) through immersive and experiential training experiences that reflect real-life scenarios and situations faced during a crisis. A VR-based approach is essential because access to training in real classrooms has several practical limitations (especially in times where spatial distancing is imposed) and runs the risk of harming real students. In addition to the practical gains in teacher training, the proposed immersive VR training tool could offer an alternative solution, a novel training paradigm to prepare educators and improve their personal and professional development, while offering highly motivating and engaging experiences. Equally important is that in a crisis-era like COVID-19, VR-based approaches are very flexible because they do not require the physical presence of teacher trainees. Hence, this flexibility of VR technology satisfies the current requirements and adaptation for social distancing but without downgrading teacher training. The main target groups of the VRTEACHER project are pre-service student teachers (higher education students, Ph.D. candidates, etc.), and in-service educators/teachers. The proposed VR based approach can contribute to providing teachers with a clear picture of the teaching profession clarifying their role within the school reality leading to their personal and professional development, can offer teachers the room for experimentation without the risk of harming real students, can offer teachers the opportunity to record their performance, reflect on it, and experiment maximizing their teaching performance.