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Preservice Teacher Perceptions of Field Experiences in Virtual and Live Classrooms

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Presentation given at Georgia Educational Research Association (GERA) Conference.

The emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) altered field experiences for preservice teachers during the year 2020 and beyond. Many teacher education programs moved field experiences from live classrooms to virtual formats or suspended field experiences altogether. No known research has compared preservice teachers’ perceptions of the benefits and downsides of school-based and virtual field experiences. The present study addresses this literature gap by surveying preservice teachers who experienced either entirely school-based, entirely virtual (i.e., Mursion), or a combination of school-based and virtual field experiences. Findings based on survey data from 156 undergraduate participants and follow-up interviews with 12 of those participants revealed that undergraduates view Mursion as an inauthentic replacement for school-based field experiences. While participants enjoyed the targeted practice of communication and classroom management skills afforded by Mursion, the interaction with avatars possessing a limited range of verbal and physical responses, relative to students in a live classroom, diminished the professional development value of the virtual field experiences. Participants overwhelmingly supported using school-based placements over virtual field experiences, indicating that virtual experiences are best suited as complementary to school-based placements.

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Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Georgia Educational Research Association (GERA) Conference



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