AUM establishes first virtual avatar lab in AL - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

AUM establishes first virtual avatar lab in AL

(Source: WSFA 12 News File Photo) (Source: WSFA 12 News File Photo)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Auburn University at Montgomery’s College of Education will host an open house and live demonstration of the state's first virtual avatar lab (VAL) on Tuesday at AUM's Education Building Room 100 at 1 p.m.

The demonstration will give state educators, faculty members, practitioners and students from other professions insight on artificial intelligence used to prepare candidates for teaching and other professions, 

AUM’s College of Education is leading the implementation of VAL, a new, grant-funded virtual avatar reality system that will help prepare AUM’s teacher candidates for real-life classroom management. 

“With VAL, we can provide our candidates the opportunity to learn new skills and craft their practice — to greater success — without placing ‘real’ students at risk during the learning process,” said Dr. Kate Simmons, a professor in AUM’s Counselor, Leadership & Special Education department in the College of Education.

The virtual environment, developed by Mursion, uses avatars to allow people to practice and master critical interaction skills without the possibility of harming real, human subjects. The simulation may also be useful in improving the communication and social skills of children with autism spectrum disorder and in training the teachers, social workers and behavior therapists who work with them. Teacher candidates can critique their responses, provide feedback and students can even have their interactions recorded for self-reviews.

Currently, AUM offers the only mixed-reality teaching lab in the state.

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