Special-education assistant professor Emily Bouck knows today’s teachers need multiple tools to make decisions and provide instruction in complex classroom situations.
To engage undergraduate students in special-education methods courses EDPS 460 and 462, and provide them practice in applying course knowledge, Bouck collaborated with ITaP’s instructional services unit for technical help in developing an educational game she named TeachLive.
Bouck wanted TeachLive to be a safe environment where her teachers-to-be could assume instructional responsibilities, work with multidimensional students, face typical classroom issues related to instruction or student misbehavior and decide what actions to take.
“I had seen such simulations at the K-12 level, but nothing like what I envisioned for college students,” Bouck says. “I knew what classroom scenarios I wanted my students to experience, but the game definitely was abstract in my mind and hard to articulate.”
Before she met with the ITaP technical team, Bouck wrote detailed descriptions of students with disabilities. For the purposes of TeachLive, her profiles included students with learning disabilities, mild intellectual disabilities, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), emotional and behavior disabilities and visual impairment.
Her hypothetical special-education teacher was in her first year as a professional and serving as a resource-room teacher. In this role, Bouck’s student would be responsible for teaching her caseload students in reading, writing and mathematics; consulting with the general-education teacher about her caseload students’ progress and behavior in their other subjects; and supporting other students who have learning difficulties in any content area.
Bouck says, “I had quite a bit of work to do up front in creating the classroom scenarios and writing profiles of students and teachers. I mapped out 12 modules for TeachLive — some that centered on teaching content such as math or science, and others about handling inappropriate behavior or integrating assistive technology.”
Allen saw potential in developing this type of simulation, working to make this game sustainable so others could use it as a base for creating their own simulations.
“Over the years, we in ITaP have worked with faculty to create many individualized, case-based simulations, so with TeachLive, we wanted to create a tool that would allow faculty to build their own modular simulations with the added ability to track student progress,” Allen says.
The ITaP team completed three of Bouck’s modules over spring and summer 2010 — in time for her to test and evaluate TeachLive with her students this fall semester. ITaP is working on an administrative tool within TeachLive that will enable Bouck to create her other modules and other instructors to create simulations.
“Students have been excited to use TeachLive so far,” Bouck says. “They work through a module individually, and then we discuss their experiences during class. They face different paths in their decision-making and realize that they must live with the consequences of whichever path they choose. I ask them to write a rationale for their choice, and these make for lively discussion.”
Bouck is pleased that the simulation helps her students visualize their classrooms and students, giving them a more concrete view of what happens after they make a decision. Her hope is that when her students are teaching — whether as student teachers or employed special-education teachers — that they will adopt a more student-centered approach, using multiple teaching methods to reach all of their students.
For more information, visit ITaP’s consulting and instructional design services website, or email the Instructional Development Center.
Writer: Carol Bloom, ITaP, (765) 496-7998, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: Oct. 13, 2010