The virtual reality programMursion simulates a typical classroom environment, giving teachers the opportunity to practice classroom management techniques and instructional strategies. The program features a classroom of virtual students that mimic real student behaviors. Mursion works by using a combination of artificial intelligence and live actors to deliver personalized simulations. For example, the student avatars have a range of personalities, from the first student to raise a hand to the distracted, shy student. Rather than wearing headsets or other devices with the technology, participants stand in front of a large screen that projects a virtual classroom. They can interact with the avatars, receiving immediate feedback from both peers and instructors. Additionally, the program provides easy-to-capture analytics that can inform future training plans. Visitors to the website can see Mursion in action.
Plus: Virtual simulation can be used to both improve the communication and social skills of children with autism and train teachers, social workers, and behavioral therapists who regularly work with these children. The website features examples of how Mursion’s platform is being leveraged in this emerging field.
In smaller rural schools, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education can face troublesome barriers. In our K–12 district of 730 students, we have many of the common obstacles, including limited funds, no extra faculty, and an already overloaded class schedule. These three join arms to block us from using any of the really cool programs we’d like to. Other institutions sing praises of cutting-edge programs and share their successes. Meanwhile, rural schools are trying to figure out how to educate equally deserving kids in STEM.
In spring 2018, Reaktor, an AI and tech partner in Finland, and University of Helsinki came together with the aim of helping people be empowered, not threatened, by artificial intelligence. Together, they built Elements of AI to teach the basics of artificial intelligence to people from a wide range of backgrounds.