The student “avatars” have their own personalities and misbehave in the same ways as real students.
In an Australian first, Murdoch has hosted a pilot trial of TeachLivE, which prepares pre-service teachers to face challenges they will meet in real life; from talkative, distracted students to quiet students who need some encouragement.
The technology was first developed at the University of Central Florida and is used in teacher training at universities across the US.
Dr Susan Ledger, who is overseeing the project, said it would help prepare students for real classrooms much earlier in their training and with less stress.
The avatars disrupt classes in ways that teachers are likely to encounter.
She said the 10 university students who took part in the trial each taught a group of five student avatars with five levels of behavioural responses.
The avatars disrupted classes in ways that teachers are likely to encounter, such as pulling out a mobile phone or losing their pen during class.
“These avatars are controlled by an interactor who can adapt the reactions of the students in the session to the various strategies used by the pre-service teacher to control or engage with the class,” Dr Ledger said.
“They even have avatar parents that can be interviewed.”