The teaching screening process at Murdoch University
To meet the requirements of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (AITSL), all new education students must complete a short teaching assessment upon accepting their offer to a teaching course (Bachelor of Education or Master of Teaching).
While other institutions conduct this screening through written responses and testing, Murdoch University uses SimLabTM technology – an immersive platform that offers you a mixed reality learning environment, with classroom pupils being represented by avatars that respond to you in real time. The screening takes only five minutes to complete and you can do so from anywhere with internet access.
How it works
SimLab Screening is mandatory for all new education students, including course transfers, and is a pre-requisite for course progression and undertaking school placements. This simple, 5-minute teaching simulation can be completed online or on campus, and gives you the chance to showcase your aptitude in four dispositions:
Language and discourse
Classroom-appropriate words, comprehension, coherence, clarity, fluency
Initiative, resourcefulness, timely, appropriate responses
Interpersonal skills, engagement, active listening, questioning skills
Presence, command, attentiveness, awareness, organisation
Your SimLab session
During your session, simply introduce yourself, engage with the student avatars and try to teach them about something of interest to you. For example, food, sport, how to apply sunscreen etc. Be creative! Use time to expand on the topic through questions and interactions and at the end of the session, summarise what you have talked about.
Success and confidence in this SimLab experience will enable you to progress in your course. You will be informed of your results within two working days. There is no cost for an initial SimLab evaluation.
Introduce yourself to the class (the names on the avatars are in front of them)
Begin to provide the information you wish them to hear.
Ask and respond to the students’ questions, seeking knowledge clarification. Engage with the students during the discussion process and where appropriate, learn something about them.
Conclude by asking a question(s) to confirm student understanding of the information discussed, and summarising the key points.
Book your session
As part of your SimLab experience you need to meet certain expectations.
You can only book one SimLab Screening timeslot so please choose wisely. Consider other obligations such as work before making a booking.
If you are not able to attend your booking due to unforeseen circumstances you must contact SimLab@murdoch.edu.au to reschedule. If you fail to attend your session without informing us you may incur a cost. If you fail to attend your session more than once, you must receive approval from your Academic Chair to make a third booking.
You can attend a SimLab session:
- online – connect from a laptop or computer
- in person – come to our Perth campus, 450.2.027.
SimLab provides the opportunity to practise your teaching skills and prepare before going into the classroom. This includes wearing appropriate professional attire. Please dress appropriately for your session on campus or online.
Please ensure you read all information before undertaking SimLab.
If asked to login, please use your Murdoch student email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Murdoch password.
Frequently asked questions
How do I prepare for my SimLab Screening?
You will need to think of a topic/subject you would like to talk about and plan what you will say during the 5-minute session. If you are using resources, please bring them with you (you will have a whiteboard on campus to use if required). You may like to practise your ‘presentation’ prior to your session.
How is SimLab Screening assessed?
We are looking at your abilities in the following dispositions:
- language and discourse – using appropriate words, understanding what you are speaking about, being coherent in the way you speak, and being clear when giving instructions
- improvisation – the ability to think on your feet and take on board how your students are responding; if they ask any questions, answer those
- rapport building – showing a caring nature and being able to relate to others
- teaching self-efficacy – self-belief and confidence in the material you are talking about.
What is the deadline for completing SimLab Screening?
You must complete your SimLab Screening before the your first Semester's census date. Successful completion of the SimLab Entry Screening evaluation is an accreditation requirement. Students who do not successfully complete SimLab will not progress to Semester 2 or undertake their school placement.
How do I connect online?
The day before your booked session, you will receive an email reminder with a meeting link via Zoom. Please do not use your mobile or tablet to connect with SimLab. You require good internet connection and a working webcam to complete your session online.
When you click on the meeting link five minutes before your session time, you will be put into the waiting room and as soon as SimLab is available, we will admit you to your session. A SimLab team member will be online to assist you once you enter the meeting and to answer any questions you may have.
Please note that at times we may be running late; please be patient and remain in the waiting room.
Where do I go for SimLab Screening on campus?
Please come to the SimLab room 450.2.027 five minutes before your session time. If you are lost, please come to the Education Reception in Building 450 and ask for directions.
If you are driving and do not have a parking permit yet, Car Parks 4 and 5 are the closest to Building 450 and visitor parking is only $3/hour.
What can I expect from the avatars? What does SimLab look like?
The avatars will have active responses and interact verbally with you but do have limited physical movement, for example they can raise their hands and write on their iPads, but will not be able to move from their desks, clap or pass things around. The students can, however, see you model and demonstrate any physical activity required for your lesson. The avatars have the appearance of students in year 5-7, however you can target your teaching to a younger or older year level.
Do I need to complete SimLab Screening?
All education students who start their Bachelor of Education or Master of Teaching course from 2019 onwards must complete the SimLab Screening. This is a mandatory requirement and completion of the screening is a prerequisite for school placements and course progression.
If you have already successfully completed a SimLab On Entry Screening, you do not need to complete another session when you transfer courses or apply for another Murdoch University ITE education course. Please contact SimLab@murdoch.edu.au to confirm if you have previously completed the screening requirement.
If you have previously successfully completed a 2-3 week professional experience placement at Murdoch University or another institution you may be exempt from the SimLab Screening. Please contact SimLab@murdoch.edu.au if you would like to seek this exemption.
- What happens after I have completed SimLab Screening?
What happens if I don’t pass SimLab Screening?
If you do not pass the initial SimLab Screening, you will be invited to undertake SimLab for a second attempt. The second attempt will be after your BED100 or EDN550/5501 unit SimLab session to ensure you have the opportunity to practise and receive feedback before undertaking your screening again.
Will I ever use SimLab again in my teaching course?
Yes, you will use SimLab four times throughout your course. Each session will have a different focus (feedback, classroom management, etc.) and will increase in complexity as you learn more and develop your teaching skills. In your final year, you will experience an angry parent scenario.
Got a question?
If you have questions about the SimLab screening process you can contact us at SimLab@murdoch.edu.au for more information.
The SimLab technology offers a unique blend of virtual reality technology and human looped real-time responses that creates a powerful and immersive learning simulation for both pre-service teachers and practising teachers.
Using the SimLab environment enables ‘just-in-time’ feedback and opportunities to reflect on practice which is not afforded in a typical classroom setting. Users can safely experience a learning environment, from which they can learn how to improve their communication and interaction skills.
Murdoch University was the first university in Australia to adopt this new technology. Its unique mixed reality learning experience is available for both in-service and pre-service teachers.