A Mixed Methods Study on the Impact of Using Mixed Reality Simulations on Pre-Service Teachers' Coping and Anxiety

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Authors
Anton, Steven C.
Issue Date
2022-08-10
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Thesis
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of time in Mixed-Reality Simulations (MRS) on anxiety levels and coping for pre-service teachers (PSTs). A convergent parallel mixed-methods design was utilized for this study. The quantitative portion of the study used a convenience sample of 10 PSTs enrolled in one of two practice-based teacher preparation courses which embedded MRS into the curriculum. All participants completed two inventories before the first simulation, after the second simulation, and after the third simulation of the semester. The first inventory measured adaptiveness in coping and the second measured anxiety. The qualitative portion of the study followed an exploratory collective case study design to examine PSTs perceptions of adaptiveness in coping and anxiety and included an observational protocol utilized by the researcher during a sample of the participants’ MRS sessions as well as a demographic questionnaire and an exit survey. The results of both qualitative and quantitative findings were compared using triangulation in an effort to uncover themes related to adaptiveness in coping and anxiety over time within a MRS. Paired-Samples Sign Tests were used to determine the median difference between matched observations for the Personal Functioning Inventory scores for both levels. For each pair of matched observations on both levels, no statistically significant difference was found for any pair of administrations. Paired- Samples Sign Tests were also used to determine the median difference between matched observations for the Zung Anxiety Self-Assessment Scale scores for both levels. For each pair of matched observations on both levels, no statistically significant difference was found for any pair of administrations. Three finding statements emerged from the qualitative data: (a) participants experienced anxiety surrounding the mixed-reality simulations from many different sources, (b) participants’ anxiety surrounding the mixed-reality simulations manifested itself in a variety of ways, and (c) participants implemented different coping skills to attempt to manage the anxiety they were experiencing surrounding the mixed-reality simulations. A comparison of the quantitative and the qualitative findings revealed two mixed methods findings: (a) pre-service teachers can benefit from experiencing anxiety within a mixed-reality simulation setting and (b) mixed-reality simulations provide pre-service teachers with the opportunity to develop their coping skills. This study explored the potential benefits and impact of time spent within a mixedreality simulator on pre-service teachers’ anxiety and adaptiveness in coping.
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Acknowledgements
I would like to thank everyone that helped me with this dissertation process. First and foremost, thank you to Dr. Jody Piro for always believing that I could make it through this process even when I did not believe it myself. Throughout my time in the Ed.D. program, you were always an incredible influence on my success. Even when I needed to step away from this whole process for some time, you never gave up on me. The moment I reached out to you about restarting the process and finishing the program, your excitement and support made me believe in myself and my ability to see it through. Every single time I felt lost or stuck, or felt that my study was crumbling around me, one conversation with you would make me truly see the progress I made and made the path forward clearer. I truly cannot express how lucky I am to have had you as my advisor through this process. I would not have made it through this process and would not be where I am today without your guidance. To Dr. Marcia Delcourt, thank you for believing in me and supporting me through this whole process as one of my committee members. Thank you for your understanding when I needed to take some time away and for encouraging me from the moment I came back. To Dr. Erik Gundel, thank you for your willingness to serve as a member of my committee. I appreciate your willingness to sacrifice your own time to serve as my committee member and to take the time to read this and to help me improve it. To Dr. Ashley Brooksbank, thank you for serving as my reader and for offering incredibly valuable feedback as I finished up this process. To my cohort members, thank you for being with me and learning with me throughout this process. Sitting through classes with you all and learning side-by-side with you has helped me grow as a learner, as an educator, and as an individual. I’m very happy that I was able to go through this process with all of. Specifically, to Dr. Krystina Palladino, I would not have made it through all of the Wednesday nights in class and this entire process without you. I am eternally grateful for your friendship and for being able to keep me laughing through all of the hard work. To my closest friends, near and far, thank you for your support and for letting me complain for distracting me when I needed it. This process took a toll on me, and your support helped me through. I am continually reminded how incredibly lucky I am to have you in my life. To my Mom, thank you for always being there for me throughout my life and throughout this process. You have been my biggest supporter and number one fan since day one. Thank you for your endless love and support and for always believing in me. To Mike and Kayleigh, I greatly appreciate your support and all of the long phone calls that you endured as I complained about my classes and the work in writing this dissertation.Yours and your families’ love and support mean the world to me. To Eileen, I can never truly express how much you have meant to me in finishing this process. Thank you for supporting me and for continuing to push me to finish. You continued to believe in me even on those nights when I gave up on myself and thought I could never finish. Thank you for encouraging me to take some mental health breaks when I needed them and forallowing me to work through many weekends and vacations. You were always right by my side helping me continue to move forward. I can never truly show you how much I appreciate your love and support, but I am going to spend every day trying. I love you so much and am very much looking forward to all of our adventures now that this process is through. And finally, to Zelda, thank you for all of the times that you saw me working and stressing and deciding I needed to take a break and go for a walk with you or just snuggle with you. You truly are the greatest, most loving animal companion.
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