The Liminal Space in Mixed Reality Simulations


The purpose of this session will be to describe a research study that explored how aspiring school leaders grappled with threshold concepts related to educational leadership within mixed reality simulations. An exploratory collective case study was used to understand the experiences of the participants (n=12) who practiced mixed reality simulations of conferences with subsequent coaching in a learning laboratory in one year of their preparation program. There were three data sources: video observational data of the performances within the simulations and after simulation coaching, both peer and mentor; individual semi-structured interviews; and reflective documents following the simulations. Using both deductive and inductive approaches to data analysis, we found that purposefully planning for using threshold concepts within the simulations led to separation, liminal and professional portals of learning. Participants sometimes oscillated backward into a previous portal when they demonstrated mastery in some, but not all, leadership behaviors within the simulated conferences. Liminality, by its very nature, is anti-structured, changeable, and ambiguous and these changes were evident in our results. Implications and recommendations for educational leadership programs are offered.


Educational Leadership Preparation, Mixed Reality Simulations, Liminal Learning


Educational Organization and Leadership


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Dr. Jody Piro
    • Professor, Instructional Leadership Program, Western Connecticut State University
    • Jody Piro, Ed.D. is a Professor in the EdD in Instructional Leadership program at Western Connecticut State University where she is the coordinator of the educational leadership certificate.  Dr. Piro has also served as a faculty member at Austin Peay State University and the University of Central Florida. She taught social studies at the middle and high school levels and served as a Dean and Principal. Dr. Piro’s current research focuses on using mixed reality simulations in educator preparation.