How might we use goal setting & video to drive professional learning?

Instead of one-size fits all PD, what if video and goal setting drove professional learning?

Photo of Jessica Lura

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Please let me know if you want to join the team to flesh out this idea! Check out the Google Doc.

Overview: (What’s this idea about)

Instead of one-size fits all, regardless of what you teach and how long you teach you must attend PD, what if video and goal setting (check out I.P.D.P- Individual Professional Development Plan by Jessica Mossman for thoughts on goal-setting) drove professional learning? PD becomes a space for teachers to really reflect on their practice and grow through reflection, critique, and revision. It becomes a process similar to the Lean Startup Cycle of learning and growth (and BetterLesson’s TeachCycle PD model)--where teachers collect baseline data on their teaching (through video), analyze that data & pick an strategy/goal to focus on (the learn/hypothesis--if I wait 10 seconds after the last student speaks before I give my directions,  more students will understand the directions), and implement that strategy in the classroom (build), and then collect data on successfulness (through video). And start the cycle again.

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The article “Record, Replay, Reflect” by Jim Knight et al (Learning Forward, April 2012, Vol. 33, No. 2)  states that “educators who review video of their lessons are more inclined to write learning goals that matter to them.” In addition, the article states “real improvement requires what Colvin (2008) referred to as “deliberate practice” and precise feedback. Video is an easy and effective way for teachers working with coaches, on their own, or in teams to get the feedback they need to move forward as learners.”

Using video to record and reflect on teaching is being used in my school as part of the new teacher induction program but there seems to be a lot of value of expanding its use. Peer observation can be useful but there can be barriers to it happening--schedules that don’t work, too difficult to get a sub, etc. Video can be used with coaches if you have coaches (or induction mentors) but can be used by individual teachers if need be.

The article “Record, Replay, Reflect” also has some templates of things for the teachers to look for when watching the recording  (watch your students and watch your self) which could be really useful for the initial goal setting. Coaches and schools could tailor the list to include behaviors and competencies that were important to their organization or that they thought that teachers needed to work on. This way teachers are self-identifying their strengths and weaknesses and so there would be more buy-in from the teacher. In addition, everything would tie back to the classroom and student learning.

With cameras being fairly ubiquitous, this could be as simple as pushing record on a phone that has been propped up. In addition, there are apps and other applications (such as Smarter Cookie and Edthena) specifically designed for this purpose. You could even hack edpuzzle or add comments onto your youtube videos if necessary.

Value Prop/Pitch: (How would you pitch this to other teachers in your school? Your principal? Etc.)

How’d I get this idea off the ground?

I met with a teacher to test out the idea. As a new teacher, he has been focusing on improving classroom management. In addition, his grade level is very supportive and helpful but like most teachers, don't have additional time to observe him and give him feedback. We talked about using video in two different (but similar ways).  He is going to test/help prototype both ideas.

First, working with me (though he could do it by himself) to use the lean start-up cycle to focus on specific classroom management strategies with a (hopefully) quick cycle of observing (through video), focusing on an area, picking a strategy to implement, implement strategy, collect data (through video), reflect, and then start the process again.

Second, as a part of the 5th grade teaching team, he is going to video parts of lessons to share with his teammates so that they can give him feedback and share their expertise. Since it's video, they can do this asynchronously. We will be using Edthena (see materials below) so they can make comments on specific parts of the lesson.

First Way--focusing on classroom management & the lean start up cycle of learning and reflection:

  1. Teacher video-tapes self & watches video by him/herself
  2. [if working with coach, mentor, team mate, etc.-- he/she would watch video]
  3. Teacher setting a short-term goal/focus using data from the video [the hypothesis--if I do this, then this will be more efficient or more effective or more engaging etc.] If working in a group, teachers could set the same goal if appropriate.
  4. Research/find strategy to implement that would support focus [If I am focusing on more effectively getting students' attention, I would research effective attention getters--both from research and from my colleagues]
  5. Pick a strategy to implement [in above example, I might pick, "if you can hear my voice clap once... and will wait five seconds after everyone is doing it before talking]
  6. Implement strategy
  7. Video tape that strategy in use 
  8. Analyze/watching the recording for data on effectiveness
  9.  Reflect
  10. Repeat process

Testing of First Way--Version 1, December 2015-January 2016 (in progress :)

1. Teacher video-tapes self & watches video-he makes general comment about the lesson

2. I watch the lesson via Edthena & see comment he makes

3. We meet and he sets a SMART goal around classroom management and behavior. 

Conversation involving the following:

What went well

What was surprising

What would he change for next time?

What would he like to focus on/set a goal on: goal is to clear expectations before we start a transition so that students stay on task and do not waste any time.

4. He will research different strategy of keeping transitions effective & implement them. He will video-tape himself on Monday (in a week) to see effectiveness.

12.28.15 Testing 1

Second Way--working with a small team of teachers to give feedback on lessons and teaching

  1. Teacher video-tapes self & watches video by him/herself
  2. Teacher trims video to the part he (in this case) wants his teammates to watch and give feedback on
  3. Teacher meets with team (ideally) to discuss video and what he wants them to look for when watching (if necessary, this could happen via email)
  4. Team watches video (in their own time), commenting solely on what the teacher asked for feedback on.
  5. Team meets to reflect on process and video. Cycle ideally continues with a couple of options--teacher continues to video-tape self & share with team, teacher video tapes self and self-reflects, or another team member video-tapes his/herself and goes through the same process.

Potential For Impact: (How does this reimagine Professional Learning?)

Huge. As mentioned in the comments, this is what athletes, musicians, and others professionals use to really improve their game/craft. It allows you to focus on a specific habit, method, or technique and get real feedback on whether or not it is working.

Materials to get this idea off the ground:

*recording device --phone, camera

Fancier options:

Swivl: Free & paid: Swivl is an automated mobile accessory with a suite of online tools that enable educators to use video for professional development and instruction. The "robot" follows the person (who is holding/wearing a blue tooth-enabled stick-thing) and so can as you move around the room, the camera moves. The stick-thing also has a mic so sound is easily picked up. They have a free demo option on their site. You can upload your video unlisted youtube with the free version (and probably could upload into edpuzzle to add comments). The paid version lets you add comments in the video.

Edthena:  Paid: Edthena helps teachers analyze teaching using classroom video and online collaboration. You have to download the video on to your computer desktop but you can make groups to share the videos. So if you have a PLC or grade level working together, they easily can share videos with each other. You can make comments on the video when it happens.

Talent: Paid: Easy to upload--uploads directly to website (and so not stored on computer). Can't organize videos into groups. You can make comments on the video when it happens.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mahmoud ABDELRAHMAN

Jessica Lura Nice and very practical. Do you think we can help the teacher videotape his ideal self off of the classroom and try to match that in action? sort of his best audition as a teacher. I'm also interested in looking at how self-fulfilling prophecies could apply here. Do you think if the students have seen the star-version video of their teacher they would initially act differently? then make it easier and more comfortable for the teacher to progress with his plan?

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