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SAT: A case study in understanding the impact of openness on CPD: how does sharing lesson footage across an open platform enhance professional development?(Mulligan)
A presentation outlining the key findings in a case study of CPD using shared video footage.
Cloud created by:
10 January 2015
The need for effective Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in teaching is bigger now than ever before in Northern Ireland. This case study is born out of a desire to reflect and develop as a teacher in a contextual environment which is currently not facilitating that demand. Budget cuts and area-based planning mean that schools are shrinking, teachers are being cut and the duties that teachers are being asked to take on are becoming more diverse.
Current CPD in Northern Ireland (NI) involves a once a year lesson observation from a senior teacher and the filling in of paperwork to show the inspectors. This is uninspiring and unhelpful in a challenging and competitive profession which needs good quality training, with investment from leaders and realistic ideas for how to remain fresh and innovative. Bill Gates (2013) is a strong proponent of teachers receiving ‘real feedback’ in America and there is no doubt that this is very much required for professionals who want to retain their jobs in the current educational climate in NI.
So how can openness and a fifty pound video camera enhance professional development at this crucial time for a teacher in NI: by innovating conventional CPD and opening up a classroom to peers across the world. It is time to put CPD back in the hands of the people who are at the centre of the process; the teachers. The innovation is that of sharing short clips and asking specific questions about them. The hope is that it could offer more effective feedback than an annual lesson observation. The openness element involves sharing lesson footage openly with peers online who would never normally be privy to classroom practice.
The conference presentation will focus on presenting a case study of a trial version of this within the H818 community. The case study being the artefact, the presentation will be a multi-media tour of the key elements of the case study including clips from the classroom in Northern Ireland, screen shots of peer feedback from within H818 and an evaluation of the efficacy of the process in comparison to current CPD arrangements in Northern Ireland. There is a degree of de-formalising the process of CPD within this case study. And this, essentially, is the point. Holmes (2013, p. 97) calls this concept of sharing and learning with peers, ‘informal learning’. The hope is that this peer review process, which has been a significant design feature of the H818 module, can be applied to a teacher in Northern Ireland who is hoping to glean as much as possible to improve specific aspects of teaching and learning within the classroom.
Attendees will leave the presentation with an increased awareness of how making CPD more open might engender better quality feedback. They may also come away with ideas for how to refresh their own CPD in an informal, discreet yet effective way.
DRAFT CASE STUDY
A case study in understanding the impact of openness on CPD: how does sharing lesson footage across an open platform enhance professional development?
Key Points of Good Practice
Understanding how openness can enhance learning and development in a professional context.
Innovating traditional Continual Professional Development to achieve a better quality outcome.
Taking risks in open education to make gains.
Keeping variables the same in order to isolate the impact of one key change.
Using unconventional video footage to improve self-awareness and self-reflection.
Description of Implementation
This small pilot programme was undertaken by one teacher in a post-primary school in Northern Ireland. The programme involved firstly recording lessons of the individual teacher using a standard video camera and tripod. Then there was a stage of self-reflection where the teacher watched the footage back and made notes on areas for improvement. However, there were some moments within lessons that the teacher wished to gain more ideas for improvement. Therefore, with a simple editing programme, small snippets of lessons were selected and captions added to help with audio recognition.
Three clips were shared on a free online platform called Padlet, with a little background context to the lesson shown. Most importantly, each clip had a specific question shown clearly at the beginning in order to focus the appraisers on the issue the teacher needed help with. Padlet allows users to add comments with a simple double click to appraisers were able to view the clip (under 2 minutes) and leave a short comment on how to fix a specific problem clearly outlined by the teacher. In this pilot, users comprised the participants on an Open University module entitled, ‘The Networked Practitioner.’
The time scale for the project encompassed 3 weeks of lesson recording, a week of playback and choice of clips and culminated in the editing, creating and sharing of three short clips on Padlet.
Perceived benefits for teaching staff begin with ensuring that CPD is back in the hands of teachers. It allows teachers to pinpoint areas for improvement that they know need addressed. It ignores the lack or misdirection of CPD within the professional context and maintains a very simple method throughout the academic year of receiving feedback that can be instantly helpful.
For pupils, the benefits are clear too. Pupils will enjoy lessons which have been tailored as a result of feedback from this system. The teacher themselves chooses the lesson, or moments from multiple lessons to share and receive feedback on. Real-life lessons rather than ‘inspection-standard’ lessons gain the deserved attention and this translates to the quality teaching and learning received by pupils.
The lessons learnt from this case study can be extended to any professional context, any schoo; any workplace. Any profession can learn more when opening up their practice to a different network; a more objective one. Whilst it is fair to say that whilst not always an informed network regarding the norms and conventions of the workplace in question, this openness is what ensures a fresh approach and consequently a better one.
The teacher involved was overwhelmed by the valuable comments left on the Padlet. The fresh ideas, the resourcefulness of individuals not connected with the teaching profession offered a wealth of inspiration to refresh the practices that were at work within this teacher’s classroom. Those who left the comments were happy to be involved as it had only taken 5 minutes of their time to view and leave a quick comment.
Challenges mainly centred on the poor recording quality. Without someone to man the video camera, sometime the individual teacher went out of shot or pupils who were engaged were not visible. Additionally, the regional dialect and Northern Irish accent made the poor quality audio even harder to decipher. This was addressed by adding text captions to the short edited clips for sharing on Padlet. This enabled users to fully appreciate the dialogue of the teacher during the clip.
What problems/issues have arisen and how have you addressed them. How might any difficulties
Enablers that helped the project to work
The pilot was initiated as part of an Open University module where the teacher in question was tasked to presenting an artefact about openness. The innovation of CPD using an open platform such as Padlet suited the needs of the teacher regarding CPD and fulfilled the requirements of the module.
Lesson recordings were facilitated by the kind permission of the principal and pupils who grant permission to be recorded in their educational setting on arrival to the school.
Regarding the appraisers, a positive online relationship had been developed throughout the module. The teacher had been proactive in assisting the projects of others and this was kindly reciprocated by others.
Details of project evaluation
Evaluation comprised of a straightforward comparison between conventional and current CPD and this innovative approach. Success was evidenced by the resources and ideas derived from the comments left on Padlet. Personal gain was the mainstay of the success as the teacher felt motivated, reinvigorated and valued by the peer review network that had been formed as part of the module.
The teacher implemented the new ideas in the classroom, created new resources and allowed the self-reflective practitioner to be at the forefront of every lesson.
What can be learnt from this is that CPD belongs in the hands of teachers. Teachers know what they need more than their SLT, more than the Department of Education. If teachers are to develop effectively, they must receive tailored feedback. There is nothing more tailored than what occurred during this pilot.
In the future, the said teacher aims to continue to record portions of lessons and play them back in order to maintain a healthy self-awareness and be as reflective as practitioner as possible. It avoids becoming entrenched in routine practice. The teacher hopes to invite other members of staff to share lesson footage. If this proves unsuccessful, the teacher is happy to maintain the open network of participants from the module. There is a problem with sharing too publicly as the teacher would like to maintain the privacy of the practice and the privacy of the pupils in the footage. Therefore, the teacher will continue to explore other online platforms with similar sharing of lesson footage and utilise these connections to form a network of like-minded individuals.
Points of advice for others who may wish to replicate the techniques used
For those who wish to enhance their own CPD, a video camera is essential. The self-awareness that came about as a result of watching classroom footage was incredibly helpful.
As a subsequent step, the sharing of footage should be attempted in order to gain fresh insights into a highly contextualised environment.
Key advice would be to ignore comments that are found to be unhelpful and stick to the comments which invigorate and assist. Additionally, short clips with specific, attached questions avoid ambiguity on the part of the person submitting clips and the reviewer.
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20:34 on 4 February 2015 (Edited 20:34 on 4 February 2015)