Phase 1 of our “Interactive Technologies for Active Learning“project has just come to a close. During Phase 1 we considered how student teachers might adopt Flip video cameras within teacher training. This week Nick Webber & I met with BCU colleagues Dave Kane & James Williams (from Centre for Research into Quality) and Anita Reardon (from the School of Secondary and Post-Compulsory Education) to debrief on the project so far and to look at opportunities for Phase 2.
What we did in Phase 1
In Phase 1 student teachers were asked to take Flip video cameras into the classroom. These new breed of pocket video cameras are small and easy to operate, making them relatively unobtrusive when compared to a traditional camcorder. Working in pairs as part of their initial teacher training practice, the students were encouraged to film one another and use the footage to reflect on their own teaching. We set up a private group on Vimeo to allow the students to share and discuss footage. Students attended a workshop that introduced them to the process of recording and sharing video.
Initial feedback on Phase 1
A number of interesting observations can be made from the first phase of the project. Colleagues in CRQ are undertaking a number of focus groups and writing a full report on the outcomes, but here are some initial thoughts:
- Video and the Internet are scary and emotive subjects within the classroom context. The very fact that we were using these two tools created a barrier to some students even getting started with the project as their schools simply would not allow them to use the equipment.
- The online forum to share video and discuss teaching was wholly unsuccessful. There is a suggestion of social networking fatigue amongst the students, but the key here is about the way in which they actually used the cameras.
- Students found their own uses for the equipment. In some cases it was too early for them to take a reflexive approach to their teaching (this was after all their first teaching experience) and so they did not use the equipment. In others they preferred to use it directly as a teaching tool, for example recording demonstrations and running a looped playback, freeing them up to move around their class.
- Reflexive use of the cameras came about when lecturing staff made school visits to work with the student teachers. With a lecturer to record and lead the discussion, this reflection on teaching practice was viable and effective.
Plans for Phase 2
The next phase of the project will be starting in January, and will see a change of direction. Much more emphasis will be placed on the education lecturers modelling practice with the cameras, and leading the reflexive use of the technology. Additionally those students who have found opportunities to use the camera as a teaching tool will be given the opportunity to develop this further.
We would be interested to hear from teachers, and teacher trainers: how would you use video technology in your classroom to make you a better teacher?