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Project Update: Video-based professional development

I have been trying to get into the classroom to teach mathematics as some of my colleagues in general education have the opportunity to; however this has been quite a challenge. Being able to teach mathematics is a class would have allowed me to properly implement my project and monitor it but it has been unfeasible. My responsibilities as an administrator for a school with approximately 70% of its students who are alternatively assessed have derailed my focus on working with students in mathematics using photography.

I initially wanted to execute this project because I was awarded a grant two semesters ago to conduct research in teaching mathematics in special education classrooms using photography.  My initial challenge with the research was with students’ attendance; many of my students are transient. Acquiring signatures from parents and the students, which was compulsory was my second challenge.  The lack of permission from parents to allow data collection using video recording and student attendance limited my research interest. With this class assignment in mind, I wanted to have a second chance at collecting data by developing and implementing my project, however this will not be possible at this time. My goal is to continue with my research analyzing and revamping my research methodology.

To that end, I want to refocus my  project for this course on my primary duty in providing professional development.  The project will focus on using video-based professional development to enhance teaching and learning.  I have been working with two teachers since the last academic year using video recordings to document classroom interactions/instruction rather than providing formal and informal observations.

I prefer this type of collaborative observation instead of the traditional method of telling teachers how to teach.  Additionally, both teachers I am working with feel comfortable with this process because they are able to review their pedagogical practices, reflect and have engaged discourses about improving their own practices.  This year, the teachers chose to continue with this video-based professional development and decided to invite one more teacher.  To document instructional practices, teachers are provided flip cameras to record while teaching and they upload it into a shared file suing Drop box.  We later review the videos, answer questions regarding our observations and provide constructive critiques.

The goal of my project is to continue to use this method, document the trajectory of the teacher’s professional development and introduce this process to the entire school (or at least my Academy) and have an open discourse about best practices.

Posted in Project Concepts.

One Response

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  1. Christopher Stein says

    It sounds like changing the focus of your projects makes sense. You have the time right now to fight against all of those obstacles. It sounds like the new project is in line with your current duties and very feasible.

    The process you outline with Dropbox is probably fine for a couple of people but to expand I think you will have to look at other technologies.

    From both a technology and process perspective you should take a look at VOCAT, Right now the project is focused on evaluating speeches but it could be used for something like your project. It is open source but I don’t know how hard it is to change the rubrics so you could tailor it to your purposes. Even if that proves not possible in the short term it’s also instructive to see how they are doing the process. Especially as you think about expanding the number of people involved the process will become very important.

    Another Dropbox alternative is to use a WordPress/BuddyPress installation. You could make a private blog or group and use that to post files and make text comments on them all in one location.

    This is all not to remove the collaborative aspect you outline. I agree that the dialog around the videos is the most important thing and the other technical aspects of storing, sharing, viewing the videos should simply support that process.

    Using the reflections and discussions as the core you are in a good position to build other elements, like editing videos to show best practices and documentation for outside evaluators.

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