Using video in the classroom to help teachers and students

When teachers are able to see themselves teach in the classroom, everyone stands to improve.
That’s the notion that guides a new initiative unfolding in the Georgia, where Cayanna Good, Deputy Director of Innovation and Strategy for the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA), is spearheading a statewide program that aims to bring video observations to more classrooms across the state.
Georgia utilizes a contest called the Innovation in Teaching Competition, which began as part of a Race to the Top plan to recognize and reward Georgia teachers who embraced creative strategies in the classroom.
Taped video recordings of those high-performing educators is available on the Georgia Department of Education’s offshoot website GeorgiaStandards.org, so other teachers can watch and learn from their peers. The videos are supplemented with unit lesson plans and other resources.

Read Full Article [PDF]

New Research Finds Noise Harder on Children than Adults

From the cacophony of day care to the buzz of TV and electronic toys, noise is more distracting to a child’s brain than an adult’s, and new research shows it can hinder how youngsters learn.
In fact, one of the worst offenders when a tot’s trying to listen is other voices babbling in the background, researchers said Saturday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
“What a child hears in a noisy environment is not what an adult hears,” said Dr. Lori Leibold of Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska.
That’s a Catch-22 in our increasingly noisy lives because “young children learn language from hearing it,” said Dr. Rochelle Newman of the University of Maryland. “They have a greater need for understanding speech around them but at the same time they’re less equipped to deal with it.”

Read full article [PDF]

Higher Learning

“Teachers Know Best,” a recent study by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, found that U.S. districts spend a total of $18 billion each year on professional development (PD) and teachers devote about 90 hours annually to doing PD—yet only 29 percent are highly satisfied with their district’s offerings. A large majority of teachers say PD does not help to prepare them for their jobs.
The teachers described the ideal PD experience as frequent, relevant, interactive, and delivered by a person who “gets it.” They also requested more coaching and collaboration.
While most districts have moved away from the once-a-year-bring-everyone-together-for-a-lecture format, it sounds like we could do a lot better.

Read full article [PDF]

Classrooms of Tomorrow: innovative technology + futuristic teaching = engaged students

The Classrooms of Tomorrow initiative is not only changing the way students learn, it’s also changing the way teachers teach.
This innovative initiative, commonly referred to as COT, reinvents the way students are taught through interactive technology, unlimited classroom configurations, and teachers who facilitate learning rather than lecturing at the front of the classroom.
The classroom technology serves not only as a teacher presentation tool, but also a student-interaction device. Lecture Capture cameras allow teachers to record lessons and do virtual field trips to communicate with other classrooms across the district.

Kevin Mitchell of Audio Enhancement said there are four speakers strategically placed in the ceiling around the classroom. When the teacher (equipped with a microphone) speaks, everyone in the class can hear her. When students speak on a mobile microphone, their voices will also be carried across the classroom so they, too, will be easily understood.

Read full article [PDF]

Teachers Want Better Feedback – Education Week

You’ve heard it before: “Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance.” If you thought this message was just a stall tactic before reaching an
actual person, let me assure you, the calls are taped.
For a short time, I worked as a telemarketer, selling reading supplies to dupable literates. At my call center, managers “listened in” to assess the impact of the sales conversation, to identify missed opportunities for upselling pen and ink refills, and to coach us on better advising customers to purchase lap desks they never knew they needed in the first place. Though I dubbed my supervisor “director of wiretapping,” my sales doubled after I implemented her feedback. Mousepads and folios flew off warehouse shelves. Never in my career, before or since, have I received more feedback on my own advice giving than I did after those late nights by the phone.
These days, we give a lot of lip service to increasing the amount of feedback given to teachers. Research indicates that these efforts are worthwhile. Teachers’ improvement can be predicted by the extent of their interactions with those more expert in teaching and by the extent to which they seek instructional advice from their colleagues. Further, in order for classroom observations to be meaningful to teachers, they must be accompanied by high quality feedback.

Read the full article [PDF]

Smith Springs Elementary To Be A Hub Of Technology – Channel 5 Network

ANTIOCH, Tenn. – It’s a race against the clock to complete work at Smith Springs Elementary. Less than a week before the start of school it was still a construction zone. When we visited hard hats were mandatory
“They’ve lost a lot of lot of work days from snow and from rain,” Principal Lance Forman explained. “We will be ready to go for kids on August 5th.”
Walk inside a classroom and you may think all of the construction is worth the wait.
“If you’re teaching kindergarten in this room you would wear that lanyard and your voice would come out of these four speakers in the room,” Forman said.
Each classroom is a hub of technology, starting with an audio enhancement system. The teacher’s lanyard is a microphone and wirelessly syncs to room’s Wi-Fi. The teacher also controls a camera.
“The camera is not for surveillance. It’s only turned on when teachers want it to be turned on to record instruction to reflect on their lesson.”
Read the full article [PDF] Watch video on YouTube

Blended Learning Leaders Are Over the Honeymoon—and Rolling Up Their Sleeves – EdSurge News

This summer, I spoke to leaders at six public charter school networks who are now wily veterans in the art of blending teacher-led instruction with online learning–also known as “blended learning”. Their titles range from Innovation Manager to Director of Individualized Learning, meaning they work directly with teachers to effectively incorporate edtech in the classroom. The school networks include: Summit Public Schools (CA/WA), KIPP Bay Area Schools (CA), IDEA Public Schools (TX), FirstLine Schools (LA), RePublic Schools (TN/MS) and DC Prep (Washington DC).

I asked them one question: What has you jumping out of bed and rushing to work, in regards to blended learning?

Read full article PDF

Best Foot Forward – Edtech Digest

Teachers are no strangers to classroom observations, but until recently, they were largely perfunctory exercises, with the majority of teachers receiving a satisfactory rating and very little feedback. Now school systems across the country are implementing new teacher evaluation systems, and classroom observations are being mandated with greater frequency and rigor. Are educators ready for it?

Growing up in a family of public school teachers, the fairness of classroom observations was a regular dinner table conversation. My mother was overwhelmed with anxiety during a principal’s surprise visit, causing her to stumble through the lesson. My father, a chemistry teacher, would deliver endless harangues about his evaluators’ lack of science knowledge. Teachers, like my parents, are unlikely to make instructional improvements if they distrust the feedback they receive from observers.
Read full article [PDF]

Bangor Township Schools installing security cameras in classrooms; informational meeting March 4

mlive.comBANGOR TOWNSHIP, MI — With an eye on security, safety and better teaching, Bangor Township Schools is taking steps to install teacher-controlled video cameras in 29 classrooms in the district — 23 at Bangor Central Elementary school, and six at Bangor John Glenn High School.

Set to be operational by April, Superintendent Matt Schmidt says that although the new technology was primarily sought as a security measure, it offers the school more than just peace of mind.

“The safety is what caught our attention. Anything we can do to cut down on response time and save time is paramount for us. As we researched it and began to see the instructional benefits for our students and our teachers, we knew we had to have it.”

Those benefits include giving teachers a chance to watch and improve their own lessons.

“I can go in prior to my school day starting, and I can set that camera to record my lessons, so afterwards, if I want to go back and review and adjust my instruction, I can do that,” Schmidt said. “It’s also going to extend our learning opportunities. If we have a kid who’s out with mono, a teacher can tape a lesson and put it online.”

 

Bangor Township Schools Superintendent Matt Schmidt (Courtesy)

A parent meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 4, in the Central Elementary gymnasium to discuss the security system.

“I guess to calm fears, it obviously improves safety and improves instruction, and those are the two things we’re charged with in schools,” Schmidt said. “I would think parents would advocate it, that’s what I would hope for.”

The SAFE System, developed by Bluffdale, Utah-based Audio Enhancement, features a classroom camera that can be activated in case of an emergency through a pendant worn by a teacher. The pendant can also relay an emergency signal to an indicator in the school’s main office. For police and fire responders, the system pinpoints from where a call was made on a map of the school, and can also provide a video feed.

Bay County 911 Director Chris Izworski said if the system is able to transmit across the Internet, his staff would be able to radio information to first responders as it’s received downtown.

Read More

The Post-Lecture Classroom: How Will Students Fare?

If college professors spent less time lecturing, would their students do better?

A three-year study examining student performance in a “flipped classroom” — a class in which students watch short lecture videos at home and work on activities during class time — has found statistically significant gains in student performance in “flipped” settings and significant student preference for “flipped” methods.

The study, provided exclusively to The Atlantic, is one of the first to examine a “flipped” classroom in the current state of its technology. Russell Mumper, a Vice Dean at the University of North Carolina’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy, conducted the study, and two separate articles based on its findings are now in press in the journals Academic Medicine and The American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. The education technology company Echo360, whose technology was used in the classes examined, funded the study with a $10,000 grant.

The study examined three years of a foundational pharmaceutics course, required for all doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) students attending UNC. In 2011, Mumper taught the course in a standard, PowerPoint-aided lecture format. In 2012 and 2013, he taught it using “flipped” methods. Student performance on an identical final exam improved by 2.5 percent between 2011 and 2012—results now in press at Academic Medicine—and by an additional 2.6 percent in 2013. Overall, student performance on an identical final exam improved between 2011 and 2013 by 5.1 percent.

Read More [PDF]