Idea
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Ernie R

Walter Johnson Junior High School

Use Video to Change Professional Learning For Good

Video can be useful as part of professional learning because it brings each of us into other educators’ classrooms. As useful as it can be, its use can often be micro-managed at the well-intended direction of upper-level administrators. Rather than focus on using video as a tool IN professional development, I suggest using it as a tool FOR improving professional development, for educating those outside of classrooms about how we need to change the structure of teachers' professional learning.

Potential Impact

Despite many innovations for improving professional learning, educators are not seeing the systemic change to make it site-based, ongoing, and during teachers’ contracted hours. What if we used video to influence the decisions of policy makers to provide time in our daily schedules dedicated to professional learning? What might happen when teachers make brief videos showing examples of professional learning taking place in their schools – a three minute video of history teachers planning a lesson, or of a team of 2nd grade teachers analyzing the data and determining what steps to take based on the data? Imagine a few Vine-style videos that quickly show the impact of teacher collaboration on student achievement.

Possible Implementation

If teachers use video to speak out about what works best and then share those videos with viewers outside of their schools, the public might be more likely to understand why teachers need professional learning to take place every day during the school day. Let’s use video to show why proven strategies for high quality professional learning need to be implemented in every school.


Discussion (6)

Over 5 Years Ago

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Christopher B Community Guide

Downers Grove North High School

This is a really interesting Ernie; thank you for sharing. Specifically, who are you thinking a the target audience? Would this be for district-level decision-makers, state-level education folk, or politicians? Or someone else?

Over 5 Years Ago

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Ernie R

Walter Johnson Junior High School

One thing about me, Christopher, is that I start ideas...but I never seem to finish explaining them! Thanks for asking for that clarification. Right away, I imagined sending videos to school board members and upper-level administrators. My experience has been that a lot of people at the top keep trying to tell us how to teach through their carefully-planned presentations conducted by people who no longer teach in a classroom. Such "professional development" probably looks good on paper, but we know that it's rarely effective. Videos could help to educate the people at the "top" to invest in finding ways for teachers to collaborate and to develop their own professional learning paths. Our parents (and other taxpayers) also need to know more about how the school's budget could be spent better on providing meaningful PD instead of the usual meetings. Teacher-made videos that show successes in collaborative and site-based PD would help parents understand why teachers need time during each school day to continue learning. Well-planned videos could be sent to the media and to state legislature representatives as well as the think tanks that influence our legislators. Teachers need to teach more than just their students, we need to teach the rest of the world about what we need for PD and how it needs to be provided if we're going to see any real change take place.

Over 5 Years Ago

Ernie, I love this idea as well. It's interesting that some schools are using video to prove their need in other ways (see link below). If schools got savvy about using social media to show real need in schools and ways to improve them, I think policy could change more rapidly. http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2015/06/what-would-your-school-do-15k-new-technology

Over 5 Years Ago

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Kip H Community Guide

Oldham County High School, ECET2; ECET2KY; Hope Street Group

Hi Ernie, welcome to the RDC! I love your idea! How would you share the videos with all stakeholders involved? Would there be a way to tag certain groups with specific videos?

Over 5 Years Ago

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Lisa H Community Guide

Palmyra Area School District

Hi Ernie! What is really great about this idea is the connection to stakeholders - especially policy makers. There is a genuine need for what you describe. Push this idea. Break it down. How do you envision this new element of our relationship with stakeholders playing out?

Over 5 Years Ago

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Ernie R

Walter Johnson Junior High School

Hello Lisa, Thanks for your comments .....and your question! I sense a great deal of isolation between stakeholder groups in my school district. We have teachers, who don't understand why they need to "waste their time" with current PD activities. I don't know that parents are ever addressed when it comes to decisions about PD planning -- what do they see in their children's experiences at school that might be helpful to know when planning PD. Building administrators can make some decisions, but most of our PD decisions are made by upper level administrators -- who visit the schools on occasion but who might not have a grasp on what works with professional learning.....and what doesn't work. Business leaders, the school board, and policy makers are needed to buy into what systemic changes are needed to allow for more effective PD experiences because part of the school day, each school day in my opinion, needs to be devoted to PLC activities that are managed by teacher leaders, not administrators and guests. The videos that I'm describing could be viewed by all stakeholders in order to open up communication between the groups and also to better understand the need to make changes in the school day for more effective PD to take place. So -- last year, our school district expected every U.S.. history teacher to implement the use of a Document Based Question program in our classes. Luckily, this directive was successfully implemented, but it could have been better! Here is an example of how I see this playing out: 1. A group of teachers reflected on what they learned and how they worked that resulted in a change in student achievement. 2. The teachers decide to create a brief video that highlights their learning journey. Perhaps the video would show one or two examples of students' writing, then a few frames of the new Document Based Questions (DBQ) materials would appear while the teachers shared out the shortcomings of using the new program. That could be followed by a re-enactment of teachers giving feedback to one teacher regarding a student sample of work. A graphic could be displayed that summarizes how the teachers developed time in their schedule to meet once a week to discuss students DBQ work and to collaboratively plan DBQ strategies that they would use the following week. The video might end with one or two students describing how their writing improved over the year as they worked with the DBQ program and a teacher might summarize how working with his peers during the school day on a regular basis made the difference between giving up and continuing to improve implementation of the DBQ program. The conclusion should include a statement that points to the need for dedicated time in each school day to allow for more teacher collaboration. 3. The teachers post their video to Facebook. 4. One teacher sends the video to a school district curriculum representative and the building principal. 5. Another teacher sends it to school board members. 6. Other places where the video might get shared: a state legislature representative, the local media, a parent advisory council. To generate conversation about the video and how professional learning needs to include more successes, the teachers might schedule a Zoom conference or a Google chat. They might present the video at a school board meeting. The idea is to get the videos distributed in ways that they can be shared with others and also to plan a time and place for conversation about the video. I'm still in the dreaming stage, obviously, but I hope that this description gives an idea of how we can use video to educate stakeholders about our need to change the delivery of professional learning in our schools!

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