Laptop shows video observations of a person teaching

Using Video Observations in Teacher Preparation Programs

Author: Samantha Goldman

Pre-service teachers are usually required to video themselves teaching to receive feedback from peers and professors as part of their culminating portfolio. One critique of this method is that teacher preparation programs are waiting too long to give students the opportunity to watch themselves and others teach, thus unable to provide and receive meaningful, timely feedback on their practice. Research showed that using video as digital observation and annotation tools in teacher preparation could provide pre-service teachers with shared classroom interactions, practices, and specific learning scenarios as well as enhance their capacity to reflect on their teaching skills.

Though having pre-service teachers in the classroom refining their craft at the start of their program may not be feasible, presenting them with simulated vignettes or scenarios and real-life classroom teaching videos to engage them in conversation about what went well or what they would change is one way to get them started thinking about their own practices. The purpose is to showcase classroom scenarios, such as how concepts can be taught and how teachers dealt with challenging behaviors in the classroom. Using these simulated or real-life scenarios also provides an opportunity to share alternative methods of looking at a situation. In this blog, we provide multiple resources and tools that can be used for video observations in teacher preparation.

Using Premade Videos for Scenarios

The Teaching Channel is an online database of thousands of videos of teachers teaching with accompanying questions for discussion and supplementary materials. For example, this video and supplementary materials demonstrate how the framework of Universal Design for Learning was implemented to support literacy learning for all learners. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also provides a limited library of video lessons that can be used for teacher candidates to review and critique.

Creating Your Own Videos

In addition to the myriad of pre-created videos available online, there are so many ways to create your own videos to use. In this blog, we introduce two digital tools for video observations and editing that are widely used in teacher preparation programs and K-12 classrooms.

GoReact for Teaching Observations

GoReact is video assessment software that can be integrated into learning management systems. GoReact has been adopted into programs such as pre-service teaching observations and sign language teaching. The assessment technology allows users to record themselves teaching and signing, evaluate a video with rating scales, and add text annotations to different parts of the video. Using these functions allows instructors to provide meaningful, time-coded feedback and comments.

EdPuzzle for Editing Teaching Videos

EdPuzzle is an interactive platform that allows teachers to embed multiple-choice and open-ended questions into uploaded videos. For the in-service teacher, this allows them to embed comprehension check questions throughout assigned videos, providing progress monitoring throughout the assignment. For pre-service teachers, this platform could be used as a way to critique pre-recorded lessons either made by themselves or available in one of the aforementioned resources. Moreover, Edpuzzle provides a full report on its accessibility features, some of which include allowing for closed captioning and video voice-over. In addition, students can respond to open-ended questions by typing or audio recording.

Other resources?

Using simulated or real-life video observations in teacher preparation gives pre-service teachers the opportunity to observe other practitioners in the field and reflect on what is and is not working. How have you incorporated video and video annotations into your pre-service teacher programs? We’d love to hear about your creative implementations from paper-pencil scenarios, improv and acting out, to video and whatever other ideas you have!