December 6, 2017

By Andrea Friend

All teachers know that every moment counts during the school day and more often than not, a teacher’s peer-to-peer collaboration time is during a four-minute passing period, lunch, or the few precious moments before or after students come into the classroom. Tools that promote peer-to-peer collaboration and have multiple purposes are a huge win because, honestly, no matter how much time teachers are given for professional development (PD), they could always use more time to collaborate.

With apps like Snapchat, Facebook Live, and so many more, video has become an essential form of communication that we cannot picture life without. Now, video is changing the way teachers collaborate and share best practices.

This year, I’m piloting Lightspeed’s new Activate Audio System and Activate App to record myself teaching and capturing student interactions. Utilizing the camera on an iOS or Android device, the Activate App syncs up high-quality audio and video, allowing me to push the content to a cloud-based video storage platform where I can post it to individual learning communities. I can watch and listen to my own instruction for self-reflection, or share video with administrators, coaches, and colleagues to learn new techniques and methods.


Video PD for Peer-to-Peer Collaboration

You may be wondering, “How does this actually work in a real setting?” Here’s an example.

This past spring, my students engaged in a lesson that I wanted to share with a colleague. I recorded videos of student discussions, as they explored the topic. I then used the recording to allow my colleague to see the value of the lesson. Once viewed, he wanted to engage his students in the same experience. The next day we switched classes, and I recorded his students’ conversations so that when he reentered the classroom he had a clear understanding of what they had talked about. Doing this allowed all of the students to be on the same page, and saved both of us the time having a detailed conversation about the lesson.


Video PD for Teacher Evaluations

During live observations, sometimes the observer must leave the room two or three minutes before the teacher gets to a major “ah-ha” moment, and may miss critical student interactions. With video PD, teachers can send footage to administrators or coaches and say, “This is what you missed, and this is where the students were going with the concept.”

My favorite part of being able to use video for PD is that it allows me to share what I want my principal or colleague to see, and they can watch it at any time. On many occasions, I have found myself saying, “I just wish you could have seen and heard the student conversations!” With the Active App and video PD, it’s like others are actually in my classroom, experiencing the authentic conversations happening between students.

Video and photo capabilities in our everyday devices are rapidly increasing the use of video capture for independent learning, showing evidence of student understanding, and conducting classroom observation and coaching. The implementation of Lightspeed solutions is not another initiative. Instead, it’s making strategic initiatives easier to achieve.

You Might Also Be Interested In:

[VIDEO] The Activate System 

[DATASHEET] The Activate System


Andrea Friend

Andrea Friend

Andrea Friend teaches 6th- and 8th-grade science at Andover Middle School in Andover, Kansas. Follow her on Twitter @andreafriendams.

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