Archive | Initial Teacher Training

Achieving QTS with video

Using video to support trainees to achieve Qualified Teacher Status


In 2020, The Hampshire SCITT Partnership needed to find ways to ensure they could effectively and efficiently support their trainee teachers to reach Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) by the summer of 2021. They decided to leverage the video technology being used by their Thornden School colleagues, with whom they share a site.

With 39 trainees spread across 18 schools and limitations around in-person observations, Juliet Pearce, Director of The Hampshire SCITT, needed to make alternative provisions to their current observation, feedback, and coaching models with trainees.

“Now that we have used IRIS Connect for over two terms, it is clear to us that it has been invaluable in enabling our trainees to make progress.” Juliet Pearce, Director of The Hampshire SCITT.

Using video to support trainees

A SCITT Director’s perspective

We interviewed Juliet to explore why she believed video technology was the best solution to help overcome their challenges as a SCITT, and whether IRIS Connect had met her expectations.

What challenges and objectives led you to look for a solution like IRIS Connect?

Sims (2019) defines instructional coaching as an expert teacher working with a novice in an individualised, classroom-based, observation-feedback-practice cycle. If we use this definition, it is clear that all aspects of The Hampshire SCITT Partnership’s training programme are designed to promote, facilitate and support instructional coaching.

It was clear from the use of IRIS Connect at Thornden School that it could be a very powerful tool for instructional coaching because it enables trainees to:

  • Watch and discuss their practice with their mentor (the expert teacher)
  • Watch their own practice and then reflect on and refine their teaching

The lesson observation feedback that we currently had in place was based on the principles of instructional coaching, but this typically involved the mentor and trainee discussing the lesson after the event and the trainee having to remember aspects of the lesson. Discussion about classroom presence, for example, is quite difficult when the trainee can’t see themselves in action. Two minutes of a video clip illustrates perfectly the areas in which a trainee may need to work on voice, stance, or position in the classroom.


What was key to your successful implementation/adoption of IRIS Connect?

This was twofold. Firstly, we bought and placed an IRIS Connect Starter Kit in each of our 18 placement schools. Secondly, we made the inclusion of IRIS Connect clips compulsory for some of the evidence bundles in the trainees’ portfolio of evidence:

Making the use of IRIS Connect compulsory was crucial to the success of its use. Previously, we had given trainees the option to film their lessons and most of them opted not to do so for various reasons, mainly because they disliked the thought of watching themselves and through fears of the technology not working.

“It helped enormously that the SCITT’s Lead Subject Tutors were not able to visit school sites this year because of COVID, so the trainees had to film and share their lessons with their tutors for feedback. It quickly became the norm.” – Lead Subject Tutor

How has the use of video helped your trainees work towards achieving their QTS?

We always promote, encourage and support reflective practice and there is no doubt that the use of video has helped the trainees to reflect on their development as teachers. The most ambitious trainees have embraced the opportunity to observe their practice, reflect on areas they could strengthen, and then film their lesson again to see evidence of improvement. It has given them some autonomy over their development in the classroom which they have found very satisfying and a real confidence booster.

Have you been able to identify areas where the use of IRIS Connect has already had an impact?

It has been invaluable for helping trainees to develop a strong classroom presence. It is very difficult to talk to a trainee about body language and use of voice without any evidence of what you are describing. Linked to this is the development of the trainees’ behaviour management skills. A skill that comes quite late to trainees is the ability to scan a room, notice and correct small behaviours which disrupt learning and can escalate if not addressed immediately. It is very powerful if the trainee can see a video clip in which they have simply not noticed some poor behaviour that has then developed into significant low-level disruption. This then facilitates some very effective instructional coaching. The third area I would highlight is the trainees’ use of questioning. There is a sharp and sustained focus on assessment throughout our training programme and watching a video clip allows trainees to reflect on the quality of their questions, their wait-time, and the range of students they are including.

What are your plans for using IRIS Connect in the future?

We feel like we have only touched the surface of the capabilities of the system, specifically around mentoring and coaching, but we are already looking forward to 2021-2022 when we are planning to develop this use of the platform further.

By the end of May 2021, each trainee will have shared a video of a whole lesson with me. From those lessons, I will select the most valuable for training purposes and ask the relevant trainees to create another video in which they deconstruct the lesson, explaining the reasons for the key areas of their planning. My intention here is to create a bank of videos that cover the main areas of the ITT Core Content Framework. This will be a comprehensive training resource made even more powerful by the fact that the teaching being demonstrated is the practice we have promoted and supported in our own training, which will be made available to future cohorts as guidance.

Even when our lead subject tutors are able to observe lessons in person again, we will still require trainees to film and share their lessons with tutors. This will strengthen our QA processes i.e. tutors will be able to observe two lessons, instead of one, each term.

We want to extend the use by trainees of the commentary facility so when they share a reflection with their mentor or tutor, they will be required to add a commentary. This will help significantly with the trainees’ development as reflective practitioners.

Has IRIS Connect helped to save you time and/or money?

IRIS Connect has certainly saved us plenty of time and also money (in terms of travel expenses) but, even more importantly this year, it has enabled us to assess trainees and maintain our stringent quality assurance processes. Assessors in schools and employed by the SCITT, as well as the SCITT’s external examiner have used or will use the trainees’ videos to assess their progress against the Teachers’ Standards. Not only has it ensured quality, but it has also given us peace of mind.

“Equipping our trainees with the video technology that enables them to watch and evaluate their own performance has been really valuable. As a lead subject tutor, being able to access video footage has definitely enhanced the quality of feedback we’ve been able to give” – Lead Subject Tutor

A trainee teacher’s perspective

With the use of video technology being felt so positively from the perspectives of the SCITT leadership team and the impact that it’s had on saving time and overcoming the challenges of distance; we decided to interview the trainees themselves, and find out what their experience of using video technology has been:

What were your initial thoughts about using video technology to support you in achieving QTS?

In the first instance, the concept of using video technology to reflect on my own practice was incredibly daunting. The thought of having to watch yourself back and listen to the sound of your voice is always a difficult and uncomfortable aspect. But knowing its availability and accessibility was for the purpose and support of my personal development outweighed my initial thoughts. Additionally, I was reluctant to try video technology in my classes as I did not want this to be a cause of distraction for the students. However, whenever I have used video technology, I have been positively surprised at how little it affected the classroom dynamics. I am very technologically aware and have confidence in using technology on a daily basis; I recognise the power and positive influence it can have. So, the aspect of using and working my way around devices wasn’t an issue or a hindrance.

How has using IRIS Connect made a difference to your experience as a trainee?

IRIS Connect has enabled me to recognise areas of improvement, the success or lack of success of strategies, and acknowledge the reasons behind my weekly targets. It has positively impacted my training and has aided in collating strong evidence for my portfolio.

“Videos created using IRIS Connect from previous trainees were used during our training days. These were incredibly helpful to demonstrate good and positive practice, whilst providing constructive and helpful tips on establishing routines, running a classroom, and structuring a strong lesson. These videos increased my confidence in my own practice and provided me with realistic and authentic experiences and scenarios from newly qualified teachers. In a way, it made me realise my own potential and know that, with hard work, my end goal was achievable.” – Trainee

Is there a particular feature in the IRIS Connect platform that you rely on most?

Particular features I rely on most are being able to edit the video into individual segments and having the control to share my video with who I like. Having the edit feature has made it far easier to assess particular strategies more swiftly without having to watch the entire video to find it. This has been particularly helpful during some of my mentor meetings, as we have been able to use our time productively to effectively focus on specific parts and moments of my lesson. Also, having control of who views my videos is an encouraging aspect and is why I have used IRIS Connect a lot this past year. This feature makes me feel less exposed and vulnerable. It is comforting to know that only I can view it unless I share it with other people. Even then, the people with whom I share it are those who will provide me with invaluable feedback.

How different do you feel your trainee year would have been without the SCITT having access to IRIS Connect?

As previously mentioned, it has provided me with confidence in my own practice and development. It has been a great resource to witness and learn from other teachers and for my own reflective purposes. When my mentor assigns a target every week, I am able to use IRIS Connect to understand and acknowledge why I have been given these specific targets, it is a great opportunity to cross-reference what they see and outline my improvements more thoroughly. Additionally, I used it a lot in my first term at school. When the second COVID lockdown was issued, it was a relief to know that I had given myself time to use the software/resource efficiently for both my evidence folder and for self-assessment opportunities.

My mentor, other supportive colleagues, and I have been able to witness my growth through my videos and it is great to use this video technology to see (and remember!) how far I have come in my professional practice.

“Without IRIS Connect, I do not think I would be able to effectively develop into the teacher I am continuously progressing to be.” – Trainee

Interested in exploring our platform to support your student teachers?


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IRIS Connect is a secure, personalised platform for teachers to record, analyse and reflect on their practice.

Teachers can take control and arrange their own professional learning experiences and resources. As well as share easily with each other to make collaboration simple, organised and effective.

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A blended approach to reflective and collaborative Initial Teacher Education


VIA University College

VIA University College is Denmark’s largest and most international university of applied sciences. They have 20,000 students of continuing education and they train 33% of all student teachers in Denmark.

VIA has been successfully using IRIS Connect across their programmes and courses since 2012, evolving the relationship into a strategic partnership from 2015.

The IRIS Connect video-based professional learning platform has been integrated with the professional bachelor degree programme for teacher education, enabling student teachers to record, reflect and analyse their teaching practice. Student teachers are also given the opportunity to record their own curriculum lessons delivered in their placement schools and share those lessons with each other, as well as with their tutors.

“When you see each other teach you gain a deeper understanding of what exactly we are talking about. When you watch a video of your practice instead of just talking about what you have experienced, it becomes more tangible” – Student teacher, VIA University College

Initial Teacher Education


The objective

VIA wanted to accelerate the support they offered their student teachers, so at the start of 2020 (before the COVID-19 Pandemic hit), they developed the following aims:

1. To better support student teachers to link theory with teaching practice
2. To facilitate peer feedback and collaboration amongst them
3. To activate knowledge build-up from existing studies and processes

Student teachers needed to access a more blended and autonomous model of reflective and collaborative learning and be able to adapt it within their own context.


The focus

Using the existing Film Club framework created by IRIS Connect, 76 student teachers, with the help of 4 teacher educators, set out to connect everything they had learned over the first two years of the programme and create their own film clubs. They split into 24 teams of 3-4 people, each focusing on a different aspect of teacher training, for example:

1. How to begin a lesson
2. How to encourage dialogue in their pupils
3. How to give effective feedback

The main focus was to film and reflect on areas of their teaching that were important to them and collaboratively work towards improving this aspect.

As a central collaborative workspace, VIA used Groups within IRIS Connect. All of the student teachers created Groups themselves and used them to collect theory, share video clips of their practice and give and receive feedback. Some teams successfully stuck to their initial plans, whilst others went to school and noticed that another area of focus was more important to them and therefore changed their study. Most of the students also used the opportunity to align the reflective practice with their school-based mentors to define priorities and get support with their execution of it.


The outcome

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive from both the student teachers and the teacher educators.

“It opened up a lot of dialogue between the student teachers and gave them more insights into the experiences of their peers at different schools, without having to physically be there observing in person. Normally there is a gap in teacher education between what students read in books and what they do in practice. Our main focus was to connect this; to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Video, by definition, helped to make that visible. It makes the engagement and opportunity to reflect on it visible. It got our student teachers closer to what they actually do when they teach and made them reflect on what teaching is all about. It helped them not to be occupied with only filming best practice but to capture real teaching moments and then analyse what actually happened.” – Peter Hougaard Madsen, Associate Professor at VIA University College

The student teachers actually began thinking with the theory they were reading about, and the quantity and quality of feedback they gave to each other improved significantly.

When the pandemic struck in 2020, the IRIS Connect platform suddenly became a vital meeting point for them as there was no longer the possibility to meet face-to-face.

Peter went on to say: “IRIS Connect saved the project. Without the possibility of having these videos and sharing them in a secure place online, our students wouldn’t have had the opportunity to give each other feedback or be exposed to other teaching situations over the past year.”

Besides the great benefits for teacher education, it also made the student teachers feel more connected in a time when physical interaction and the opportunity for professional dialogue was restricted.

Most of the participants confirmed they will continue using video to improve their teaching practice, even after this project is over.


Interested in exploring our platform to support your student teachers?


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IRIS Connect is a secure, personalised platform for teachers to record, analyse and reflect on their practice.

Teachers can take control and arrange their own professional learning experiences and resources. As well as share easily with each other to make collaboration simple, organised and effective.

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Remote coaching trainee teachers live with video


The University of Tartu

In spring 2019, speech and language therapy trainee teachers set out to use IRIS Connect’s live in-ear coaching tool. Student teachers worked with children with speech impediments while being observed by their lecturer from another room. This is their journey.

Effectively reflecting on performance is a crucial part of professional development but also a challenging undertaking. For student teachers it can be especially difficult with everything else they have to consider. Often memories are incomplete after a lesson, and we tend to focus on the things that didn’t go well. Having a coach attend a lesson live in the classroom solves some of these issues but also comes with the occasional disrupting element to our practice or makes retrospective feedback difficult to contextualise.

Live remote coaching


The use of video technology to support student teachers at the University of Tartu

In spring 2019, the University of Tartu set out to use video technology to support the development of Master’s degree speech therapy and special education teacher training students, across two intertwining courses: Seminar of Speech and Language Assessment and Practical Work in Speech and Language Development.

The goal was to improve collaborative learning and increase the impact of the therapy sessions delivered. Having previously participated in a trial with IRIS Connect as part of the ViSuAL Erasmus Plus project, teacher educators had already seen success using IRIS Connect’s reflective tools. This experience made the decision to use the system further, by utilising advanced features such as the live in-ear coaching (Go Live) combined with discreet cameras and microphones (The Discovery Kit), far easier to make for authentic, personalised professional development.

“Video is proving to be a great tool for giving and receiving feedback among peers and the possibility to analyse videos together has allowed for better collaborative experiences.” – Marika Padrik, Associate Professor of Speech Therapy, University of Tartu.

Photo showing unobtrusive IRIS Connect equipment: The iPad, recording through the IRIS Connect app, can be placed safely out of the way and the screen fades to black to avoid distraction. The microphone is in a protective case and can be placed anywhere in the room to pick up good sound quality.

What is live in-ear coaching?

Live in-ear coaching is a high impact accelerated professional development process. It’s the power tool of video coaching. A teaching session is observed remotely, using a high quality camera, by a coach who communicates privately with the teacher via a discrete, wireless earpiece. Communications from the coach during a live session are instantaneous. The teacher receives formative feedback in a prearranged style and can choose how to respond. It’s founded on strong, trusting professional relationships and, most importantly, is teacher-led.

Expert coach Mike Fleetham says: “It can be both daunting and empowering. The thought of having a coach talking to you while you teach seems very disruptive, but in fact, I’m yet to meet anyone who hasn’t either been pleasantly surprised or ecstatic after their initial session. It’s all down to what the coach says and when during a coaching session, and usually that’s not very much at all.”

At the University of Tartu, the speech and language therapy students have reported to have enjoyed the in-ear coaching and highlighted its “ability to provide them with good advice during the session so they can change their activity with the child accordingly, and immediately”.

Video-supported collaborative learning and collaborative knowledge building

In addition to being streamed live, the session is also recorded, shared and used for contextualised feedback sessions between the speech and language therapy lecturer and the participating student. Students could review the video recording of the therapy sessions they prepared and conducted themselves, as well as the sessions by their fellow students with other children, thus increasing their knowledge and experience in speech therapy.

Findings: The speech and language therapy lecturer has found the videos especially useful so far (more so than dictaphones which they had been using previously) and an important learning opportunity.

Marika said: “Students could see how they interact with the child, how they ask questions, how to better analyse the child’s speech, the child’s interactions, their own interaction with the child, and language use.” Furthermore the University of Tartu continues to benefit from the recorded lessons stored in their accounts: “Recording through IRIS Connect is providing us with a growing bank of good example videos we can now show to other student teachers.”

What the future holds

Down to the success seen with their students teachers and speech and language therapy students in the trials within the ViSuAL project, The University of Tartu are now using IRIS Connect across their Institute of Education to support effective professional development, including remote observation and coaching of student teachers during school placements, those that follow special educational needs curricula and speech and language therapy students.

“The student teachers love using IRIS Connect because the recordings are helping with the accuracy of evaluations: they have the chance to re-watch certain sections or the whole lesson and spot the things they may have missed. Many mention how video recordings have helped them to analyse the lesson and notice their own mistakes so they don’t make them again and can become better specialists.”


Interested in exploring our platform to support your student teachers?


IRIS Connect platform

IRIS Connect is a secure, personalised platform for teachers to record, analyse and reflect on their practice.

Teachers can take control and arrange their own professional learning experiences and resources. As well as share easily with each other to make collaboration simple, organised and effective.

Find out more Request a demo


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The technology that’s improving trainee teacher education


Video-Supported Education Alliance (ViSuAL)

How can universities and other higher education institutions help trainee teachers to better navigate the turbulent, knowledge-intensive and ever-changing entrepreneurial work-life of a teacher? This is the question that the Video-Supported Education Alliance (ViSuAL) – an alliance of 6 higher education institutions for teacher education and 6 educational technology designers across Europe – have set out to answer.

From YouTube and vlogging to Instagram and Facebook, communication via video has exploded in recent years. Both grown-ups and young adults are using it more and more in their daily working life, proving that we are indeed visual, observational and social learners.

ViSuAL believes the solution to better trainee teacher education lies in using this 21st-century phenomenon to better equip trainees. In their own independent research they discovered that:

“The potential of video-supported learning has not been opened in teacher education. Education and companies alike lack pedagogical models and structures to promote learning from and with videos.”

They argue that video is an excellent tool when combined with collaborative learning because it develops students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills which are important for the development of entrepreneurial skills and aptitudes. It also effectively bridges the existing gap between learning and practice.

The technology that’s improving trainee teacher education

ViSuAL’s vision

ViSuAL aims to create an evidence-based pedagogical model for video-supported collaborative learning that can be rolled out to all higher education institutions. In order to do this, they’ve set up experiments within universities across Europe where student teachers use a combination of video-based e-learning and video supported collaboration tools to observe, reflect, analyse and share their experiences.

Here’s a quick summary of the results of 3 (out of 12) experiments using IRIS Connect.


Teaching kantele (a Finnish national instrument) at JAMK University of Applied Sciences


This experiment involves recording sessions on how to teach and play the kantele, a Finnish national instrument. The aim was to explore how video observations support collaborative learning in music teaching. There’s only a small number of BSc-students nationwide which makes teaching this instrument tricky from a resources perspective. The participants in the experiment were one music teacher (the experimenter); two music Bachelor students from JAMK and one music Bachelor student from Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK).

The Bachelor students  participating in the teacher diploma training were videoing their kantele lessons twice a month. The recordings were then shared with the teachers and peers for their analysis and discussion.


Video observations in music education provided an opportunity for time and place independent collaboration.

The experimenter already had a positive attitude to using video and has found that the use of video has updated her knowledge and skills to meet the demands of today’s pedagogy. It’s also helped her to initiate discussions with her colleagues about how to use videos to enhance teaching practice.

The students are acting as both learners and peer assessors throughout this experiment, sharing the knowledge, experience and learning materials with each other. The use of video is helping them to remember better, and to see and analyse themselves from the perspective of another person. Consequently, the experimenter has noted that the students are designing and planning the lessons far more precisely than before.

IRIS Connect proved to be particularly beneficial for the possibility to record with dual view cameras and to attach all the learning materials, including lesson plans and the music notes, to the relevant recordings.

Experience of distance learning in spring 2020

In spring 2020 pandemic restrictions suddenly changed all face-to-face music lessons to distance learning mode.

Using IRIS Connect within the ViSuAL project provided a good base to cope with distance learning. During the experiment, the use of video had become a natural part of teaching, so the threshold was not so high when it came to switching to distance learning. The student teachers’ technology skills were by then strong; the remote video lessons were successful as it allowed them to share ideas and develop innovative problem solving skills with the new challenges.

The findings of this experiment suggested further use of video technology as part of music students teacher diploma training.


Reflecting on development and collaborative learning at AERES University of Applied Sciences


Student teachers are reflecting on their development and collaborative learning during their study in this experiment. Whilst teaching at secondary schools for vocational training, they’re filming parts of their lessons and then reflecting on their teaching via IRIS Connect.


In the report, the experimenter of this study mentions that by using videos, she is increasing the competence of her students. She feels that she is helping her students more now by enabling them to do more frequent and better quality reflections. The experimenter is convinced that the students are now more aware of what they’re doing while teaching and they can relate it better to the theory. She’s also finding that the feedback from students about using IRIS Connect is very motivating for her. She expresses her surprise about how confident the students are in using videos in their lessons and their requests to use it more often and in different ways moving forward.

Feedback from students

Student teachers found IRIS Connect easy to use and they felt more guided in their practice by being able to reflect on their own teaching, recorded at the college, and to receive peer feedback.

“The most important learning from this experiment was to be able to see a situation objectively”.

“IRIS Connect is very intuitive and easy to use; even if you don’t have experience with computers or video editing. Everything is well laid out.”


Linking theory and practice at the University of TARTU


This experiment is taking place as part of a teacher education practice course that aims to link theoretical studies with practical experiences at schools to develop student teachers’ reflection skills. The student teachers are already working as teachers and carrying out this practice course based on their own work. The developed learning environment aims to create opportunities for teachers to reflect collaboratively and thereby support each other’s reflections.

The experiment involved filming student teacher lessons conducted at schools, as well as micro teaching lessons at the university.

In March 2020, contact teaching suspended and switched to distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Students conducted online lessons via Zoom, which were recorded and uploaded onto IRIS Connect, where their peers provided feedback.


As a result of this experiment so far, the experimenter feels even more confident that videos need to be used to make future teachers more daring. She feels that the recordings show authentic situations, give diversity to students’ studies and increase teachers’ confidence to teach.

Feedback from students

The students are enjoying observing themselves and others on video. They’re finding it very useful because IRIS Connect allows them to experience other teachers’ lessons and has taught them how to reflect effectively. They’ve pointed out that the comments they receive about their lessons are relevant and they learn a great deal from the feedback given by their fellow students.

The things they like the most about the use of IRIS Connect are:

  • easy to use
  • simple and logical
  • a good way to give feedback and comments
  • videos are accessible whenever and wherever
  • can easily rewind and re-watch



What’s clear from the report on the experiments so far is the versatile ways that IRIS Connect can be used to maximise resources and opportunities for analysis, reflection and collaboration for both teachers and trainees. Also, how easy and intuitive experimenters and students found the technology to use. Technical problems were mentioned in only one experiment and were quickly resolved.

The use of IRIS Connect has given students:

  • The possibility to watch and rewatch lessons and be able to observe, discuss and notice things that they could not experience without using videos
  • Opportunities to experience more lessons or lessons that they couldn’t normally access, thus overcoming time and distance barriers
  • A chance to see and analyse themselves and their practice from different perspectives
  • Opportunities to increase their teaching competencies through more frequent and better quality reflections
  • More relevant and timely feedback and support from peers and tutors
  • The possibility to create and share a bank of resources – video examples of real practice to be used for collaborative reflection and knowledge building
  • The potential for wider collaboration in future, within and across countries


For more information about the Video-Supported Education Alliance (ViSuAL) project, visit their website.


Find out more:

IRIS Connect platform

IRIS Connect is a secure, personalised platform for teachers to record, analyse and reflect on their practice.

Teachers can take control and arrange their own professional learning experiences and resources. As well as share easily with each other to make collaboration simple, organised and effective.

Find out more Request a demo


Resources for Lesson Observation

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Supporting Student Teachers’ Practical Expertise


Improving efficiencies in remote observations and coaching


Using IRIS Connect, the School of Professional Teacher Education at JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Finland is supporting student teachers to develop 21st-century skills and saving teacher educators 20-40 days of travelling.


The School of Professional Teacher Education at JAMK University of Applied Sciences requires all student teachers to be observed and assessed by their assigned teacher educator, tutor, and peers. The Professional Teacher Education programme is offered through 17 regional teacher education groups and 5 online groups spread throughout the country posing some logistical and personal challenges.

Typically, each teacher educator has 12-20 student teachers whose teaching practice sessions they have to observe. This entails traveling around the country possibly conducting multiple observations during the programme. Each observation can take up to a whole day due to the distances involved, consuming time and personnel energy resources.


How IRIS Connect helped

The School of Professional Teacher Education has utilised IRIS Connect as a simple and easy way to record student teachers’ practice sessions, and share them securely with their teacher educators and peers for constructive and empowering feedback. This has saved each teacher educator a staggering 20-40 traveling days.

Even more importantly, IRIS Connect has contributed to the development of 21st-century skills by supporting teacher students in their self and peer assessment, reflection skills, soft skills development, and in the use of technology in their learning process. In addition, by analysing the videos of their own and their peers’ teaching practice sessions, teacher students have become aware of and can track their own professional development as a teacher.

“The online support provided by IRIS Connect has been very helpful and key to our successful adoption of the system. The fact that the kit is easy to use, the video observations are quick to upload and secure, and you can add annotations to them as well as documents is something we really value and rely on.” – Teacher Educator, School of Professional Teacher Education at JAMK University of Applied Sciences


Results, return on investment and future plans

The most significant gain is not only saving 20-40 traveling days per teacher educator but more importantly, it is the feedback received from the student teachers. Those who have used IRIS Connect have reported that the recordings and reflections are significant tools for supporting their professional identity development. One student teacher said: “IRIS Connect is a really handy tool. I realised that my nervousness towards this technology was unnecessary.  I even asked one IT trainee to help me in the class. I was surprised that my videos were uploaded immediately on my own area.”

In particular, the peer feedback they have received has been considered extremely valuable in terms of helping them to develop the skills and competencies needed as a teacher and as a facilitator of learning. One student teacher even described it is as a “Life-changing experience.”

In the future, the university intends to continue to use IRIS Connect in its teacher education programmes, building a study module on its use as a tool to facilitate learning in diverse environments.



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Teachers can take control and arrange their own professional learning experiences and resources. As well as share easily with each other to make collaboration simple, organised and effective.

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Enhanced Teacher Training


Increasing the percentage of real practice filmed 


Since using IRIS Connect for various assignments within their teacher training programme, the University of Twente in The Netherlands, has seen the number of student teachers willing to film their practice go from less than 50% to more than 90%.




In the first three weeks of the University of Twente’s teacher training program, students prepare for becoming teachers by giving three mini lessons to their peers, which are filmed. They were using traditional video recording cameras to do this, but decided to look for a different solution when the cost was set to increase substantially due to a change of software and because the recording, uploading and storage was manual, and therefore time-consuming and insecure.

“The university has been using IRIS Connect since 2013 for a number of teacher development research projects. One of the projects taking place was using IRIS Connect to train coaches,” explains Jan Van der Meij, Programme Director of Teacher Education. “The people involved in the programme were very happy with IRIS Connect, so I invited them to explain it to me. I instantly thought it was a really great solution that we could use well within our teacher training programme.”


How IRIS Connect helped

As well as using IRIS Connect to film the mini-lessons, student teachers are putting it to great use during their school-based internships. They record their lessons and analyse them with their peers, school-based mentors, and the university tutors. Along with filming their mentors at the schools for modeling purposes.

“We also have assignments where our students have to film their coaches in their schools asking the children questions. They then have to analyse the video, so, for instance, ask, what type of question did they ask, closed or open? What waiting time does the teacher take? How does he/she address the question? This helps them to link the theory to what the coach does and then discuss it with their peers,” describes Jan.

“Lastly, they have to video a lesson that they gave in school and analyse their verbal and nonverbal behaviour. So they film the lesson, select small 1-2 minute fragments and analyse them according to theory. The students do this before a lecture and then in the lecture, they share it with a peer student, the peer student watches it with the sound turned off and bullet points what happens in terms of non-verbal behaviour and then they compare their analysis.


Results, return on investment and future plans

Before the introduction of IRIS Connect, when traditional video technology was used, less than 50% of the student teachers were filming their classroom teaching for non-verbal and verbal analyses assignment and instead used their mini-lesson recordings. After the introduction of IRIS Connect, more than 90% of the student teachers used their classroom teaching recording for this assignment.

“The introduction of IRIS Connect has meant a more economic solution, but more importantly, an easier, quicker and safer way to use and share videos,” says Jan. “It’s been great and we’re looking forward to exploring more ways to use it in the future.”


Find out more:

IRIS Connect platform

IRIS Connect is a secure, personalised platform for teachers to record, analyse and reflect on their practice.

Teachers can take control and arrange their own professional learning experiences and resources. As well as share easily with each other to make collaboration simple, organised and effective.

Find out more Request a demo

Free CPD resources

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Video-enhanced field experiences for Graduate Students in Communication Sciences and Disorders programs

University of Arkansas (US)

Dr. Mary Ellen Nevins, Director of Auditory Based Intervention at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is using IRIS Connect to create video-enhanced “field experiences” for Graduate Students in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program.

Accreditation standards for speech language pathologists are based on identified knowledge and skills competencies. Learning content alone does not guarantee competence in service provision. Best practice models for graduate student education include observation, practice, application and reflection; most students have limited opportunity for exposure to highly competent service providers demonstrating Listening and Spoken Language skills across a range of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Principles of adult learning call for seeing best practice as a prelude to developing targeted strategies; however, a dearth of resources in Arkansas is currently available on which to model skill development.

The IRIS Connect professional learning platform used for this project offers remote video viewing of classroom instruction and/or therapy sessions. Developed as a professional learning tool for teachers, IRIS Connect has been adopted at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to record and house a video library of best practice clips of Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) intervention. The IRIS Connect Discovery Kit enables the capture of both high-quality video and audio of these practices, which are automatically uploaded to the IRIS Connect platform. These Discovery Kits were used to create video segments totalling 376 minutes which are stored and accessible by students on the IRIS Connect platform.

Although in-person viewing allows an observer to experience tasks in a more personal context and provides an opportunity for direct interaction with professionals and students, video viewing:

  • overcomes the busyness of the classroom, (Knight, 2014);
  • provides a shared experience (Hixon & So, 2009);
  • allows for multiple viewings and provides multiple perspectives of the same event (Van Es & Sherin, 2006).
The video library of highly competent service providers demonstrating Listening and Spoken Language skills.

Participating graduate students were asked about their experiences viewing these videos during the routine end of course survey.

  • 100% of students agreed/strongly agreed that “video observations are an effective way to support student clinicians in developing professional practice”;
  • 95% of students agreed/strongly agreed that they “would use therapy activities similar to the ones viewed in the videos.”

As part of their learning assignment, students identified themes from these videos that they wished to incorporate in their own practice. The most frequently reported comments addressed issues related to family-centered intervention, teacher clinician use of encouragement and feedback rather than (empty) praise, and the effectiveness of specific auditory strategies. Exemplary comments include:

  • “The knowledge that I gained from these sessions has contributed to my overall clinical skill set.”
  • “After watching the videos I will start to incorporate more specific feedback and more caregiver coaching into my clinical practice.”
  • “In my own clinical practicum I’ve utilized many of the strategies discussed in class and shown in the videos: acoustic highlighting, wait time, repetition, eliciting, prompting with questions, expanding, and commenting.”

This project has opened the door for video-enhanced “field experiences” for University of Arkansas at Little Rock students regarding the development of listening and spoken language skills in children with hearing loss using listening technologies. This video project supported academic coursework and provided students with 24/7 access, transcending some of the traditional constraints associated with in person observations: travel, scheduling, and child attendance.

In addition to the survey information reported here, 20 second year graduate students participated in a second section of this course. Thus, 39 students logged a total 195 actual viewing hours; this was accomplished with the video library with only 6.5 hours of catalogued video available at the time of the assignment. Continued video capture and cataloging will increase the holdings of the library as additional partners are currently being identified.

Select students from the Master Program at the University of Arkansas Little Rock take additional coursework to obtain a University-issued Certificate in Auditory-Based Intervention (ABI). This program is offered to graduate students who wish to specialize in developing listening and spoken language skills in individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. The certificate is embedded within the existing degree programs in the department; candidates complete a 15 semester credit specialty track in order to fulfill certificate requirements.


Hixon, E. & So, H.J. (2009) Technology’s Role in Field Experiences for Preservice Teacher Training. Educational Technology and Society, 12, 294-304

Knight, J. (2014). Focus on teaching: Using video for high-impact instruction. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Van Es, E. A., & Sherin, M. G. (2006). How Different Video Club Designs Support Teachers in “Learning to Notice.” Journal of Computing in Teacher Education,22(4), 125-134. Retrieved August 17, 2016, from

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Supporting a third of Denmark’s trainee teachers with video CPD

VIA University College, Denmark

In a unique research project, a third of Denmark’s trainee teachers were given access to remote support from tutors at VIA University College using IRIS Connect.

Watch this short video for a quick overview or read the full case study below.

The research project

One third of all teachers in Denmark graduate through VIA’s bachelor degree programme for teacher education. The ‘Experts in Teaching’ project looked at supporting trainees over 2 years to develop their practice through “micro teaching” and research.

What is Micro-teaching? Micro-teaching is a technique whereby the teacher reviews a recording of a teaching session, in order to get constructive feedback from peers about what has worked and what improvements can be made to their practice.

The research included students:

  • Documenting their own practice
  • Observing their own practice
  • Getting peers and teachers to observe their practice
  • Sharing their new insights with peers and teachers and in turn learning from their peers’ and teachers’ insights (knowledge sharing)
  • Establishing communities of practice
  • Developing through micro-teaching and feedback

“IRIS Connect is such a powerful tool. We found that once students started recording themselves they actually got into the habit of doing it and more importantly, they wanted to do it. They were more than happy to share videos with us, using the editing tool to select key moments which gave us more time to look at them.”

Identifying areas for improvement

The trainees started by using video to reflect on their teaching and identify an area for improvement. They would then research different strategies and techniques to try before recording themselves again and repeating the process.

“If we imposed a focus then it wouldn’t be their research. We needed to let their practice determine what they would concentrate on trying to improve,” explains Project Leader Annemette Heine Wullum.

“We said to the students from the very start that this project was not about best practice but about making their practice better. Because, what is best practice?”

analysis tools (2)

The power of lesson analysis and research

One of the primary areas where the students used IRIS Connect was on their six week placements, where they could video themselves as many times as they liked and use the tools within the IRIS Connect platform to analyse what they saw and share.

“On most placements, students worked together in groups sharing and discussing the videos among themselves to get feedback,” says Annemette.

“IRIS Connect is such a powerful tool. We found that once students started recording themselves they actually got into the habit of doing it and more importantly, they wanted to do it. They were more than happy to share videos with us, using the editing tool to select key moments which gave us more time to look at them.

She continues; “The video recordings and data processing tools have opened the  students’ eyes to aspects of their teaching that they did not notice before. That’s why the process of analysing the video afterwards is so important. The tools in IRIS Connect helped them to get deep analysis of what they actually did and then see how they could improve on the basis of their research.”

Frits Hedegaard Eriksen, a lecturer involved in the project, agrees: “It’s not the videoing of themselves that makes them think deeper, it’s the analysis of the videos that does and I think that has been a great success. Our trainees use the tools in IRIS Connect very sophisticatedly so they are dealing with data instead of stories to discuss and improve their teaching.”

“The video recordings and data processing tools have opened the  students’ eyes to aspects of their teaching that they did not notice before. That’s why the process of analysing the video afterwards is so important. The tools in IRIS Connect helped them to get deep analysis of what they actually did and then see how they could improve on the basis of their research.”

Exploring triangulated teacher development

With the project at an end, Frits and Annemette are now encouraging more students to make use of IRIS Connect.

“We’re going to see if we can use the recordings from placements next year in what we call a three party conversation with the teacher trainer, student teacher and the placement teacher,” explains Annemette.

“It’s a triangle learning situation which we have had for many years but very rarely have we used video as part of those conversations so we’re going to explore how that could work. And the Group functionality in IRIS Connect is really good for this because it means we can share videos with people outside our own community.”

supporting trainee teachers

Supporting a wider range of education programmes

Due to the success of the initial project, VIA University have decided to roll out IRIS Connect’s video-based training and professional development technology across all 8 of their campuses, extending its use to support a wider range of their education programmes.

With focus on applied sciences and participating in various research and development projects, they see IRIS Connect as a powerful tool supporting them in their mission to be a leading educational institution in Denmark and internationally.


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