Tag Archives | Video professional learning

Using video technology to support teacher development in Thailand


By using the IRIS Connect professional development programme, Film Club, The British Council is successfully training staff and supporting teacher development in English as a foreign language across the country.

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With English seen as central to economic development across ASEAN, combined with evidence that English proficiency in Thailand falls behind comparable countries, the Thai Government initiated fundamental reform of English teaching, including a commitment to provide 3-week intensive training to all English teachers. The MoE contracted the British Council to provide this in-service training for 15,000 Thai primary and secondary teachers of English. To ensure the training translated into sustained engagement and impact on classroom practice, the British Council commissioned IRIS Connect to pilot the use of a video-based e-mentoring system at scale to support teacher development.


How IRIS Connect helped

Teachers underwent a three-week INSET course in Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) at the Regional English Training Centres (RETC). For the pilots, 10 mentors/e-moderators worked with 560 teachers to provide blended online and face-to-face mentoring. An IRIS Connect professional development programme called Film Club, was tailored to the local Thai context of the Thai teachers, enabling reflection and collaborative learning.

As part of the British Council’s Education Gateway tender process, IRIS Connect was selected as a potential partner to work collaboratively on British Council projects. This enabled the British Council to quickly sub-contract with IRIS for RETC, which saw the British Council deliver training and manage the mentors/e-moderators, while IRIS Connect supplied the technology and the Film Club framework for the video-based approach to professional learning.



Despite initial resistance to new video-based methods of learning, the project received high levels of participation and demonstrated real impact. The collaboration between IRIS Connect and British Council showed that video technology, combined with discussions through the Film Club model, can be used at scale to help teachers to collaborate with colleagues, develop reflective practise and build a shared understanding about what really works in the classroom.

Read the full research paper on Evaluating the Role of Video in Supporting Reflection Beyond INSET.


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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.

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resources to support teacher development

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Enriched Professional Learning Culture


Sharing valuable knowledge and learning outcomes


After adopting IRIS Connect, Horizon College in The Netherlands have successfully developed an open door culture by giving teachers access to more effective reflection and peer review.


Mano Fluiter, Professional Development Coordinator at Horizon College in The Netherlands, noticed that a lot of valuable knowledge and learning outcomes were not shared amongst their 120 teachers, and ongoing constructive dialogue between teachers didn’t exist. They wanted to open classroom doors and create a more accessible learning culture by facilitating reflection and peer review amongst teachers.

Mano visited an IRIS Connect customer workshop and was immediately enthusiastic about the potential it could offer their teachers and organisation in terms of professional development.

“What I liked about IRIS Connect was the potential to use integrated technology consisting of a recording system, a personal page to reflect and share videos so you can get feedback easily, and a platform to work on certain educational subjects like classroom management, giving effective feedback, didactics and pedagogy,” explains Mano.


How IRIS Connect helped

They started with implementing it as a new system for recording lessons and sharing videos in order to facilitate peer review more easily across the college. Since then their approach to working with IRIS Connect has shifted. They are now working in groups and creating environments where teachers systematically review themselves and each other based on theory, problems and input from their own classroom experiences.

“Reflecting on and sharing videos has facilitated more professional dialogue to analyse behaviour and effectiveness in the classroom,” says Mano. “Teachers see what impact they have on students and that helps them to change their way of thinking and their approach. Usually teachers find it nice to actually talk about their experiences because often there’s no time or easy way for them to do that.”

He continues: “Before we worked with IRIS Connect teachers rarely saw how others taught and the challenges they faced. Now there’s more professional dialogue and mutual understanding about the way, and how, we teach, which is a very important factor in developing CPD and better student learning outcomes.”

“I think IRIS Connect is very handy. You normally miss a lot during a class. But, the platform gives you the opportunity to really reflect on those moments that you miss and receive feedback. I would recommend it, especially because it allows you to see the reactions of your students which helps you so much with connecting with them and knowing in which ways to teach effectively.” – Helga Degeling, Technical Nursing Skill Instructor


Results, return on investment and future plans

Most of Horizon’s courses are organised in groups of 8-12 teachers, who are evaluated. In specific evaluations where usage of IRIS Connect is more dominant, they specifically asked teachers how working with IRIS Connect helps them with their professional development. All of them said it made a positive impact and graded it 3.75 on a 5-point scale. Also, 60% said that they would consider IRIS Connect for personal review after the course was finished.

It’s also saved time according to Mano: “Teachers can record their own practice and share the fragments that are important or relevant to them. This gives direct focus, helps when giving feedback and increases dialogue. All of which are very effective uses of time and impact learning. It’s also saved time because teachers no longer need to work with usb-sticks (which can get lost) or other ways of sharing their videos. It’s all much easier and more secure.”

As for their future plans, Mano says: “We want to further maximise the impact of learning with IRIS Connect. This means we want to utilise the platform in a way that allows for deep learning via reflection and professional dialogue,” describes Mano. “If I was to recommend IRIS Connect to others, I would say the cost per license isn’t very much, in return you get an integrated recording system which is secure, teachers have privacy and control of their own recordings and it makes sharing and learning from and with each other so much easier. In 2019 we will develop a program for teachers who have just started their teaching career for the whole of Horizon College, which has about 1,000 teachers.

“Also, I would say, make learning with IRIS Connect as visible and personal as you can, but implement it in small steps. Create a positive atmosphere and organise a support system for teachers who are not as sure about working with it and what it can do for them. Basically, create a positive learning climate where being challenged and failure is a powerful way of learning.”


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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Delivering personalised, relevant and time-efficient CPD in an independent school

Latymer Upper School

Here at IRIS Connect we value the uniqueness of independent schools. But what challenges do they face around CPD? And how might they overcome them? To find out, we sat down with Will Goldsmith, Head of English at Latymer Upper School and chatted about how independent schools can benefit from being able to deliver more personalised, relevant and time-efficient CPD to staff.

IRIS Connect: What kind of challenges were you facing around CPD?

Will Goldsmith: “There’s just never enough time (although Laytmer is very good at giving us time for engaging in professional development), whether you work in the maintained sector or independent sector and I worked for 8 years in the former and have done 5 in the latter so far. The other real challenge is relevancy – there are a lot of subject-specific courses that I look at as a Head of Department at an independent school and think that’s not going to be useful because we have a different kind of cohort on some levels. So, it’s challenging to find external people who understand our particular environment. It’s also very hard to find filmed lessons which are available in the public arena and feature a school or classrooms similar to ours. We know that the more we can tailor CPD to the environment we’re in, the more relevant it is for the people concerned and that just makes it a lot easier for people to feel like it’s useful for them.

IC: How have you overcome these challenges?

WG:  “Through IRIS Connect we’ve been able to revolutionise access to observations because we haven’t needed to organise cover or even watch entire lessons. It’s allowed us to essentially do a 10 min drop-in (something that quite a lot of senior management do now) without actually being there and focus in on what we want or need to see. So, it’s really helped to free up time.

For example, I’ve got someone in my department doing an on-the-job PGCE through the University of Buckingham at the moment. My colleague is mentoring him and all of his internal observations are being done using IRIS Connect. This has freed up a lot of time and allowed the mentor to observe any lesson and not miss out on anything crucial, rather than just the lessons when he is free. Arranging cover to observe is obviously a big imposition and we try and avoid it.”

IC: That’s great. What about the challenge of relevancy?

WG: “By recording lessons we’re able to use our own classrooms as the context and stimulus for people reflecting on their own practice or each others, so it’s a hundred times more relevant and useful. A teacher in my department did all his PGCE training with me, using video to observe and reflect on his lessons. He’s still quite new to the profession and still needs to develop further, but he was observed by Deputy Head Academic and the lesson was outstanding. I believe that filming himself was a factor in helping him to develop so rapidly and effectively.”

IC: Why did Latymer choose IC?

WG: It was part of a bigger focus on CPD. As well as purchasing IRIS Connect, the school invested in extra teachers last year to be able to give all teachers a slot on their timetable dedicated to professional development that they log in a learning journal. The school values this activity enormously and has invested heavily in it in order to facilitate the professional development of its staff. Although I wasn’t part of the decision-making group to get IRIS Connect at Latymer, I was in my previous school and we ended up choosing one of your big rivals. Having used their system and now IRIS Connect, I wish that we had chosen IRIS because it’s so much better and easier.

IC: You joined Latymer at the end of the last academic year, was your department already using IC then?

WG: It was using it a little but, soon after starting, I asked everyone to have a go and almost everyone did. The last year was very light touch and I really just said: “use it, film yourselves and see how that goes. If you’d like to share it with me please do so, but if not don’t worry.” Thankfully most of them did and actually this year everyone is much more comfortable with it, so they’re using it a lot more.

IC: How is it being used on a whole school level?

WG: “We’ve been asked to do more observations in trios. Initially, it was just in departments but now we’re increasingly looking to share things with people from other departments. So again, just in terms of logistics and timetable, it’s been incredibly useful.

We also run twilight sessions specifically for staff new and record those, so if someone misses one they can still have access. We’d like to do this with more training sessions too. We know that’s it really difficult to deliver good CPD sessions whether it’s internally or someone from the outside coming in, and there’s a lot of work that goes into making those sessions really good. By filming those sessions and sharing them through the platform we not only have a permanent record but are also able to give teachers a sense of ownership over their own development.

IC: Has working with IC impacted on the culture of the school?

WG: We’re certainly working much more collaboratively and transparently. The fact that we film our lessons and then share them is a collaborative act, with collaborative intent behind it.

IC: How has IC affected you and your role?

WG: “It’s made me so much more aware of what I’m actually like. It keeps me on my toes. As an experienced teacher, I think it’s very easy to get complacent, particularly in an independent school because we have students who are quite often a lot more well behaved and are therefore much more forgiving than pupils in classrooms where one needs to be tighter on behaviour management. I use IRIS Connect not because it’s my core responsibility but because it suits my needs as being head of a big department. I’ve filmed myself teaching, delivering departmental and training sessions, all of which have allowed me to become better at those things. It’s also allowed the people I’m responsible for to be much better teachers as well. For me, that’s really fundamental.”

IC: Do you have any plans for other ways you might use IC in the future?

WG: Yes. We have quite a few students who apply for Oxford and Cambridge every year, so we give them mock interviews to help them prepare. Quite often we partner up with other schools to conduct the interviews and make them more authentic by giving pupils a sense of being in a different place or with people they don’t know. I might film some of those to share with the newer members of the department who haven’t done them yet themselves.

IC: So, you would recommend IRIS Connect to other independent schools?

WG: I absolutely would. We’re lucky here at Latymer because we have a big focus on professional development and we are allowed significant time to do it. But I know that’s not the case for all independent schools. For me, the biggest thing that improves teacher performance in the classroom is being able to see yourself on camera. There’s nothing more powerful than that. So, in that way, I think having IRIS Connect could be seen to give us an advantage over other independent schools that don’t use it.

Discover how else schools are using video for CPD


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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 https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ876909.pdf

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Improving professional development for Learning Assistants

After realising that the current CPD planner wasn’t producing effective results for Learning Assistants, Germaine Mckinnon, Assistant Headteacher at Braunstone Frith Primary School, reviewed their training and development process. She decided that it could be facilitated and made more successful with the use of IRIS Connect.

IRIS Connect: What challenges and objectives led you to start using IRIS Connect with your Learning Assistants?

Germaine: A CPD planner had been devised for Learning Assistants based on good and outstanding criteria for learning support – this was to allow Learning Assistants to begin to track their own CPD. However, it was not initially obvious how it would be used to support ongoing professional development.

I was given the brief to look at Learning Assistants training and development and how it could best be facilitated using IRIS Connect. We have very experienced and dedicated Learning Assistants in school who are always keen to receive feedback and to improve although they often think that CPD is only about going on external courses, which, as research suggests, have very limited impact in school.

After seeing significant results when using IRIS Connect to support the development of our NQTs, we considered taking the same approach with our support staff. There had previously been success when the Learning Assistants had in-ear coaching, so we knew there was value in it. Using IRIS Connect, therefore, seemed an obvious way to bring together all of the school’s needs and priorities.

IRIS Connect: How are you using IRIS Connect with them?

Germaine: All 36 of the Learning Assistants in school are involved. There is a full range of personalities -from those who are keen to get started, to those who are more reluctant and in need of support, as well as a small minority who still have not yet made a reflection.

We worked with Mike Fleetham and set aside training sessions specifically for the Learning Assistants, each one with a clear focus. The first session introduced the kit for those who had never seen or used it before and their first task was to record a 15-minute self-reflection. The second session showed them how to reflect on the videos – sharing, editing and making comments. The final session focused on how IRIS Connect could be used by them was linked to the targets on the CPD planner.

IRIS Connect: What impact has the work with IRIS Connect had on the Learning Assistants so far and how do you hope to see them developing in the future?
Germaine: A recent survey of the Learning Assistants has shown that they are confident using IRIS Connect and can see the benefit of using it to improve their professional practice. They have been very positive about the feedback they have received and have used the tips and advice they have been given.

Some of our Learning Assistants use the equipment with minimal prompting and are keen to share their reflections with trusted others. Equally, when a video is shared with them, they offer feedback and are generally very positive.

In the future, it would be fantastic if they could contribute videos to the Teaching Library Group that we have built in IRIS Connect because they feel confident that their practice is exemplary.

IRIS Connect: Has their work with IRIS Connect changed their relationships with other staff? If so, how and do you see this developing further in the future?

Germaine: The Learning Assistants are usually comfortable to share their videos with their class teachers, but are still quite shy about sharing wider than that. Some Learning Assistants do share with other teachers, however, and specifically request feedback on areas of their practice which they have identified as a focus and some others are even prepared to share reflections with the whole school. Relationships have improved within the Learning Assistants group, but there is still some work to do on establishing improved relationships across teachers and the Learning Assistants.

IRIS Connect: What impact has this all had on the learners so far? What impact do you hope to see on the learners in the future?

Germaine: The Learning Assistants can see that using IRIS Connect benefits the children they work with. They are often responsible for teaching in small groups and the most effective use for them has been through the use of questioning and behaviour management.

Being able to watch and reflect on their practice has allowed the Learning Assistants to make simple tweaks to their teaching such as positioning in the classroom, sharing roles with other adults in the room, planning questions and keeping the children on task and engaged more effectively.

IRIS Connect: What are your future plans for IRIS Connect?

Germaine: To continue with the CPD planners for Learning Assistants and identify personalised targets. There has been 1-to-1 coaching using IRIS Connect reflections, with identified Learning Assistants, which will be rolled out to the rest of the support staff in the future.

We are currently creating a Teaching Library Group of in-house exemplar lessons to meet the CPD needs of all staff and we hope that the Learning Assistants will be brave enough to contribute to this as well. The use of IRIS Connect is part of the whole school improvement plan and it is key to the progress and development of the school.

Discover how else schools are using video for CPD

Find out what Learning Assistant Helen Baker thinks of IRIS Connect:


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Showcase expertise with IRIS Connect certificates

We believe that any effort to improve your practice should not go unrewarded, which is why we’ve introduced certificates to IRIS Connect. You and your colleagues can earn them by completing short CPD-related tasks in the platform. Here’s what’s available so far:   Film club certificates For those of you not familiar with it, film […]

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Announcing live coaching using the Discovery Kit

Drum roll, please… We’re excited to announce our latest innovation that allows the Discovery Kit to be used for live coaching, remote lesson observations and ITE. “Go Live combines the best features of static and live video coaching. It’s flexible, a dream to set up, and vastly increases the effectiveness and efficiency of the IRIS Connect […]

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Engaging and motivating Pupil Premium Grant pupils

Teachers help 100 % of PPG pupils reach end of year targets

Claire Chester is a Year 7 leader at Newman College in Oldham. She recently got in touch to tell us about how her, and her colleagues, have been using IRIS Connect’s lesson observation and in-ear coaching tools over the past two terms, to improve the quality of Pupil Premium Grant (PPG) pupils speaking, listening and writing skills.


IRIS Connect: What challenges were you facing?

Claire: We were struggling to understand what motivated and engaged our PPG pupils. We also needed a more effective way to experiment with different strategies and see the results in order to close the gap.


IRIS Connect: How did IRIS Connect help?

Claire: We chose IRIS Connect as our solution because it enabled us to focus on particular pupils and observe their learning behaviours during lessons. IRIS Connect tools were particularly useful as we were able to analyse lessons. We determined how many higher order thinking skills questions these pupils were asked during each session filmed. Then using the in-ear coaching tool, we were able to see different strategies in action, further develop classroom dialogue and advise each other, in the moment, on which ones to use with different pupils.

In-ear coaching also has had a very positive impact on pupil performance; pupils enjoyed the experience of their teachers working collaboratively, with a focus on their learning and progress, and pupils received personalised feedback both during these sessions and afterwards. Through the use of IRIS Connect we were able to share the clips with members of the Teaching and Learning Strategy Team and also use during CPD sessions.


IRIS Connect: What impact have you seen so far?

Claire: The attention pupils received through their teachers working collaboratively across subjects had a great impact on their learning. Pupils made rapid progress and the quality of their written work improved substantially leading to an increased number reaching their end of year targets. The project has also influenced positively on other groups of pupils in the class, because we’ve been able to develop strategies to stretch and engage them all.

Over time, pupils have grown in confidence as well. We regularly asked them to present their work to the class, as well as take part in a range of speaking activities, which were filmed, and they said they enjoyed.

What we really like about IRIS Connect is the ability it gives us to capture engaging activities and good practice that we can share easily with the Teaching and Learning group and English Faculty, so we have extensive plans to use IRIS Connect in the future. Including:

  • Filming classes that some teachers are having success with and others are struggling with, so we can all observe what Behaviour for Learning strategies work with different groups.
  • Develop the English Faculty resources in IRIS Connect, by adding a full range of clips on pedagogy and practice, Assessment for Learning , Kagan, Blooms strategies etc.
  • Continue our work with middle and lower ability PPG pupils.

What is IRIS Connect?

IRIS Connect platform
IRIS Connect is a secure, personalised place 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.

Platform Packages


Impact summary

Encouraging pupil premium grant (PPG) pupils to participate in lessons and improve the quality of their speaking, listening and writing skills in order to close the gap.

  • All pupils’ attitudes to learning improved from progress check one to progress check four
  • The quality of work produced by the target cohort improved across a range of subjects
  • At the start of the project, none of this target group were expected to meet their target grades. By the end of the year, 100% of these pupils reached their end of year target, with one exceeding their expected level
  • Pupils confidence notably improved

What do pupils at Newman College think about IRIS Connect? Find out…



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IRIS Connect welcomes EEF report on video technology

PRESS RELEASE: 31.03.17 IRIS Connect, the market leading video CPD tool for reflection, coaching and collaboration, has welcomed the EEF (Education Endowment Foundation) report ‘IRIS Connect: Developing classroom dialogue and formative feedback through collective video reflection”. IRIS Connect and Whole Education partnered in the project, which looked at the impact of using IRIS Connect alongside […]

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Creating a positive and developmental professional learning culture

Whitecote Primary School is a 2 form entry school in Leeds. They have successfully developed a culture of openness and trust, and supported staff to analyse and discuss teaching and learning more effectively. To find out how we caught up with year 6 teacher Dan Sheffrin and were sent some videos from the other staff with their thoughts about it too.

IRIS Connect: Why did you feel that you needed to change your approach to CPD?

Dan Sheffrin: We wanted to move from a top-down model of staff development to one that was altogether more reflective. Top-down models, whether they intend to or not, are quite confrontational. People are faced with a situation where someone with authority is telling them the things wrong with their practice. This can naturally trigger feelings of defensiveness amongst staff – they may feel that they are not being represented fairly, and will often focus on this, rather than on accepting the things they need to do to improve.

We wanted to move to a more reflective approach, built upon mutual collaboration, by encouraging staff to open up, to share and to be a critical friend to their colleagues. This is more likely to lead to a genuine desire to improve – teachers generally want to improve, they want their pupils to learn more effectively. By building upon this, the introduction of new ideas to spur improvements and by creating the right framework for collaboration, change in practice is more meaningful and more sustainable.

IC: Why did you choose video CPD as your vehicle for change?


IC: How did staff react to the idea of being videoed for professional development?

DS: Some staff had real hang-ups about seeing themselves on camera or hearing their own voices – one said that she hadn’t even wanted a photographer on her wedding day because she hated it so much. Many were also wary of what was going to happen to the videos and who was going to be able to view them.


IC: How did you deal with these concerns?

DS: Barriers and fears had to be removed first – the terms and conditions of the system reassured people that no-one would be able to access their videos apart from them unless they chose to share them. Even then, this sharing could be withdrawn at any time and those they had shared videos with would no longer be able to see them.  

We made it clear that the first videos that they produced were only ever intended for their own viewing – they would not have to share them with anyone. When we did introduce sharing with others it happened on a piecemeal basis. At this stage, only a few videos were shared in a very limited capacity and teachers could share videos as an alternative choice to observation. Some videos of good practice were shared amongst the phase (2-year groups). And the teachers chose which videos they shared – there was no pre-existing task or aim, nor any points for improvement at this stage – it was all about building confidence in the system.

IC: How did staff feel about it?


IC: What happened next?

DS: We heard about the EEF funded research project on using IRIS Connect to improve the use of feedback in lessons. We joined the project because we wanted our use of IRIS Connect to be more purposeful. We wanted to move on to using it to improve teaching beyond what was mostly self-reflection.

IC: How did the project help you?

DS: The project introduced us to IRIS Connect film club. This provided us with rich materials which we could use a springboard for improving teaching. It also gave us the opportunity to expand the use of IRIS Connect into sharing videos with the specific aim of identifying areas of strength and improvement, and use it as a tool to instigate school-wide improvements.

IC: Tell us about film club…

DS: Film club provided a powerful way of introducing new ideas to teachers. The high-quality video clips provided examples of the concepts in action: they were actually working models, not just theories from an inset session. The discussion questions gave an opportunity to unpick what aspects of provision allowed the pupils to engage in deeper learning. In combination with the video clips, this created a fertile ground for rich, face-to-face discussions. Teachers could also be critical of the video examples, picking apart what wasn’t as successful. While those discussions were carrying on, staff were writing text comments using the commenting system built into IRIS. This meant they could see what other groups were saying, and reply to those comments. In concert with the face-to-face discussions, this created a powerful combination of formats which worked really well for developing our thinking, and ultimately our teaching.

IC: What do staff think about film club?


IC: Were all staff involved?

DS: All teachers and HLTAs attended film clubs and were grouped into triads. By putting staff members into triads, the more experienced staff members could share the wealth of experience with other members of the group, whilst younger members of the group could contribute their energy and any knowledge they may have of the latest ideas in education.  By splitting up Year Groups, it meant that both members could come back with different ideas about the same topics, thereby increasing the breadth of ideas going into those Year Groups.


IC: Why do you think film club is effective?

DS: It works because it ties into what we are already doing, becoming part of the whole picture. For instance, yesterday we had a meeting on Maths, and we referred back to the learning from a film club session about dialogic teaching. The clips are high quality and lead to fantastic face-to-face discussion during the film club screening. The online comments function is very helpful for sharing thoughts beyond the triads. This combination of formats works really well. Like with anything in school, you need someone with the capacity to keep this going and it must have support from leadership.

IC: Is that because of the specific content of dialogic teaching or the flexible format of film club?

DS: It’s both. The content, which was really useful in itself, and the format of film club. The ready-made modules or episodes really help because half the job is done for you. One of the most beneficial aspects of the IRIS/film club/triad model is that it is completely adaptable to our needs. We are able to use the same model in the introduction of reciprocal reading, as well as some work on Bloom’s Taxonomy. The use of this model ties into everything we do. What is discussed in film club sessions comes up in many other contexts e.g. other training sessions.


IC: Has using film club affected the professional learning culture at all? If so, how?

DS: Definitely! The culture is less top down, people are more open and it’s created an atmosphere of trust between teachers.

IC: What are your next steps?

DS: In future, whatever new ideas of areas of focus we want for the school, we know we can use that model to help us achieve it. It does so in a way that is responsive to our needs while allowing staff to try out new ideas and improve based on the feedback of their colleagues. It feels like a very sustainable approach to embedding whole school priorities.


Read overview of research by the EEF (Education Endowment Foundation) on the impact of film club >

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