Tag Archives | Video professional learning

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?”

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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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Improving lecturers’ professional learning and PhD research

Cindy Kuiper is Communication Lecturer and PhD Student at Saxion University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands. Cindy shares how she’s been using IRIS Connect as part of her PhD research on writing skills in Dutch higher education.

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Why did you choose to work with IRIS Connect?

Cindy: My PhD research is focused on improving first-year students’ writing development. Subject lecturers deliver content-based writing instruction during lessons which I then analyse. These subject lecturers have to be trained beforehand.  When I heard about IRIS Connect and the possibilities it could offer me in facilitating the subject lecturer training, I was very excited. Especially by the user-friendliness and time synchronous recordings.


How have you used IRIS Connect?

Cindy: Each week, for about a year, I have recorded one hour lessons taken by two subject lecturers involved in my research. After each lesson, I view the recordings in full length, reflecting on them from the point of view of a researcher and a trainer. I add comments to good and poor examples of embedding writing during the lessons and then invite the subject lecturer to go through them with me in what’s called, a “stimulated recall interview”. The process is as follows:

  • At the beginning I ask the subject lecturer to share his/her general impression of the lesson with me.
  • I then show them 5 to 7 clips of the lesson where their writing instruction is good or needs improvement.
  • After each clip, I ask them to describe what they see and how they think it can help or hinder students improving their writing skills.
  • Then, we discuss why some activities work well and others don’t. We also discuss how the subject lecturer can improve his/her writing instruction in the next lesson.
  • After having shown all the clips, the interview concludes with me asking the subject lecturer again to share his/her overall impression of the lesson.


What have you achieved by using IRIS Connect?

Cindy: Both subject lecturers were excited about the use of IRIS Connect when we first began the lesson recordings. They discovered, after a number of stimulated recall interviews, how helpful it was to view the recordings of their lessons. It made them more aware of what happened in their lessons and what impact they, and their instruction had on the students.

Both lecturers also admitted to having a more positive feeling about the lessons and themselves as lecturers after watching the recordings.

As a researcher, IRIS Connect has helped me to easily analyse the subject lecturers practice, seamlessly facilitate the stimulated recall interviews and drive the subject lecturers professional development forwards, while conducting my own research at the same time.

What is IRIS Connect?

IRIS Connect on desktop and tablet


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.

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Early experiences of video professional learning

Treleigh Community Primary School
Teacher using video in the classroom

Ryan Hanley, a year 5 teacher at Treleigh Community Primary School in Cornwall, volunteered to be one of the first to use IRIS Connect after his school invested in the system in January 2016. In his own words, Ryan shares an honest account of his experiences of getting started with video professional learning and how he is finding the use of IRIS Connect…

With the changes to the new primary curriculum and the raised expectations, it is tempting to say that teaching and learning has been compromised. Do we solely focus on teaching the increased content driven curriculum, or focus on the best methods and vehicles in which to deliver this content?

We believe IRIS Connect will help us as a team to hold true to our convictions and focus on the best methods to deliver this new curriculum. With a balance of video-based activities in the IRIS Connect platform and peer coaching groups, we’re hoping to improve how we teach, encourage and motivate one another to focus on what really matters; the impact our actions have on children’s learning.

Getting started with video professional learning

We are a medium-sized expanding Cornish school that serves the biggest conurbation in Cornwall – Camborne, Pool and Redruth district. After initially seeing the IRIS Connect platform at a local cluster school’s ‘learning-group’ training day in 2015, our deputy-head teacher was keen to investigate further.

Soon enough, we invested in the system and put forward two teachers (myself and the year 6 teacher) to be in charge of getting used to the equipment, ensuring that it was embedded into our practice and a consistent part of our professional development.

We began using IRIS Connect in January 2016. Rather than just being seen as another ‘bolt-on’ or ‘gimmick’ for the new curriculum by our fellow colleagues, we knew it would be important to ensure that IRIS Connect was properly embedded into our school practice.

Working with our deputy-headteacher, we planned a ‘3 half-termly phased’ approach to help us structure the way teachers got used to the equipment; becoming familiar and competent at recording themselves.

We also had a liaison with Richard from Impact Matters, a leadership consultancy that act as regional partner for IRIS Connect, working with schools and colleges in Wales and the South West of England. Richard helped us to think about coaching methodology, and how to encourage peer-to-peer support amongst the teachers to help motivate and encourage this new approach in our school.

Building the confidence to share with others

Teacher using IRIS ConnectInitially, however, we had to get used to the equipment and filming our lessons. They say with IRIS Connect, you need to get 4 recordings done ‘on-the-bounce’ to get over that initial awareness that you’re being filmed throughout your lesson; and we both found this to be true! Equally, after 4 recordings, we found that we became less concerned with our ‘looks’ and how we sounded on camera, and more focused on the impact the lesson had on the children. We began recording lessons just to see if a new idea would work, or how a group would react to a certain task etc.

Once you’ve recorded a lesson, you have the ability to share it internally from your account to that of a colleague. At first, we both found it slightly nerve-racking to share our lessons; it’s a lesson observation all over again! Will he think I went on too long during the input? Were the children engaged? Was there enough challenge? All these questions flooded our minds before we hit the share button.

However, to the contrary, the comments (which can be tagged within minute and second intervals of the video – like a Facebook feed!) were very encouraging and up-lifting. As we were both ‘in the same boat’, we both enjoyed having the opportunity to be the ‘fly-on-the-wall’ in each other’s lessons. More importantly still, we could silence the harshest critics (ourselves) and focus on the positives; a skill that is arguably forgotten in the current teaching climate.

Setting up coaching triads

Once we had set up coaching triads, our colleagues enthusiastically took to video coaching, recording both long and short lessons in order to get over the ‘4 recording hurdle.’

On a staff-meeting feedback session, we found that the feeling of anxiety before sharing a video was common. However, we knew that we didn’t have to share our video and that if the lesson was an absolute car-crash, we could always choose not to and try again the next day.

Currently, we are still in the process of recording lessons with set focuses to help us get used to the coaching process, improving our professional development and overall teaching and learning.

Looking to the future
treleigh community primary school

Although it is still early-days for us, we are hoping that we can build a ‘bank’ of good practice videos that will help not only the staff at Treleigh, but maybe even the schools in our cluster and learning group as well.

We are already seeing how our PGCE students are benefiting from the impact of seeing themselves teach and saving time arranging demonstrations and observations of other teachers, rather than just logging on to watch best practice of a particular focus they need.

We’re in the business of educating, and this life-long education culture needs to be alive and modelled by the teachers to the children they teach.

IRIS Connect is certainly an educational journey for us, one we are only beginning, but are excited to be on.

What is IRIS Connect?

IRIS Connect platformIRIS 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.

Find out more

Get more information about IRIS Connect:

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Video transforms teacher professional development

Tumwater High School, Washington (US)

Interview with Tumwater HS Principal Jeff Broome

For the past several years, teachers at Tumwater High School in Washington have been using IRIS Connect video technology to transform their professional development process. Below, Principal Jeff Broome shares his insights about their journey.

Why did Tumwater HS decide to adopt video-based professional development?

“We had been looking for ways to provide teachers with more opportunities for personal growth and reflection besides the traditional evaluation and coaching methods. Our district does not allocate coaching resources at the secondary level so we were looking for ways to facilitate this process through our PLCs. We had already been doing peer “learning walks” and discussing problems of practice, so the IRIS Connect platform was a logical extension of our work.”

How do educators at Tumwater HS use IRIS Connect?

“Our math and science teachers have been using IRIS Connect for two purposes for several years now. The primary purpose is for self-reflection. Teachers will record and review their own videos looking at specific aspects of their instruction and then share their reflections with their PLC team mates. This has been a safe entry point for our teachers because others do not see their video but they do share their thoughts and insights with their team.

We have also been doing some peer observation and feedback using IRIS Connect. Some teachers have been recording and sharing videos with a partner and getting feedback on specific parts of their lesson. The use of the technology has really benefited our PLC teams in creating a collective culture of inquiry, growth, and trust.

This year we purchased an additional Discovery Kit and next month we are launching an initiative to see if we can expand the use of this tool building wide. This week I had a teacher (who was very nervous about the evaluation process) record her classroom over a several day period and review her videos and share segments with me that I would use for my formal observation. In the end, she felt great about the process. I could watch the videos on my own time and she had a more reflective observational experience. It was a win for everyone involved.”

Have you seen changes in the culture of professional learning?

“Yes, definitely. Our PLC times are so much more focused because teachers are more in tune with their own improvement goals and they have shared with their colleagues. It is a very vulnerable process and when you are able to do that; it takes your PLC to a completely new level. We are also trying to cultivate a culture of continuous improvement and IRIS Connect allows us to drive teachers to be more reflective about their work.”

Were staff initially hesitant? How did you overcome that?

“Yes, they were hesitant. We did some exercises to help staff get more comfortable with seeing themselves on video. Many of my teachers are either new teachers or have gone through the National Board Certification process, in both of these cases video reflection is required. There are still people that are hesitant, but the cultural tide is shifting. Every day people are getting more comfortable with the idea. We gently nudge people! We are persistent that this is that way that we will be facilitating our PD in the future.”

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced and how did you overcome them?

“We were able to overcome the technology challenges; the product is very easy to use. It was really getting people behind the idea that we can learn from watching ourselves. Teaching can be such a private experience and so breaking the teacher culture of isolated silos was the most difficult part. We overcame that barrier early on by using our learning walks. Getting teachers in each other’s classrooms was the first step. The difficult part is that it is logistically difficult and can be expensive to get substitutes. Once people were excited about seeing their colleagues, IRIS Connect was a logical next step to get the same experience.”

What tools or resources have you found most helpful in using video for professional learning?

“The videos and tools in the platform have been very helpful. I have been very fortunate to have a strong teacher leader with me on this journey. Chad Stussy our Science Department PLC leader has been instrumental in leading this charge. As a Principal, I recognize that my instructional leadership can sometimes be limited by the fact that I am not a teacher and have not been one for some time. Using teacher leaders has been a great way to get excited, motivated and credible people moving the same direction to push a cultural change in our building.”

Do you find that using video for PD increases PD efficiency and effectiveness of professional learning at Tumwater?

“The problem with general PD delivery is that it is one size fits all. We preach differentiation to our teachers but we rarely provide it for them in their PD opportunities. Video PD provides teachers with an opportunity to chart their own PD path. The price of an Discovery Kit is the same as sending a team of teachers across the state to a conference for a few days — it is well worth it.”

What advice, tips, or recommendations would you offer to other educators considering adopting IRIS Connect?

“Start small and with a willing group of volunteers. If you continue to support these pioneers with resources, time and encouragement it will gain momentum and begin to be a cultural norm for your organization. Done right, IRIS Connect can help you create the reflective culture of improvement you are looking for.”

Melissa and Chad Stussy

Find out how Melissa and Chad Stussy, Science Teachers at Tumwater High School, are using IRIS Connect to collect evidence for their Teacher/Principal Evaluation Project (TPEP), to support the use of essential questioning across the Science department, and help with their classroom management.

Joshua Reynolds

Learn how student teacher, Joshua Reynolds, is using IRIS Connect to gain important feedback, and explore and develop his practice.

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