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Supporting Student Teachers with video PD

Braunstone Frith Primary School

Braunstone Frith Primary School in the UK is using IRIS Connect to help support and develop student teachers.

Learning and Developing

Walk the halls of Braunstone Frith Primary School in the UK and you could meet any one of the 8 enthusiastic NQTs (Newly Qualified Teachers) and 1 RQT (Recently Qualified Teacher) who they have been supporting for the past year. Visit any classroom and you will see the confidence that live remote coaching has brought to those student teachers.

Since September 2014, Education Consultant, Mike Fleetham, has been working with the team at Braunstone Frith to support the learning and development of student teachers.

They chose to use IRIS Connect in addition to their existing lesson study process to develop a unique program that would accelerate the quality PD of these 9 teachers.

“Germaine McKinnon (Assistant Headteacher and Instructional Coach for the school) and I began by working with each NQT; offering them different styles of coaching using IRIS Connect,” explains Mike. “Some people decided to do live remote coaching, some decided to do self reflections, others decided to work with each other.”

Mike and Germaine took a coaching rather than mentoring approach. “Instead of telling them what to do or giving them advice, we helped them draw out their own solutions to challenges. So when they were watching themselves on video we were prompting them with questions to help them come to their own conclusions about what they needed to do. We found this to be more effective because the NQTs felt they had more ownership over their professional learning,” explains Mike.

Why IRIS Connect?

“We chose IRIS Connect because we wanted our NQTs to learn quickly and become reflective practitioners,” explains Germaine.

We wanted to be able to really support the NQTS and help them develop. The NQTs got up and ran with it. With the support they received from Mike Fleetham and IRIS Connect’s in-ear coaching tool, the progress they have made and the improvement to the quality of their teaching has been extraordinary.

NQT, Christopher Brown, says: “I think it’s really accelerated my progress because it’s allowed an insight into my practice that I wouldn’t have had in any other way. Through the in-ear headset, my coach has always given me advice that’s appropriate to me and relevant to my class. It’s really helped to give positive but also relevant points for my teaching and I feel that through our close working relationship I’m more susceptible to taking on new ideas.”

NQT, Ellen Watts, says: “At the beginning of the year I was looking at how to develop the children through my questioning with my coach. Through live remote coaching, he taught me loads of different ways to build that up. I would be doing my PowerPoint and he would say to me; ‘This would be a really good time to ask this question’, or; ‘Why don’t you ask them to come up and point to the picture if they can’t give you an answer’.

So, I got to develop all of my questioning techniques during my lessons, helping me to easily make them part of my normal everyday practice. As the year’s gone on, I can see that the students have developed their questioning as a result of me developing mine. I’ve had a lot of challenges and IRIS Connect has helped me to develop myself and have a really good NQT year.

Demonstrating Progress

Towards the end of the year, the student teachers developed showreels of their practice to demonstrate how they had progressed. They picked key moments of their development across the year and edited them into short 5-10 minute films.

“For example, one person chose behavior management as their focus, so she put together snapshots throughout the year of her demonstrating how her behaviour management skills had improved. She showed a clip of carpet time in September, carpet time in January, carpet time in June and you could see through the sequence of clips how the learners had improved because of the techniques she was using,” describes Mike.

I created a showreel demonstrating how well my children have developed a growth mindset to show my professional learning progress.

It began with a lesson right at the start of term where the idea was there, but it wasn’t very clear what I was trying to do. Then in the videos towards the end you can really see how the children have developed as a result of how I’ve developed, in terms of the language and questioning that I’ve used. I couldn’t have done any of this without IRIS Connect, it’s really helped me a lot.

– RQT Zainab Gangat.

A Sustainable Future

The end point of the year’s NQT program is the development of a personal PD plan. “So, they’re choosing what they do and how they do it making them independent, lifelong professional learners,” explains Germaine.

“I think it’s going to be really interesting to watch the progress of these NQTs over the next two to three years. Our hypothesis is that by being involved in this intense IRIS Connect video coaching programme they will be more self motivated, more empowered to take on their own PD.”

As well as developing NQTs, Mike also worked with Germaine in her role as lead coach, to help her develop her instructional coaching and video coaching skills. “Part of that was to help her build on her existing success with the lesson study programme and figure out how to work IRIS Connect into that,” describes Mike. “Germaine is now beginning to train other people in her school as coaches thereby making the whole process sustainable.”

Using IRIS Connect platform

The natural next step for rolling out IRIS Connect in the school is to have those experienced NQTs working with their colleagues who are less familiar with the technology.

The plan is to have people working in pairs or trios, each including one of the 8 NQTs who will then help the other person(s) to become familiar with IRIS Connect and how to use it as a CPD tool.

“Certainly the progress that the NQTs have made and the improvement to the quality of their teaching has been extraordinary. IRIS Connect is definitely having an impact on the quality of teaching and learning here at Braunstone Frith,” explains Headteacher, Amelia Smith.

It’s helped us focus on people’s individual PD needs which then had an impact on whole school targets. PD is now much more individualised but also helping us to get people to be more accountable for their own learning rather than just waiting for the school to sort it out.

What is IRIS Connect?

Online learning for teachers
Our cloud-based platform gives teachers a secure, personalised place to record, analyse and reflect on their practice.

Teachers can collaborate easily with colleagues and share their lessons and resources with each other to create a sustainable professional learning community within one platform.

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✓  Try IRIS Connect Film Club
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Re-imagining professional development

How can technology be used to overcome the logistical challenges that prevent teachers from having effective professional learning experiences?

Working with 50 schools across Washington State to support teachers with meeting the demands of the new standards in Science and Math, Washington STEM’s STEM-PD project looks to explore how video technology can help.

The challenge

With the introduction of Washington’s new standards for Maths and Science, teachers in America’s Washington State are required to teach in a dramatically different way than they have been.

To do this, they need new methods of professional development that research proves are truly effective in supporting them to make those changes. Including opportunities to:

  • see examples of effective instruction
  • practice it in their classrooms
  • get individualized feedback
  • receive ongoing coaching

Unfortunately, these opportunities are logistically very difficult to deliver. Teachers are typically quite isolated in their classrooms. It’s difficult for them to get out and see how others teach. Likewise, it’s hard to get someone into their classroom to get the kind of individualized feedback they need.

Believing that technology is the key to overcoming these challenges, Washington STEM have been exploring how it could help.

The STEM PD project

Starting in March of 2013, they launched an initiative called STEM-PD. Following a thorough review of the available technologies, IRIS Connect was chosen to support the project.

“We compared the top providers of solutions for teacher professional development, looking for a technology that would enable all of the characteristics of effective PD,” explains Dr. Shawn Edmondson, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Washington STEM.

“We found that IRIS Connect provided the best solution to enable teachers to see models of effective teaching, to reflect on their own teaching and to practice and receive immediate feedback. Most importantly, the IRIS Connect system is secure and private, ensuring that teachers are always in control of their own learning.”

STEM-PD are currently in their second year of the project and have IRIS Connect installed in 50 schools.

“These schools are forming a state-wide learning network and are helping us to understand how best to use this technology to enable effective PD practices,” says Shawn. “Educators at these schools continue to create resources such as Math and Science video libraries that demonstrate teaching practices aligned with Math and Science standards. Most importantly, we continue to develop a change management model that other schools across the state can follow as they adopt technology to make their PD more effective.”

Dr Shawn Edmondson talks about Washington STEMS’s journey so far with IRIS Connect:

Their findings so far…

“What we’ve learned so far is that educators can adopt this technology. We’ve done a usability study to find out what they think about it, which has led to us recommending some changes that have already been made. It’s enabling professional learning experiences that wouldn’t happen otherwise, and we’ve seen some really cool interactions so far. The schools are also using Groups within IRIS Connect that we have provided for them.”

These include:

  • The Pioneer Group, where four exceptional STEM teachers share how they teach STEM.
  • The Webinars Group, where Washington STEM posts recordings of the webinars they hold throughout the year.
  • Most significantly, the Video Professional Learning Toolkit Group, where they have created a large compendium of information, recommendations, tools, and resources.

Eventually STEM-PD want to use this technology to allow effective teaching in all 2,300 schools across Washington State. To do that, they are working on gathering evidence that shows it works for improving teaching behaviors in the classroom, which ultimately changes student behavior and subsequently student achievement.

“What we’re hoping to accomplish is to convince the other schools to re-allocate the money they’re currently spending on professional development practices like workshops that we know are not as effective, on these new more effective processes and technology.”

Want to learn more about IRIS Connect?

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✓  Try IRIS Connect Film Club
✓  Record, reflect on & analyze your practice
✓  Use coaching & collaboration tools



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Mount Erie Elementary School

Overcoming the challenges of limited time for PD

Teachers of Mt Erie Elementary, Jennie Beltramini and Kevin O’Toole, are improving the efficiency of Lesson Study and overcoming the challenges of limited time for PD using IRIS Connect.

We’ll be catching up with Jennie and Kevin again in the future to learn more about their journey’s with IRIS Connect, so keep checking our case studies page for updates.

Get started – it’s FREE!

✓  Try IRIS Connect Film Club
✓  Record, reflect on & analyze your practice
✓  Use coaching & collaboration tools

Continue Reading

STEM PD: Re-imagining Professional Development for Teachers

The Challenge How can technology be used to overcome the logistical challenges that prevent teachers from having effective professional learning experiences? This is the question that Washington STEM are looking to explore as part of their STEM-PD project, working with 44 schools across Washington State to support teachers to meet the demands of the new […]

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Braunstone Primary School

From requires improvement to outstanding in 8 weeks

Michelle Fritche was a struggling year 6 teacher in a deprived school with challenging children. She’d only been teaching for two years when she was graded as requires improvement.

Her confidence took a huge knock and she started to question whether she was in the right job. With the help of a coach she began videoing her practice, the results were amazing…

Michelle’s original note to us…

Eight weeks ago I was observed by my head teacher, who is an ex OFSTED inspector, she graded me as requires improvement.

I am in the second year of my teaching at a school with challenging children set in a deprived area. Half of my class are FSM/ SEN and of my 10 boys, 9 are reluctant writers. My children, basically, needed to be more involved in their learning and would often wait for me to provide answers, support, guidance and anything else, which meant that they weren’t actively engaging in lessons.

Then Mike and IRIS Connect came. I had been part of video coaching during my training and found it really useful so jumped at the chance to do it again. After meeting Mike and hearing his ideas and concepts I was inspired and took the big leap to record a lesson.

I simply couldn’t believe what I had seen. I cried, got mad (at both myself and my children) and then spoke to Mike. We made a little hit list of things we were going to work on and one by one, shot them down. Last Thursday, during an HMI inspection, I was graded as OFSTED outstanding.

So what happened?

The answer, Mike and IRIS Connect. My children are now able to:

  • Understand what learning is and how it feels
  • Have strategies to use if they are stuck
  • Set their own challenging learning targets in lessons
  • Grade their progress on a scale
  • Identify their own next steps in learning
  • Work with each other to assess others’ learning
  • Work independently to move their own learning on
  • Provide their own answers to problems and challenges which means that they are now independent learners

Mike Fleetham is an IRIS Connect enabled consultant and expert in remote coaching. He supports schools to embed a sustainable coaching culture and rapidly raise the quality of teaching and learning. Tweet him @MikeTweetham

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Westfields Junior School

Accelerating progress and closing the gap

Westfields Junior School are an outstanding school, renowned for inclusion and recent winners of the NAACE Impact Inclusion Award. They are using IRIS Connect’s lesson observation technology to inform their use of the Sutton Trust Toolkit strategies. (more…)

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