Enhancing teacher learning from guided video analysis

Hong, C. E., & Van Riper, I. (2016).  Enhancing teacher learning from guided video analysis of literacy instruction:  An interdisciplinary and collaborative approach.

Journal of Inquiry & Action in Education, 7(2), 94-110.

Using videos in education is a prominent practice and has been for many decades already.  Using them for promoting growth in pre-service teachers for the understanding of teaching techniques is a newer field.  Many studies now “document the use of videos for teacher development, [but] teachers’ analysis of their own videos or others is not considered a routinized practice in teacher education programs” (Hong & Van Riper, 2016, p. 94).  The edTPA program has affected views on that.  Because the students’ videos are critiqued by nationally trained specialists, the scores are valid.  Teacher colleges ought, then, to teach their candidates to evaluate themselves on video, and then collaborate with peers and instructors to check their own analyses (Hong & Van Riper, 2016). The studies that have been done on this process “are consistent, suggesting that video-recorded lessons facilitate teacher learning, challenge teachers’ existing knowledge and skills, and enable teachers to reflect on their instruction in order to make changes and positively impact the learning of their students” (p. 96).

This article described a study where instructors and students from two different fields worked together to use video to train pre-service and veteran teachers.  They watched videos of teachers working with students who struggled with reading issues.  Those who watched it learned not only about teaching literacy, but about teaching those with disabilities.  Both the language arts and special education departments collaborated to provide videos, to watch said videos, and then, as groups, to discuss what was learned.  One result the authors gleaned was to provide better training for those viewing videos.  Observers need guiding questions and then time to reflect individually and collectively.  Results showed that 92 percent of the participants learned important skills to improve their own teaching, though the veteran teachers went deeper in their reflections than novice teachers, which was understandable (Hong & VanRiper, 2016).

A study such as this took the research in the field a new and valuable direction, from just watching videos and writing a reflection, to being trained to analyze more effectively, to sharing knowledge collectively, and to applying the knowledge to their own varied classrooms.  No research had been done that focused on all three aspects:  viewing one’s own teaching, viewing published authentic classrooms on video, and viewing other teachers’ at work, and then doing analysis with guidance and collaboration (Hong & VanRiper, 2016).

While the authors were excited to be taking research in this field to new places, they admitted that other questions need to be asked:  “Did the teacher candidates try the techniques they observed?  Were they able to modify and adapt the strategies they liked easily?…Was their application practical within the classroom setting?” (Hong & VanRiper, 2016, p. 106).  The need to look beyond college into the first job is the call here.  I would like to do that in my own research project.  I want to look at the use of training videos and their effects in practicum experiences, in the student teaching semester, and into the first job opportunity.  Teacher colleges such as the one I work for already collect data on this.  The data just need to be strengthened somewhat, organized, compared, and analyzed better to find results to these questions.

Using skilled analysis of videos of authentic classrooms to train pre-service teachers — five articles

Blomberg, G., Renkl, A., Gamoran Sherin, M., Borko, H., & Seidel, T. (2013).  Five

research-based heuristics for using video in pre-service teacher education.

        Journal for Educational Research Online, 5(1), 90-114.


Fadde, P., & Sullivan, P. (2013).  Using interactive video to develop preservice teachers’

classroom awareness.  Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education,

13(2).  Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/volume-13/issue-2-13/general/using-



Hernandez-Ramos, P., & Giancarlo, C. A. (2004). Situating Teacher Education: From the

University Classroom to the “Real” Classroom. Journal Of Computing In Teacher

        Education, 20(3), 121-128.


Hong, C. E., & Van Riper, I. (2016).  Enhancing teacher learning from guided video

analysis of literacy instruction:  An interdisciplinary and collaborative approach.

Journal of Inquiry & Action in Education, 7(2), 94-110.


Xiong, W. (2013).  A potential approach to support pre-service teachers’ professional

learning: The video analysis of the authentic classroom.  US-China Education

        Review, March, 3(3), 149-161.


Video games and digital literacy

Steinkuehler, C. (2015).  Video games and digital literacies.  Journal of Adolescent & Adult

Literacy, 54(1) (September 2010), 61-63.

Steinkuehler (2015) described a novel approach to studying the effect of video games on students and concluded that video games are “important literary practices” (63), much to the disagreement of parents and teachers who see video games as distasteful distractions.  Period.  Quite by accident, during her afterschool lab time created to study boys and gaming and the disconnect from school, Steinkuehler met “Julio.” Through that acquaintance, she learned that when a boy is allowed “to choose what to read, he [may] read four grades above his diagnosed reading level, not three grades below,” as was happening to Julio in his English class.  His English teacher decided he was troubling for her and sent him for testing in special education.  Steinkuehler concluded that the English classroom had become a female domain and that students were being forced to love only what the teacher loved —  a demand that Julio and others like him were not going to meet.

Even though the article offered no compromise with parents, teachers and especially English teachers, the point was well made that boys, in particular, may do well in school only when they have choice in their content.  Technology that could be used to engage boys and hopefully open the way to academic development should be encouraged.  Studies that highlighted just such a practice would be supportive of the stance taken in this article.

As an English teacher, I stand guilty as charged (by Steinkuehler, anyway).  I have given very few choices to students as to what they would prefer to read, considering that an option for their spare time.  The classroom curriculum was outlined for me and I complied.  I did not include video games or other more creative technology to engage disinterested boys, for example.  Looking back, I wish I had.  There were more unengaged boys in my classes than otherwise.  I knew they weren’t reading, and their grades reflected their choices.  The opportunity to reach them is lost now, but I can encourage my teacher candidates to be more open to how technology (namely video games, for the sake of this discussion) could enhance their future classroom curricula.

Let’s Not (Use Social Media in School)

Yeo, M. L. (2014). Social Media and Social Networking Applications for Teaching and

Learning.  European Journal Of Science And Mathematics Education, 2(1), 53-62.

Yeo (2014) attempted to persuade the reader that using Facebook and YouTube videos for learning has benefits such as the ability to create and share videos, social networking, peer feedback, and reflective thinking.  Because using these two forms of social media is popular, and because it supports constructivist theory, Yeo supports including the technologies into a regular face-to-face classroom.  “The necessity of face-to-face-lessons for communication and for the facilitation of academic and formal learning” (Yeo, 2014, p. 53) exists, but “it is no longer sufficient” (p. 53).  It is unfortunate that Yeo (2014) is so convinced of this inclusion, because students themselves do not want Facebook and YouTube to be used for formal, academic endeavors planned by the school.  As shared in the article, they want to be able to use these tools informally (Yeo, 2014).

This frustrating article never did change the tone or purpose, in spite of evidence from student quotations that yes, it is interesting to be in contact with a professor through Facebook, but they would rather just use their social media for informal interactions.  The students enjoyed learning from Facebook and YouTube, but they felt that the distractions inherent in those tools make the tools inappropriate for formal academic learning.

I enjoyed the topic because I have a teen who uses these tools for exactly that.  I have not seen her school try to incorporate these exact tools into any lessons. I have seen schools incorporate Twitter and that seemed adequate for brief discussions on a topic.  There aren’t any tools from social media that I would seek to research.  I think that just because something supports constructivist theory, it should not necessarily become part of the curriculum.  Perhaps research will continue to offer directives.

Using Peer Feedback

Ertmer, P. A., Richardson, J. C., Belland, B., Camin, D., Connolly, P., Coulthard, G., Lei, K., &

Mong, C. (2007).  Using peer feedback to enhance the quality of student online postings:

An exploratory study.  Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12, 412-433.

International Communication Association.

In this case study, which focused on peer feedback, authors Ertmer et al. (2007) considered the effect of peer feedback on the quality of students’ postings.  The proposal was that peer feedback would positively affect the depth of responses and discussion replies to posted questions for the 15 graduate students in an online technology integration course.  Using Bloom’s taxonomy as a guide for evaluating the responses, peers gave scores to each other, which were part of the grade the students would receive.  The effect was suggested to be threefold:  faster response time, greater appreciation for peer feedback, and higher-order cognitive involvement as they responded to peers.  Through various surveys and interviews, data was collected and evaluated for trends.  Unfortunately, the results were not significant.  There was not an increase in the quality of responses given by students, though the quality did not decrease.  Through the open-ended survey questions, it became clear that students did value what their peers said, though they consistently valued the professor responses more.  Students did not like having to give a point value to their peers since grades were depending on these evaluations.  Overall, the students felt that as they were evaluating their peers, the process served to challenge them cognitively and be of benefit to their own analytical skills.

A thorough approach, this case study began with a valuable and clearly-written literature review that established that student discussion was extremely valuable in the learning process.  Peer feedback supported that goal, but had not been studied in the online setting sufficiently.  The study included many protocols to ensure quality of research such as a variety of surveys and interviews, instructor review of peer evaluations, training on the scoring rubric, knowledge of Bloom’s taxonomy, modeling of quality responses, anonymity of responses from peers, and precaution to ensure that scores were not influenced by the timing of the posts. As mentioned, though, results were not statistically significant to advance the research questions, though the interview responses did support the value of peer feedback overall.

While it is established in the cited references that feedback is valuable to students, it is not specified that peer feedback in included in that cycle.  No studies were cited that offer statistical support for the use of peer feedback in any setting.  There were no studies cited for using peer feedback positively in online courses, either.  As a K-12 teacher in Language Arts, I believe I understand how that can be.  Peer feedback in a high school writing course, for example, is not the same as teacher feedback on that level.  While some young writers are more skilled and can offer some quality feedback, they cannot offer consistent, quality feedback to all the students in their classes–that is the job of the teacher.  Students distrust peer feedback for good reason.  The logic and thinking skills of peers may or may not be sufficient to offer quality feedback.  The editing preferences or understanding of one student may be sketchy at best, so how can he or she correct a peer?  That said, I think there would be a way to study the effect of peer feedback in higher education courses, but I would let peer feedback be feedback and not grading!

New Literacies for Digital Citizenship (Week 10)

Simsek, E., & Simsek, A. (2013). New Literacies for Digital Citizenship. Online Submission

Seeking to contrast old definitions of citizenship (and how technology did not guide it) with new definitions of citizenship (and how new forms of technology definitely play a significant role), authors Simsek and Simsek (2013) began by exploring various theories of technology in civic society.  The theory of autonomous technology claims that technology “evolves in its own course, regardless of outside factors….Technological determinism defends the idea that technological development itself has created social changes because technology has such a revolutionary power” (Simsek & Simsek, 2013, p. 127).  The political selection approach claims that “technology has been determined by political forces and capitalist needs” (Simsek & Simsek, 2013, p. 127).  A final emphasis, called the critical approach, is fully negative toward technology and society, positing that “technology hides reality by mass communication devices” (Simsek & Simsek, 2013, p. 128).

After this discussion, the authors explored the various literacies of modern culture– information literacy, computer literacy, media literacy, communication literacy, visual literacy, and technology literacy–stating that it is the civic duty of all in the modern day to manage all of these well and to participate in citizenship responsibilities that use all the modes of modern  technology.  Further, they expect that “in the new world of virtual technologies, digital citizens are expected to combine cognitive, affective, psycho-social, and technological skills.  The interaction of all of these skills produces an ideal digital citizen for the 21st century” (Simsek & Simsek, 2013, p. 131).  They admit, however, that having the technology will not guarantee participation and that “there is not an ideal world in which new media and democracy interact” (Simsek & Simsek, 2013, p. 134).

Authors Simsek and Simsek researched extensively to write this article, summarizing various other authors’ descriptions of the digital citizenship opportunities apparent in the 21st century.  The several paragraphs that explain the various positions move quickly with brief descriptions and little interpretation or evaluation.  The idealist tone of the article surrounded the idea that responsible people must use technology well to participate in a global digital community and promote democracy through the new modes of technology available.  The enthusiasm of the authors culminated with the comment that “digital citizenship could create a more transparent, connected, and participatory democratic environment via its interactive, non-hierarchical, user friendly nature” (Simsek & Simsek, 2013, p. 132).

I expected the article to focus on the new technologies primarily, and upon citizenship secondarily.  Such was not the case.  There were two lists of tech options new to modern citizens and many paragraphs of theories and conceptual frameworks from those in the conversation.  The political tone was not motivating for this reader.  A follow-up article could certainly approach the topic from a more technological paradigm.