Video Coaching in Rural Teacher Preparation: Pilot Project

Last Updated: 06/13/2013

Project Details: Project entails teacher coaching in rural Colorado serving approximately 30 educators in a large rural mountain school district. Project piloted the use of video coaching with one master teacher and one classroom teacher in an elementary school. Purpose of the pilot was test out equipment, identify potential issues with the video coaching, and engage in a simulated coaching session sufficient to test the entire process and make recommendations for more wide-spread use with all the educators in the project.

Scope: Deliver more frequent coaching to teachers in a professional development research project; Engage participants in more meaningful self-examination; Provide more effective one-one coaching to improve teaching of English language learners in grades K-3.

Description of new technology: I used two types of technology in my work in the mountain region of Colorado as a result of participation in this Seminar. The uses of the technology are:

Step 1. Video-Coaching Recording Equipment – This equipment will allow for more thorough and comprehensive classroom coaching sessions with teachers in the program. This technology will reduce travel expenses and time thereby increasng the number as well as quality of coaching.

Step 2. Google+Hangout – This technology will upgrade our coaching significantly by allowing both the coach and the teacher to review the video-recorded teaching activity simultaneously. It also allows for starting and stopping the video to identify teaching practices and the extent to which Action Plan items have been implemented in the video-recorded teaching session. Additionally, this technology allows for up to 10 individuals to participate in the same video-coaching session.

Logistical Details: This technology will be used by both coaches and the teachers in the schools and include video cameras and microphones and Google+Hangout technology. The rural county school district and School of Education staff will use the video coaching. Once piloted, the video coaching will be implemented to occur once per semester for each teacher in the project.

Method: A project colleague (e.g., grade level master teacher team member) assisted with the piloting of the video recording in the rural county classrooms. Two video sessions were conducted in the pilot with each video session including a recording of a complete activity or lesson. One was a small group and the other a large group activity. The video was shared with the coach and both the teacher and coach initially reviewed the video independently. Video was uploaded into Google+Hangout and reviewed together via distance debriefing, after the coach and the teacher had the opportunity to review the video individually. The coach summarizes the discussions and comments documented during the joint review of the video and shares with the teacher. Upon review of the video, an Action Plan detailing one or two suggestions for improved teaching will be generated for inclusion in the next coaching session and teaching video activity. While action items were not generated during the pilot, the implementation of this aspect of the process was discussed and will be included in the full implementation beginning in the Fall, 2013.

Assessment: Two objectives were measured in this project:
1. Purchase and deliver video equipment to the targeted schools
2. Develop and pilot a process for incorporating video coaching into the overall coaching plan for the research project.

Evidence: The following evidence was gathered to determine completion of the objectives:
1. Documentation of the purchase of the video equipment and delivery to the schools
2. Copy of the piloted video uploaded into a project file for use in video coaching

Results
The video equipment was purchased and delivered to the targeted schools during the Spring, 2013 semester. The master teacher completed two videos as part of this project. The first recorded a small group instructional situation, and the second recorded a whole class lesson. Both videos were successfully uploaded into the project e-file in a manner that was password protected and secure from unwanted distribution. Subsequently, project staff engaged in a simulated video coaching process using Google+Hangout. The video was successfully uploaded into Google+Hangout and a group of four people participated in the hangout discussion.

Recommendations
Given that this was a pilot project, the primary purpose was to explore the process, test the video equipment, engage in the Google+Hangout and generate recommendations for scaling up to begin in the Fall of 2013. The following recommendations are suggested as a result of the pilot:

1. Each educator requires brief training in the use of both the video equipment and the process to log on to a google+hangout;

2. Each educator should initially record a small group session of approximately 15 minutes prior to longer recordings to become familiar with process, equipment and potential issues that may arise (e.g., proper positioning of the camera, sound checks, on-off malfunctions, etc.);

3. Although not essential, if possible, a second person should be available to assist with the video equipment during the recordings;

4. Sufficient time should be allotted for completion of the google+hangout video coaching session, since the session may last longer than anticipated (i.e., in our trial runs the sessions extended several minutes beyond anticipated timeframe); and,

5. The use of a simple form to document action items to strengthen the teaching seen in the video should occur.

Summary
The pilot project was a success in helping both the project staff and the educators in the rural district become familiar with video coaching as an integral component of the overall coaching process to improve teaching and learning. Next step in this process is to assist the other educators in the project with the video equipment, Google+Hangout, and procedures for uploading the recordings into the project folder for use in the video-coaching. A schedule to implement these steps is currently being developed and will be ready for full implementation in the schools by the beginning of the Fall, 2013 school year.