Classroom observations can be a stressful experience for everyone involved, not to mention the work that goes into planning and comparing schedules. Even when everything goes smoothly, it can be difficult to get a realistic view of the class dynamic, as adding in another person to the mix changes student and teacher behavior significantly.
Using video for observations reduces the logistical complications, and provides a more accurate window into the class atmosphere. Recording classroom observations with Swivl also puts the power in the hands of the teacher to choose which lesson to record and which videos to share. As Harvard’s Best Foot Forward project found, teachers who use video for observation tend to feel more supported by their administrators, and feel they receive more valuable feedback.
Swivl for Observations and Feedback
Whether you’re capturing a video using a Swivl robot with a mobile device, or just using the Swivl app as a stand-alone to record, you can record exactly the lesson you want to submit for observation, and do so with minimal disruption to your class.
Recording Your Lesson
The first step toward filming your video for observation will be to download the Swivl App and sign up for a free Swivl account. To take full advantage of the capture system, you’ll need access to a Swivl robot, too (but you can also record video on the Swivl app without one).
One of the benefits of the Swivl app is that it allows you to set up your mobile device with a Swivl robot. Once you’ve verified your setup status, you can begin capturing your lesson on video. The Swivl robot’s markers not only guide the robot to follow you as you move about the classroom, but they also capture high quality audio, allowing you to hear your and your students’ interactions clearly.
Once you are done recording your lesson, you will need to upload the video to your Swivl account (this can be done manually or automatically).
Share Your Videos
Swivl is both FERPA and COPPA compliant, and allows you to privately share your videos with colleagues and administrators straight from the cloud. Every video, however, starts off private by default when it is first uploaded to your Swivl account. Only videos you choose to share will be visible to others, and you select exactly who receives access to them.
By choosing to Share via Email, you select certain individuals and grant them access to view your video. If you are working with both an administrator and peer coaches or evaluators, you can send the same video to all of them by copying and pasting their email addresses. The advantage of this method of sharing is that they must log into their Swivl accounts in order to see your video, and it is impossible for anyone but you to give access.
Receive and Respond to Contextualized Feedback
Once you have shared your video with the administrators or colleagues who will be conducting the observation, they can log in and leave you feedback right on your video in the form of time-stamped comments. The time-stamp associates the comment to a particular moment in the video, and each comment is clickable, so you can jump right to that moment. This allows your coaches and evaluators to tie their feedback to concrete in-class interactions that can be revisited. They can also choose to leave their feedback privately so that only you can see it. You can also respond to this feedback in the comments section, starting a dialogue on the video.
Including Rubric Items Using Comment Categories
By setting up a Swivl Team, overseen by an Admin user, you can increase the value of using time-stamped comments for feedback by setting up a bank of comment categories available to all of your Team members. By populating this tool with rubric items from your instructional coaching or feedback rubric, you can tie feedback directly to the rubric used for evaluation, giving more context and structure to the feedback you leave.
As a teacher, once you have received feedback with categories attached, you can filter all of the comments in a particular video to see what your administrator had to say about a particular item (“Planning and Preparation”, for example) throughout the lesson. You can also filter your Library by comment category to see what feedback you received about that item over time, and you can filter the My Feed section to see examples from your colleagues.