Teacher Education

The ‘Next Normal’ for Video Observation in Teacher Prep

A webinar featuring Dr. Julie Gainsburg from California State University, Northridge and Dr. Jacqueline Rodriguez from AACTE

Dr. Julie Gainsburg, Chair of the Department of Secondary Education for California State University, Northridge, along with Dr. Jacqueline Rodriguez, AACTE Vice President for Research, Policy, & Advocacy, discuss the role of video assessment in post-COVID teacher preparation.

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Hillary Gamblin:

Hello, thank you for joining today’s discussion about using video observation to navigate the next COVID normal. I know we come through quite a few phases, and we’re going to the next one as some of us are vaccinated, some of us are not. So we’re trying to figure out how are we going to do the next two semesters. We’re going to be discussing that today.

Hillary Gamblin:

My name is Hillary Gamblin. I’m a GoReact employee, and the host of the Teacher Education Podcast. Today is our first workshop collaboration with AACTE. GoReact and AACTE recently announced a partnership, and there’s a link in the chat for details if this is news for you and you want to learn more. But what’s exciting for me with this partnership is that it has allowed us to present two unique perspectives for our workshop today. First, we have a guest that is on the ground in a teacher prep program, hustling through the next transition phase, and that’s Dr. Julie Gainsburg. Julie, do you want to introduce yourself?

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

Sure. Thank you. Hi, everybody. My name is Julie Gainsburg. I am the chair of the Department of Secondary Education at California State University, Northridge, which is located in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. We’re a large program. Our department alone credentials 200 to 300 middle and high school teachers every year in 10 different subjects. And we have about 60 supervisors working right now, a mix of tenure line and adjunct faculty, and all of them have been doing video observations for the past three years.

Hillary Gamblin:

Fantastic. And our next guest is also trying to puzzle through this transition phase, but she has a different lens, and that’s Jackie. Do you want to introduce yourself?

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

I’d be happy to. Thanks, Hillary. I’m excited to be here with you all and Julie. I’m Jackie Rodriguez. I’m the vice president of Research, Policy and Advocacy at the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. And as Hillary mentioned earlier, AACTE is very excited to be in partnership with GoReact to bring the system to our member institutions of which Cal State Northridge is one of them.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

For those of you who don’t know much about AACTE, we are a membership association. And of our membership, we prepare educators for our PK-12 system of education. And so our mission, truly, is to advance education and the preparation programs through research, professional, practice, advocacy and collaboration. So we’re excited to speak to you a bit more about post COVID normal.

Hillary Gamblin:

Thank you for both of you for joining us. I’m thrilled to have the two of you, because I think between you two, we can not represent a micro and a macro perspective of the upcoming transition these next few semesters. And I think that’d be really beneficial for our audience.

Hillary Gamblin:

But before we start, let me outline how we structured these virtual events. For the first 30 minutes, I’m going to discuss with Julie and Jackie their concerns and ideas about using video during this next normal phase. After interviewing Julie and Jackie, we’re going to do a live Q&A, and it’s going to be for about 10 to 15 minutes. If you’d like to submit a question for the Q&A, there is a tab just below the video feed. And if you see a question that you really want answered that someone else has asked, there’s a wonderful upvote feature, so you can vote for questions. And then don’t forget the chat feature, which is on the right side of the video feed. This is where attendees can discuss ideas, share contact information so they can connect after the workshop. A lot happens there so don’t miss out.

Hillary Gamblin:

And then finally, next to the Ask a question is a polling feature, and we will be using that a few times today. In fact, we’re going to be using the polling and chat feature a lot today because we want this to be a collaborative experience. We’re going to be discussing a lot of hard questions. And our lovely guests, as smart, and as decorated, and as experienced as they are, may not have all the answers that work for your particular program. So to consolidate our knowledge out there, we are hoping that our participants today can share their own ideas and solutions through our polling and chat features. And if we’re successful, we hope that you will leave this workshop with at least one tangible or tactile idea or strategy for using video to help you navigate the next few difficult semesters.

Hillary Gamblin:

Now that we’ve covered the technical details and outlined our goals for the workshop, let’s get started. Now, as I mentioned earlier, prospects in the next few semesters is daunting. We’re in this COVID limbo as I like to call it. I think many of us are realizing that we will never fully return to what we considered the norm a year and a half ago. And while that can be stressful to not return to that comfortable space, during our brainstorming session for this workshop, Jackie had this inspiring paradigm to view the next few semesters.

Hillary Gamblin:

Jackie, COVID highlighted how our previous approach to education wasn’t working for every student. How can we see these next few semesters as an opportunity to use technology to build better?

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

Yeah. I really want to harp on that fact that even though our old normal was comfortable, it didn’t actually meet the need of every student in our classroom. And so we have this amazing opportunity. I keep hearing from sister organizations, policy makers, friends, families, teachers, principals, that this is the opportunity that we want to take advantage of right now to consider what the new expectations should be for not just our Schools of Ed but also our PK-12 system, and what can we be doing to leverage what we learned during COVID to enhance that next chapter.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

I know in the takeaway section on the slide, I’ve identified a few of the areas in which video observation has really helped to move the field forward pre COVID, but also during COVID. And I think those same takeaways will adhere to the next phase of what our system will look like. But the question is really broader than that, right? The question isn’t simply around what a platform for video observation can provide, but also how does technology enhance what we now know about how to teach students? We know so much, and we do know what good teaching looks like. So how do we leverage technology to make sure that good teaching reaches every single kid and also elevates every single kid?

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

So there are a variety of ways in which we’ve seen member institutions prepare educators, teacher educators, counselors, educators, school psychologists, kinesiologists, the like, to really support how those educators are showing up in schools and practicing their craft in becoming profession ready. So one is obviously through the video observation. We want to make sure that there is an intentionality around deep reflection that a candidate who is being prepared for a school knows in their program that deep reflection is actually a part of the profession. And that as you enter the profession and become better, you consistently become a deeper reflector. So the manner in which we can have reflection by the candidate or the in-service teacher and also the supervisor, as well as any of the colleagues, if we do like a fishbowl activity where colleagues can review a candidate’s video and provide feedback, it becomes less daunting of a request when you’re in the classroom or you’ve become an administrator and you’re asking for professional feedback in that environment.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

So I think it’s great. The video observation has been elevated because of COVID and the need to continue practicing our craft while also doing it at a safe distance and an environment where all the students are accessing it. I think we’ve also seen some pretty amazing optic in simulation. AACTE is also working with some simulation on companies to elevate the fact that, “Yes, we want you to practice in a face-to-face environment, but there are opportunities to supplement that practice as well in simulation.” And so, to consider what can you approximate in a simulation that will elevate your teaching practices, the strategies, and evidence-based work that you’re working on, as well as the rapport building in the culture of your classroom.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

I think the bottom line here is that we’ve all talked about different aspects of teaching as add-ons and addendums to the work. And what we’re seeing, either starting with COVID or even just percolating through it is that technology, the fact that we’re looking at equity and the concept that everybody needs personalized instruction, those are all not add-ons. Those are embedded features. So if we can really elevate and leverage the technology that we’ve all been using to elevate other students in their thinking, then that’s what the new normal is going to look like.

Hillary Gamblin:

It sounds like a brilliant new normal. I hope we get there. Using technology to build better is the goal. Some of those have already discovered some of the positives of using video for the teacher preparation program before or during COVID. Julie, what have been the benefits that you found with video observation in your program?

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

Sure. The first one’s probably obvious to anyone who’s used video observation. The self reflection that the candidate could do, particularly self-reflection that’s grounded in evidence, and evidence that both the candidate and the supervisor can see. I mean, the classic is the supervisor says five times, “You’re doing this. You’re doing this. You’re doing this. You’re doing this.” And the candidate just doesn’t realize it, and then finally the candidate watches the video and says, “Oh.” And we’ve had those moments over and over.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

The video also gives you the opportunity to really pinpoint specific moves for reflection. Obviously during the pandemic, video observation became the only way that we could supervise. So it made it possible for our program to continue and allow our students to progress.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

It’s also made possible taking interns in remote locations. In California, and I’m sure there’s something similar in most states, kind of replaced the emergency permit where a non-credentialed teacher can teach full-time as long as they’re simultaneously in a credential program and then they don’t do student teaching, we just supervise them in the workplace. So while we try and play student teachers close to Cal State, Northridge, there are often schools that are pretty far away from us that need intern teachers to fill their classrooms. They’re not very close to a teacher prep program, so we try and accommodate those but sometimes they’re 50, 60 miles away. And so, video observation makes it possible for us to help those schools out by taking those interns. And so going forward, we’re realizing this may be a way to help even more schools. And we’re now getting a few candidates coming in from carceral settings. They’re teaching in the juvenile hall or something where we cannot send a supervisor. So it may be possible to support those institutions as well.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

Another obvious, I mean, it saves our supervisor’s time and reduces the stress… I mean, we’re in Los Angeles for goodness sakes. Driving is horrid. It’s really horrid. And so, supervisors have suddenly been enjoying not having to get out there in the car. Also for a variety of reasons. Our candidate pool just burgeoned in the pandemic, and we found ourselves short of supervisors. We’re realizing that with video observation, first of all, supervisors are willing to take on more candidates because of the time they save driving. And we don’t have to worry about their geography. So we have more flexibility in where we can send supervisors. So we managed to get through this bulge of student teachers with our supervisor pool in a way that I don’t think we would have been able to get through if they had to get in their cars and drive.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

And then finally, we have a teacher performance assessment requirement in California. Our campus does the edTPA. And so, using video observations gives our candidates some practice analyzing themselves on video, which they have to do for the edTPA.

Hillary Gamblin:

Those are a lot of benefits. I’m sure our participants are trying to assess out how much virtual or in-person observations is ideal for the coming semesters. Because as you said before, we could only do virtual, right? And so now we’re starting to see some of the options come through that we can do it in-person.

Hillary Gamblin:

If any participants have solutions that they’ve come up with as they’ve been trying to balance this, please share those in the chat. My coworkers are behind the scenes, and we’ll pass those ideas from the chat to us so we can discuss them in real time with our two guests.

Hillary Gamblin:

And while our participants are maybe giving their ideas in the chat, Julie, what are the issues you’re considering as you’re trying to find the right balance between in-person and video observations?

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

Yeah. And I’d love to see the solutions that our participants come up with because we are struggling with this right now. And in fact, we were struggling with this before the pandemic, because we had started using video observations two years before the pandemic. Just a little context. In our program, students do two semesters of student teaching. In the first semester, they get a minimum of four visits from the supervisor. And then the second semester they get a minimum of six visits from the supervisor. So what we had decided before the pandemic, when we were just really starting, was that we would require at least one video observation a semester, because we thought every candidate should have that experience at least once a semester. And then we would allow supervisors to do up to half of their visits by video.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

So this was sort of our half-baked way of striking a balance between the many supervisors who really need to be pushed to do this, and then the few supervisors who we were afraid would be tempted to never get in their car again and do everything by video. So that was kind of our random… That’s what we were doing before the pandemic hit. Then of course, this year it’s been all video. Or I should say it’s been all virtual because there have been times, at least in the beginning, where we couldn’t even use video. And so our students were just preparing packets of materials.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

So now that we’ve had this experience, of course the vast majority of the supervisors are seeing the benefits of video observation. I don’t think we’re going back to where we were, but now we are exactly in that dilemma. “How many? Can you do them all? Is there going to be a limit?” So we don’t know that answer, but I will share some of the trade-offs that we’re seeing.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

In-person observations and video observations definitely reveal different aspects of the classroom and of teaching. And our supervisors have said, with the video, it’s harder to get the gestalt of the classroom. It’s also sometimes hard to see what the kid in the back is doing. On the other hand, the video allows you to really pinpoint, as I said before. The in-person visits, it makes it easier for the supervisor who was the representative of the university to make a connection with the [inaudible 00:15:42] teacher and other people in the school. So that’s something we’re concerned about. If they never set foot in the school, how do we develop the relationships between our personnel and the school personnel? Of course, video observations ease the driving, the parking, the checking in burden.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

The video observations do place some burden on the candidate. That’s how we do it at CSUN. We put it all on the candidate. The candidate has to set up the shoot, has to figure out what device to use. Then they have to upload the video. It’s not a terrible burden, but it’s something while they’re also managing teaching and they’re just a brand new teacher. So there’s a lot to juggle.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

We found that video observations actually in some ways take more time. So they save you on driving, but the actual process of observation can take more time. If you’re watching a class live, if it’s a 50-minute class, it’s only going to take 50 minutes. And whatever notes you’re taking are going to happen within that 50 minutes. With the video observation, when you start typing a note, the video stops. And for supervisors who’ve type a lot of notes, that 50-minute observation could become a two hour observation. And then if you’re going to add more time, or maybe the candidate is typing comments and then the supervisors coming back with more comments, it actually becomes a longer experience. We are now talking about experimenting with shorter clips. We’re thinking maybe the video observation doesn’t have to be the full 50 minutes. Maybe a good 15 or 20 minutes with the kind of rich reflection and conversation you can have over that is enough. So that’s something that we’re considering as well.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

And then finally, there is an equity issue here. Our conversations so far have centered on supervisor preference and geography and not what the candidate wants. And so, right now, candidate doesn’t really have a say. If the supervisor wants to do a lot of video observations, then the candidate is sort of obligated to shoot the video and upload the video. I think going forward, we’re going to have to take candidate voice into account as well, because I think they may have a preference as well.

Hillary Gamblin:

So from what we’re seeing in the chat, it sounds like a lot of people are coming up with similar solutions. A lot of people are doing a hybrid approach. Some are splitting in the middle, half and half, 50/50. And then it says some of them are actually handling it by a case by case basis. So maybe like the example that you used, the people that are 60 miles out that are teaching full-time, like, you only can do video.

Hillary Gamblin:

But it sounds like the people in chat are also bringing up a really good point that I was going to bring up. That you can still video when you were there in person. And it sounds like that is what people are doing a lot. They’re recording the sessions regardless if they’re there in person or virtual and they always have the video there as a reference point. So I think that’s a good thing to keep in mind too. It doesn’t have to be either/or in some cases. You can have both, which can actually be added benefit.

Hillary Gamblin:

As we discuss the ideal balance between in-person and virtual observations, the next question is policy and implementation. Jackie, from your experience working in policy, what are the pros, the cons, or pieces of advice that you would give to programs that are trying to standardize the use of technology through policy?

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

Thanks for the question. I think it’s a really important one, because you may not have the decision-making opportunities within the local context. You may actually have to lean in to the policy side of the House to determine whether the institution is the key lever, or even if your local level state government is the key lever. And in many cases, I think as you’ll see in the slide, we’re bringing up the state policy tracking map, as well as some work that we’re doing on the advocacy side. In many cases, policy has driven much of the opportunities that are present with technology. And so, what you’re noticing here is that AACTE has actually created a very, I would say, comprehensive and also fluent and easy to navigate map on our website as well as an infographic and report around state policy.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

What we identified during COVID is that because of the school closings and/or the different structure, virtual environment versus distance learning versus in-person learning, those environments created either opportunities and perhaps some challenges to putting candidates in classrooms with students. So the state policy tracking map we’ll identify for you, if you roll over the state, the different policies that were put in place and some that actually sustained through COVID around teacher licensure, teacher certification, clinical experiences, and candidate observation hours, as well as policies around the use of technology. And that’s mostly because we were recognizing that states were just like teachers trying to adhere to best practices while also attending to the needs of the school as well as the university. And there’s a balance, right?

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

Julie mentioned just now about equity. There’s got to be some equanimity around how you are facilitating the technology but also considering the concerns that people have around that technology. So I would suggest that folks take a look at that rollover map to look at what the new policies are and the trends in your area. As well as if you’re at the table, we’d like to say you’re the advocate, you’re the best educator advocate. You can take this infographic and report and identify the areas in which you think those practices can be lifted up either to your provost or perhaps even to your local state level governance.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

And the, I think, concern has typically been that there are privacy issues with regard to video observation. And CIDS have adjusted those concerns looking at balance with the need to ensure that candidates are in classrooms, and teachers are able to teach students from home. And so I think COVID actually opened up a conversation that had previously perhaps been closed to some degree around how to ensure that privacy is a consideration and how to ensure that if somebody needs to do remote work or virtual learning, either they’re sick or they’re caregiving or the facilities aren’t available, how can you ensure that’s actually happening so that you can provide a free and appropriate public ed for all?

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

I think state legislatures took the, I’ll call it an opportunity and/or the liberty to say, “You know what? Some of these conversations have been put on pause in the past. Let’s open the backup for at least some debate, and let’s see what we can do in a pilot. What will it look like if we allowed some of this to happen or not to happen?” And so states took that. And really, I think because of COVID, we’re seeing more opportunities to leverage technology to address student learning.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

In a future slide we’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons with regard to video observation, and how you at your local level, if you’re a teacher or a faculty member or even a school administrator, can be advocating for the opportunities that are presented with video observation and how to address those concerns around privacy. But I’ll press pause there, and we can get to that a little bit later.

Hillary Gamblin:

Yeah. We are going to talk about that a little bit later because it always comes up when we talk about video observation, the privacy issue. But another issue that comes up a lot is getting buy-in from those using new technology. And that’s really important and extremely difficult sometimes.

Hillary Gamblin:

So I want to take a quick poll here. Just to remind you the polling feature is next to the Ask a question button. And the question is, in your Teacher Ed Program, which group resists adopting new technology the most? Is it student teachers? Mentors? University supervisors? Other faculty? Or campus administrators? We’re going to give you a minute to answer that, and we’ll see who’s causing the most friction when it comes to adopting new technology.

Hillary Gamblin:

Okay. So it looks like supervisors and admins is the answer that we’re getting. Julie, have you had similar experiences with this poll results? And if so, what techniques have you discovered to help get these groups on board and excited about new technology? Especially supervisors and admins.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

Well, I actually can’t see the poll results, but supervisors would be consistent. I think the slide that’s going up talks about supervisors, but let me run through the other groups first, but we really didn’t have much pushback. So first of all, department faculty, they were the ones who pressed me on this. So the move for this came from department faculty. Some of whom have been saying for years, “We really need to do video observations for a variety of reasons.” So they finally pushed me.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

Candidates were already doing video because of the edTPA, so it wasn’t such a big jump for them. I will say that when we started with the edTPA, it was just so much more difficult. They were signing out cameras from the libraries and cards and whatever they had to record on. And now, a plug for GoReact, I mean, it’s just an app on their phone. The technology is just so much less of an issue right now. So candidates are really fine. They we’re doing it anyway.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

Schools, in our case, weren’t that big an issue. We were lucky. Because of the edTPA, again, state has been very clear with our K-12 schools. If you’re going to take a student teacher, you’re going to have to allow video. It’s just state policy. And in a time of teacher shortage, most schools still really need student teachers. They want student teachers. So we haven’t really had a big problem with schools. [inaudible 00:26:13] of course, we have a consent form and we just continue to use that. We were also very careful not to place responsibility on the mentor teacher or the cooperating teacher. As I said before, we put the onus on the candidate to do the shooting and the uploading. So for the mentor, it’s not really a physical burden.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

Supervisors were really the main buy-in concern for us. This was a big change for them. As it’s probably the case at many universities, many of the supervisors are retired teachers or administrators. And so they are older. They are not tech natives, and some of them are really technophobic. I really felt it was my job as department chair to make this as seamless as possible for the supervisor. So a few things that I did. One is I just took on the burden of… I set up as much as I could for them. I set up all of the courses in GoReact every semester, which by the way, once you get on a roll, we’re talking about 15 seconds per course. I mean, it may sound like a lot for 60 supervisors. It really isn’t. But rather than have them try and figure out how to do it, I just do it for them so their course appears.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

And then our student teachers are in student teaching seminars. And so that’s where we sort of locate the policies and the rules and how to do this. We put the links for GoReact on their seminar course page. So the seminar instructors can really handle all of that. So the supervisors don’t have to teach students anything. We have in-person hands-on training. Well, at least in person before pandemic. When we started this, we made sure we made time, get everybody sit down. “Here’s how you do this.” Also, I have very clear written instructions and policies. Again, as I said, we have the candidates do all the shooting and uploading. So I mean, all the supervisor does is they log in and there’s the video and they click on the video and boom. None of our supervisors had any trouble. Once they got in, it was obvious. The biggest problem they have is remembering their password. Literally, that is the only time that they have trouble with this. So we’ve just made this as easy and streamlined as we could for the supervisor.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

And then we made it a requirement as I said. We said everyone’s going to do this. It’s going to be at least one a semester for candidate. It was the same for everybody. This is the requirement. This is expected. But then we also devote lots of workshop time to it. So we need our supervisors for workshop every semester. And they said, “Okay. This is the big new thing. So let’s devote time to this and not just time for how to do this,” because as I said, the how wasn’t that difficult, but then to brainstorm, like, “What are really great ways to do this? What does this tool afford us? What have you tried?” So those are the things that… I mean, our timing was amazing. We have this in place for when the pandemic hit. I just feel [inaudible 00:29:31]. I mean, I’m so, so happy that we laid that groundwork. So then when we couldn’t go into the school, it was like, “Well, okay, fine. We’ll just go to video.” And everybody knew how to do it.

Hillary Gamblin:

I like the idea of having the students be in charge of all the tech of setting up the camera and stuff like that, because it makes sense because most of your students are probably the most tech savvy people there, and your supervisors are the least tech savvy. So maybe split those roles up. That makes a lot of sense. I like that a lot.

Hillary Gamblin:

And then finally, we wanted to dedicate some time to an issue that we’ve already kind of touched on that crops up a lot with our workshops when we discuss video observation, and we’re going to do a quick poll. It’s a yes or no poll to kind of figure out where everybody is on this topic. It is, do you struggle with getting permission to record your teacher candidates in the classroom? Yes or no? And we know this is going to vary widely, mostly on states, so where you’re sitting in. But we want to see where our audience is and if they’re having problems or not with that. So we’ll wait for you to answer that.

Hillary Gamblin:

Mostly yes. So most of our people here are struggling to get permission to record their teacher candidates in the classroom. To those that are participating live, if you have these struggles and you’ve used strategies that have been successful with this issue, please share those in the chat.

Hillary Gamblin:

And while you’re sharing those in the chat, I’m going to pick Jackie’s brain a little bit on this. I’d love your perspective on this topic. If video observation is one of those key technologies to building better, what policy routes can programs take to make it easier for our teacher candidates to record their classroom?

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

I want to highlight something that Julie said earlier because she really hit the nail on the head with regard to what policy routes can support video observation. And that’s that… For example, in the state of California, if you are requiring for teacher licensure, a portfolio that includes video and video observation modeling, and some feedback loop, then the districts in the state in which they receive candidates would also need to require and allow for video observation.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

And so, when you have a state agency that puts the value of any observation front and center, either through state certification or through state licensure requirements, the states, either EPPs and/or districts, are typically recognizing the need. And Julie hit on something, in addition to the fact that the state level is percolating, but also the fact that there’s a teacher shortage, if a district really wants to support the candidates in that classroom and they are looking to identify ways in which they can do some team teaching, co-teaching, inclusive teaching, if they want to be doing small group and center work, if they want to do project based learning, it’s a great opportunity to have a candidate come in and be supervised in all of those various teaching models. And so if you want that candidate coming in and you recognize that licensure and certification is attached to the video observation, then we find typically that districts fall in line with allowing and providing permission for those candidates to come in.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

Now, in many states across the country, certification isn’t required through… Or excuse me. You aren’t required to have video observation through like an edTPA or a state level licensure exam. And so, in those states, what we suggest honestly, is that you have your EPP, your Dean, the person managing the clinical experiences, or the person who has the best connection to the district superintendent’s office, start a conversation there. Because what we’ve found is that the relationships that our member institutions have with our district counterparts is typically the entryway into the conversation, but typically also tells us how that decision making is going to happen. And so, if you’re at the table and you’re communicating the needs and the interests of your candidates to the district, but you’re aligning that with the district’s needs, perhaps in the shortage areas they have or in the areas of concern that they have, then I think the conversation flows of it nicely.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

On the slide, what you’re noting here is something actually the participants of this webinar can take with them. Harvard has come up with a letter that has creative comments licensure, which means that somebody can use this with appropriate referencing, but align it to your needs. And the beauty of this message is that there’s a first page letter that outlines what the video observation will be used for. Very specifically, that it’s going to use for research for reflection by the candidate, and for support of the supervisor, but not at all about the teacher in the classroom who is the teacher of record and also not at all about the students in the classroom.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

But the second page, what I think is so great about this resource is that it has an FAQ and it identifies all of the concerns that we have heard over and over and over about privacy. It addresses those concerns in a succinct and straightforward manner. It’s not trying to mince words and it’s definitely not trying to be evasive. So I would suggest using this type of resource when folks are trying to advocate. And if it’s not at the district level that you know the superintendent for example is making the decisions, but it’s rather at the state level, you have a couple of options. You can go to your university advocate, your university lobbyist, and see if that lobbyists can set up a meeting with somebody on the education committee at your state. And then perhaps several institutions come together to discuss that with folks on that committee, and they identify all the benefits and the opportunities that present itself with video observation. And you open that line of communication.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

The final thing I’ll say is we’re not seeing a ton of pushback necessarily from teachers in classrooms. Every once in a while, what we’re seeing is pushback from families of students in classrooms. My observation is that, it’s because of a misunderstanding of what the video observation will capture and also what it’s being utilized for. And so, what I have observed is that when a university faculty member researches in a school consistently and they provide with that research professional development to the teachers and there’s an ongoing and very substantive relationship, the school already has an environment that is ripe for this kind of video observation. They are experienced. They recognize the benefit, and they don’t have concerns about the privacy issues.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

And so if we can align the conversations around, “Well, research is conducted here. We’re doing this for the candidate’s benefit, et cetera,” families are less concerned about the privacy issue than when you go into the school for the very first time and you went and set up a camera. So I think a couple of routes that you can touch on if you’re trying to advocate for the inclusion of technology like video observation.

Hillary Gamblin:

That slide that you have with the template, that’s fantastic. And you guys, everybody that is signed up for this is going to be receiving a recording of this and the slide deck. So you will have access to that.

Hillary Gamblin:

We have a question. Is there a link to the letter? Maybe that’s something that you can provide and we can add that quickly to the slides before we send it out. So everybody has that link. We will do that for the person that asked. Thank you for asking that question. My last question is, how is AACTE or its members responding to the policy that supports video observation?

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

So the slide that you’re seeing now is about the state chapter work that we’ve been navigating now for a couple of decades. And what’s useful about state chapters of AACTE are that they include members even beyond AACTE, but they include members from across your state. So any faculty member at an educator prep program who is a member of AACTE can be a member of the state chapter. We also have folks who participate in the National Education Association who are members of the state chapter. And what you’re seeing here is ACSR, which is our state chapter, our representative of boards and advisory committee. And through that network, we’ve seen a ton of amazing advocacy.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

The one thing that we talk about at the federal level is that when you meet with one of your legislators, the person the legislator listens to the most is the constituent. You are that person’s bread and butter. You’re the person that really understands the local context, and that legislator really wants to hear what your challenges and successes are so they can address them at the federal level. The same goes for the state. There’s no difference.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

When a state legislator or a state Senator wants to hear about the local level, they go to those in the state who are really experiencing either the challenge or the opportunity. So the state chapters are your best opportunity to advocate for policies addressing video observation. I would say that coupling your advocacy with the right people at the table to provide the narrative and the feedback and the data necessary to demonstrate the benefit of video observation is with the research. And I think the research has been done across countless journals. There have been many, many published articles on the benefits of video observation.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

This one in particular that I’m highlighting is simply because it has an excellent table of content, and you can identify all of the different benefits per the table of content, and you can send that to somebody at the state level if they’re interested. And again, just like the earlier slide, I’ll send a link to it. It’s all publicly available. But we have seen great strides made when you couple the research of the work and the evidence-based with the work with the right people narrating the benefits to the person that it’s actually impacting. And with that storytelling at the helm, we have seen a lot of great strides. So I’ll leave it at that.

Hillary Gamblin:

Thank you so much for sharing all those resources. And thank you for answering my quarries. I’m sure this discussion has sparked ideas and questions from our participants.

Hillary Gamblin:

So let’s take the next 10 or 15 minutes to do a live Q&A. Again, if you haven’t submitted a question, it is not too late. It is the tab just below the video feed. My colleagues are monitoring your questions and are selecting a few that we can ask Julie and Jackie.

Hillary Gamblin:

The first question is for Julie. Can you talk more about some of the other GoReact features that are useful for supervisors? And then also someone mentioned having students view each other’s videos. Do you use it that way?

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). GoReact has all kinds of features that we have not used. We’re still very much at the basic level. We are mostly using Comments by supervisors, Comments by candidates, and the End Note to write them a more general comment at the end. I know that in our Deaf Studies department, they use the feature where the commenter can attach a video. They use it a lot because sometimes the supervisor wants to demonstrate something in sign language, so I know that’s why they use GoReact. I don’t know if any of our supervisors have done that.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

I think that with more experience, what we’re probably likely to move into is using the tags where we can be tagging with standards. I think that would be really useful, but we just haven’t gotten there yet. But in terms of students seeing each other’s video, not only do I set up a GoReact course for every supervisor to use privately with each of their candidates, I also set one up for these student teaching seminars. So that’s a place where seminar instructors will use videos of their candidates in seminar to watch each other. So I know that that’s going on as well.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

We had been using individual accounts up until this year, but this year, our university bought us a site license. So all of a sudden, all instructors across our college could use GoReact. And that kind of landed on us by surprise. We didn’t have time to really tell everybody it’s there and here’s how you use it. I know a few instructors used it in their courses, but I actually don’t know how at this point. So we have to do some recon to figure out what about the flowers that were blooming all over campus. But I think we have a long way to go to start exploring a lot of these features that we haven’t even used yet.

Hillary Gamblin:

Yeah. You mentioned responding or giving feedback through a voice or video.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Hillary Gamblin:

I’ve heard several people mentioned how they use that to actually cut down on the time of giving feedback because you can do it a lot more quickly. And then another person said they always end with their final feedback in a video so they can give them the energy and say, “Hooray, Jose, you did it.” Just so there’s this personal connection between the two, and so it doesn’t just feel like words on a page, which I thought was really a brilliant idea. So there is a lot to be done with some of those features, even just some of the older features that are on GoReact and even the newer ones. So that’s fantastic. Thank you for sharing that.

Hillary Gamblin:

Jackie, we have a question for you. Do you have any recommendations on where attendees can find research literature about video supervision?

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

So there are great journals out there on technology. I think it depends on the discipline that you’re seeking, but we have… I can actually send with the PDF or the PowerPoint however you disseminate it. Some suggestions for journals. AACTE, as a shameless self plug, we host the Journal of Teacher Education. And within that journal, it’s highly reputable journal. It’s been along for many decades. We have authors who have done video observation research, and there’s a huge evidence base around the benefits, not just of the video observation on the candidate but also on what you just mentioned around peer to peer feedback and what it means to share a video with other candidates and have peers constructively respond to things, highlight exemplar strategies, and also look at non-examples, because we all know that as a classroom teacher, everyone’s made a mistake. So we all want to be able to say, “What would we not have done? Or what could we have done to replace?” So JTE is one option.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

There’s a special education technology journal that is incredible and has a ton of research on video observation. And that specifically is because we often see a lot of adults in a special education classroom. So we see a teacher of record. We also see paraprofessionals. We see related service providers coming in. And when you add the addition of a supervisor, while the students have seen multiple adults throughout the day, it does change the ecosystem of the classroom. So by doing video observation, you can ensure that your observation is somewhat raw and accurate, as opposed to moving into an environment where the students are wondering who this new person is and why they’re there. So that journal I can also send.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

And there is a technology journal that ISTE has done. Actually, ISTE produces somewhere in the dozen journals. It’s the International Society for Teacher Education. It’s kind of amazing actually that they have so many great technology journals, but they are specific to disciplines; so Science, Social Studies, Math, English language, Arts. We can send a copy of all of those journals.

Hillary Gamblin:

I’m actually taking notes too, because one of my projects that’s been on the back burner is doing an annotated bibliography of all of the research that has been done on the benefits of video observation, so I need to get on that. And thank you for giving me those tips.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

Yeah. Yeah.

Hillary Gamblin:

Our last question is for Julie and it is, is there any specific advice, directions, tutorials that you’ve used on how to set up a camera and get good video quality? Do you have any recommendations for the equipment that you use?

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

You know, we do address it, but I don’t know that we have any one resource that we use. We have a whole course about instructional technology. We now address that in the course; how to set up a good shoot, lighting, sound, whatever. And then the seminars go over that. But I don’t know that there’s one source that they use for that.

Hillary Gamblin:

I think GoReact-

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

Maybe Jackie knows one.

Hillary Gamblin:

Yeah, I think GoReact might have some. If we find them, I will add them in the slides or in the email that you guys get so you have access to those, because we have some really great support people that are all on top of getting the best video and how to use your equipment and make it easy and simple. But Jackie, do you have any other that you can think of?

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

No, I think you guys have addressed them. But I think to your point, your folks at GoReact have been really helpful when we’ve had questions, so I don’t doubt that they have ample examples.

Hillary Gamblin:

Okay. I hope we were able to answer everybody’s question. If we weren’t, I am so sorry, but we will be doing more workshops, and so you can join there and ask your questions. Hopefully, we’ll get to it there, so don’t lose heart.

Hillary Gamblin:

Now, before we end, I like to ask all of our guests to share a few takeaways. If you could give our audience a few takeaways, when it comes to using video during the next normal, these next few semesters, what would they be? Let’s start with you, Julie.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

My three takeaways, and we need to do this ourselves at CSUN, so it’s not like we have these nailed. The first one is experiment. GoReact, or whatever you’re using, video observation, it’s a very powerful tool. So don’t just try and replicate your in-person observations in video. And so I’m encouraging our supervisors, and I continue to do this. Try different training, try shorter clips, try having the candidate pick out a section and write their own comments first. Try having the candidate ask questions. There’s so many things you can do. Just experiment. Let’s find the thing. So that’s one.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

A second, which I think worked in a program that’s large like ours is to have someone that I’m going to call a manager, in this case it was me, oversee the process. Make sure everything gets set up, do the setup of the courses for the supervisors, have all the policies in one place. I think that worked for us rather than having to train 60 different people to do this.

Dr. Julie Gainsburg:

And then the last one is to try and hear all voices when making decisions about particularly how much to use video observation. I think we’ve done a good job hearing supervisor voices and faculty voices, but what we haven’t done, we really haven’t heard mentor voices yet, so I think we need to do that. And we haven’t heard candidate voices, so we need to take that takeaway to heart and work on that this year.

Hillary Gamblin:

Thank you. Jackie, do you have a couple of takeaways?

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

Mine are quite similar to Julie. She lifted up, I think, the true opportunities that present itself with the observation. I keep thinking about how the observation in a candidates program can be a longstanding and steadfast strategy for that in-service teacher throughout the career. So as long as we’re considering video observation as an opportunity to really deconstruct our teaching and become better professionals, then we see candidates become in-service educators 10 and 15 years later asking for their principal, their department chair, or their teacher leader to come in, observe and provide constructive feedback. And that’s what the profession is about. It’s always, always innovating and getting better. So I really love this idea of starting at the root, at the candidate level, and then hopefully that becomes an adopted strategy throughout their career.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

I also think that with video observation in particular, we really can ensure that students are still getting equitable instruction without disrupting any of the curriculum or the ecosystem that they’re in. And so, I mentioned earlier about the special education classroom. I also think that in a post COVID environment, we want the student to be in a position where they are engaging in the material and working through problems without the added infrastructure of another person perhaps in the classroom that might disrupt some of that. So if we know that the classroom is small and there is the potential that the additional person would disrupt the ecosystem, then video observation is a great way to think about how to capture the teaching strategies while also ensuring that there’s equity for the K-12 learner.

Dr. Jackie Rodriguez:

So I’ll stop there. I think Julie’s takeaways in particular around thinking about the mentor teacher is a really, really good one. And then the pilot testing. I love the idea of having people experiment and being an incubator on your campus. Like, why not? Try it all, and see what actually works.

Hillary Gamblin:

Fantastic. I love those takeaways. I’m really glad that I asked you guys to share those with us. Julie and Jackie, thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us today. You did this workshop voluntarily, and we appreciate you taking your personal time to be with us and to share that.

Hillary Gamblin:

Also, thank you to AACTE for making this workshop possible. As our discussion is shown, video observation is an essential pillar to build better. And we’re grateful for this partnership between AACTE and GoReact. Our AACTE members have free access to GoReact for the next [inaudible 00:52:39] so they can build better and navigate these next COVID transition phase.

Hillary Gamblin:

We also like to thank everyone that joined us live. To show our appreciation, we have randomly selected one participant that joined us live today to win a pair of Apple AirPods, oh wait, AirPod Pros. Oh my gosh. Sorry. So congratulations to Melissa Cruver. We’ll be reaching out with you to ensure you get your AirPod Pros. We’re going to be doing these drawings for all of our future workshops, so if you really want an AirPod Pros, join us live for our next workshop and you get a chance to win.

Hillary Gamblin:

We know that this workshop will be particularly valuable for those that joined us live or are maybe going to watch this later, so we’re going send an email with the link to the recording and the slide deck. We’re going to add those little additions there with the links, hopefully, for the people that asked for additional links. And if you know someone that would be great for one of these workshops, a future guests, please share your recommendation with us. Actually in the chat there is a link for a recommendation form that we have. There are so many experts and experiences out there. We want to be a megaphone for pressing ideas and topics in teacher prep. But that’s it for today.

Hillary Gamblin:

Thank you so much to our participants, those working behind the scenes, and our guests, of course, Dr. Gainsburg and Dr. Rodriguez. We will see you next time.

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