Video observation and coaching

This project will develop a programme for schools that uses video observation and coaching to support teachers’ professional development. Iris Connect is a technology package that includes cameras and microphones for the classroom, and an online platform for sharing recorded lessons within and between schools. Teachers can record their own lessons to watch again later, for personal reflection or critical feedback from peers. Alternatively, it is possible for peers or coaches to observe teaching in real time from outside the classroom – providing live in-ear coaching during the lesson, or adding time-linked text, audio or video comments for the teacher to review later. The online platform provides a forum for sharing content and discussion, and a network for accessing coaching from experts.

This project will work with a group of schools that are already using Iris Connect to develop, codify and pilot a programme, which – if found to be feasible and effective – could then be shared with a wider set of schools and tested as part of a randomised controlled trial. The project would consist of two phases: development (May to December 2015) and pilot (January to July 2016).

Why are we funding it?

Video technology is increasingly used by schools for observation and teacher development, and there is also considerable potential for its use as a vehicle for spreading good practice between schools. However, as with all technology in schools there is wide variation in the ways that it is used, and many schools are not taking advantage of its full potential. This project represents an exciting opportunity to develop and test a model that could be adopted more widely.

How are we evaluating it?

A team from Birmingham University has been appointed to evaluate the programme. The evaluation team would take a formative role in the development of the intervention, collecting information from observations and interviews within schools, reviewing materials and programme content, and feeding this back to the delivery team to refine its approach. By the end of the development phase in December 2015, the intervention should be well defined and have a clear structure, with a small number of outstanding questions that could be explored during the pilot. The evaluator would help in the identification of these questions, and also identify the measures that would be used to assess changes in teacher behaviour during the pilot.

The pilot phase would run over two terms from January to July 2016. The delivery team will recruit around 12 schools, and provide training and support in implementing video observation and coaching. Birmingham University would conduct a detailed process evaluation to assess the feasibility of the approach, implementation fidelity, the evidence of changes in teacher behaviours, and the readiness of the intervention to be trialled at scale.

When will the evaluation report be due?

The evaluation report will be published in January 2017.