14 ways teachers have told us they use video to drive pupil learning

Posted by Christophe Mullings on 29 August, 2017

Although video is a really powerful tool for self-reflection, it can also be used in lots of other ways to successfully drive teachers professional development and pupil learning. 

We recently asked our community of users how they have used video as part of their CPD to advance pupil learning. The amount of responses was so overwhelming that we couldn't help but share some of them with you. Click the arrows at the end of each title to read more.

Pupil learning

Topics: Classroom Strategies

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1. Video as a formative assessment tool: reflecting, adapting teaching and meeting learner needs > 


Using IRIS Connect has enabled me to get to know and understand the children in ways I could not have through standard observations. In my Year 2 play-based classroom, I have often videoed children in their independent time to gain a greater knowledge about their tendencies and interests. I have then used this information to plan future lessons and classroom provision to engage my class in our learning. Children that are not always confident to speak to (or around) adults and share their ideas are captured using IRIS Connect meaning all of the children are heard. For example, in a video I recorded, a group of quiet boys expressed an interest in sea creatures. Therefore I enhanced areas in my classroom using this information, put out underwater paper borders, designed maths problems using sea creatures etc. This meant these boys were highly engaged and spent independent time writing stories which they wouldn't have otherwise done.

Not only this but it has been a great assessment tool. On many occasions when videoing the children I have discovered the children can do things more confidently that we sometimes realise. For example a children with EAL was captured counting in 5s in the construction area. However, when an adult was watching in person, she was often nervous thus didn't always show her true potential. Iris has meant I have been able to see those children succeed and in turn move them forward in their learning by planning future sessions based on this knowledge of the children. Without this tool, a teacher could easily assume that a child needs further support with something. Due to this video I was confident I could move this girl forward and ensured future lessons were advancing her learning.

Comment: We loved this entry as it is such a great example of how IRIS Connect can help teachers to better understand their pupils and where they are in their learning. In this case, Jade was able to notice things she would have otherwise missed, adapt her teaching to better meet the needs of the children in her class and improve pupil learning and engagement.

2. Improving middle management and mentoring > 

William Goldsmith, Latymer Upper School

I have discovered that IRIS Connect is a great tool to help improve middle manager performance! My Second in Department is currently mentoring a colleague new to the profession and, in a slightly mind-blowing way, he filmed himself giving feedback on an IRIS filmed lesson that the trainee teacher had shared with him (I hope that makes sense!). Now clearly, it's a given that watching a lesson you've taught is a powerful tool to improve teaching (and therefore pupil learning), but perhaps it's less usual for managers to film themselves going about their work in helping other teachers to develop (and therefore improve pupil learning). We also use this to film departmental meetings and training sessions! It might seem a long way away from advancing pupil learning, but if a mentor or Head of Department can get better at helping their colleagues to teach better, then pupil performance should improve with that.

Comment: A great example of how video technology can be used to capture all aspects of work for the purpose of knowledge sharing, professional development and improving practice. IRIS Connect is being used more and more as a tool within schools to support middle and senior leadership development, as well as in the corporate sector to help companies record meetings, interviews etc and develop as learning organisations.

3. Using video to enable pupils’ to self-assess and accelerate learning > 

Gary Hawkins, Beech Hill Primary School

Within my very large multicultural school in the heart of Luton we have used IRIS Connect to empower pupil learning in reading. For example, when delivering a guided reading session there were six pupils and they set up IRIS Connect in order to assess their interaction and progress throughout the small group session in order to help them prepare for SATs. One pupil was a learning leader, who organised the equipment set up, and all six of them filmed themselves so that they could later see how they interacted in the learning session. Pupils were able to evaluate their own questioning and answering strengths, based on the retrieval and inference focus, and plan for themselves their own next steps in learning. The pupils made accelerated learning throughout the session and this has boosted confidence levels even further. Using Iris Connect in this way truly ensured profound learning and has enabled them to take ownership of their learning.

Comment: This wonderful entry really shows the potential for using IRIS Connect with pupils to enable them to reflect upon and take ownership of their learning. I especially like the possibility this approach has for helping to make teacher and pupil equal partners in learning.

4. Supporting and empowering NQTs through reflection and live coaching >  

John Mulgrew, The East Manchester Academy

During my NQT year, my professional mentor had suggested using IRIS Connect as she believed it was an excellent tool for not only improving my skill-set as a teacher but to achieve effective learning in the classroom. I felt anxious at the thought of having a camera recording my lesson but through the help of my professional mentor I grew in confidence in being willing to record and reflect upon my lessons.

After recording my first lesson using IRIS Connect, I then understood what an excellent piece of technology it was. I was able to use IRIS Connect to strengthen my areas of weakness as a classroom practitioner such as voice projection, pace, behaviour for learning and lesson structure.

Throughout my NQT year (this year), I have been able to record lessons frequently, reflect upon lessons and improve my teaching so that I was able to achieve effective learning in my lessons. As a result of using IRIS connect I have been able to understand the importance of being able to review lessons to spot trends and plan for areas of weakness that would then improve future lessons.

I have also had the amazing experience of being able to use IRIS Connect to watch lessons live and give/receive advice from other members of staff. I found this most useful in improving lessons during the 'live' delivery. This not only helped to improve my teaching but it maximized pupil learning almost instantly by avoiding obstacles and errors in lessons that would not have been avoided without the use of this outstanding piece of technology.

As I have fully completed my NQT year, I will progress into my RQT year having a high priority of using IRIS Connect on a daily basis. It is a tool that has helped my pupils to achieve excellent learning and helps me to be the best I can be. I would highly recommend IRIS Connect to any teacher, especially to new teachers like myself who doubt their ability. IRIS Connect has given me the confidence to inspire, engage and help pupils to achieve their best.

Comment: It’s certainly not uncommon for teachers to initially feel nervous about filming themselves for the purpose of their own development, especially NQTs who have so many things to contend when entering the profession. As John indicates here, those who take the plunge quickly reap the rewards and tend to find the experience very empowering, particularly when supported by a coach or mentor.Live remote coaching can lead to rapid progress and now live coaching has been made all the more accessible with the new GoLive enabled IRIS Connect app which can be downloaded on iOS devices.

5. Using video for behaviour management >  


I have used IRIS to film me teaching a class with disruptive pupils. The behaviour is low level but constant, I asked the student to watch it back with me and feedback what he thought about his behaviour. This gave my student an excellent perspective and it has had a significant effect on the way he acts in class. He also gave me some excellent feedback!

Comment: Low level disruption is what teachers face most of all, and most often. We know of lots of teachers who use IRIS Connect to develop behaviour management strategies and indeed there were a number of competition entries which made reference to this. However, we particularly liked Tom’s example of the impact that can be had from including pupils in the reflection process, providing a platform for teacher/pupil dialogue and feedback. Fantastic!

For those looking for further support, there are also two behaviour management content groups on our platform which have created by behaviour expert John Bayley.

6. Whole school approach to joint practice development and video based CPD > 


At our school we embedded the use of IRIS Connect into our whole school CPD calendar. 83 teaching staff engaged in a Joint Practice Development (JPD) project working in triads using a plan, do, review model. 30 projects were completed in either pairs or triads. At least one teacher per project used IRIS connect to film whilst the others reflected on their lesson in the roles of reviewer and coach. A range of teaching and learning areas were researched during the academic year which all linked to the schools Academy Improvement Plan and Teachers Personal Improvement Plan. These included; Engagement, Challenge, Use of Technology, Modelling, Teaching Backwards, The More-Able, Mastery in Maths and Visual Learning.

As a result of using IRIS connect colleagues at Tuxford Academy have developed an area of teaching and learning which was specific to their own practice. By completing these projects the staff continue to enhance the quality of Teaching and Learning across the entire Academy and impact students learning in a positive way.

Comment: This is whole school approach to CPD and school improvement leads me to think of what Andy Hargreaves might describe as ‘leading from the middle’ - In this leading from the middle approach, [schools and school groups] don’t just mediate and manage other people’s reforms individually; they become the collective drivers of change and improvement together. When schools and school groups lead from the middle together, they:
  • Respond to local needs and diversities
  • Take collective responsibility for all students’ and each other’s success
  • Exercise initiative rather than implementing other people’s initiatives
  • Integrate their own efforts with broad system priorities
  • Establish transparency of participation and results
(Hargreaves 2015)

7. Speech and language development across school and throughout a Multi Academy Trust > 


We have used Iris to improve our speech and language within Early Years. This involves filming sessions that a speech and language therapist did and sharing them with teachers. We also used the films for training within our own school and across the MAT. All our children's scores improved dramatically over the year.

Comment: A simple but highly effective example here of how our platform allows knowledge and external expertise to be easily and securely shared between teachers and throughout a cluster of schools for the benefit of all pupils.

8. Supporting School Centred Initial Teacher Training >  

Joe Burkmar Poole High School

I have enabled 16 trainee teachers to observe themselves, their classes and their communication. From this the trainees reviewed their own lessons and commented on the way they delivered instruction, managed behaviour and taught content. They then planned a lesson from this to enable them to do this in a more effective way.

Comment: Many schools overlook the fact that accounts can be set up at no extra cost for their trainee teachers and even their university based tutor. As Joe mentions, using IRIS Connect with a cohort of trainee teachers can be an efficient and highly effective way to accelerate their development. A combination of both private self-reflection and collective reflection can also help bring teachers closer together and help to foster a professional learning culture based on trust, openness and collaboration.

9. Enabling teaching assistant to develop a simple but effective strategy to improve guided reading >  

Catherine Wales, RAF Benson Community Primary School

Using IRIS I noticed that when I was running my guided reading sessions the children didn't seem to be engaged when it wasn't their turn to read, I hadn't been aware of this as I would be concentrating on the reader. I then introduced a new strategy; if one of the group tapped the table, everyone had to say the word that the reader is on. This led to all of the children following the reading continuously and consequently the children now have more in depth conversation regarding comprehension and varying styles of texts.

Comment: Some of the best users of IRIS Connect are teaching assistants. It could be because they often tend to support a small group of children or an individual with a specific learning strategy. This means they are well placed to make important marginal gains by reflecting on and refining their approach. Catherine’s adaptation is simple but effective - which is what IRIS Connect is all about!

10. Noticing what works and changing what doesn’t >  

Abigail Lamond, Shire Oak Academy

1. I have realised I miss out a whole row of my classroom when teaching! Shock horror! So i now move students around every half term and try my hardest to not focus on one area.

2. I have realised how teacher led my lessons are! Shock horror 2! So I now pose longer questions and allow students time to develop longer answers and develop each other.

3. I realised I'm actually doing somethings right! To see some of the quieter kids really getting to grips with the topic and asking each other questions was very rewarding.

Comment: The thing we loved about this entry is that it shows how reflecting upon your teaching practice is as much about celebrating and sharing the things we’re getting right as it is about identifying areas for development. Seeing your pupils enjoy their learning and making real progress can be a real confidence booster.

11. Supporting NQT practice development and pupil learning >   -


Using IRIS connect throughout my year 8 science lessons helped me develop my practice and pupil learning in 3 major ways:

Firstly, IRIS feedback provided me with an overview of behaviour and low level disruption in my classroom. This allowed me to build a mental heat map of troublesome groups of students in my mind. As a result, this information influenced a new seating plan for the class, leading to improvements in behaviour by separating troublesome groups of students.

Secondly, as an NQT IRIS allowed me to fine tune the pace and direction of my lessons. Using the iPad cameras I was able to pick up on very subtle changes in the attention of the class. I found this mainly occurred during teacher lead learning of more than (10 minutes). As a result, I altered my planning to split lessons, organising a routine of: teacher talk, activity, teacher talk, activity to keep students engaged in lessons for longer.

Finally, using IRIS has allowed me to spot specific students struggling with a recent Acid and Alkali topic. During a revision lesson I took these students as a group of 5 to give 1 to 1 support. The visual feedback I gained from IRIS lessons made it clear that the students were either struggling or failing to focus during the group of lessons. This provided me with information to support them with a short, but effective intervention session.

Comment: We had so many entries from NQTs that we felt it only fair to include one more. NQTs need all the support and help they can get when starting out and we’re so proud to be able to help the likes of this teacher find their feet.

12. Developing a collaborative, professional learning culture to improve children’s learning >  

Helen Leyland, Lidget Green Primary School

We've had an absolutely fabulous year with Iris this year and have been able to use it to do many focused evaluations of ourselves and our colleagues(led by our Teaching and Learning Coordinator) before using them to improve on. This has brought many staff closer together through sharing our 'would be better ifs' but also our 'good practice'. It has had a positive effect on our teaching by allowing us to delve down into the questioning that we use, how we use differentiation and how we challenge pupils in this fast-paced profession - which usually doesn't allow for specific, focused feedback and self reflection. This has therefore improved children's learning because staff seem to be more open to trying new ways of teaching by constantly learning from and working with other professionals.

Comment: When schools invest in IRIS Connect they aren’t just buying new technology, they’re often embracing a whole new collaborative, teacher-led approach to CPD and school improvement. As such, our technology often serves as a driver for a school culture based on trust and openness. Thank you, Helen!

13. Supporting individual pupils with special educational needs >  


Through using Iris Connect I have been able to identify any key areas for improvement in my own teaching style. I have also been able to identify how to help a certain autistic child in my class, by observing him in a variety of different environments and learning experiences. therefore providing him with the support he needs when he needs it most.

Comment: Most teachers tend to record and reflect upon their lessons as a whole. However, this example shows IRIS Connect is a powerful tool for targeting specific pupils in order to better meet their needs. Once this achieved teachers then have a fantastic and valuable resource to share with others teaching the same pupil.

14. Developing dialogue: improving questioning technique and pupil outcomes >  


It has enabled me to be incredibly self reflective about the quantity and quality of pupil/teacher talk within my lessons. I have given the pupils more time to develop their responses to questioning as a result of using IRIS this has in turn led to improved outcomes during my lessons.

Comment: This entry struck a chord as it closely relates to our IRIS Connect film club content focused around developing dialogue and questioning skills. Rapid gains can be made from focusing on specific strategies like this. In fact, our analytical forms are specifically designed for measuring, analysing and quantifying specific aspects of teaching and learning so if you haven’t seen them - go give them a try!
iris connect film club


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