How video technology can support Initial Teacher Training

Posted by Alexandra Spalding on December 11, 2020

Teachers, and those responsible for teacher training, have recently needed to develop new strategies and approaches to adjust to the changing demands in Initial Teacher Training.

As a result of limitations around school visits and face-to-face training, it’s become increasingly difficult for mentors to meet with trainees in the field, which means ITT providers have had to find other ways to be able to make judgements on trainee progress, provide efficient and quality feedback and enable trainees to get peer support when they need it.  

Rethinking the traditional processes that have underpinned ITT for as long as we can remember has required a lot of time and effort for everyone involved. But as with any innovation, the use of education technology in supporting Initial Teacher Training also provides huge opportunities.


JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Finland were early adopters of remote video technology, using it effectively for the past four years and as a result, were well positioned to support their trainee teachers throughout the 2020 pandemic. They have reported, amongst other benefits, to have seen:

  1. Increased opportunities for reflection.
  2. The possibility for tutors to observe trainees remotely.
  3. Improvements in the quality and frequency of feedback.
  4. Facilitation of live coaching and mentoring over distance.
  5. Reductions in travel costs and time spent.


In his blog article, Graham Newell, Director of Education at IRIS Connect, suggests that “we can either consider online learning a simple stop-gap before we return to what we did before, or we can reflect on both the disadvantages and advantages of the broader use of technology and consider what this means for the future.” He says he is reminded of “the essay by Charles William Elliot, President of Harvard University when, in 1869, he wrote in the seminal essay, ‘The New Education’, that education must continually update how and what students learn so that it can evolve in step with society. Having taught in schools, universities and a senior officer in LEAs, I wonder whether education has really kept up with the way society has changed over 150 years.”

It becomes clear that the use of video technology to support Initial Teacher Training is not just a short term fix to the difficulties we are currently facing but provides a sustainable model for the future ways we can provide effective and efficient support and development to trainee teachers.

Together with expert representatives from universities, ITT providers around the country and internationally, we discussed the research behind effective education technology solutions for ITT; how these solutions can better support trainee teachers’ development; and provide valuable cost and time saving efficiencies long term.


Effectively supporting trainee teachers, remotely (November 2020)

In this webinar recording, you’ll hear how remote video technology can be used to effectively support trainee teachers in the field. A tangible example of that experience and its impact is shared by JAMK University of Applied Sciences, who were early adopters of remote video technology, leaving them well positioned to tackle the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic presented in Initial Teacher Education.

Watch the recorded webinar:


Key findings of this webinar:

How students have found the use of video technology:

  1. Remote guidance and assessment of practical training have been evaluated positively (over 90%)
  2. The IRIS Connect system was considered easy to use
  3. Students were better prepared for assessment discussions
  4. Students’ self-awareness of their actions increased
  5. Reflection skills broadened and understanding the elements of expertise deepened.

How teacher educators experienced the system:

  1. It solved issues related to travelling and physical observation of lessons; saved money, time, “potentially the globe” and travel related work stress
  2. The use of two cameras offered a broad, holistic view of the practical training
  3. With feedback and reviews saved in one online system, it’s documented securely and was easy to refer back to, e.g. to review the development of a student after a certain period of time
  4. The ITT provider managed to develop a structured and analytical assessment process to support expertise development with the use of videos even better
  5. Support by the IRIS Connect team was excellent


How edtech can help overcome the challenges to Initial Teacher Training (June 2020)

In conjunction with TPEA and MirandaNet we explored the research behind effective education technology solutions for ITT. Watch a host of expert representatives from universities and ITT providers across the UK, Ireland, Denmark and The Netherlands discuss, share and challenge the current practices and thinking in response to the current crisis.

Watch the recorded webinar:

Key findings of this webinar:

Learnings for a successful transition to online and blended delivery:

  1. In times of crisis you can easily be overwhelmed. It’s the job of an ITT provider to share the calm, not join students’ chaos. 
  2. Retain examples of what good learning looks like.
  3. Consider the learning design in an online environment (overall structure, creating authored content and active learning tasks, embedding content and securing accessibility).
  4. Think about the content delivery (technologies and tools for communicating or recording teaching, narrated presentations or screencasts, discussion forums).
  5. Set standards for good communication (responsibilities and expectations, motivating, engaging collaboration, managing time and resources, feedback).

Opportunities that education technology provides for Initial Teacher Training:

  1. Effective & cost efficient alternatives to traditional practices.
  2. Higher levels of collaboration between students using tech and between school-based mentors and ITT providers.
  3. Contextualised feedback from observations.
  4. Evidence based submissions to student portfolios through the use of video.
  5. Opportunities for collaborative research.


By sharing these innovative experiences from pioneers in the field of ITT, and through the continued support and development of video technology, we hope that ITT providers across the world are able to overcome the current challenges they are facing to providing efficient, effective opportunities for developing trainees in the field.

Interested to find out more? Get in touch!

Topics: ITT