One of the ways that we have used the Swivl the most during the last year has been in regards to teacher reflection. Various teachers have used the Swivl to record their lesson so they can use it to analyze the lesson and reflect on what went well and what didn’t. It is useful to have this video to use for reflection as it will show what is happening while also allowing you to hear everything you are saying. Many teachers that I work with had to use audio recordings to reflect on their teaching while they were student teaching, but the audio recordings are not telling the whole picture. Being able see and hear what is going on can tell you so much more than just the audio alone.
The idea of using video to reflect on your own teaching works perfectly with the PLC model that many schools are implementing. After you record your lesson, you can use your PLC to help you improve your own instruction by using another set of eyes and ears to help you reflect. You can even use this with an instructional coach to have a coaching conversation around the lesson. The use of a planning and reflecting conversation can be improved by having this video to be able to talk around and go back to in case you forgot exactly what happened. Many times our own recollection of what happens in our classroom is altered by our own ideas and desires but may not reflect what truly transpired. The video is something that can’t be altered by what we want to happen, it will only show what did happen.
As we have used the Swivl to record our own teaching in order to reflect on it, there have been some things that we have learned.
- Make sure you include the students in the video so you can gauge their engagement and to see how you interact with all students.
- Do a test run with your students so they get used to the Swivl and are not distracted by it. We have found that students are focused on it at first but since it works so effortlessly, it fades into the background on future uses.
- Be OK making mistakes while you teach, the point is to reflect and figure out how to improve which means you know you will not be perfect and that is just fine.
- Do not be afraid to share your video with others. We can get so much more accomplished when we work with others and there are going to be things that you may not be thinking about that others will. If you have an instructional coach in the building, make sure you are using them regularly and especially for situations such as using video to reflect on your teaching.
- A tripod can make this a lot easier, especially in the upper grades, as the students may block the signal and cause the Swivl to stop tracking you. Students will get used to it very quickly so do not worry about it as a distraction.
- Use the Swivl Cloud to easily share with others, it makes the whole process a lot easier than some of the other methods out there.
Teaching is not a simple act and we should always be striving to improve as educators. Using video to reflect on our own teaching can help us to greatly improve our own instruction and can even strengthen the teaching of others when we share out. Making use of PLCs and instructional coaches can also improve the effectiveness of this while improving the collaboration culture that we want in our schools. We do not expect perfection when we teach as we know there is no perfect way to teach, but we can always be trying to improve in order to create the best learning situations for our students.