Hales Valey Teaching School

Tel: 01384 818220

Email: info@hvts.org.uk

Research and Development

Initial Teacher Training

We are undergoing some research into the quality of our ITT provision through a research reflection portfolio. We are looking at current research and wider reading about ITT and how people learn. We are then comparing our practice in order to help measure the effectiveness of the programme we provide. 'How Hales Valley Teaching School's School Direct Programme Reflects Educational Research' is an evolving document that will respond to current research, and the findings will impact on the training we provide.


Visible Learning Project

As part of our technology in education programme we have been trialing different types of digital technology in schools and exploring its potential for learning. After many months working with teachers and schools across the UK our first independent evaluation report has now been published.

The Visible Classroom project explored the use of real time speech to text transcription for teacher professional development and student learning. This was a collaboration with Ai-Media UK and the University of Melbourne, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation as part of their work on evidence in education. The independent evaluation was carried out by NatCen.

The report has found that this approach has potential to benefit teaching and learning in schools, with teachers reporting they found the feedback a valuable part of professional development. During lessons, teachers’ speech was turned into live captions or subtitles, allowing their students to read as well as hear their explanations and instructions.

After their lessons teachers were provided with a transcript of their teaching and a dashboard of analytics relating to the kinds of questions they asked and the balance of teacher and student talk. Researchers from the University of Melbourne also analysed the transcripts against their rubric of effective teaching practice. They provided teachers with descriptive feedback on how their lessons related to this rubric, giving them specific and actionable areas to work on developing their teaching.

This was a pilot project, with the aim of developing the use of technology in this way in schools and respond to feedback from teachers. Therefore the evaluation looked at how it worked practically in schools and feedback from teachers on the effect it was having. At this early stage we did not formally measure the effect that it had on the learning of the children, although there was some promising feedback relating to this from teachers. The pilot gave us the chance to try different types of professional development in different stages.

The first group of schools had a ‘drip fed’ approach, with one or two lessons a week transcribed using the technology and feedback over several months. The second had a much more intensive approach, with a lesson every day for four weeks and feedback after two weeks and then at the end. Although time is always at a premium for teachers, we found the intensive approach to have the most promise. Teachers identified and focused on specific aspects of their teaching in this time, with a real impetus to show improvements in areas they identified from one set of feedback to the next. One of the things we learned broadly was the value of piloting new and innovate approaches on the ground with teachers.

Intuitively I would have thought that longer term, lighter touch professional development would work better. However, our work with teachers suggests that for this particular intervention a more intensive approach could be more beneficial. Based on this work with teachers and students, Ai-Media UK have been able to develop ‘The Visible Classroom’ further into a refined product for supporting teacher professional development. What was a new technology not tried in schools in this format before has become a product that can be rolled out to schools.

Key conclusions

  • Overall, teachers were positive about the Visible Classroom approach, and believed that it had the potential to benefit both themselves and their pupils.

  • Most teachers were adept at using the technology in the classroom, even if they had not done so before this trial. There were some technical problems related to hardware, software, and internet connections, but after an initial bedding-in period most were overcome.

  • Though few teachers spent time reviewing the verbatim transcripts, the online dashboard and more detailed feedback reports based on the transcripts were seen as valuable tools to support teacher development. To maximise the impact of the feedback, teachers would benefit from being given greater opportunity to review and discuss their practice with peers and managers.

  • Pupils did not seem to use live transcripts of teacher dialogue regularly, consistently, or in a way that would suggest an obvious benefit in learning. Teachers had mixed views on whether the live transcripts might have additional benefit for disadvantaged pupils or their peers.

  • Further research would be required to assess the level of impact the approach has on academic attainment. Prior to considering a full trial it would be valuable to undertake some additional development work to refine the approach.


    - See more at: http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/making-learning-visible-first-technology-education-evaluation-published#sthash.vbmSaR1z.dpuf