Reflecting on classroom practice | Coomera Anglican College

Reflecting on classroom practice

Coomera Anglican College and QUT explore remotely streamed classroom observation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of the things that we all used to take for granted. We know how important it is to develop ways of keeping ourselves and our students safe. Such measures include social distancing and limiting the number of visitors that schools have from outside the local area.

A significant and unfortunate result of our current situation is that university student-teachers have limited access to real school classrooms during their training. A key aspect of teacher preparation courses is the ability of universities to place their student-teachers in schools. While at a school, a student-teacher will observe qualified teachers in the classroom and later practice teaching real students in real classrooms under the mentorship of experienced teaching staff.

At Coomera Anglican College, we have been exploring ways to support student-teachers by using technology and the Internet to facilitate remote observation of lessons and student-teacher interaction with College teaching staff.

Dr David Nutchey of QUT has worked with the College's Mr Tadgh Treanor and Mr Warren McMahon to develop a prototype model of student-teacher remote observation that we hope will help.

A key factor whenever teachers use online technologies with students is online safety. Our guiding principle is that the process must not produce images or video of our students that can be stored or distributed on the Internet. With this in mind, the observation was shown by using streaming technology, a secure connection to the QUT classroom, and a fully supervised viewing environment. These measures ensured that downloading and possible recording of the streamed material would not happen.

While Tadgh and Warren operated the web-connected streaming link at the College, David Nutchey supervised and ran the observation session at QUT's Kelvin Grove campus. During the ninety-minute session, the QUT student-teachers viewed the streamed lesson and then could ask questions about what they saw. Tadgh and Warren, through the online link, then answered a range of questions put to them.
This remote-streamed classroom observation is a QUT and CAC first and was very successful. The student-teachers found the experience to be engaging. They enjoyed the opportunity to ask Tadgh and Warren about supporting student learning in the context of their Digital Solutions class.

The College will continue to explore the innovative and engaging ways that we can take advantage of the wide range of technologies that are made available by the College. Supporting our next generation of teachers is very important. It is, therefore, essential that we continue to work with top universities like QUT and Griffith to develop ways to support teacher pre-service training programmes. Of course, it is also worthwhile for our College's teachers to have the opportunity to demonstrate their excellent teaching practice.

Congratulations to our teachers Tadgh and Warren, and QUT's Dr Dave Nutchey for a successful first attempt at remote lesson observation protocols.