Reflective teaching using the time-lapse feature on iPad

When we are working in the classroom, over time we can develop some practices that don’t add to the learning experience for our students. But it is hard to see these when we are caught up in the busyness of teaching and managing the class. We can ask a colleague to come in and observe a lesson for us. However, sometimes this gives a false impression of what is actually going on because it can be intimidating for us and the actions of the students can become refined as they see another teacher in the room. It would be great if we could observe our own classes from a distance and then analyse what is going on and identify areas of strength and growth. By using the time lapse feature on an iPad (or on iPhone) you can easily reflect on your teaching practice.  

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What can easily be done is to set an iPad up at the back of the room and record your actions using the time lapse function to see what actually happens during a lesson. Sometimes we are not aware of where we stand, the movement in the classroom, the amount of attention we are giving to certain students and even how the class interacts. By using time-lapse we are able to film an entire lesson and then compress it down to a watchable shorter time.

To use this feature, follow these easy steps:

  • Open the camera app on the iPad.
  • On the right-hand side, you can choose the mode in which you want the camera to film. Here you have the choice of time lapse, slo-mo, video, photo, square and panorama. Scroll the menu bar to choose time lapse and you are ready to go.
  • Align the camera so that it gets the majority of the class and then push record.
  • At the end of the lesson, stop recording and your time-lapse video will be stored on your camera roll.

The best thing about using the time lapse feature on the iPad is that all you need to do is to set it to be in time-lapse, and then everything else is taken care of. The whole time that you film will be recorded and then the time lapse feature will work out the best way of dividing up that time so that you can see the movement and motion easily. This allows you to condense a 45-minute lesson into a couple of minutes and then you can look at this and make some judgements about the areas in which you want to improve, without having to watch or scrub through the lesson in real time.

In this shortened video you can easily see your physical location within the classroom and how long you are in those places. For instance, you may be doing 90% of your delivery from the front of the classroom, where in fact you would really rather be moving around the classroom helping and teaching students. Once you get a snapshot of where you’re at you can then look at how to improve. This may include talking to colleagues and gaining insight into the way in which they manage the aspect and their teaching. You can then repeat this process and see how you have improved or even ask someone else to look at your video and give you feedback on it.

It is useful to work with someone that you trust and ask them to look at one specific thing that you wish to improve. Using our position of the teacher in the classroom as mentioned before, we could ask them to give us feedback about how they see us moving around the classroom and how we interact with students. We could also ask them for some advice on how to improve this. This peer-to-peer lesson evaluation is fantastic for building up skills and community. The best thing about using time lapse is that it doesn’t take a great deal of time on both parties sides to be able to look at a lesson, give feedback and develop some skills and strategies to improve.

The other thing that thing time lapse can be used for is for designing your classroom. We often have wonderful ideas about moving furniture around the class and hoping that this will actually add to better learning opportunities, but we don’t have any raw data on this. By using time-lapse we can adjust furniture and see where the students are working and make some judgement calls about what type of furniture we need, where it should be placed and how our students like to interact with each other. By having this raw data in the form of a time-lapse video you can make decisions that are based on evidence rather than intuition.

<Using time-lapse on #Apple #iPad can help you design an innovative learning space. Click To Tweet    

The video can be stored on your device or downloaded. This allows teachers to store with their appraisal documentation providing great evidence of inquiring into their practice.

This is great to do before we redesign a learning space as we can gain a glimpse of what actually works in the class before making big changes. A current trend is to have a variety of furniture in the room and while this is great, it can be expensive if this doesn’t alter the way we teach and enhance the learning for students. Try removing a few desks one day, film the class and see how they interact and work. This provides data on what type of furniture is needed and how it is positioned. For example, do groupings of students work better than static seating? By having a time-lapse movie you are able to bring more clarity to such decisions.

The time lapse feature in the camera app is a fantastic application within the iPad, it gives us the capacity to improve our teaching, the way we use our spaces and become better practitioners. The best thing about it is this is only one aspect of using the camera in the classroom, it is also a great way of capturing evidence of learning.

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