Using Video in Teaching and Staff Development - Part 1 - Discussion Summary - Professional Development

Using Video in Teaching and Staff Development - Part 1: The Multi-Dimensions of Staff Development-Using Videos for Instructor Professional Development

Discussion Summary

Description | Resources | Guest Biographies | Vote for the Video | Full Transcript


The primary focus of this guest discussion was to examine how videos of teachers demonstrating instructional techniques can be used for professional development, considerations for creating “video PD,” and future directions for using video for professional development. A secondary focus was to experience using video as staff development by asking subscribers to vote on the video they wanted to discuss, then viewing and discussing the video on the Professional Development List. Guests Branka Marceta, David Rosen, Marian Thacher, and Heide Spruck-Wrigley contributed their expertise and experiences to the discussion.

Participants discussed “video PD” in several different ways:

  • Videos of teachers demonstrating instructional techniques interspersed with reflection on the lesson by the teacher
  • Videos, not necessarily demonstrating instructional strategies, that staff development professionals and instructors have found useful for including in staff development
  • Videos of learners grappling with concepts and using effective problem-solving strategies
  • Instructional lessons using video with learners (though participants were encouraged to save this conversation for Part II of the guest discussion)
  • Professional development models and approaches that could incorporate the use of video
  • Tools, resources, and considerations for creating video for inclusion in staff development

Why use video for staff development? While participants agreed that it does not replace seeing or meeting with the teacher and students in person, they find that it:

  • offers a peek into others’ classrooms;
  • helps to break down the sense of isolation;
  • demonstrates teaching strategies step-by-step;
  • provides access to ideas and examples that can be used for staff development;
  • emphasizes a point and shows work in action;
  • is a great way to introduce new standards and methods of teaching and learning because it addresses the visual aspect of learning;
  • offers a way to see yourself through someone else’s eyes; and
  • can be replayed over and over, and studied.

How can staff development professionals effectively incorporate video into professional development? Strategies shared include using the videos in workshops, presented in segments, with discussion on each part of the lesson. Other strategies discussed include organizing video-based study circles, hosting asynchronous online discussion of video, incorporating video into online courses and webinars (webcams and use of archives afterward), using video recordings of conference sessions and workshops in follow up professional development activities, and using interactive television (ITV) for meetings.

Teachers also use video on their own for professional growth and learning and several video collections exist that provide them the means to do so, including MLoTs, OTAN (Registration required, but it's quick and free!), Videos by LiteracyWork International, Evidence-Based Reading Instruction Videos from CALPRO, Professional Development Kit (PDK), Captured Wisdom, and Teaching ESL to Adults: Classroom Approaches in Action. Most of these are also linked in to the MLoTS web site which attempts to be a comprehensive virtual one-stop for adult education professional development classroom and tutoring videos. Teachers also have access to online tools through Adult Ed Online to help them identify classroom technology integration and distance teaching skills. Using Adult Ed Online, they can easily create an online integrating technology professional development plan (including integrating video in the classroom or using video for professional development) based on their self-identified needs.


Participants discussed the advantages and disadvantages of discussing video for professional development in-person (synchronously) versus online (asynchronously) and in a large group versus small group settings. They also explored questions such as:

  • Is the video about informal peer observation or about subject matter experts delivering best practices?
  • What is the appropriate video length for what situations?
  • What are effective pre, during and post viewing activities for teachers?
  • What are the factors impacting the quality of the video capture and production?
  • How do you plan to share the content?
  • How can videos be presented and distributed?

Vote for the Video

80 participants voted for the video they wanted to discuss on the Professional Development List. The vote via was accessed over 2,000 times over four days. Since two of the videos were close in the running, the moderator elected to offer both of these videos for discussion:

While participants had limited time to view and contribute to the discussion, some modeled what the discussion process might look like by posting their feedback to discussion questions, such as:

  • What did you notice about what the instructors did to integrate cell phones into the classroom? Which activities using cell phones intrigued you most? What practices did you not like, and why?
  • What do you do similarly or what would you have done differently?
  • What surprised you, if anything?
  • What did you notice about the students? What questions would you like to ask the teacher or students? What questions, if any, did the video raise for you?
  • What beliefs about teaching and learning were reinforced, changed, or broadened for you as a result of viewing this video and in following this online discussion?
  • Did a new idea lead to a new question for you? Did a new question lead to a new idea? If so, tell us about it.
  • What steps might you take next?

While several online video collections exist, not all specialty areas in adult education and literacy are available via video. Participants posted their plans to incorporate video in staff development and shared the need to see greater investment in this unique kind of professional learning opportunity.

  • I have enjoyed this on-line discussion because I feel I have a lot to learn about how to effectively use the videos I am creating. I appreciate the suggestions offered on pre- and post-viewing questions and activities. Thank you all for your comments.
  • I always enjoy hearing what other programs around the country are doing, and this discussion was very helpful in providing ideas for expanding our internal PD program, which currently requires our Adjunct Faculty to participate in 12 hours of training each program year (Annual Instructors need to participate in 30).  The notes/hints for using video, whether we incorporate it into a Moodle shell or use it as a lead-in for a Study Circle, were very helpful.  I also enjoyed the video links, and the cell phone survey - including the suggestion to find out the students' cell phone carriers.
  • My ESL program is run through a community college, and our college president has implemented a benchmarking process for all employees to help us improve internally.  Through this process, our staff is required to contact a program outside of our home state (NC) to look to for ways of improving.  Often, your discussion links provide me with some great resources/contacts to share with fellow staff.
  • As a state staff whose main job is to find and share information with adult ESOL practitioners in Florida, I found this discussion very helpful. Those of you who posted gave useful information [and] can rest assured that it was worth your time and effort.
  • I got a lot of very good ideas and leads for some very good resources. But at times it was too much for me to manage.  If the content and comments could be condensed, that would make it a little more manageable. I plan to do more professional development using videos. But to explore using video for staff development I need more of the ‘how to’.
  • Thanks to all for the valuable resources and inspiration for using video in professional development and in mlearning! I plan to include the use of video in the online course I'm designing through my graduate program, Online Teaching and Learning at New Mexico State University.

Links Shared

Participants and guest discussants shared the following resources during the discussion:

Examples of Professional Development Models and Approaches Using Video:

Examples of Videos Used in Professional Development:

Showcases innovative ideas.

Lessons Using Video and/or Movies:

Includes transcripts in multiple languages and study guide for each video.

Videos of Instructors Teaching:

  • Captured Wisdom: Includes videos and teacher Q and A on integrating technology into the classroom.

Videos of Students Reading Twilight Books:

Tools, Portals, and Resources for Using Video in Professional Development:

  • Teacher Tube: Offers a way to access many videos on You Tube for those where You Tube is blocked at your program or site.
  • Voice Thread:  A collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways—using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam).
  • Cyberstep Project: An OVAE-funded project to develop a research-based, systematic approach to creating multimedia learning materials for ABE and ESL learners.

Professional Development Models and Approaches:

Resources and Tips for Producing Video in Education:

Tips for lighting, framing, backgrounds and motion.

MLearning Resources:

Survey you can use to find out what hardware your students have and how they use it.

Reading Instruction Resources:

Additional Links:

A Harvard University Professor explains what he believed teaching was when he first started and how he became much more effective once he began giving the responsibility of teaching and learning to his students.

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