Deeper Learning Labs: Digital Resources for Collaborative Teacher Learning

Project: Research project

Project Details


Just a few decades ago, the increasing availability of video recording technologies led to revolutions across many areas of the social sciences. Even the most proficient ethnographer could not capture every gesture, and every nuance in a speaker’s tone of voice. Thus, prior to the wide availability of video technologies, it was simply not possible to study human behavior in the moment-by-moment manner we now take for granted. As in many other areas of the social sciences, video has come to play a central role in research on teaching. Furthermore, as video has become increasingly omnipresent, it has also come to play an important role in various aspects of teacher professional development. Since the introduction of personal video recording technologies in the 1960s (e.g., Olivero, 1965), the quality of recordings has improved, and cameras have become smaller and decreased in price. However, beyond increasing its use, these incremental changes did not alter, in a fundamental way, how video was employed for the study and improvement of teaching. Classrooms were recorded using a single camera set up in the back of a classroom, which recorded to a tape, and was operated by a researcher. The tapes were then brought, by the researcher, back to a lab, where they were edited, and parts of the tape were selected for viewing by teachers, or for analysis by researchers. However, we are now in the midst of a revolution in video technology that is, we believe, on a par with the original introduction of video recording. This revolution has several interrelated components, each of which has implications for teacher professional development and research on teaching: 1. Video is captured in the form of digital files which can be immediately uploaded to a computer and easily edited: • This makes it easier, in professional development contexts, for teachers to work with videos of their own teaching. 2. Video cameras have become tiny and wearable: • Video can be captured from the perspective of a teacher, rather than only from the back of a classroom. • Teachers can operate the camera as they teach, and make choices, in the moment, about what to record. 3. There are widely available online tools for working with and sharing videos: • Teachers can easily analyze and annotate videos of their teaching. • New social arrangements are possible for teachers who want to work together to improve their teaching. They can work with colleagues distributed over a large geographic area, and they can work asynchronously as well as synchronously. The upshot of all of these changes is that the use of video by teachers and teacher-researchers is likely to change dramatically in the next few years. These changes provide new forums for human behavior that we, as researchers, must study. They also provide intriguing new possibilities for answering longstanding questions concerning the use of video for teacher learning, and teacher learning more generally. This project closely aligns with the Spencer Foundation “Teaching, Learning, and Instructional Resources” area of inquiry, and specifically addresses teacher development and improved technologies for recording and reviewing classroom interactions. Project Goals and Overview The proposed project represents a first foray into the impact of this technological revolution on teacher learning and teacher professional development. We will conduct the research in the context of Deeper Learning Labs (DLLs) for middle school mathematics developed by Teaching Channel. DLLs engage teachers in online communities of
Effective start/end date2/1/161/31/21


  • Spencer Foundation (201600137)


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