Lake County Schools revamps professional development program with best-in-class video technology
Great educators and educational leaders seek to reflect on their teaching and make the small, and sometimes large, tweaks and alterations necessary to continue to meet the needs of a diverse student population. However, it’s not always easy to see clearly what is working and what isn’t from the front of the classroom. Focus on Teaching, Using Video for High Impact Instruction by Jim Knight gives strategies for how to use video technology to conduct teacher reflection and improve learning outcomes. Armed with this book, Andrea Pyatt, Innovative Pro. Dev. Facilitator, Jon Redding, Online Mgr., Pro. Development and Leadership Dept., and Lisa Sabino, District Instructional Coach, set out to align Lake County Schools educators with the best video platform to engage in teacher reflection and increase student achievement.
The success story between Lake County Schools and Trox began with a Swivl demonstration at the 2015 Learning Forward Conference by Ian Wiengold. Immediately Andrea Pyatt, Innovative Professional Development Facilitator for Lake County Schools, saw the potential for Swivl as the video solution she was seeking to fulfill the technology portion of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant allocated for supporting feedback on classroom instruction. However, the sale was not just a copy and paste close. Instead, Trox AE Eric Blomquist worked tirelessly to create a custom kit of products that fit the school district’s exact needs.
Andrea was in the market for video technology that would enable Lake County Schools educators to engage in video reflection to improve teaching methods and student achievement. Student achievement is the ultimate goal for their district (as well the state of Florida). She had some help. Jon Redding, Online Manager of Professional Development and Leadership Department, and his technical expertise were tremendously useful for the district side of the process.
District Instructional Coach Lisa Sabino was also involved and is a member of the pilot group using Swivl. Together, they had several requirements for the technology and wouldn’t settle for less than the perfect fit for the district and for teachers.
Teachers had previously expressed concern over “Big Brother-esque,” permanent ceiling cameras, so those were not an option. Since using the technology is critical to seeing the benefits of teacher reflection, they needed video tech that was simple and easy to use so that educators will see the value immediately and not be afraid to use it.
He passed on one video robot due to its difficulty of use. Additionally, they required a device that could video the instructor without needing a second person to operate the camera. With the Swivl Robot Pro, the user simply wears an item on a necklace which the Swivl tracks as the instructor moves around as opposed to recruiting someone to video the user.
“video will completely change the way we do professional learning”
- Jim Knight
After watching the video, the user learns things that he or she didn’t observe live. It’s a great learning experience to see what may have been missed in person and the impact of certain actions. For example, without realizing it, did the instructor not call on a student who raised his hand three times? The teacher may then, after the fact, examine why that happened and determine what effect it had. This reflection is a critical part of the awareness that helps teachers discover their blind spots or possible classroom inequities.
In addition to helping Jon and Lake County Schools find the right video technology to enable teacher reflection, Eric also sold them a Swivl Expand Case, which includes a wide angle lens to capture more of the classroom, and the Pelican Aircase. The hard case style of the Pelican is critical for protecting the valuable video technology, but it also offers a customizable “Pick N Pluck” interior very much like a photographer case that allows users to arrange the interior to best fit and protect the contents.
The result of outfitting Lake County Schools with this teacher reflection video technology is a clear win for educators and hopefully a giant step toward increasing student achievement. It also provides tremendous value for Trox. Eric’s model of doing the difficult, time consuming work upfront has now generated a template for future sales like this one and will allow other AEs to duplicate the process for their customers. It’s this kind of ingenuity that contributes to Trox’s industry reputation of a company that develops custom solutions to truly meet customers’ needs rather than squeezing customers into existing boxes.
Eric went above and beyond for Lake County Schools. His performance and customer service during the sales process demonstrated leadership and set him up as Jon’s “go-to” salesperson for additional products. This is truly a case study worth studying.