Procedures for Classroom Videotaping
These procedures are provided to help you produce video clips that clearly represent the teaching and learning in your classroom. In order to capture elements of instruction and student learning, you will need to produce video clips of high audio and video quality. If not using a digital camera, be sure to use a new, better quality VHS videotape. The procedures below will help you successfully produce video clips with minimum problems.
Preparation and Practice
First, we do NOT expect a Hollywood production. It is important, however, that the quality of the videotaped activities be sufficient for scorers to understand what happened in your classroom. As a general rule of thumb, sound quality is generally more important than video quality to understanding the teaching and learning being captured.
If you are unfamiliar with the videotaping process and/or do not have access to video equipment, consider the following resources for equipment and videotaping assistance.
- your cooperating/master teacher (who can identify potential resources in the school as well as assist you with videotaping);
- your university supervisor;
- Technology staff within your program’s institution who are knowledgeable about videotaping;
- another student teacher who has done or is doing videotaping; or
- friends and family (for equipment).
Procedures to follow to prepare for the day of taping:
- Schedule/reserve the necessary video/audio equipment well in advance.
- Advise your cooperating/master teacher and the principal at your school of your need to videotape lessons for your Teaching Event. Discuss any arrangements for a camera operator with them. If you use a camera operator, look to people who already have approval to be in classrooms, e.g., your cooperating teacher, your university supervisor, designated student helpers. You will need to request formal approval of others (e.g., fellow student teachers, family friends) from the principal, and it may not be forthcoming.
- Think about where you and your students will be during the activities to be portrayed on the videotape. Will different activities require students to regroup and move around the classroom? How will the use of instructional materials be recorded? What will the camera need to capture? If applicable, when should the camera operator zoom in or rotate the camera to a new position?
- Meet with the camera operator to plan the taping prior to videotaping your lesson. Share your lesson plan and discuss your plans to capture the teaching and learning.
- Use a sturdy tripod to avoid shaking images which often stem from shots from a hand-held camera.
- Practice the videotaping process. This will provide a chance to test the equipment and give your students an opportunity to grow accustomed to the camera.
- Adjust, if necessary, for the light source each time a recording is made. Newer cameras may have a switch for recording in incandescent, florescent, or daylight or may be completely automatic. Do not place the camera facing the window or other bright sources of light.
- If you are having trouble hearing yourself and/or the students, try placing the camera closer to the action OR use an external omnidirectional dynamic microphone plugged into the “EXT MIC” jack on the camera. Confirm that this turns the internal microphone off. If the camera operator wears headphones plugged into the camera, the sound quality can be monitored during taping.
- For safety reasons, as much as possible, tape extension cords to the floor with duct tape.
- During videotaping, don’t worry about calling students by name, or having them address you by name. Note that names or other identifying information heard on the videotape will remain confidential to the scorers.
PACT Policies Regarding the Use of Videotape and Related Materials
If your Teaching Event is part of your coursework, it will be graded by your instructor. In addition, the PACT consortium will use the materials in your Teaching Event as data for a study of the technical quality of the Teaching Event as an assessment tool. The study of technical quality will have no effect upon you as an individual, but is likely to result in revisions to the Teaching Event materials and scoring process.
Specifically, your Teaching Event materials will be used to:
- conduct research related to the validity and reliability of the Teaching Event as an assessment;
- train scorers, including college/university faculty and distinguished classroom teachers;
- inform potential professional development of supervisors and cooperating teachers to prepare them to better assist teacher candidates in completing Teaching Events; and
- improve the fit between the Teaching Event, coursework within the teacher preparation program, and the context of the student or intern teaching assignments.
Materials used for the purposes described above will not include any identifying information, such as your name, the name of your school, or names of your students. In addition, educators serving as scorers, supervisors, or cooperating teachers will be required to sign a confidentiality form, indicating that they will not discuss the content of videotapes or related materials outside of the professional development or training session.