Using IRIS Connect, the School of Professional Teacher Education at JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Finland is supporting student teachers to develop 21st-century skills and saving teacher educators 20-40 days of travelling.
The School of Professional Teacher Education at JAMK University of Applied Sciences requires all student teachers to be observed and assessed by their assigned teacher educator, tutor, and peers. The Professional Teacher Education programme is offered through 17 regional teacher education groups and 5 online groups spread throughout the country posing some logistical and personal challenges.
Typically, each teacher educator has 12-20 student teachers whose teaching practice sessions they have to observe. This entails traveling around the country possibly conducting multiple observations during the programme. Each observation can take up to a whole day due to the distances involved, consuming time and personnel energy resources.
How IRIS Connect helped
The School of Professional Teacher Education has utilised IRIS Connect as a simple and easy way to record student teachers’ practice sessions, and share them securely with their teacher educators and peers for constructive and empowering feedback. This has saved each teacher educator a staggering 20-40 traveling days.
Even more importantly, IRIS Connect has contributed to the development of 21st-century skills by supporting teacher students in their self and peer assessment, reflection skills, soft skills development, and in the use of technology in their learning process. In addition, by analysing the videos of their own and their peers’ teaching practice sessions, teacher students have become aware of and can track their own professional development as a teacher.
“The online support provided by IRIS Connect has been very helpful and key to our successful adoption of the system. The fact that the kit is easy to use, the video observations are quick to upload and secure, and you can add annotations to them as well as documents is something we really value and rely on.” – Teacher Educator, School of Professional Teacher Education at JAMK University of Applied Sciences.
Results, return on investment and future plans
The most significant gain is not only saving 20-40 traveling days per teacher educator but more importantly, it is the feedback received from the student teachers. Those who have used IRIS Connect have reported that the recordings and reflections are significant tools for supporting their professional identity development. One student teacher said: “IRIS Connect is a really handy tool. I realised that my nervousness towards this technology was unnecessary. I even asked one IT trainee to help me in the class. I was surprised that my videos were uploaded immediately on my own area.”
In particular, the peer feedback they have received has been considered extremely valuable in terms of helping them to develop the skills and competencies needed as a teacher and as a facilitator of learning. One student teacher even described it is as a “Life-changing experience.”
In the future, the university intends to continue to use IRIS Connect in its teacher education programmes, building a study module on its use as a tool to facilitate learning in diverse environments.