East Butler Public Schools in Brainerd, Nebraska started using Vosaic when their superintendent, Sam Stecher, was intrigued by the idea of using video to improve teaching and observation. He has served as superintendent for five years, but is also co-founder of a school culture initiative known as Mission Monday – the goal of which is to provide interventions to positively impact school climate on a weekly basis. Sam Stecher shares his observations and experiences with Vosaic with us here.

Why video?

Stecher: When I have a teacher and administrator unpacking an observation and going off of memory and notes, at minimum I’m getting two versions – probably three or four depending on how they’re translating what the other one is saying. If you want to authentically and accurately know what’s going on in your classroom and be able to look at those things and say, “How can I make them better?”, that’s huge.

What intrigued me about Vosaic and using video as a method to enhance our teaching –  stems back to research I read a long time ago from the gentleman by the name of Dr. Kevin Feldman. One of the lessons that I really took away from him is this notion of observable engagement. Did I hear the student speaking? Did I see them writing? Did I see them engaged in an act of creation? Did I see them engage in physical activity that moved towards the learning goal?

We can use video to document those observable interactions and then use that video to dissect – to analyze, to enhance – what we’re seeing. Where we’re seeing it eye-to-eye, that’s great. But, when we can go back and look at what we know we observed, it just amplifies the impact of having that observable engagement because the next time we engage in those things, we have the footage and we’ve done the research and make them even more effective.

What do you like about Vosaic, in particular?

Stecher: Number one, I think the user interface is very intuitive and easy. We can eliminate friction by having effective technology and effective training. Vosaic has been great about engaging our staff and our teachers so that they can bring that training to us, lowering that level of concern, because my teachers are all over the spectrum on how comfortable they are at using technology.

I’m not a technology maven. I’m pretty comfortable with it, but I could figure my way through this if I needed to without any professional development – it’s that simple. But the professional development, the training, is also there so that I think we can bring all our teachers across our spectrum of technological proficiencies on board without too much sweat on their part.

When it came to observations, we were relying on the papyrus…papyrus and quills for our documentation. I know that writing something down is a little more advanced than papyrus and quills, but that’s how old that technology is. We have to have something new that’s more accurate. We don’t need to rely on the same methods that we’ve relied on for thousands of years.

You can get started with Vosaic by downloading our Getting Started With Video toolkit for free.

FACTS is a partner with Vosaic. This article was originally posted in its full format at Vosaic.com.