Instructional Video for Leadership
Written by Steven Kolber
For anyone with even the tiniest awareness of Educational Leadership, the reality of schools is almost entirely predicated on time. Specifically, for leadership and leaders, the most impactful and crucial time is that devoted to meetings. Indeed, I have argued before that the quality of leadership is almost entirely dependant on two factors: the quality of conversations and the quality of meetings. With a subset of meeting quality, being the amount of voices genuinely given priority and a chance to influence the decision-making process. Yet, at the same time, meetings as a whole are one of the things within schools that are perhaps the most robustly resistant to change. A meeting now would be recognisable to anyone from almost any point in previous history.
You might argue perhaps that the use of PowerPoint is an innovation that allows for more succinct communication (or the complete opposite, the leading cause of death in meetings), perhaps OneNote, Microsoft Teams, or similar tools allow a revolution within these processes? Perhaps the use of web conferencing software like Zoom, Skype or Adobe Connect allowing more participants in the process regardless of their physical location has changed the form of meetings slightly? Yet despite these incremental innovations, there seems no real way to improve upon a leadership meeting, a staff meeting or perhaps a Professional Learning Community?
A concept I have been exploring and experimenting with is the idea of Instructional Video and Flipped Learning, ideas most often applied to students and pedagogy being shifted and applied to teacher colleagues and andragogy. This means that staff may read something, or watch a short video before attending a meeting, thus allowing far more time for genuine discussion and engagement as colleagues rather than merely covering agenda items and reading key documents.
It could easily be suggested that this method does not solve the dilemma of time within schools, though it does provide a way of re-shuffling the time that is available to allow for greater engagement within those most core times, in this case meeting time.
Extending this idea out, the use of instructional video can also be used to deliver essential communications to staff. For example, perhaps the school is adopting a new system for communication, email, or accountability within a Learning Management System (LMS). The content that most needs to be covered is usually best explained visually, with voice and a tutorial, rather than merely a series of screenshots and text descriptions.
Again, this use of technology may seem simplistic and a small improvement upon previous methods, but in a setting where time truly is of the essence and wherever possible, teachers and leaders aim to spend their time committed to ‘core business’, any slight innovation that allows this to occur is worthy of exploration.
If you accept these proposed ideas, the next question is: How may we innovate the use of meeting time? I personally would use this time to allow a full coverage of opinions from within the group. The same expectations that teachers and educators have for their classes are far too often overlooked when delivering Professional Learning and running meetings. All members of the team should be engaged, contributing and discussing with their colleagues.
Indeed, many leading scholars comment on Professional Learning within teaching as the greatest wasted expenses in the history of education. This could also be applied to the vast majority of meetings, a sentiment that many teachers would be able to echo.
Perhaps, we now have the technology, the access and the ideas to push these concepts further and engage collaboratively at last?
Please come and meet me at the Digital Classrooms conference, a component of the National Education Summit Melbourne where we will discuss all components of Video for Teaching and Learning