In my book Now We're Talking: 21 Days to High-Performance Instructional Leadership, I suggest using video to support evidence-based conversations, share best practices, and enhance professional learning.
Because the technology landscape is always changing, we've created this page to bring you the most up-do-date recommendations on the best software and hardware to use.
One counterintuitive challenge of using video is that today's video-recording devices—whether you're using a smartphone, camcorder, action camera, or something else—nearly all produce excessively large files.
For our purposes as educators, standard-definition video is perfectly adequate, and ideal in terms of file size and ease of transfer. However, most devices—such as smartphones—don't make it easy to record in standard definition.
Furthermore, it's a hassle to upload videos using cables, and many cloud services such as YouTube don't provide the privacy protections schools need.
For this reason, I recommend Sibme.com, a video observation and collaboration platform built by educators, for educators.
Sibme has three features that are particularly worth noting for Now We're Talking readers.
First, Sibme allows you to create a private "best practices" video library for your staff, so you can share selected "game film" of your school's teachers in action, without the privacy risks of using a public video host.
Second, Sibme allows each teacher to upload and annotate their own videos in a private workspace, then share them (or selected clips) with specific other staff in "huddles." Each huddle provides fine-grained access control, to match the collaborative structures—coaching, PLCs, etc.—in your school.
Third, for formal observations, Sibme offers synced notes a feature unlike anything I've seen anywhere. Synced Notes gives ability to record from your smartphone and take notes in real time, and have these notes synched—to the second—with the video.
Teachers and observers can click on a note or comment to instantly view the relevant portion of video. Additional comments can be added after the fact to maximize learning.
Sibme's mobile app allows educators to record classroom observations on a smartphone, with instant upload to the secure Sibme workspace. This custom-built app for iOS and Android records video using smaller file sizes, so recordings upload to the web quickly.
Most importantly, Sibme allows you to develop a "one and done" workflow, so you can finish all tasks related to an observation before you even leave the classroom, so you're prepared for the follow-up conversation without any additional "homework" in between.
To learn more about Sibme, visit Sibme.com.
For an overview of an award-winning principal's approach to using video to turn around two different schools, register for our free webinar Impact Now: How Principals Can Use Video-Enhanced Coaching to Grow Teachers and Raise Student Achievement.