It’s arrived! You can now create your own bespoke version of i-observe.
From 1st February 2017 members can begin writing their very own i-observe observation content turning the i-observe App into a personalised lesson observation tool. You can either start with our content and edit it to suit your needs or you can start from scratch. This is something our users have been asking for so we’d love your feedback once you get started. Once you have written your slider content you’ll be able to download it into your App by the end of February and start your personalised lesson observations.
We’d also like you to share your sliders so that others can use them. So how about creating a set of sliders to focus on progress as seen in pupils work. Develop a set of observation sliders to investigate the impact of a particular curriculum model: we’d love to see what you come up with around Enquiry Based Curriculum or Project Based Learning. Though we’re already working on Post 16 observation content you might like to develop work based learning observation tools for adult learning or vocational study.
Follow us on twitter (@i__observe) and we’ll tell you what our members are working on.
Three clever features you may not have spotted
- When you select Early Years in ‘stage’ from the observation set-up menu i-observe will automatically provide you with a bespoke set of Early Years descriptors
- During an observation you may decide that a feature of the lesson is not relevant or you no longer wish to focus on it. If that’s the case place the spot on the extreme left of the slider. That way it won’t be presented as a weakness in teacher or school reports
- Edit an observation once it’s saved. Go to ‘admin’ on the main menu, select ‘view observations stored on this iPad’ and select the observation you want to edit. Members can edit on their iPad or on the website. Members have the advantage of being able to add post-feedback comments or targets while the teacher that has been observed can reflect on their lesson in their personal learning journal.
What you can expect from i-observe in 2016/17
- Our biggest development this year will make it possible to upload your own observation content so that it is bespoke to your school and then download it to the your App. That way you can focus on your current priorities.
- We are making the observation set-up interface easier to use so you can get your observation started even more efficiently.
- You’ll soon find online reporting easier to navigate and the reports even quicker to produce and export. Working with a group of i-observe members in October we’ll be developing i-observe reports to better meet the needs of our members and enhancing the features of user level access.
- Look out for the addition of a pause button so that you leave a lesson and return later without affecting the time stamp
- Add a caption to a photo or tag it to a comment you make.
- We’ll be adding i-observe sixth form by Christmas 2016. When you select ‘KS5’ from ‘stage’ on the set-up page you’ll automatically get a bespoke set of observation descriptors for sixth form.
Launching i-observe in school
i-observe is packed with content but handing the App to a colleague in the hope they’ll like it as much as you do doesn’t guarantee their commitment. There are three things we are learning help a school to embed and sustain the use of i-observe.
- Get colleagues familiar with the App’s content. Unless you’re comfortable with technology and the iPad’s in-built functionality most teachers value being able to explore the content on paper. Members can, therefore, download and print all of the observation descriptors from the CPD area on the website. Use them at a leadership team or staff meeting to promote discussion about what constitutes effective practice: after all one of i-observe’s main objectives is to enhance professional dialogue not judge teachers.
- Test it out in practice. i-observe can be used in test mode so you can access the tool without having to input class information. Try playing a video of a lesson and ask observers to use the App (or give different groups a different aspect of the lesson to work on). This has two benefits. First it helps standardise your evaluation of the observed session (see Colin Lofthouse’s Case Study. Second it provokes a conversation about the nuances of teaching and learning e.g. “I think that’s a really good example of metacognitive talk but you didn’t. Why?”
- Make observation set up as efficient as possible. Upload teachers and classes to the website then download them to the App. This is important for two reasons. First observers can quickly identify the teacher and class from a drop-down list. Second, it’s essential that members do this before they get started. This means that our data base assigns the relevant observations to the correct teacher. If for example two observes record a teacher in different ways, JS and John Smith, our database won’t know that’s the same teacher.