No. We want observations to be informed by research evidence. That’s why we are working with some of the best academics in their field to design and refine the sliders and develop our professional learning tools. Accountability frameworks are constantly changing and opinions of effective practice are subjective. We want to ensure teaching and learning is evaluated using the best of what is known about effective classroom practice.
Ofsted say teaching should not be based on preferred styles or strategies so why does i-observe focus on these pre-determined sliders?
Evaluating teaching should be informed by its impact on pupils. Extended teacher talk, for instance, might be highly effective in some cases yet ineffective in others. There is, however, evidence about what drives attainment and achievement and learners need to develop talk related skills over time, not all in one lesson. That’s why the i-observe talk slider, for example, focuses on listening as well as teacher and pupil talk. It also values the development of effective talk, not merely the finished product. It is also why we are currently working on i-observe walk which will allow you to observe the teaching one student experiences over a specific time frame. That way you can check that students are developing listening, speaking and group work skills over time rather than expecting to see everything in a one off observation. You can find out more about our rationale for the sliders by selecting ‘using i-observe’ in the App and touching each heading in the Venn diagram.
If making a judgement on a lesson would i-observe expect all sliders to be in the ‘good’ zone for the lesson to be good?
No. If there is good challenge that is well matched to the needs of students, for example, that may be sufficient to lead to a good judgement irrespective of the quality of classroom talk or feedback. Again, the ‘over time’ judgement is important.
Do I have to evaluate teaching using all five sliders?
No. You can disable any sliders you don’t wish to focus on during an observation. Alternatively, you can choose not to move a slider once you have begun an observation. If you don’t move the slider at all then the report will record ‘no judgement’ next to that feature. Similarly, when members create reports any sliders that remain unmoved will not be included in data analysis. If you do want to indicate a feature needs to be improved, then move the slider a small amount.
i-observe walk is one of our most exciting developments. This allows members to choose one of the 5 sliders and evaluate it in up to five classrooms. You can then create a report comparing strengths and areas for development across each of the ‘drop-ins’.
I want to evaluate a specific aspect of the curriculum. Can i-observe help?
We want to work on subject sliders that can be used across primary and secondary so if you represent a subject organisation then please get in touch.
Yes. As a member you can create groups (e.g. subjects teams) online and compare them or compare teachers within the groups. If, however, you want sliders that don’t currently exist then let us know. We have plans to develop specific behaviour and assessment for learning sliders and enquiry based curriculum sliders.
I have identified an aspect of classroom practice that I’d like to develop. What do I do next?
The i-observe professional learning tools are part of our enhanced membership package. Starting with challenge and differentiation, at the end of February 2014, enhanced members will have access to a number of professional learning tools developed in partnership with Professor Charles Desforges to develop this aspect of a teacher or schools practice.
Is i-observe available for Android?
Please email us if you want interested in i-observe for Android.