When the University of Melbourne evaluated the effectiveness of live captioning for deaf students, they noticed something interesting. Teachers were changing the way they were teaching because of the technology. Teachers were using the transcripts as a self-reflection tool.
Following this discovery, the University of Melbourne and Ai-Media became partners to develop a professional learning tool for teachers called Visible Classroom, which promotes student engagement and better teaching practices using feedback.
During the development and evaluation of this exciting professional learning tool, I was taken back to when I was a student in the classroom many years ago.
Being the only deaf student in the classroom, I came across many interesting challenges trying to understand what the teacher was saying. How I wish that Visible Classroom was available when I was at school!
As a school student, I was inspired to be a teacher and would often think about what not to do if I was the teacher in front of the classroom. In my mind, I developed my own checklist.
According to me (and this is purely my own opinion), in the ideal world, the teacher would not:
- Speak at a rapid speed as if they think the world will end if they do not dump all of the information onto us in one go;
- Talk to the board. While I understood that facing a whole class of hormonal teenagers could be quite intimidating – no one is going to be able to hear, let alone me.
- Stand in front of the class talking for the entire lesson. I am sure you all have drifted off at some point thinking of other things besides school work, right?
- Assume that we are all mind-readers. How many times have you sat in class and wondered what it was we were supposed to be learning during this lesson?
- Assume that we got it the first time around. Some of us need more time than others to acquire new knowledge and learn new skills. If we do not ‘get it’ the first time, then we need further opportunities to learn it.
- Make it scary for us to share what we have learnt with our fellow students. I remember it like it was yesterday, being punished for trying to help my friend learn a new mathematical formula.
- Be afraid of getting feedback from us about how we feel about our learning and progress. I often wish I could give feedback to my teachers when I was struggling to learn a new concept.
So for me, it is very exciting to see how Visible Classroom can support teachers to become the teachers of my ideal world.
Written by Leonie Jackson, Head of Education and Research
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