ONVU Learning and Aston University Engineering Academy – a partnership that has teaching and learning through 360-degree video coaching. 

The innovative nature of the collaboration to further develop teachers

Aston University Engineering Academy (AUEA) sets itself out to be different from other schools, with a clear focus on educating the inventors, engineers, scientists and technicians of tomorrow. To continue to be innovative AUEA knows that it needs to attract the best teachers and give them the opportunity to further develop. 

To help with this vision AUEA has become the first school in the world to install discreet, always-on 360-degree cameras in every one of its 28 classrooms. The Lessonvu systems are fully controlled by teachers who can reflect on their normal lessons and ask for support from each other – or share great teaching experiences. They can also share lessons with external experts for in-depth instructional coaching.  

The partnership pilot: getting started with 360-degree cameras in a classroom

AUEA started thinking about installing videos in classrooms in 2016. Principal Dan Lock-Wheaton saw that a 360-degree view of the classroom was far superior for teacher review, reflection and coaching than a standard camera and could lead to far more opportunities for teacher collaboration and coaching and instigated a pilot study with one Lessonvu camera at the start of 2017. In the pilot study volunteer teachers worked with Dr Sean Warren, teacher consultant and coach at ONVU Learning. He helped them develop their reflection skills and to get more value from reviewing their lessons, coaching them in, “professional noticing”.  

The initial feedback was encouraging. One of AUEA’s Maths teachers reported back quickly that they had found it ‘a truly engaging experience’ and that it had ‘revitalised their interest in their own teaching abilities, driving them to become a better teacher’.   

All the volunteer teachers valued the different view on their classrooms through the 360-degree video and “curious” became a common word used as they zoomed in to different areas of their classroom and set up different camera views to compare and contrast the reactions of students to different teaching methods. Colleagues reported that in seeing their lessons through Lessonvu that they felt that they were able to determine more to reflect on and discuss areas of interest with others. 

Whole school deployment: Implementing 360-degree video lesson observation to every classroom

In a progress meeting between AUEA and ONVU Learning it became apparent to both parties that from the initial pilot work there were many positive outcomes but with some areas for refinement. After a series of meetings ONVU Learning proposed an action-based research partnership over the next three years whereby ONVU Learning would invest in equipping all classrooms with Lessonvu Systems and AUEA would commit to a program of teacher use of the system aligned with the school’s development plan and improving student outcomes. The decision was made to move to cameras in every classroom. 28 cameras went live in June 2018.  

The benefits for AUEA: The impact on teacher development

The use of the Lessonvu system at AUEA is now similar to that of sportsmen being coached by reviewing video