A National Teacher Video-Portfolio Platform

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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If Scotland and Wales can do it, why not England?

What if the English teaching profession had a national  bank of short video clips where teachers could learn from one another; this would trump all professional development as we know it.

Imagine a portal where teachers could upload their own vignettes and build up a ‘warts and all’ portfolio for reflections and interview? Lesson observations as we know it would be defunct.

Instead, an over-time wholesome view; something I first speculated in 2014.

Its success would rest in it being freely available, but compulsory to maintain by the teacher. Short clips would be used for appraisal, staff CPD, interviews and public conferences to pose a few ideas, could be shared with one another, and potential employees.

It wouldn’t be an evidence-gathering exercise. Simply a ‘here’s how I’ve done it’ and ‘these are some of the things I’ve tried and learned’ throughout my career.

Video clips would align to the Teachers’ Standards, with clips in and out of the classroom, including wider contributions to school life Eg. community, playground, planning etc. Every clip uploaded would require a series of activities and retrieval-reflection questions to complete in order to be automatically verified.

To support early careers teachers and those new to leadership, specific elements would require mentors and tutors to critique. Perhaps a bi-annual sign off for all, regardless of what institution or experience…

In some ways, this would raise the status of the profession with regular assessment and an official record for professional learning.

There are plenty of edtech organisations that could do this.

The crux is that the platform has to be hosted by the Department for Education to give it long-term substance. No adverts, no profits and not-for-profit by any organisations. Just a portal for hosting and sharing good and not-so-good practice, with the platform curated by the DfE.

In England at present, we have hundreds of edtech organisations who can give us the technology, but I don’t believe it something  they should be responsible for. They could help design the user-experience, but conflicts of interest will arise. The Chartered College of Teaching could facilitate this, although at a push, the long-term potential of the platform can be realised if its own long-term status can be guaranteed.

A national teacher-portfolio platform would require long-term funding – not a Teachers TV to become a quango years later – supported and promoted by the DfE itself. A platform to unlock the potential of all teachers, sustaining our professionalism and self-regulation indefinitely to help us to become truly world-class…

I still believe we are some way off this for a multitude of reasons. Funding, platform hosting, safeguarding, protocols for use in and out of school, plus any ideological beliefs being used to dictate a particular pedagogy name a few…

The technology is already here, we just need to find a way forward – it could be transformational!

7 thoughts on “A National Teacher Video-Portfolio Platform

  1. Ross, I entirely concur with the principles of video banks.
    Trouble is, as all the world knows, what makes the difference in the classroom is the relationship created over time between the teacher and their tutees. There are short cuts, tweaks, ways of working more diverse than either you and I could express that lead teachers more rapidly into that inspirational space, but that is where we need to move them.
    And for all the inspirational teachers I employ, and there are dozens, age and stage makes a huge difference. I’ve one extraordinary practitioner whose niche has been found working 50:50 across primary/secondary, involving a regular journey 3/4 days a week during the day to swap sites and back again.
    3 of my best teachers ever have just finished writing the timetable for next year for 100+ teachers across 3 schools and 2 sites, with all 3 being empowered to remain as practitioners in the classroom.
    In short, a bank of videos is only the starting point, and as ever with film, content and editing will be key to their success.

  2. A timely post – as part of our Trust wide professional development we have just been discussing buying into a similar resource but something like this would be much better. How can we help push this along?

    1. I think we are miles off this, Richard. It’s no wonder schools have to buy in to lots of different platforms in order to drive their own solutions. This offers a degree of autonomy, but I don’t believe it offers a long-term solution for the profession. We need a national portfolio…

  3. The TTRB did exactly this. Sadly, it was axed by the Coalition Government along with many other excellent programs of support for teachers. I think the modern day version is called You Tube.

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