Cambridge Researcher on Video Analysis Tools

Carlyn Bretey
Carlyn Bretey

May 05, 2021

Video analysis of teaching has been a tool used by researchers for more than two decades. Although common among the sports community, its use in classrooms is relatively less explored. Early on, researchers used Sportscode and Studiocode, which worked well until tailor-made, cloud-based software was developed. Moving to an online platform has enabled researchers around the globe to work collaboratively. Furthermore, automated subtitling updates have helped bridge language barriers, although researchers are looking into more language support.

Doctoral students have begun using Vosaic, and Atif Jaleel from the Education Faculty at the University of Cambridge shares his thoughts on its use and ways in which he wishes to introduce it to his colleagues below.

Vosaic Features We Used The Most

Before I discovered Vosaic, the legacy software Studiocode was used in many research studies, such as the Learner’s Perspective Study conducted by the late Dr. David Clarke from Melbourne. I desired to follow in his footsteps, perform a similar study involving countries in the Middle East, and search for a workaround when Studiocode was no longer available. We looked at other sports-based software adapted for the education sector. However, it felt to us as though we were making compromises. Vosaic managed the analysis we required to be conducted without any issues or compromises, and their after-sales help was at hand for any further necessary support. Their readily available service has been utilized on various occasions and sets Vosaic above others.

The research required recorded lessons to be uploaded onto the online platform. This process was slow initially, but we collaborated with the tech team to ensure fast upload speeds were maintained throughout. Upload speeds are critical as video file sizes for my research tend to be quite large.

Research Video Analysis Example

The specific analysis in question looked at commonalities and differences in the practices of competent teachers in Qatar and the UK teaching mathematics. We created Vosaic forms that focused the analysis on “Lesson Structure,” “Teacher’s Approach,” and “Class Organization.” A week’s worth of lessons were recorded in Qatar and then later in the UK. Due to language differences, the research did not take advantage of an automatic subtitling feature. Instead, help was requested for external subtitles to be created and then hard-coded into the videos. These final versions were then uploaded and analyzed using the previously mentioned forms. Using unique codes for each form, the lessons were coded and illustrated on a timeline. This feature is beneficial in showing the changes in events throughout the lessons. As a validation feature of the study, I asked another educationalist familiar with such studies to blindly code the lesson. This practice is, again, one of the several features that ensure the reliability of the study. Those in the “Administrator” role can grant various access levels to several users on Vosaic’s platform while the primary researcher sees collaborative work.

Changes to codes are a regular incident once discussions materialize and the second or third cycle of coding occurs. Color-coded boxes denoting each code on different levels allowed researchers to make minor changes efficiently. The timeline zoom function makes accurate coding possible, which is essential as we needed to account for every moment of the lesson.

Video Analysis for Teacher Trainers and Researchers

The analysis has shown many similarities and fundamental differences in how teaching occurs in Qatar and the UK. Searching for "Lesson Patterns" is difficult as it is dependent on the depth of your coding as a researcher and the inclusivity of the event observed. However, color-coding and automatic graphing features produced within Vosaic take away the pain of initial analysis. Although the graphs produced are not sufficient for all studies, they did provide a helpful way of producing results which can then be exported in various formats to be further analyzed.

As both a teacher trainer at a university and a doctoral researcher examining practices of competent teachers, my work has progressed hugely through the use of Vosaic. There are workarounds with other software, however Vosaic delivered results in the most pain-free manner, and allowed me to spend more time to understanding analysis itself.

Key Highlights in My Experience

Coding with Vosaic is only one of many ways that the software helps me accomplish what usually can only be fulfilled by entire research teams. Once coding has occurred, a separate tab allows me to view all of the moments of importance within the lesson. These moments can then be saved and exported to create individual ‘highlight’ videos for each code. This convenient feature also means I can go back to a particular event to understand the context far more quickly. No more forwarding and rewinding! The automated graphing feature steered my results writing. It was vital to see how many moments of importance occurred for any given event, which was not part of my original set of tables.

In my experiences as a teacher trainer, I’ve observed that Vosaic’s software is under-explored by my peers and colleagues. Yet, it creates the unique ability for individuals to use agreed forms to analyze themselves! That task is currently done through viewing camera recordings and discussions, which results in a lesser experience. Vosaic has the aptitude to share your video and coding with peers and monitor progress, all in your own online storage space.

My earliest apprehensions over potentially compromising the ownership of my videos with an online tool were not sustained. The advantages of collaborative work, especially when working globally, far outweigh any reservations I had. The technical support is second to none, and the pre-recorded help videos help you get started in no time.

About Vosaic

Vosaic is a cloud-based video platform for teacher prep and research that helps bridge the gap between theory and practice. Observe, coach, mentor, and grade students using Vosaic’s online video coaching platform. As a researcher, use our timeline-based video coding features to collect and analyze data.