Kathleen Nitta is one of the early adopters of Vosaic Connect. Ever since she started using Vosaic Connect, she’s provided us with feedback that has been invaluable for development of our product. Just recently we asked her a few questions about her experience with Vosaic Connect.
Kathy, tell us a little bit about yourself and the work you do at Gonzaga University.
I am pursuing a PhD in Mathematics and Science Education at Washington State University where I am currently in the final stages of my dissertation. I am faculty member in the Department of Teacher Education at Gonzaga University. At Gonzaga, I teach mathematics and science methods courses, preparing elementary and secondary pre-service teachers to meet the learning needs of students from varied socio-economic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds. My courses and teaching aligns with theories of practice-based teacher education.
What problem were you trying to solve with video?
I was interested in supporting and developing pre-service teachers’ ability to reflect and analyze their teaching practice.
Why was Vosaic Connect a good fit to help solve this problem?
Vosaic Connect provides a video artifact of teaching practice that pre-service teachers can analyze. It allows candidates to identify multiple “moments” within a teaching episode that provide evidence of a certain teaching practice. The annotation feature allows them to justify how this evidence aligns with targeted principles of instruction.
Pre-service teachers are also able to use the annotation feature to suggest alternative responses to teacher-student interactions in the video. They can justify how the alternative response might better support student learning. This type of detailed reflection and analysis is critical for preparing pre-service teachers to work in complex classroom environments.
Vosaic Connect also provides a way for me, as a teacher educator, to support pre-service teachers in developing the skills and dispositions of a reflective practitioner. I can respond to moments that pre-service teachers have marked, asking questions that prompt further analysis by the pre-service teacher. Annotations help me understand what a pre-service teacher may have been thinking in marked video moments. I can use Vosaic to prompt the pre-service teacher to explore a particular moment I have marked, that perhaps illustrates an aspect of practice that the pre-service teachers needs to develop further.
Can you tell us some specific examples of how you use Vosaic Connect?
The pre-service teachers in my courses use Vosaic Connect to record lessons taught in their field/practicum experiences in K-12 classrooms.
In my courses, pre-service teachers are given assignments to analyze their teaching practice using Vosaic Connect. In creating my own self-reflection forms, I have the ability to direct pre-service teachers examine their video for evidence of certain teaching practices. For example, a form can direct pre-service teachers to show evidence of where they used representations in their instruction to deepen student thinking, which is an important research-based mathematical teaching practice
I have also created forms that align with edTPA rubrics, which support candidates with this performance based assessment. The passing of the edTPA is consequential to attaining a teaching certificate in Washington State.
What is your favorite Vosaic Connect feature and why?
The annotation feature is my favorite, as it allows pre-service teachers and teacher educators to use narrative to uncover salient moments of practice. The focus becomes examining practice with the purpose of continual growth and development. The focus is not on the teacher, but the teaching—I believe this is key to developing the dispositions required of a reflective practitioner.
What kind of results have you seen after using Vosaic Connect?
Previous to Vosaic Connect the analysis of practice by pre-service teachers was recalling what they remembered happening during their enacted lesson in a classroom. I found there was so much of the lesson enactment that candidates did not see (or remember), so having video of their practice allows multiple opportunities to see what actually occurred from their perspective and from a student perspective as well.
I have found that Vosaic Connect supports pre-service teachers in developing a sophisticated and detailed analysis of teaching practice. Anecdotally, pre-service teachers begin to enjoy watching their practice, and adopt a stance of being able to critically examine their practice.
Would you recommend Vosaic Connect to others and why?
Yes, I think this tool has the potential to transform teacher education by making clear connections between theory and practice.
I have only begun to explore the instructional possibilities of Vosaic Connect. I look forward to using Vosaic as a tool to improve my own practice as a teacher educator. I desire to seek ways in which Vosaic Connect can support pre-service teachers in learning about effective instructional practices where they develop the knowledge and skills to support diverse learners.