Two of Vosaic’s customers recently featured Vosaic in a publication titled Handbook of Research on Fostering Student Engagement With Instructional Technology in Higher Education.
Tara Kaczorowski (Illinois State University) and Andrew Hashey (Buffalo State College) contributed a chapter to the book, outlining the implementation of Video-enhanced Performance Feedback (VPF) in higher education. In the piece, the authors talk about their experience using Vosaic to promote deeper reflection among their students, and offer suggestions for how other educators might utilize VPF tools like Vosaic. Though they worked with students in special education preparation courses, they mention that the information could be relevant in a variety of higher education focuses.
About 90% of pre-service teachers also agreed or somewhat agreed that they would rather reflect via VPF than written essay.
Reflection for Learning & Technology as Transformative
The authors begin by outlining the importance of both reflection and technology in the process of learning. They’ve found that “providing an opportunity to engage in deliberate effort to identify and reflect on key lessons from an experience is more important to learning” than practicing a concept repeatedly without reflecting. They also note that technology can be extremely beneficial in the practice of learning and reflection, but only when applied constructively. Technology should be mindfully selected and incorporated into the classroom, and can be chosen with frameworks like TPACK.
Video to Enhance Reflection
In the scope of technology-based reflection, the authors draw comparisons between video-based feedback and more traditional forms of self-reflection, such as written essays. One advantage of VPF that they continuously return to is the increased ability to provide specific and accurate feedback. Reflection essays rely on memory, which can be inaccurate and incomplete, whereas video offers a definite and objective source for analysis. With the use of video in the reflection and feedback process, input becomes much more relevant and, therefore, valuable.
Selection of VPF Tool
Though technology is useful for reflection, video services are not one size fits all. As mentioned before, educators should be strategic when bringing new technology into the classroom. Thankfully, Kaczorowski and Hashey included a helpful table with functions they were looking for before deciding to use Vosaic. Some of these features include type of annotation, data security & privacy, learning curve, and cost.
The authors noted that when using Vosaic, they frequently tie in the STaR framework, which was developed by Vosaic customers Dawn Teuscher (BYU) and Matt Switzer (TCU). STaR is an acronym for “see it, try it, reflect on it,” a series of activities which is meant to enhance the development of teaching students. This might involve providing sample videos of a practice (see it), encouraging students to record themselves trying that practice (try it), then having students use Vosaic to self-reflect on their attempts (reflect on it). Students tagged and annotated the video at home; during class, the instructor projected the students’ timelines of tagged moments to highlight trends in what they saw as good teaching to guide the class discussion (see Figure 2).
The authors have also noticed three key themes in how they’ve incorporated Vosaic with students at their two different institutes: noticing and evaluating, self-reflection, and instructor evaluation and feedback. Essentially, these themes correlate with students’ ability to observe and provide feedback to their peers and themselves, as well as their reception of feedback from instructors via Vosaic.
VPF for Instructor Reflection
Vosaic has been a great fit not only for the students at these universities but for the instructors as well. One of the institutes has a peer-mentor program for its faculty, and the program has incorporated Vosaic support educator professional development. The authors state that faculty who use VPF for mentoring “have the added benefit of observing themselves teach, receiving targeted feedback, and having opportunities to identify video-based evidence tightly linked to their teaching goals.”
Benefits of VPF in Higher Ed
After several semesters of utilizing Vosaic, the authors wanted to get a gauge via survey on whether students and faculty found the tool useful. Nearly 90% of students agreed or somewhat agreed that Vosaic was both easy to use and effective in helping them notice their strengths and weaknesses. About 90% of pre-service teachers also agreed or somewhat agreed that they would rather reflect via VPF than written essay. Similarly positive stats were found when surveying faculty at the participating schools.
VPF to Support Learning
To be successful when implementing VPF tools like Vosaic, the authors found three major themes: technology as a change driver, fluency with instructional technology, and facilitation of experiential learning through reflection. The first two themes have a lot to do with the technology at hand. That is, instructors should ensure that they’re meaningful in both their selection of VPF technology and in educating students on the tool at hand.
The final theme states that technology like Vosaic will not automatically lead to more meaningful reflection. Instead, they should plan assignments and prompts that “elicit deeper and more specific reflections.”