Increasing Peer Collaboration and Feedback at Penn

Chris Pupik Dean teaches social foundations and field seminar courses at University of Pennsylvania. He also serves as the Associate Director of the Penn Residency Master’s in Teaching program.

Chris Pupik-DeanThis year Penn is using Edthena to enhance collaboration between student-teachers and mentors across a geographically diverse set of placement-sites.

How do you currently use Edthena?

We have started using Edthena for four distinct types of learning activities:

  1. Monthly “video journal” exchange between student-teachers and mentors
  2. Subject-specific methods instructors are asking student-teachers to capture evidence of themselves performing certain practices in the classroom (e.g. a particular form of classroom opening)
  3. Sharing one video between everyone in a class so they can review and comment on the video before a classroom discussion
  4. Mentor-facilitated small group conversations about particular classroom practices/issues

You are using Edthena in a variety of ways. Can you describe one of the learning cycles in more detail?

Every few weeks, small groups of student-teachers are tasked to read an article and then collect video data from their classroom that relates to the readings.

For instance, students might read an article about providing feedback. The student-teachers then collect video evidence around how they are providing feedback to students in class.

This evidence is shared with the group, and group members view and comment on each other’s videos.

penn gseHow did your teachers react to using Edthena?

Initially, teachers and mentors worried about being able to easily capture, upload, and share the video evidence they collected.

Uploading and sharing was a significant barrier with other platforms we tested, but Edthena was by far the easiest to use platform we have found.

How is Edthena helping change attitudes about making practice public?

The coaching/mentoring process is frequently confined to the teacher and mentor (and maybe classroom mentor). As we have started using Edthena, we are now asking students to share their practice with peers in a way they have not had to previously.

This certainly made some uncomfortable. However, we think this has worked in a positive way to created a more open dialogue about the practice of teaching.

How has Edthena helped increase collaboration among candidates in your program?

Our student-teachers are placed in schools that are geographically separated, making observation across school settings difficult.

Edthena has allowed us to provide an opportunity for students to see a great deal more practice in a larger variety of settings.

This has also facilitated incredible conversations about teaching and learning across these geographical barriers.

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