It is not often I endorse a product but in the case of Iris Connect I can see this as being a very useful tool in the right hands.
When I first looked at this product last year I got entirely the wrong impression. I immediately thought “Surveillance Tool” – I couldn’t have been further from the truth.
When I talked with Graham Newell at a recent MirandaMod at Bedfordshire University he pointed me to the Beyond CPD document below. I was fascinated to see the research surrounding CPD, which although not new, was a joy to read when linked to this product.
With these panoptic cameras (and a new handheld portable range coming soon) teachers and SLT can help each other observe their practice. Each part of the filming can be tagged and marked so people can return easily to refer to practice within the session and replay and comment on it.
Only if teachers choose to do so can they invite peers, SLT and other experts to comment on their day to day practice. Everything is entirely in the hands of the practising teachers.
If you read the numerous white papers and other documents on the IRIS connect site you will see there is very serious reflection of pedagogies going on around these emerging communities.
You can see the brief interview I did with Graham at the University of Sussex where IRIS connect have their offices (in the innovation unit where else) .
What struck me was the fact that technologies like this allow the tacit to become explicit – by this I mean people start to get an objective view of their practice and how to improve it once they get over the psychological hurdle of a camera in a room and the possibilities of being observed.
However all the failsafes and checks and balances are there in the system and teachers are definitely empowered by this system. Iris connect are building up a vast video exemplar library of practice, all tagged and commented on. This is a marvellous resource for the future.
And for those of you who prefer to listen to an audio podcast instead: