Classroom Videotaping FAQ

Here's some basic information about the upcoming videotaping in your classroom.
If you still have questions after reading this page, please ask.
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1. What is the purpose of the videotaping?

As you know, the Evaluating DMI project is researching the impact of the DMI professional development program. To understand how participating in DMI seminars affects teaching, we collect classroom video from each teacher once each school year (with a few exceptions, see below). The videos serve as a 'snapshot' of your teaching at different points in time. We compare teachers who have had DMI seminars to those who haven’t yet; and we compare teachers to themselves over time.

For a small group of teachers, we’d like to videotape for a second time in the same year. This helps us know how much teaching varies from class to class. If we choose you and you agree to let us tape again, we’ll pay you a small stipend as a thank you for the added imposition.

2. What do I need to do during the taped class?

We’re looking for a “typical” example of you teaching a class on a topic in number and operations that includes a whole group discussion. It is important that the class is on a number and operations topic since that’s the content focus of the DMI seminars. It’s important that the class includes a whole group discussion since we’re interested in how teachers and students talk with one another about math. We want to see what usually goes on in your classroom – not your best teaching, not “exemplary” teaching – just what you would normally do. We’ll ask you at the end if anything was out of the ordinary for the class and, if so, we’ll arrange a time to come back again to see if we can catch something more typical. (This is the other “exception” to our videotaping just once each year.)

3. What is the project going to do with the video?

The video is going to be reviewed by our research team only. It will not be shared with your coworkers or supervisors, nor shared publicly on the internet or in any other way. Most of the research team will not even know your name or school, and you will not be identified by name in our research findings. If you wish, we can make a copy of the video to give to you which you can use (or not) as you please.

4. Is there anything I should do to prepare before the day of the visit?

Only a few things:

  • remind your administrator/front office staff a few days before (we will clear the visit with them beforehand, but a reminder never hurts!)
  • It makes it trickier for our videographers to set up and shoot the video when there are several children in a class who don't have permission to be on camera, so please try to get in any straggling parental consent forms as soon as you can. (If you're not sure whether a student has returned a consent form, we can look it up for you.) Forms can be faxed to Sherry at 617-873-9602, or turned in to the videographer on the day of the shoot.
  • Talk to your class about the visit. Tell them that people are coming to film their class, why these people are filming the class, and what the videos will be used for. For example, you might say,

"Some new people are coming to videotape our math class tomorrow. They’re studying what teachers learn in a class about math teaching. They're trying to record the kind of math discussions we have so they can understand how teachers teach and how children learn. Only people working on the project will see the video. I’ve already said it’s OK, and (most of) your parents have, too.”

Then answer any questions students have about the videotaping. It's helpful if you can tell the kids to not look at the camera, not touch the microphones, and to speak up nice and loud. It's also good to explain the permission situation so that the kids who can't be on camera don't feel suddenly left out when they are asked to move.

5. What happens with children whose parents have not turned in a consent form?

The videographer will have a list of the children who should not be filmed, and will try to set up the camera so that those students do not appear in the video. We may seat those students near each other, preferably with their backs to the camera so we won’t capture them on tape. If this is not possible with your usual seating arrangement, we may ask you to re-seat those students for the class period. Please remember to not call those students up to the board that day. If you prefer to make other arrangements that period to send those students out of class to another teacher, etc. that is completely up to you.

6. What happens the day of the visit?

On the day of the visit, the videographer (and occasionally another member of the Evaluating DMI staff) will arrive at your classroom about 25 minutes before you start teaching your lesson to set up, and will try to do so with as little disruption as possible. He/she will work with you to make sure children without parental consent are seated out of camera view, and will very briefly introduce him/herself to the students and explain why we’re taping the class. The shoot will last only as long as your math class. At the end of the class, the videographer will ask you whether there was anything unusual about the class, but otherwise there won't be a debriefing or anything else you'll have to do for DMI that day. Please do not tell the videographer whether or not you've been in the DMI seminars this year – they are supposed to stay "blind" to who's in which group. Thanks!