Peer To Peer Video Learning

We often focus on the use of video as a professional development tool for teachers but one of its greatest strengths is for peer to peer learning. Let’s not forget the pupils!

Peer Learning (PL), Peer-to-Peer collaboration (P2P), or Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) isn’t new but how often do we integrate video into this dynamic process?

Research shows that pupils who engage in collaborative learning perform better academically, persist longer, feel better about the educational experience and have enhanced self-esteem. In peer learning, pupils  construct and negotiate their own meaning and understanding of content and concepts. They engage in intellectually, emotionally and socially constructive conversations and learn by talking and questioning each other’s views, teaching each other and reaching consensus or dissent.

Teacher Mark Ives posts regularly on Twitter and in the following Tweets a couple of his pupils demonstrate how video can be used as a dynamic teaching tool between children so they can speak on their own terms and in their own language.

When we pass children opportunities to teach they can say things in a way that makes sense to them and showing others strengthens their own understanding and retention.By teaching to their peers, children review their own learning, which allows them to build their own knowledge and skills.

We can clearly observe how they learn from each other and see their comprehension grow. In a collaborative, reciprocal learning environment, children are often the best teachers as they put across tricky concepts into a language their classmates can access. That’s not to say that teachers can’t of course!

The benefits of peer to peer learning using video include:

  • Building an active and cooperative learning environment
  • Providing opportunities for children to give and receive feedback and evaluate each others’ learning
  • Promoting positive interdependence and accountability
  • Increasing participation, motivation, and pupil engagement.
  • Improving communication skills, achievement, and productivity
  • Promoting ownership of learning and deeper understanding of new concepts

There is little doubt that children enjoy learning from each other so it is well worth giving children chances to video themselves explaining a process or demonstrating how to do something.They can be more receptive to watching and hearing each other teach because they are learning from someone who experiences the same frustrations and challenges so it’s on their turf.

When videos are shared between pupils then this facilitates group collaboration and helps fuel discussions, helps explain viewpoints and idea sharing.

Peer teaching can improve students’ levels of active involvement in the teaching and learning process. When working together, students are required to discuss, explain, interpret, demonstrate, relate, generalise, compare, and justify their thinking and understandings.

The use of video recording technology is used in adult student environments because it “affords students the opportunity to engage in reflective practices” – in the same way we mustn’t forget the powerful role it can play in helping children become self-regulated and reflective learners. Video learning boosts self-confidence because pupils realise that their teacher sees them as experts and trusts them enough to share their expertise with their peers.

Ideally, peer teaching is a process by which students learn from other students who are more knowledgeable about the subject material. However, this isn’t always the case nor should it have to be.

Clearly not every video is going to be perfect and some might be confusing but this gives children the chance to become better teachers. Quality control by teachers is therefore important so that faulty knowledge is not passed on but equally children do need to make mistakes – just as long as they don’t go viral!

What pupils soon realise is that they must develop strong communication skills and be able to provide clear directions and also listen to feedback. When a video has been viewed and children have commented on what was said, pupils can have another go and make any necessary adjustments to their explanations or instructions.

Peer teaching often promotes group construction of knowledge and this allows pupils to observe other pupils’ models of successful learning and so encourages them to emulate their classmates. Video is the means through which pupils engage and manipulate both resources and their own ideas.

Sitting at the feet of their teachers all the time isn’t going to help pupils and so it is important that they are given the opportunity to seize the initiative and be pro-active in their learning. The key to effective cooperative learning is to create a supportive environment that encourages students to take risks and video enables them to do this with insight.

An innovative way to implement peer to peer learning is through a video learning approach since it creates interest and enthusiasm among pupils and provides opportunities for hands-on and minds-on learning experiences.

Peer tutoring is nothing new as pupils will regularly work together to help each other learn and there is plenty of evidence that peer tutoring works effectively. Peer to peer video learning is however under-used and so this is something all schools can promote and reconsider, especially to promote oracy.

Peer video coaching is often seen as a ‘new era’ for CPD and has completely changed how our teachers teach so why don’t more schools use the same technology with pupils for peer to peer learning opportunities?

Peer to peer video learning lets pupils shine and enables micro-teaching on their terms.

Video for peer feedback and reflection is certainly becoming more established within the teaching community but the focus is too much on teachers and not enough on pupils.

When pupils give video demonstrations they can verbalise their understanding, they can review their work through peer-review and they have a digital artefact to showcase their skills to others.This is perfect for formative assessment and feeding-forward to improve performance.

Self and peer learning and review is often used in dance training and it can just as easily and effectively be used in other subjects across the curriculum.

Video peer assessment can help steer pupils towards understanding the assessment process, helping pupils take control of their own learning and assessment and become more independent learners.

Video is a powerful tool to enhance teaching and learning. Staff, students, leaders and parents can now engage with video in ways that were unattainable several years ago.

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