A few months ago, I attended the official 2017 edTPA Conference. My mission: to learn more about the edTPA video portion of certification.
This conference attracts a very special tribe of educators. These are the teachers of teachers: the administrators, deans, and placement coordinators responsible for guiding young student teachers into successful careers.
As a vendor representative, I had some highly interesting interactions with my fellow conference goers. I’d scarcely mention that I worked for GoReact, a video tool for the classroom, when my fellow attendees would launch into the many painful video woes of their programs.
It turns out making edTPA videos isn’t just difficult. It strikes fear into the hearts of students.9 Simple Ways to Make edTPA Videos Less Intimidating Click To Tweet
I sat wide-eyed as these teaching pros unpacked all the gory details: the tears and suffering, the horrible audio, the enormous video files that had to be compressed through complicated software . . . It certainly sounded like a nightmare.
Through those conversations, I came to understand the stakes that edTPA video submissions hold.
This footage is the culminating evidence of a student teacher’s skills, their one chance to show the edTPA board that they deserve a passing score. These stakes also come with stress, camera anxiety, and flaming hoops of technical difficulties. It’s really no wonder the video submission for edTPA is the requirement most likely to make a teaching intern cry.
But edTPA video preparation and submission doesn’t have to be so daunting. If you’re new to edTPA—or you’re looking for ways to make those videos less painful—read on for nine top tips to guide your preservice teachers through a successful edTPA video submission unscathed:
1. Review edTPA video requirements specific to your discipline
There’s nothing worse than realizing you missed something days before the deadline. I beg of you, please consult your edTPA handbook before you’ve done anything else. Your interns will thank you, and you’ll know right from day one what’s expected of your program and your practicum.
2. Don’t wing it! Script and plan
Even if pre-service teachers are natural performers, practice and preparation will help them do their best. Make sure they’re thinking about the video portion right from the beginning of their field experience. Coach them on how to plan. Have them script what they’re going to say if necessary. Whatever they can do to prepare should be done.
3. Send out permission forms to students’ families early
This is another common source of angst. As tedious as it is, parent/guardian permission needs to be given in writing before any filming can take place in a classroom. If two kids don’t have it, your intern needs to seat those kids out of frame. If your school district doesn’t have a standard release form, they can use edTPA’s sample form.
4. Get student teachers used to the camera
This is the biggest piece of advice on this list: don’t wait until the week of submissions to introduce the camera. If possible, pre-service teachers should be filming themselves the first week. Although anxiety in students increases when they’re being filmed, studies have shown that this anxiety decreases significantly if they film themselves more than once.
5. DON’T waste money on expensive camcorders
Smartphones and humble laptop webcams are sufficient to produce a high-quality edTPA video. Even a basic 360-degree webcam to attach to your machine shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. If you don’t believe me, this one is barely over $30.
6. Set up your audio
Capturing audio in a classroom filled with children is no easy task, but it’s not impossible either. For teacher observations, interns can try an inexpensive remote mic, a Bluetooth speaker, or a mic/tablet combo device like Swivl. Do some light research to find out which solution suits your program best.
7. Always test the video tech beforehand
Nothing is more frustrating for a student teacher than recording the greatest teaching demonstration of their lives . . . and realizing the camera didn’t record. Or something blocked the shot. Or the lighting was so bad that it’s basically footage of a silhouette teaching a colony of blobs. They should always, always test their video before they start.
8. Try a video management tool to spare your sanity
Complicated video tools can be intimidating, but video doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’ve never tried video coaching and observation, GoReact will blow your mind at how easy and useful it is for recording lessons and delivering time-coded comments to your interns.
9. Read our ultimate how-to guide on edTPA video
This guide contains every resource provided by edTPA on the video requirements. Now you can answer all your technical questions in one place and enjoy other resources from edTPA experts around the country.
Interested in edTPA? Check out 7 edTPA Tips No Student Teacher Should Live Without.
Seamons. “The Science of Calming Down an Anxious Presenter.” Presentation Guru.
Sara is the Sr. Writer for Higher Education at GoReact, the premier video feedback software for teaching skills crazy fast. She has been writing and editing for companies in the tech and financial spaces for over six years and enjoys creating content strategies for professional brands. She has a bachelor’s degree in traditional editing from Brigham Young University. When she’s not working, Sara can be found traveling and writing novels for young adults.