A case for using swivl for digital observation in an online or blended learning environment
International Journal on Innovations in Online Education , Vol. 2, Issue 2, 2018
This paper examines the use of digital video in order to enhance professional development for online and blended learning programs in higher education, with particular reference to initial teacher education (ITE). While digital observation in the context of teacher education has been the subject of some discussion, the technology considered in this article is relatively new. Swivl is an innovative technology which allows for nonintrusive digital observation of, for example, school placement. The benefits of using digital observation for professional development are numerous, including the recording of information that may not otherwise be captured and allowing for the retaining of that information for reflection and analysis purposes. This paper assesses the potential benefits for both staff and students who work in an online and blended learning environment, as well as identifying some challenges this technology may present. The paper places a particular focus on the practical application of Swivl technology in a blended learning postgraduate program for ITE in Ireland. The aim of this paper is twofold: (1) to explore the use of an innovative technology called Swivl for online or blended higher education and (2) to present an overview of a proposed pilot study in which a randomized controlled trial group of student teachers (N = 50) will use Swivl to self-reflect during school placement. A second paper, in early 2019, will provide a detailed analysis of the impact of the use of digital technology in a treatment group as part of the pilot study.