Superintendent, Long Branch Public Schools (NJ)
In the context of k-12 education, ‘rounds’ provide an opportunity for teachers and school leaders to observe the interplay of multiple disciplines at work in a real-world classroom. Content, pedagogy, classroom management, school culture… these and more are on display for educators as they visit and observe a ‘live’ classroom, the perfect lab environment.
Except that it’s not perfect. The presence of a large group of observers is almost certain to affect - and in a sense spoil - what is being observed. This is the case for both teacher behavior and student engagement with the lesson. Teachers are likely to feel intimidated, judged, maybe even a bit resentful; students are likely to over-do their participation and exaggerate their level of engagement. Finally, there's the significant logistical challenge of coordinating a gathering of educators and administrators during the school day.
Enter Virtual Rounds and the work of Dr. Michael Salvatore, Superintendent of Long Branch Public Schools in New Jersey. Dr. Salvatore proposes the innovative use of smartphone cameras and readily-available video collaboration tools to revolutionize the instructional rounds landscape. His methods, described in eight short videos by Open Mic, support authentic classroom observation experiences and meaningful post-observation discussion, completely unbound by geographic limitations.