Educational Research / Teaching and Learning Research

Mangold Systems for Classroom Observation in Teaching and Learning Research

Advantages of videography in classroom research

Lehrer im Klassenzimmer

Teaching and learning research are areas of education science and deal with the content and analysis of teaching and learning processes in the classroom and derives optimizations for both areas

For this purpose, findings and methods of educational research, didactics, pedagogy and educational psychology are used and the interaction between students and teachers is examined (but also situation analysis, e.g. in case of classroom disturbances, etc.). The resulting findings, theories and methods must in turn be verified by empirical studies.

If learning is viewed as the building of skills and knowledge in a holistic sense, then teaching can usefully be understood as an equally holistic process. Accordingly, the interaction between teachers and learners in the classroom is a complex construct that cannot be studied with empirical educational research alone.

Teaching and learning research combines theories from different disciplines to provide a broader perspective on this multifaceted topic

Taking it a step further, the research has to be extended to different institutions, learning environments or educational systems, which adds further dimensions to the research field.

In addition to all these dimensions, collecting reliable data is a key challenge in teaching learning research

However, particular difficulties arise when classroom activities are to be observed directly, live.

Lehrerer im Klassenzimmer

Methods and techniques in classroom research

For observation in classroom research, videography of classroom events and the subsequent analysis of these recordings offer significant advantages over live observation.

Unfortunately, outdated theories, methods, and techniques are repeatedly applied based on older studies of classroom research. As a result, new studies based on them become real time-consumers and the results are limited to what was already expected. 

However, those who skilfully apply modern technology and methods will quickly arrive at comprehensive results that go far beyond what can be observed.

The following is a highly condensed discussion of the challenges and opportunities of modern videography in teaching and learning research.

With this information, it should be possible to gain ideas for your own projects in classroom research.

Advantages of video-based observation over live observation

  • Audio-video recordings preserve more information, because in live observation one cannot perceive many things due to distraction or concentration on certain details.
  • Audio-video recordings can be played back repeatedly as often as desired in order to correctly evaluate what is happening with certainty.
  • The playback speed can be varied at will to allow accurate analysis of complex or lengthy events.
  • The repeatability makes it easy to evaluate the content in several runs and according to different criteria in each case.
  • Due to the additional information in audio-video recordings, contexts can be examined that cannot be observed live because too many things are happening at the same time.

Audio and video technology for classroom research

What can audio and video technology contribute to classroom research?

Lehrer bei Schülerin

The term videography or better "audiovisual recording" is often understood as being able to "record what one sees" for later playback.

However, it is a widespread misconception that a video can reproduce what one perceives in a situation. 

This is because there are major differences between human perception and the digital recording of optical and acoustic signals. 

On the one hand, such audio-video recordings in classroom research contain information that one has not perceived or that is perceived differently by other people.

On the other hand, by concentrating on certain content, moving the head, or completely repositioning oneself in space, human perception can capture things that remain hidden from the audiovisual recording.

If this fact is not taken into account, it is likely that exactly what one is interested in will not be seen or heard later in the video.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that the possible forms of teaching design can be just as diverse as there are possibilities for their audiovisual recording.

Given this background, it becomes clear that no blanket statement can be made about "necessary technology" in educational research. 

However, based on decades of experience in the field of video observation, the following can be stated:

  • Use up-to-date AV technology: If existing study designs are taken as the starting point for one's own work, it is essential to question whether the methods and techniques used in them are still up to date. This is because both the possibilities of audio/video recording and storage technology and the range of functions of subsequent quantitative and qualitative video analysis software are developing rapidly. Even recent publications often reference outdated technology and procedures.
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It is highly advisable to seek advice at an early stage before procuring technology and software from a company that deals professionally with the topic of "scientific observation / research".

  • Designed for research not just AV recording: This is because classic audio/video providers or AV consultancies often design systems with a fixed application context from AV presentation technology or surveillance technology (stationary rooms, lecture hall broadcasts, distance learning, etc.) that is unsuitable for research.
  • The usually changing conditions in the scientific context create challenges that are not or only very difficult to overcome with such improperly designed systems.
  • Designed for a specific research context: The consulting company must know the application context and the scientific background to it, and not just fall back on proven technical components. Otherwise, you may end up with many hours of audio-video material on which the important details cannot be seen or heard. Simply because "surveillance technology" (prevention of burglary / theft / other crimes) is something quite different from capturing a group of students working together on a problem at a table via audio and video, so that you can follow the dialogs and interactions at the table.
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  • If the interaction between teachers and learners is to be studied in a specific learning environment, these subject complexes must already be considered separately in the study design. This is because each person here has their own orientation to the camera and their own audio range. 
  • If the learning environment allows people to move around the room, the audio and video recording must accommodate these changing positions and spatial orientations
  • If you do not know the possibilities and limitations of the different camera systems and audio systems currently available on the market, you will quickly end up with a system that does not meet the requirements.

For these reasons, professional advice is strongly recommended before purchasing any audio/video equipment.

Contact us now for audio and video technology for teaching and learning research ...

Audio/Video Observation Labs from Mangold

Mangold International - Specialists in designing and building custom audio/video observation labs.

As individual as your project - Everything from a single source.

Mangold Videolabor
  • Everything from a single source: Audio / video, software, computer technology and data acquisition systems.
  • Set up on site: We set up complete audio / video observation systems on request at your site.
  • Service and support: We provide you with professional and technical support right from the start so that you can concentrate on the essentials of your studies.
  • Individually expandable: Your research evolves - your Mangold lab grows with you. Due to its modular design, a Mangold system can usually be expanded and adapted to new requirements.

Take advantage of our decades of experience in successful laboratory installations worldwide.

Video analysis in classroom research

The purpose of a video recording is ultimately to gain insights that cannot be obtained by other methods.

In this respect, videos are only "data" that need to be analyzed. This requires a qualitative content coding, which helps to answer the research question of the study. Already here it is decided whether the evaluation process in classroom research becomes a marathon or can be carried out efficiently.

INTERACT Software Box Plot

INTERACT Software Box Plot

A very common mistake is to think from the point of view of existing tools ("We have ..., therefore we do...").

For example: "In SPSS we want to..., therefore the data must be collected so-and-so". This leads to considerable restrictions and a massive reduction of the possible result space.

It is therefore recommended to generate the content-related evaluation exclusively via the question and not via thinking "The data must be available later so-and-so".

INTERACT Software State Space Grid

INTERACT Software State Space Grid

In classroom research or teaching and learning research, it is advisable to develop an "atomic" coding system for the content that describes individual (atomic) aspects of the observed individuals rather than composite behaviors:

Instead of "teacher asks an emotionally motivated question," it is useful to code individual units of information: [Who] "teacher", [Verbal] "asks", [Type] "emotionally motivated".

If the information has been coded individually in terms of content, it can later be correlated very easily in different constellations and analyzed accordingly.

Then the true benefit of video studies in classroom research or teaching and learning research becomes apparent.

Benefits of video analysis in classroom research

Classroom research is truly efficient and effective when you use as little technology as possible to record as little data as necessary in order to extract the maximum amount of information from it using the right coding system, approach, tools, and methods.

Then video-based studies live up to their effort and create real added value.

Software Mangold INTERACT on Mac

Software Mangold INTERACT on Mac

Contact us now for audio and video technology for teaching and learning research ...

Everything that cannot be observed or can only be observed with great difficulty by a human observer can be calculate by using the right tool

Because if the data from the videos are coded atomically, the following statements, for example, can be answered with the push of a button using a software like Mangold INTERACT:

  • Descriptive: How much time does the teacher have to speak? How much of it is spent on questions? How often are emotionally motivated questions asked? What is the time ratio between factual and emotionally motivated questions?...
  • Co-Occurrences: How often are emotionally motivated questions asked while visualization takes place at the same time? What is the temporal proportion of "emotionally motivated question with visualization" versus "emotionally motivated question" or "visualization without explanation"?...
  • Static interval-based: What happens (statistically) 3 seconds before an emotionally motivated question? What 5 seconds after?...
  • Contingency intervals: when an "emotionally motivated question with visualization" occurs, are there contingent student responses to it in time span x? Does this time span change, for questions with and without visualization. Are there other variables that affect these contingencies? What happens during certain contingency intervals?...
  • Sequences: What are the transition probabilities from "emotionally motivated questions" to all other behaviors.
  • Patterns: Can patterns of certain behaviors be found in different types of instruction? Are these patterns stable across different teachers? How do patterns change across different subjects? Etc. pp!

Reference Projects

Institute of Educational Psychology - Uni Münster

University Münster
Institute of Educational Psychology

Prof. Dr. Manfred Holodynski
Münster, Germany

The Institute of Educational Psychology uses video analysis in teacher education very intense.

For example, students analyze recorded lesson samples regarding the various facets of classroom management as a significant dimension of a successful teaching. The analysis is performed with the Mangold INTERACT software.

Furthermore, the University of Münster has developed a comprehensive online platform that offers lesson videos for future teachers: “Video based lesson analysis: Early Science (ViU). The aim of this project is to train future teachers in their teaching performance and their pedagogical skills.

Department of Teacher Education and School Research - Norway

University of Oslo
Department of Teacher Education and School Research

Torgeir Christiansen
Oslo, Norwegen

The „Department of Teacher Education and School Research“ is Norway’s leading academic milieu in the fields of teacher education, subject didactics, educational leadership and school relevant educational research. The research focuses mainly on interdisciplinary educational research and on pedagogical and methodological research.

The development of an innovative research method, based on video analysis in an observational lab of Mangold International, cements the excellent reputation of this institute. The research results provide important approaches to teacher training, also in an international context such as the participation in international studies (e.g. PISA).

Georgia State University
College of Education and School Research

Prof. Amy Lederberg
Georgia, USA

The primary goal of the Center on Literacy and Deafness (CLAD) is to address the question” “What is the best way to teach deaf and hard of hearing children to read?” Currently, the center is using computerbased video analysis and the software Mangold INTERACT to describe deaf and hard-of-hearing children’s language arts instruction in 29 schools across the United States. By quantifying classroom instruction, the center will be able to relate the characteristics of the children’s classroom instruction to the amount they learn in a school year. 

The goal is to identify what instructional strategies appear to work with what children. 

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