Natalie June, a passionate educator from California and Principal at the Aspire Rosa Parks Academy, has a deep-rooted belief that all students can truly learn and does everything she can to provide equitable outcomes for her elementary school students. “I think our ability to do that depends on having engaging, thought-provoking, well-equipped teachers in the classroom,” says Natalie. “It takes a strong support system, which includes an instructional leader. Ultimately, in a nutshell, day in and day out, meeting after meeting and everything that I’m doing – that’s really what I’m trying to do.”
With this mission in mind, Natalie’s school recently started using the Swivl Robot, the automated video capture robot that works with your mobile device and a suite of online tools to enable educators and students to use video for skill development. The Rosa Parks Academy is among thousands of schools that use this small, portable device to make regular use of video a seamless practice in their classrooms. “This is our first year piloting Swivl. It’s a great professional development tool,” says the elementary school principal.
The Swivl Robot is easy to set up and use. All that’s needed is an iOS or Android device with the free Swivl Practice app. Together they work to capture video and high quality sound, which get automatically uploaded to Swivl Cloud. The Cloud offers a set of online tools that put educators in control of their professional development. The magic is in the synergy between the applications and the devices. “Swivl adds a new dimension to PD. With video, there’s some self-discovery and some work that you can do as a professional for your own individual development as well. For teachers that are looking for that kind of opportunity it can be really beneficial,” says Principal June. “We’re trying to develop students that are critical thinkers and problem solvers, and we want our educators to be motivated and inspired to do the same things in terms of their own professional growth.”
Mrs. June started out with one free account to help teachers reflect on their practice. Now the school has accounts for all the teachers, who are now getting on board and trying it out. “I think the teachers need time to be able to get trained, to plan lessons that include more technology, and then sometimes to just jump in and get their feet wet and just kind of try it out,” says Natalie. “We prepare students to get to and through college, so I try to reiterate the importance of incorporating more technology in our lessons. It’s something that the kids are really going to need, not just in college, but as they go to middle school and high school. The teachers believe in that. They get it.”
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