Australia’s Barker College Discovers a New Tool for Inspiring and Engaging Learners

Barker College is an Anglican day and boarding school of just over 2,000 students situated 25 kilometres to the north of Sydney, Australia. Established in 1890, Barker caters for boys from pre-kindergarten to Year 12 and for girls from Year 10 to Year 12.Barker College Quote

At Barker, teachers are challenged to ‘inspire each learner, every experience, every day’. This means that they are constantly looking at ways to improve the learning environment for their students and integrate pedagogical best practices into the classroom. As a result of this continual drive to improve, school staff became increasingly interested in the possibilities offered by video as a learning tool. With the widely documented rise of YouTube and other online video platforms, teachers knew that their students were already well-versed in using video to teach themselves new skills. It made perfect sense, therefore, for the institution to start using video in a more structured way.

While staff were keen to start experimenting with video, their existing setup gave them very limited opportunities to record classroom content. Consequently, they began to look for a solution that would support their ambitious new aims with video. They knew they wanted more than just a basic video repository and were looking for a platform that would allow them to:

  • Employ the flipped classroom model, enabling them to record pre-class materials from a range of locations
  • Give students easy access to video content through a combination of live streamed events and on-demand recordings
  • Enhance their offsite campus activities, which support indigenous groups in their region.

They wanted to deliver all of this with a platform that was both simple and secure. Having reviewed their options, they selected Panopto based on its ease of use and flexibility.

Barker begins using video in the classroom

During the initial roll-out of Panopto, Barker College focused on recording classroom content so that their students would be able to review lessons on-demand for revision purposes. Because Panopto is easy to install on laptops, smartphones and tablets, teachers were able to use their own familiar devices to capture class content –a confidence-booster that helped spur adoption amongst staff.

Another key aspect of the early-stage implementation of Panopto was its integration with the school’s learning management system (LMS). This integration gave teachers the ability to embed their Panopto recordings directly into the relevant unit of work within the LMS. This meant that it was easy to make video content accessible to the appropriate students whether they were on- or off-campus.

The initial results

Even in these early stages of video adoption, staff are already commenting favourably on the impact of Panopto in their classrooms. They can see how Panopto’s video capabilities enhance the established  functionality of the school’s LMS to help create more engaging learning experiences.

Panopto is also playing an important role in helping the school embrace the flipped classroom approach. Teachers are using Panopto to capture subject content – sometimes live, sometimes pre-recorded – for students to review in advance of class. The ability to record using a range of devices opens up all sorts of opportunities to provide more engaging flipped classroom content – even recordings from field trips and off-campus sessions. With students able to engage with a topic via video before class, teachers can then focus face-to-face time on more interactive activities and deeper discussions.

One of the college’s favourite aspects of the system is its inside-video search function, known as Smart Search. As Panopto indexes every word spoken in a video — as well as those featured on-screen or in a slide deck – it’s easy for students to find and fast-forward to any topic they want to review using a keyword search. This makes it much simpler for students to consolidate their knowledge and revise for exams. In the words of Barker College staff and students – “amazing!”.

Next steps

ICT integration staff are running on-going professional development for Barker College’s teachers to expand the implementation across the school.

They are also exploring new options for classroom and presentation area recording. While classroom capture is currently being done using staff laptops and iPads, the institution is looking to install IP cameras as part of its standard recording setup. This would allow Barker to ensure that all recordings are captured with consistent levels of quality across campus.

College staff are also eager to use Panopto at their offsite campuses, sharing the expertise of their in-house teaching staff with colleagues in other locations. The ultimate aim? To improve teaching and learning for the entire Barker College community.

Find out more! Download our complete Barker College case study today.

Published: May 26, 2016

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