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School of Education uses new classroom technology with Swivl

Oklahoma Christian University’s School of Education purchased 13 Swivl units to help students to record themselves teaching. The Swivl robot rotates to follow and record the teacher automatically.

Professor of Education, Darin Martin, said the new purchase had to do with the State Department of Education deciding to change the final state teacher certification test from the OPTE to the PPAT.

“The PPAT is a national performance-based test that requires a 15-minute video of the teacher candidate teaching in a classroom,” Martin said. “Other Schools of Education in the state had already purchased Swivls and spoke highly of them. After checking into the units, we decided to purchase them for our candidates to use.”

Donors and the Oklahoma Christian Women’s Association donated the funds for the new technology. Cara Cecil, a student in the education program, said the technology is essential to complete the PPAT exam.

“All education majors are required to complete this exam in order to be certified, so we needed access to technology that would make this possible,” Cecil said. “I have heard of other universities requiring that each individual buy their own Swivl, so it is a great relief to have this made available to us through the School of Education.”

Martin said students will not use the new technology on a daily basis, but there will be periods of high usage during the semester.

“School of Education students have already used the Swivls in practice sessions both on campus and at practicum sites,” Martin said. “Students will take them off-campus to their student-teaching sites and video their lessons.”

Emma Roper, a junior elementary education student, said she used the Swivl last semester and said she had good feedback about the new product.

“I used the Swivl to record my lesson for (PPAT), and my experience was pretty good with it,” Roper said. “You set it up in the corner, with your phone on it, and you carry a little remote with you, and it tracks the remote. So it will turn according to where the remote is. The remote also records your voice, so you get a really accurate recording of your lesson.”

Martin said Swivl will help the students to watch their own performances.

“They will be able to watch recordings of their teaching and critically reflect on their performance,” Martin said. “In doing so, they will be able to notice areas of improvement and perform better in the future.”

Cecil said Swivl is a good method to record the lessons and review them later.

“Part of our job as preservice teachers is to continually reflect on what worked well and what could be improved,” Cecil said. “By having a high-quality video that shows exactly what occurred throughout the lesson we are able to evaluate and reflect on our teaching in a much easier way.”

Roper said Oklahoma Christian education program prepares students well for the PPAT assessments.

“(Oklahoma Christian University does) a really good job of preparing us for these assessments and preparing us for teaching in general,” Roper said. “By supplying those for us, they give us the opportunity to not only have good videos for our assessments but also good reflection experience. We can watch ourselves and learn from past lessons.”

Cecil said it has become more evident how teachers must be competent with technology skills.

“Virtual learning has become a widely used method of teaching in response to COVID-19,” Cecil said. “Learning about how to use technology such as the Swivl helps prepare us to teach in a variety of different ways.”

Roper said learning how to use the Swivl now is important for future teaching purposes.

“This generation is moving into a direction where recorded lessons are more important and relevant,” Roper said. “Especially when you are working with young elementary students, you have to be really engaged in your class, and it is not always easy to manage a computer when you’re doing that.”

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