Recently our Director of technology at DESC introduced me to the Siwvl robot, an ingenious video capture platform. It holds your iOS or Android device and includes a sensor that swivels and rotates automatically as you move around. Thus allowing you to record your teaching/ presentations; wearing a marker around your neck acts as a microphone for perfect audio.

So far I have used it to record lessons as a tool to reflect on my own pedagogy and to record video news letters for parents of the students I teach. Here I share some other ideas I have for how this intuitive device can support teaching and learning.

Top Ten Swivl uses:

  1. SELF REFLECTION– Record your own teaching to reflect on after the lesson. Once you get past the initial cringe over hearing your own voice and laughing at your mannerisms, it is incredibly useful to observe your own practice. Swivl pro feature allows you to make comments and annotate next to the video to record your thoughts on how to improve the lesson. These could be kept in your own personal video library or shared with others. Videos can be uploaded to external channels such as YouTube or shared privately with groups.





  1. STUDENT CREATED CONTENT– Making the learning visible, gaining insight into student’s thinking in lessons, by asking students to investigate, problem solve, discuss, question, and collaborate with their peers and then recording their interactions.


  1. LESSON OBSERVATION TRAINING- One of the most powerful professional learning experiences for me during my career was being trained in lesson observation by an inspector and is something I think benefits all staff regardless of their position in a school. Lessons could be recorded then used to train staff in observation skills.


  1. COACHING– Video can be very powerful when used for modelling and coaching. Building a library of best practice of what works at our school, in our context has the potential to be very powerful. Additionally at DESC our approach to lesson observation follows the ‘observation and feedback’ developmental coaching model. Observers work with teachers for six weeks at a time and visit a lesson for a short period of time every week. It would be useful to record this section of the lesson to watch back in the feedback meeting. Furthermore both parties could record their annotations for reflection and continued dialogue. Also if the observer was unable to attend the lesson, this could be recorded in their absence and watched later.


  1. WORKSHOP CAPTURE– DESC staff run several workshops throughout the year which we call our ‘Menu of choice’. It would be useful to capture these and store on the website to refer to and also to share with those unable to attend. Equally it would be useful to capture the presentations of external speakers that visit DESC and store these for future reference.


  1. TEACH MEET CAPTURE- I run a Teach Meet organisation in Dubai, promoting best practice amongst educators across the region and this device is perfect for permanently capturing the learning at our Teach Meet events and the creation of a long awaited #SPARKevent YouTube channel.


  1. PRESENTATION PRACTICE- If you have an important presentation you will be delivering at a conference, to peers, to students, parents, at a staff meeting; practice it using the Swivl and watch back to reflect or share with others for feedback.


  1. FLIPPED LEARNING– Anytime, anywhere learning for students and their parents, sometimes when I give important explanations to students I have often thought how useful it would have been to record it so that parents also get the same message and can support their children’s learning at home. I have made and intend to regularly use this platform as a video newsletter to communicate with parents, by posting the links to the video on Show my homework. Presentation slides and video can be synced easily within the Swivl capture app. Also where I teach more than one class in a particular year group, I often have discussions that head in different directions with different classes. It would be great to record these so students could add to their notes.
  2. TEACHER’S TV LIVE- Live streaming is another tool that has the potential to be powerful in education, so long as it is used carefully. Beaming a live lesson to the smartphone of other teachers, our parents, potential employees, gives a realistic insight into what is really happening in a school, in real time. It could also be used to stream assemblies or for music/ drama performances. Giving parents the ability to watch from wherever they are in the world. Apps such as Periscope and Meerkat allow for private viewing and the Swivl robot could be used to hold the iPad.


  1. VISION 2021– The talented staff and students at our school are often involved and contribute to learning events in the region, for example “What Works” organised by the KHDA and the GESS conference. These sessions could be recorded and captured to document DESC’s contribution and commitment to sharing best practice with local schools, in line with the UAE’s vision for education 2021.


Read this exciting article from last week, “Swivl’s New Classroom Tools Emphasise Student Data and Personalisation” that explains the latest model from Swivl, the “C” series which includes multiple marker capability and a wide angle lens and tablet stand.