Q&A with Andrew Walker – Part 3 of the Intensive Interaction Project
Hopefully you have seen Part 1 and Part 2 in this series of blogs looking at the Intensive Interaction project we have been doing with CARIAD and teachers from Exeter House School and Greenside School. In Part 1 we gave an introduction to the project, and in Part 2 we gave an in-depth account of the workshops we provided and the processes used to develop a template and output for analysing an Intensive Interaction session.
In this blog, we would like to share a Q&A we had with Andrew Walker from Exeter House School and we hope that you enjoy!
- Hi Andrew, please could you let our readers know a bit about what you do at Exeter House School, what Intensive Interaction is and what it achieves with your students?
I teach a Key Stage 3 class of 6 students with complex needs. I also have responsibility for ICT and Communication in the school. Intensive Interaction is a technique that aims to encourage pre verbal communication skills and is modelled on early parent/carer – infant interactions.
- Have you had experience of using technology in your teaching practices and have you ever used video analysis?
As ICT coordinator I have experience of using a lot of technology with my students and also to facilitate working with colleagues. With students I have used computers with a range of access devices including touch monitors, switches, Kinect sensors and eye gaze. I also use equipment such as SoundBeam which allows students’ movements to be turned into music. We have used cameras with children making films, and taking part in video conferencing sessions with students at other schools. We also video work and performance, but are new to video analysis.
- After we had the chance to give you an overview of how Codimg can be put to use with your Intensive Interaction sessions, what key things stood out to you as the benefits it would provide you with?
One of the enduring failings of education systems is that, they frequently find it difficult to measure the important, so instead they give importance to the things that are measurable. Thus we are under pressure to assess our complex students in areas that are completely inappropriate for them. Intensive Interaction is a highly valuable communication process for our students, but until now it has been almost impossible to objectively measure progress in this area. Codimg holds out the prospect of reversing the old paradigm and we are now able to make the important measurable.
- After our first two visits we gave you a chance to explore the software on your own before we met up again, during that time, what were you mainly working on and did you find Codimg easy to use without our input?
After some training we found ourselves able to use the main functions of Codimg but were aware of many potentially valuable features still in store for us.
- We spent a long time working on template development around our visits, how important do you feel this element is and has that view changed over time as you have seen more of the different end results you can achieve?
I think we realised quite early on that template design would be crucial, but it was still a difficult process that needed to be carefully thought through. It may have been harder for us than other users of Codimg because of the subtle nature of the interactions we are trying to analyze.
- We have shown our readers a picture of the final template created for studying Intensive Interaction, please could you let us know what the template is designed to measure and what end resources you can now review and create from the timeline?
Our template essentially tries to collect information about the “togetherness” of the student and their communication partner. What actions are purely solitary, what is a response to something their partner has done, what they have initiated or what is part of an ongoing exchange between them. A variety of pre verbal communication actions can be assigned to each of these categories. The Codimg software can then yield a count of their frequency and thus give a measure of the degree of “togetherness” in the communication and hence the degree to which this changes as the students and staff work with this technique.
The timeline created for a given piece of video using this template allows us to locate, count and moderate instances of all the communicative features within the template. Thus we can, for example, see instances of eye contact between the student and her partner, see how often they occur in each video clip and review these with parents or colleagues to report or moderate our assessment of the student’s pre verbal language skills and their development.
- We created a dashboard output to work with your template and timeline, what benefits will this provide you with and how easy is it to populate?
The dashboard was a beautiful piece of icing on the cake, that allows us to very quickly and easily present simple graphical information to colleagues and parents summarising the information shown in the videos. This, for the first time constitutes objective evidence of progress in Intensive Interaction, which had previously only been subjectively felt by the staff member engaging the student.
- Will you be looking to use Codimg outside of the Intensive Interaction sessions you conduct? If so, why?
Now that we have demonstrated to ourselves that we can measure the subtle interactions taking place within Intensive Interaction sessions, we will develop templates for other areas of our work. In particular we would like to work with the Engagement Scale.
For our students with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (CLDD), engagement in learning is crucial. By combining the Engagement materials with video analysis in Codimg, we hope to provide a tool for our teachers to develop powerful insights into the facets that engage our students and hence to provide an evidence based path for developing learning programmes for our most difficult to engage students.
- Do you think that other educational settings could benefit from the process of video analysis? What are some of the key benefits provided?
I think that the sky is the limit for video analysis in education. It is difficult to imagine any areas of teaching and learning that would not benefit from being able to objectively review video evidence. It is clearly a great tool for assessment evidence but it will also become a teaching, learning, moderation and presentation tool as well. However a lot of thought will need to be put into template design, IT infrastructure for handling video and associated data files and also workflows to maximize the efficiency of video collection, analysis and and presentation.
- We are really looking forward to seeing this project develop and reviewing the resources you create, how have you found working with ourselves and the Codimg software?
It has been a great pleasure to work with Josh and Jon at AnalysisPro. They have gone out of their way to support our learning about the software and processes involved, but halve also taken the time to understand the nature of our work and what it is we are trying to achieve. This has enabled us to move quickly on an exciting and challenging project.
We want to say a big thank you to Andrew for taking the time to answer these questions with us and providing such detailed responses. Next week we will be attending a Gesture Based Learning conference with Andrew and Leah where we will all be presenting our work and experiences from this exciting project.