The Visible Classroom project aimed to use lesson transcripts to promote effective teaching practice and improve the attainment of pupils in primary school. The approach used "real-time captioning" technology to generate a live transcript of teachers' speech in lessons and was developed by the University of Melbourne and technology provider Ai-Media UK. Lesson transcripts were made available to teachers and used as the basis of a personalised "dashboard" which provided information about key features of lessons, such as the balance of teacher and pupil talk, the amount of "thinking time" given to pupils and the types of questioning used. In addition, live transcripts could be projected directly onto a whiteboard or tablets. Pupils could use the transcripts to review learning instructions and goals, and used the devices to provide feedback on their learning at the end of each lesson. This pilot evaluation involved ten primary schools in London and the West Midlands. Participating schools received training and followed the approach over two terms in the academic year 2013-14. The evaluation had three aims. First, to assess the feasibility of the technology and overall approach. Second, to provide recommendations that could be used to improve the approach in the future. Third, to assess the promise of the approach, and its components, to inform any future trial. This project was co-funded by the EEF and Nominet Trust as part of a funding round focused on digital technology. Key conclusions include: (1) Overall, teachers were positive about the Visible Classroom approach, and believed that it had the potential to benefit both themselves and their pupils; (2) Most teachers were adept at using the technology in the classroom, even if they had not done so before this trial. There were some technical problems related to hardware, software, and internet connections, but after an initial bedding-in period most were overcome; (3) Though few teachers spent time reviewing the verbatim transcripts, the online dashboard and more detailed feedback reports based on the transcripts were seen as valuable tools to support teacher development. To maximise the impact of the feedback, teachers would benefit from being given greater opportunity to review and discuss their practice with peers and managers; (4) Pupils did not seem to use live transcripts of teacher dialogue regularly, consistently, or in a way that would suggest an obvious benefit in learning. Teachers had mixed views on whether the live transcripts might have additional benefit for disadvantaged pupils or their peers; and (5) Further research would be required to assess the level of impact the approach has on academic attainment. Prior to considering a full trial it would be valuable to undertake some additional development work to refine the approach.
Skipp, A. & Tanner, E. The Visible Classroom: Evaluation Report and Executive Summary.