Saturday, January 25, 2014

Video Self-Modeling

I am still on a high from the CEC-DADD annual conference on Autism, Intellectual Disabilities and Developmental Delays. It's going to take me a while to process all the great ideas I heard and everything I learned. I came back with so many ideas I am anxious to try out.

One concept I cannot wait to try out is video self-monitoring. I had heard of video modeling before but had never spent time to learn much about it. I made assumptions on what it was and always meant to try it out, but never had. I kind of assumed it was like a video social story and thought it was one of those things that was trendy because it was technology based but that wouldn't really offer more than the social story itself. I'm glad I never did until now because I would never have done it effectively or with the same understanding I have now.

I sat in on a session lead by Tom Buggey from the Siskin Children's Institute who walked us through the ins and outs of using video self-modeling to promote positive behavior changes. It is particularly effective with students with autism who are visual thinkers- if they think in pictures then seeing themselves on the screen is going to be a memory that stays with them longer and speaks louder than our teacher narratives of what good behavior looks like.

The first thing he covered as to never use video self modeling to show a student the mistakes he or she is making. Watching yourself fail over and over again will not change behavior, it will only cement a child's mindset that he or she is a failure and is unable to do the task at hand. Instead, we can use video self-modeling in two ways:

1- As a positive self-review- We can take video of a child performing a skill they can already do that we'd like them to do more of, or do better (such as reading fluently)

2- As a "Feedforward"- We can use video editing to show a child doing a skill he or she has not yet learned.

The "Feedforward" concept fascinated me. Buggey explained that through editing a video he is able to show a child speaking in sentences, going down a slide, or playing with friends- skills a child is not yet doing. In showing the child the video of them performing the skill the child begins to see themselves as capable of doing the skill, and begins to believe they can do it. In fact, Buggey said that it seems to always replace the child's memory- in some cases the child forgets the skill was ever difficult for them.

He showed us videos of his grandson speaking. He ran different video clips together to make it appear that his grandson was producing 3 word sentences when in fact the child had only been saying words in isolation. The 3 word sentences were typical of the child's age and his next developmental step. Buggey was clear that it will not work if we show a child a skill that is unreasonable for them- that will only promote their sense of being a failure and an inability to achieve.

He also discussed using video modeling to show a child go down a slide. He took a video of the child at the top of the slide, then took a video of a peer going down the slide but only shot the peer's body, not the head. Then he took a video of the child at the bottom of the slide. Editing the videos together he produced a film that made it look like the child went down the slide. The more the child watches it the more the child believes that he or she is capable of going down the slide.

He also used it to promote social play. He'd ask friends to go play near a student and then take videos of what looked like cooperative or at least parallel play. Although in real life it was staged the video clips appeared that the children were actually playing together. Again, showing the child what it will look like when he or she plays with friends.

The three components Buggey listed of a video self-monitoring movie are starting by positively labeling the behavior "Here is Mary sharing with her friends!", followed by the film clip of the child modeling the behavior, and then a reinforcing line at the end that also re-labels the behavior like "Nice job playing, Mary!" The video should be no more than 3 minutes long.

In viewing the video with the student he cautions teachers against making comments during the video and putting pressure or being too pushy with the child. When the child watches the video it should speak for itself and the child can be internally processing what he or she is watching.

Because the videos are so short it is easy to use them to "prime" the student, or prepare the student before the behavior is expected. Show the video at a time when it will not be disruptive in the classroom, and at a time when the child will not be distracted.

There were multiple presentations on video modeling and self-modeling at the conference and it was exciting to hear the different possibilities out there. Although Buggey's talk focused primarily on the use of videos with preschoolers, other presenters shared research on using it with older students, whose needs ranged from autism to behavioral concerns.

I came back and immediately started taking videos. I spent Friday night geeking out and editing the videos and stringing them together to give feedforward to two different students I work with. I was surprised at how easy editing the videos actually was. We'll see how it goes with my third graders.  I'm shamefully excited for Monday.

For more information go straight to the source=  example videos, explanations, etc.

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