How do we understand and make sense of observations of both teachers and children?
We often ask our students to make observations in classrooms. Because those observations are done in real time, there is no way to go back and check to verify what we saw, nor is there a way to share those observations with others unless they happen to be with us. Using the quest sites as places to learn to observe allowed us to do things that can't be done in real time. For one thing, we can go back and make sure we saw what we think we saw; we can go back and listen to what was said or watch what happened. We can use the sites as inquiry sites, asking questions and then going into the text and videos to see both what teachers say they are trying to do and what they and their students seem to be doing. Thinking in this way about what is seen can carry over into real life observations that student teachers conduct on a daily, almost hourly basis, while they are practicing teaching in someone else's classroom.
In addition, the sites can be used for specific observation purposes. We can ask "What are the children doing while the teacher gives directions?" and then go back and look at what they ARE doing. We can ask,"How does the teacher give directions? What exactly does she tell the children? How does she speak to them?" The opportunity to go back and listen again is always there.