Robots Help NDSU Student Teachers

Student teachers at North Dakota State are using new technologies to monitor their job performance miles away from campus.

The technology is called Swivl, and it remotely captures the student teachers as they give a lesson. The Swivl robot pans around the room to follow the student’s every movement.

Bailey Hawbaker is a student teacher in Tioga, North Dakota, 352 miles away from NDSU.

According to Hawbaker, the Swivl gives her the ability to “move about the classroom and interact with the students without having to worry about not seeing it on the recording.”

The 360-degree motion of the Swivl allows Hawbaker to see how well she was “interacting during the class, along with how engaged the students were.”

Hawbaker said she thinks the biggest benefit to the Swivl is having online access to the recordings. “As soon as it records me, it’s uploaded online and then I have it with me anywhere I go, so I don’t have to keep track of an SD card, or worry about losing it, or any of that.”

Hawbaker said she is “able to go back and look at the videos for clarification on how I taught a lesson, which allows me to make adjustments to my plan the next time I teach that lesson.”

Adam Marx, assistant professor in the School of Education, said he has pre-service teachers in six different locations across North Dakota.

Marx said that with this new technology he can give face-to-face feedback and evaluate teachers without straining university resources.

According to Marx, the Swivl is “going to allow us to really give some just-in-time feedback that will only help improve their student teaching experience and then prepare them to have a much better-equipped toolbox as they step out into their own classrooms following graduation.

According to, this technology is being used in 30,000 classrooms. The website also says that “Swivl makes your video observation initiatives effective for teachers, easy to do, and sustainable for schools.”

Alyssa Ness, a special education major at Minnesota State Moorhead, said certain testing requires students to film themselves teaching.

Ness said that movement is imported for teachers. “I think it’s engaging, especially for younger grades, to help keep their attention. If you’re just standing there in one spot talking, it would be pretty boring for younger kids.”

Technology can be a distraction according to Ness, but she said there can be benefits if you “teach the students how to use it correctly and use it for educational purposes.”

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