Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

All Around Swivl™ Bots

Bradly Cusack, Matthew McDonald, Teresa Randall | Published: August 25th, 2021 by K20 Center


This PD introduces the use of Swivl™ robots in the classroom. Participants will go through the process of setting up the bot, recording video, uploading video to the cloud, and accessing previously saved videos. Additionally, participants will discuss possible uses of Swivl bots both for instructional purposes in the classroom and for professional development. Finally, participants will generate some possible uses of their own.

Essential Question

How can technology be used to improve an instructor's reflective practice?

Learning Goals

  • Identify professional and classroom uses of the Swivl™ robot.

  • Discuss the bot’s role in the reflective teaching process.

  • Generate ways to incorporate the bot into an upcoming lesson or activity.


  • Presentation Slides (attached)

  • ABC Graffiti handout (attached; one per participant)

  • Swivl™ robot kit

  • Sticky notes

  • Computer or device with internet access


5 Minute(s)

Introduce the topic and title of this PD using the attached Presentation Slides. Display slide 3 and review the essential question: How can technology be used to improve an instructor’s reflective practice?

Go to slide 4. Use the Fist to Five strategy to have participants rate their familiarity with Swivl™ bots on a scale of 1–5. Ask participants to hold up the requisite number of fingers to display their answers as follows:

  • 1 = No knowledge

  • 2 = Little knowledge

  • 3 = Some knowledge

  • 4 = Knowledge plus experience

  • 5 = Could teach others how to use them

To show a Swivl bot in use in a classroom, go to slide 5 and play the “Swivl in Use” video.


25 Minute(s)

After watching the video, display slides 6–7. Ask participants to go to separate stations and work in small groups to complete the following tasks in order:

  • Task 1A: Log in to your Swivl account. If you don't already have an account, create a new one at Swivl. Navigate to and select "Sign Up."

  • Task 1B: If your device is not preloaded with the Swivl app, download the app to your device.

  • Task 2: Practice setting up your device with the Swivl.

  • Task 3: Practice recording and uploading video to your Swivl cloud account.

  • Task 4: Practice accessing your recordings.

Once participants have had plenty of time to explore and complete the tasks, display slide 8 to provide an overview of the Swivl bot.

Show slide 9 to define terms associated with Swivl or with technology in general.


7 Minute(s)

Display slide 10 and pass out the attached ABC Graffiti handout to each participant. Ask participants to use a hybrid ABC Graffiti/Chain Notes strategy to brainstorm ways Swivl can be used in the classroom.

Give participants 30 seconds to jot down their responses on the handout. Then, have them pass the sheet to the person on their right. Give the recipient an additional 30 seconds to add to their colleague's response. Repeat this process as time allows.


10 Minute(s)

Display slide 11. Invite participants to read the lists and discuss some of the different uses for Swivl bots in both professional and classroom settings. Highlight selected ideas from participants’ contributions, such as:

  • Personal and professional reflection

  • Remote observation of the classroom

  • Capturing video of a lab or lesson and sharing with another teacher

  • Conducting long-distance teacher evaluations


7 Minute(s)

Display slide 12. Have participants use the How Am I Feeling? What Am I Thinking? strategy to provide some insight into their perceptions about Swivl bots.

Ask participants to divide a sticky note in half with a line (vertical, horizontal, or diagonal). On one half, have them draw an image of how they are feeling about Swivl bots. On the other half, have them write a sentence that reflects what they think about Swivl bots.

Have participants place their sticky notes on a wall or a whiteboard. Invite participants to read their own notes, or read them aloud as a heuristic for a discussion of this technology. This exercise also presents an opportunity to address individual concerns and questions.

Go to slide 13 to provide participants with social media links to connect further with the K20 Center.

Research Rationale

Video surveys expand teachers’ abilities “to analyze complex human interactions such as those found in the classroom” (Stigler, Gallimore, & Hiebert, 2000, 90). Video observation provides insights into teacher effectiveness and growth (Desimone, 2009, 191). Teacher growth has been shown to occur when robotic videographers, such as Swivl bots, have been used in conjunction with reflective practices (Franklin, O’Neill Mitchell, Walters et al., 2017, 188). Swivl bots have been shown to help provide an authentic lens to assess and develop real-life practicum experiences (McCoy, Lynam, & Kelly, 2018, 8).