Working with miniObserve
Overview of Observe features Observation outputs and reports
Customising the observation framework Comparison features and reports
Observation, recording observation detail and issues arising

The Observation Framework

miniObserve includes a number of templates which are typical for organisations in specific sectors that maintain observation programmes. It is also designed so that any organisation can customise the miniObserve observation framework to dovetail with their existing manual, or semi electronic, system.

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An appropriate start to customising your observation program to the minObserve software is to gather together all the details of your existing framework, which will probably include rules for overall grading by observers and headings for the general issues that you seek to achieve through observation.

Then view the templates to see if any template reflects your observation framework. If so this template can be customised. Alternatively you can create a new template to reflect your existing observation framework.

To view the templates open the minObserve program, click Skip at the initial splash screen, then Next at the Quick Tutorials screen. At the QuickStart screen click the Open a Template File button, highlight the template files you wish to study and click Open.

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The Event provides drop down selection boxes to record the details of the event. It also provides space to make observation notes for different aspects of the observation. There are 6 text boxes which can be customised. At the bottom of the screen you can access the list of training needs and set an overall perspective

The grade criteria for each perspective can be set on this screen with the criteria being viewed by clicking the Grading Criteria button against each perspective. The criteria can be customised. The 4 grade headings, which have the default settings Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory and Unaccceptable can also be customised.

Towards the bottom right hand corner of the Event screen there is a Grade Criteria button, which when clicked shows some default rules for assessing overall grades. Whilst these default rules are based on Ofsted guidance they can be customised.

Viewing the templates will identify whether a template should be modified, or a new template file created, to create the miniObserve template to dovetail with your existing observation framework.

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To create the minObserve observation template for your organisation:
  1. select the template you are going to modify, or click File>New, or Open a New file on the QuickStart screen;
  2. accept the default text describing the 4 grades or change by clicking Options on the main menu bar and then entering your preferred performance headings (one word only);
  3. modify the Grading Rules ny clicking the Grading Criteria button on the Event screen and entering your changes to the grade criteria.
  4. accept the default headings for the 6 text boxes for notes on the Event screen change by clicking Options on the main menu bar and then entering your preferred text box headings;

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You can also customise the drop-down lists on the Events screen to reflect the type of events subject to your staff observations.

The drop-down lists are defined in the OrgData.seq file that is located at C:\Program Files\Observe 2.3m\Observe. Each drop-down list is identified by a number in brackets, where Staff Position is (0), Learner type is (2), Lesson Activity is (3), Lesson Level is (4), Attendance Type is (5), Paired is (9) and SSA (10)

To customise the drop-down lists click Options on the main menu bar and then the Edit Event Screen drop down lists button. This will bring a 'Notepad' listing to screen which can then be edited as appropriate.

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miniObserve has a feature to record training needs arising from observation.

Every organisation will have a different portfolio of training modules relative to lesson management. To help the user miniObserve has a default list of training modules under Learning and Teaching headings.

This list of training modules can be customised for the organisation template by clicking Options on the menu bar and then Modify training modules

This will show a screen where all the default training modules are listed. These can then be customised to reflect the actual training modules offered by the organisation.

The modified list should be set as default to enable any previously saved files to be opened with this training needs list.

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When you have compiled the observation template for your organisation save it by going to File>Save_as_Template.

You will save your template as a .ado file. You might wish to save it as a password protected, read only file to ensure that those using the template to create new files for individual observations resave the template file correctly.

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When you have compiled the observation template for your organisation you need to establish the framework to manage obsercations for all relevant staff in the organisation. In large organisations this may be several hundred staff. The staff observation files for larger organisations are best managed by department.

The Observe software creates observation files for staff and saves each file in a department folder. This can be done on an individual basis or, automatically, by importing staff data from a CSV file.

Ensure that you observation template file is open before using this feature as this is the file that will be saved. Then access the staff observation file featureby clicking File>Create Staff Observation Files.

Either enter the staff details and click Add or click Import for guidance on how to import staff details using a CSV file.

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