A practical guide for teachers and school leaders to evaluate the impact of professional learning.

About Photovoice

What is photovoice?

Photovoice is an evaluation strategy used to engage research participants in identifying change. It can empower students to provide feedback and see the impact of their views on school practices.

Photovoice is a tool often used in forms of action research. In that context, it asks participants in a research process to use photographs, images or other visual material to represent their experiences of the research. In an evaluation context, it allows those groups and individuals who have been part of a project to have a voice in the evaluation of that project through presenting images representing a particular part of the process.

In a school or classroom context, Photovoice can be used when seeking the views of students about processes they have been engaged in. Like other forms of participatory evaluation, Photovoice can build capability and empower those who otherwise simply remain subjects of the evaluation. In schools, students engaging in evaluation through a process like Photovoice is itself a learning exercise.

How much time will this take?

Discussion sessions of 30-45 mins with students reflecting on the photos pre-, during and post-implementation of professional learning.

Who should use Photovoice?

Classroom teachers and school leaders.

Access the tool

Click 'Next' to continue to use the online tool.

Or ...


This step aligns with the HIPL element: Professional learning is driven by identified student needs.

Step 1: Identify existing student need and relevant professional learning

Identify existing student need

Analyse school-based data, work samples, teaching artefacts and external data as appropriate to identify key student needs.

Identify relevant professional learning

In consultation with school leaders, source relevant professional learning (for example: external courses, from internal experts, online professional learning) and ensure it explores something you can measure the impact of by using Photovoice. For example:

  • improving student engagement in problem-solving activities in mathematics lessons
  • improving student engagement and active participation in learning during explicit teaching
  • improving student sense of belonging through the implementation of a buddy or peer support program.

Identify who will engage in professional learning

Relate to the identified student need, school priorities and other considerations.

This step should occur prior to engaging in professional learning and aligns with the HIPL element: Professional learning is continuous and coherent.

Step 2: Identify students and gather initial data

Select students

Identify a set of 2-5 students who will be engaging with the new learning practice or strategy. Consider:

  1. diverse experiences and perspectives
  2. connections to school targets and focus equity groups or achievement levels
  3. connections to existing school planning, such as IPMs.

Establish the learning practice or strategy for students to focus on

What learning practice or strategy will students focus on when capturing their perspective through the Photovoice activity?

Complete Photovoice #1 (prior to professional learning)

  1. Provide students with a camera/iPad.
  2. Ask them to take photos in a particular lesson over the period of a week or fortnight (at least 3 opportunities). Provide specific guidance about when and why they might take photos. For example, when they think they:
    1. are engaged in problem-solving activities
    2. are engaged in learning (Through the process of Photovoice students may take photos of all sorts of different 'activities' that represent engagement to them. The sorting and discussion in each round of Photovoice will help build a shared understanding of what 'engagement' in learning means in this context and how we might increase engagement collectively.)
    3. feel like they belong.
  3. Store photos centrally.
  4. Print photos (or set up an online collaboration space - eg Miro, JamBoard).
  5. Meet with students and ask them to choose a sample of 3-5 photos that best represent the focus question.
  6. Discuss with students why they selected these photos.
  7. With students, collaboratively sort and group photos, annotate where appropriate, transcribe responses or record the discussion.
  8. Store as a record for later comparison.

This step aligns with the HIPL elements: School leadership teams enable professional learning; and Collaborative and applied professional learning strengthens teaching practice.

Step 3: Engage in and apply professional learning, gather and analyse data

Engage in professional learning

Engage in professional learning as identified in Step 1.

Plan for application of strategies from the professional learning

  1. Collaborate with colleagues to identify the key strategies from the professional learning that will be applied in the classroom:
    1. What lesson(s) will the strategies be applied in?
    2. How will the strategies be applied?
  2. Identify the next series of lessons in which students will use Photovoice (within a fortnight).
  3. Apply the strategies explored in the professional learning.

Complete Photovoice #2

  1. Follow Photovoice instructions detailed at Step 2.
  2. Teachers collaboratively analyse the data (photos and notes from the discussion with students) and identify impact of professional learning.
  3. Make adjustments to the application of practice (if needed) and plan to continue to apply in the classroom.
  4. Identify the next series of lessons in which students will use Photovoice (after approximately 1 term).
  5. Apply the strategies explored in the professional learning.

Complete Photovoice #3

  1. Follow Photovoice instructions detailed at Step 2.
  2. Compile the photos from Photovoice #1 and #2 and, with students, explore any similarities/differences they can identify over the course of the evaluation period. Discuss options for further development or changes to teaching practice in this area.

This step aligns with the HIPL element: Teachers and school leaders are responsible for the impact of professional learning on student progress and achievement.

Step 4: Gather and analyse work samples, identify next steps

Collaborative analysis of data

Teachers involved collaboratively analyse the Photovoice documentation across the three rounds to identify evidence of:

  1. changes to teaching practice
  2. the impact of changed practice on the original identified student needs.

Share findings and plan for next steps

  1. Develop a plan for what should happen next. For example:
    1. sharing with other teams/the whole school
    2. further professional learning in this area
    3. identifying a new focus for professional learning based on newly identified student needs.
  2. Where appropriate, provide feedback to students about their use of Photovoice on school practices.
Return to top of page Back to top