Confronting Hesitations About Video Coaching in a School District

Diane Lauer oversees professional development for the St. Vrain Valley School District in Colorado.

While Diane and her team were excited about the promise of how video coaching could enhance teacher support, they were nervous about how everyone would react to the new video-powered process.

She quickly found the hesitations erased as teachers started using Edthena. The teachers quickly developed habits of a collaborative community and showed enthusiasm for sharing their practice.

Diane LauerMost people believe in the power of video coaching but worry about push-back during the adoption process. What was the process like for you?

Because we have run a face-to-face coaching program for so long, the shift to video coaching created some cognitive dissonance.

Would video coaching affect the relationships we build with our teachers? Would teachers balk at recording themselves teach and be upset with us? Would we as coaches spend less time with teachers?

Instead of negatively affecting our relationships with teachers, the adoption of video reflection strengthened our coaching work.

Our coaches have noticed that video reflection provides time for teachers to process and identify areas of success and growth. And so when they do connect with their coach face-to-face, teachers are more primed for deep conversations regarding their practice.

And what about developing the technical ability needed to to use video?

There were definitely questions about our own tech-skillfulness and if we would be able to use the platform effectively. But the technical issues were much less problematic than we thought.

We did learn a few important things along the way, like checking the amount of memory in your device before recording! But generally, those with less skillfulness stepped up to the plate, and partnered with others who could assist them until they got it.

The benefit of using the video evidence as a third point in coaching conversations far outweighs any tech-hurdle.

Can you share an example of the type of personalized coaching you’re able to undertake using Edthena?

This year we had one of our coach-coachee combos focus on transition time between when the bell rang and when students actually got to work.

They used video to capture evidence of student behavior, and then they used time stamping features in Edthena to measure it.

Together the coach and the teacher worked to decrease wasted learning time and solidify what engagement really looks like.

Were there any moments of surprise about how teachers were using Edthena this year?

Our professional learning coaches have noticed that teachers are viewing other teachers’ videos even before they are “told to do so.” And then they’re implementing changes almost immediately into their classroom practice.

In a recent learning cycle one of our coaches led on questioning strategies, one teacher commented that she was so impressed with the strategy she saw in her peer’s video that she incorporated his idea into her own recorded-video lesson for that learning cycle.

St. Vrain Valley SchoolsThere’s a lot of talk in PD about the importance of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to increase teacher collaboration.  How is Edthena helping you achieve this goal?

We know that even veteran teachers feel isolated and wish they had more time to see their colleagues’ classrooms. But our schedules make it hard to do that. And the district is also quite large — nearly 400 sq. miles.

We have found that our teachers love watching and annotating their peers’ videos.

By giving teachers a tool like Edthena to connect with each other and share what is happening in their space, this creates a real strong sense of community, which is important for an educator.

Reflecting on the experience this past year, how are you thinking about video coaching in the district going forward?

What we’ve found is that teachers appreciate watching both themselves and their peers in action. It helps generate ideas. It helps move abstract theory to concrete conceptualizations.

At the same time, incorporating video in professional development creates opportunities for “flipped” professional development, and increases the opportunity to differentiate and enrich learning.

Coaches and mentors have provided rich face-to-face feedback for years in our district.

Now with Edthena, the observation and feedback process has been accelerated, and teachers are developing a system to support their own growth through individual reflection and participation in communities of practice.

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Constructing a Virtual Community of Mathematical Practice using Edthena

At this year’s AACTE Annual Meeting in Atlanta, our partners at the University of Indianapolis shared the results of their virtual coaching study, which was funded by the Carnegie Foundation.

Watch the video to learn how using Edthena resulted in higher student test scores, improved student-teacher performance, and increased satisfaction amongst teacher-coaches.

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Building a Professional Community Online for Teachers Across the Country

Robin Hummel is the program director of the Leadership in Mathematics Education program at Bank Street College.

Students in the program start with a one-month residency experience in New York City. Afterward they disperse to school sites across the country to start their work as full-time teachers while continuing their Master’s degree program online.

Despite the geographical barriers, students in the program maintain supportive, professional relationships with each other through Edthena.

How does video observation change the way your candidates are collaborating?Robin Hummel

Our students have told us that sharing and discussing professional situations using a visual medium is powerful, because they feel connected to their classmates’ work. In my mind, Edthena diminishes the isolation so commonly associated with teaching.

When teachers make their practice public, they are welcoming other perspectives and experiences into their work, which can only serve to make their work stronger and deeper.

How has the dynamic within your program changed since implementing Edthena?

Before Edthena, students usually only interacted with their advisor, and any interactions among the students were mostly limited to the summer residency.

Now communication is consistent among all the members of the cohort throughout the year. The interactions are consistent and substantive, and the learning community that began in the summer is sustained.

Can you share a bit more about the types of ongoing interaction and collaboration?Bank Street College of Education

We’ve organized the students into smaller groups inside the whole-class group – approximately three students to each group.

Each month, each student posts a three-to-four-minute video that reflects a specific aspect of their environment. Each group then engages in discourse around the three videos that have been shared.

When you were selecting a video platform, why did Edthena feel like the right fit?

We didn’t actually know everything we needed before we chose Edthena, but we did know that we wanted teachers to be able to share videos of their practice with advisors and classmates.

In comparison to other options, Edthena seemed the most user-friendly, versatile and affordable.

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Edthena Named SIIA Education CODiE Award Finalist for Best Professional Learning Solution for Education

Edthena, a video coaching platform, has been named a finalist for the 2015 SIIA Education CODiE Awards for Best Professional Learning Solution for Education.

The SIIA CODiE Awards are the premier award for the software and information industries, and have been recognizing product excellence for 29 years. (Getting a CODiE nomination is like getting an Oscar nomination.)

edthena codie finalist best professional learningThis year’s program features 28 Education categories, several of which are new or updated to reflect the latest industry trends and business models.

Edthena helps teachers get better at teaching by bringing observation and feedback online. Teachers upload video of their classroom instruction and share to people on the other end who provide feedback at specific moments in time.

“Many teacher education programs and schools use Edthena to leverage video as a tool for teacher learning,” said Adam Geller, founder and CEO of the company. “We’re honored that our platform has been recognized as one of the top learning solutions among so many other excellent offerings.”

“This year’s finalists are breaking ground with new business models and innovative products. We are pleased to recognize the best in educational technology with these 157 products,” said Karen Billings, vice president of the SIIA Education Technology Industry Network. “I look forward to honoring them all in May at the Education Industry Summit.

More details about the nomination

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Edtech’s fastest video uploader just got faster

A few weeks ago we quietly released an update for the Edthena Video Tool.

We haven’t advertised it much, but the truth is we completely changed the way we’re compressing videos. The Video Tool is now faster, more efficient, and produces videos of higher quality.

Don’t believe us? The numbers speak for themselves.

  • Video quality is now almost double
  • Last week we had a 99.4% success rate across all upload attempts
  • Compression and upload time is now 30% faster

graph Video tool

Those numbers are the average. Some users are seeing extreme improvements.

One user in Delaware compressed and uploaded a 53 minute video in only nine minutes! 

We’re OK with admitting that this is something we’re pretty proud of.

baby proud



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