Shane Martin joins Edthena Education Advisory Board

Edthena is excited to announce the addition of Shane Martin to our Education Advisory Board. Martin is dean of Loyola Marymount University’s School of Education and state commissioner to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.Shane P Martin

The Edthena Education Advisory Board ensures that we receive highly-qualified, outside opinions on the direction of our development. Other members include distinguished individuals like Deborah Ball, dean of University of Michigan School of Education, and Jeff Wetzler, executive vice president for innovation at Teacher For America.

“Decades of research have demonstrated that video is an effective tool for teacher learning. Edthena has developed an innovative approach that helps any organization adopt video and use it in meaningful ways,” said Martin. “Their potential for large-scale impact on how we prepare and support teachers is clear to me.”

“Edthena is focused on building tools to facilitate feedback, so having additional feedback on our own product and company strategy is in service of continually increasing our own effectiveness,” said Adam Geller, CEO of Edthena.LMU

Martin is also a member of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Board of Examiners. He received the National Catholic Educational Association’s Michael J. Guerra Leadership Award in 2005, the Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ, Award in 2009, and the Loyola High School Alumni Association’s Cahalan Award in 2008.


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Becoming a Program That Uses Video to Support Teacher Learning

At this year’s AACTE Annual Meeting, our partners from the University of Michigan’s School of Education shared how they transformed their program into one that uses video.

Watch to learn how they adopted Edthena and what kind of impact it had on their program.

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Edthena selected as SETDA Emerging Private Sector Partner

We are excited to announce that the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has selected Edthena for its third cohort of Emerging Private Sector Partners.

SETDA is the membership association representing U.S. states and territories. It is comprised of leaders who often serve in the state departments of education and help guide state-level decision making for education technology.

SETDA Private Sector emerging partner

Edthena is one of nine companies making up the cohort.  The company was selected based on our capacity to leverage technology to serve needs in the PreK-12 and pre-service education parts of the market, as well as our potential to scale on a state-wide and multi-state basis.

“State educational technology leaders will receive the benefit of learning about our strategic partners’ high quality digital learning products and services,” stated Lan Neugent, SETDA Interim Executive Director. “At the same time, these companies will benefit from greater understanding of existing and emerging policies and practices in the states.”

“We believe that partnering with SETDA will allow Edthena an opportunity to accelerate our understanding of state-level needs related to teacher learning and teacher professional development,” said Adam Geller.

Edthena will present at the upcoming Emerging Technologies Forum on June 26 in Philadelphia, Pa., and engage with the SETDA membership during the next twelve months.

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Using Low-stakes Rehearsals to Scaffold the Complexity of Teaching

Tim Boerst is chair of elementary education at the University of Michigan and a professor in Michigan’s Elementary Masters of Arts with Certification Program (ELMAC).

Tim has been using Edthena for four years.

Tim Boerst

With the help of Edthena, instructors in the ELMAC program can coach interns on low-stakes rehearsals at home… before interns teach the lesson in their classroom.

Why do you think the rehearsals process is important to the ELMAC interns’ development?

Given how much goes into skillful teaching, it is valuable to use video in ways that scaffold the complexity of teaching.

The rehearsals process allows interns to practice — and get feedback on — the words, gestures, and representations that are integral to sound instruction.

Then interns can focus their attention on engaging students in academic content when they do get to the classroom.

How has Edthena changed the way that you’re using video with your interns? How does it look different than before?

In the past, interns were able to use video for reflection and for receiving feedback from their course instructors.

But other key members of the instructional team — such as field instructors and mentors — were hampered by limited access to the video, as well as by limited options for providing feedback on it.

Edthena now makes it possible to include a broader array of people in an interns’ development, extending beyond those who can be present at the time a lesson is taught. This dramatically furthers the depth of our interns’ learning experiences.

Essentially, Edthena has broadened and deepened conversations about teaching.

How have interns taken control of their own development in this virtual coaching model?

One thing we’ve done is allow our interns to start creating their own groups within Edthena that they feel will support their learning.

For example, this past summer we saw groups consisting of interns who worked with different subsets of students each day. They wanted to gain insight into how teaching and learning unfolded on previous days.

This use has also allowed interns to more easily garner feedback from instructors of previous courses or with whom they no longer work directly.

University of Michigan

Why do you think a platform like Edthena is important for today’s teacher education programs?

Prior to Edthena, commenting on and discussing the teaching in a video required an enormous amount of effort. We were having to verbally describe and literally point to aspects of practice.

The ability to meaningfully embed comments within a video — allowing dialog focused on the questions, interpretations, and suggestions that make interaction meaningful — remains our biggest reason for using Edthena.

Simply put, Edthena allows a practice-focused program like ours ways to appraise the doing of teaching.

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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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