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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How Video Observation Changed Roles for Teacher Candidates and Coaches

Last fall George Mason University flipped the switch on introducing video to its entire M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction-Elementary Education program.

Now Edthena is part of students’ professional development in all of their courses and field-based experiences.

Recently we shared Audra Parker’s webinar presentation about how GMU adopted video. Here are her answers to a few additional questions…

How did the teacher candidates react to the introduction of video observation?

I’ll admit there was an initial period of anxiety. However, we scaffolded the process by asking students to upload and share simple, non-evaluative tasks.

After reflecting on the initial assignments on Edthena, students noticed things about their practice or about a child’s behavior that they were not aware of before!

Students quickly came to see the value of video and video coaching in their professional development. Any initial apprehension faded away.

How has using video changed your role as a coach?

As both a peer coach in my old elementary school and as a coach of pre-service teachers in all stages of teacher education, I often made word-for-word, scripted notes to try and “capture” a teaching event.

Transitioning to using video with Edthena has drastically changed the depth and quality of my coaching.

Post-observation conferences with students are now professional conversations, supplemented by reflection that’s grounded in visual evidence – not memory or written notes.

How has video observation changed the culture around observation?

Without video, post-observation reflections between a student and a coach needed to happen very soon after the observation was conducted.

By using Edthena and removing the required immediacy, students are not burdened by the emotional responses that often occur right after a lesson.

Now they are able to be much more subjective and rational in their reflections. This allows for conversations with coaches to be as purposeful and productive as possible.gmu

How has video observation changed the role of the teacher candidates in the observation process?

Now that students have space between execution and reflection, they can analyze course readings and make connections with research.

Ultimately, this shifts the onus of the conversation from the coach to the student—it puts them in charge of their reflection, and coaches are able to facilitate rather than direct.

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Not everyone has a Nancy: We created a site full of edTPA tips

Finishing edTPA is an important and challenging part of the process for many teacher candidates.

If you’re not already convinced, take a look at #edTPA tweets.edtpatips fbook

Last fall, we happened to meet Nancy Casey, a professor at St. Bonaventure University. She helped her candidates prepare for edTPA by sending them a set of tips via email.

We realized that not all candidates have access to Nancy or someone like her.

So we gathered the tips and turned them into, a site for all candidates at all institutions.

As of the launch, there are approximately 50 edTPA tips!

You can subscribe to get a tip each day on Twitter or Facebook.

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