Enabling an online master’s program at University of Kansas

Edthena partners with top teacher education and support organizations throughout the country. We’re constantly inspired and excited by the success we’re seeing when Edthena is put into use. This is the first in our Partner Profile series to highlight these success stories and innovative uses of our platform.

Martha Elford
Martha D. Elford, Ph.D.
University of Kansas

Martha Elford is a researcher at the University of Kansas who studies the impact of coaching for pre-service and in-service teachers on student achievement.

This year KU started a new, online master’s program for special education. KU needed a platform to help facilitate an observation and feedback process for candidates who might be based near or far from the faculty on campus.

What is your background experience with coaching teachers and using video?

As an Instructional Coach for five years at the KU Center for Research on Learning, I coached teachers by collecting observational data, and then, by using video. In the last two years as a researcher and coach with KU-CRL, we have been studying what essential and discrete behaviors make coaching effective.

As an instructor for the online Special Education Master’s program at University of Kansas, we use video in the practicum course to coach teachers toward best practices for instruction and classroom management as they complete the requirements for their degree.

kansas-logo[1]What was the need that Edthena helped solve?

The University of Kansas Special Education online practicum course is a great fit for Edthena.  Students upload their teaching videos; I watch the videos and give specific feedback using the comment tool in the program.

Edthena is one way for us to get a real-time view of teachers in their practice, thus to bridging the distance gap for practicum supervision.

How do the teachers react to using Edthena for an online coaching process?

Coaching, much like teaching, is such a complex and relational task.  It takes thoughtful consideration and intentional application of research-based strategies that are adapted for an online setting.

We’ve just begun using Edthena for coaching teachers, but I can report that the teachers have reacted positively.

They read the feedback delivered via the program’s time-stamp feature.  Some of them ask questions in reply, or make a comment of explanation.  Edthena provides space for an online dialogue related to the teaching practices demonstrated in the video.

How is Edthena helping you compared to tools or systems you’ve used in the past?

There is one feature that Edthena offers that differs from other online feedback platforms we’ve previously used; it is the Explorations feature.  I’ve just begun to use this feature, and I am already seeing its benefits.

In KU Special Education’s practicum course, it is important to observe teachers in a variety of settings. Explorations feature allows me to organize videos from a number of teachers based on a similar setting, or any established criteria.

Also, in the future, Explorations will permit me to set up different groups, similar to professional learning communities. Teachers can observe one another and provide peer feedback while I monitor the feedback and offer coaching for both individuals and groups.

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Often times, we’re asked about we’re asked whether we have an iPhone app. The answer is that we don’t. There’s a good reason for it, too.

The reality is that there are not infinite resources in a small company, and by offering the cross-platform Edthena Video Tool, we can ensure a great experience for all of our users across a variety of video capture devices.