Learning management system (LMS) software can be helpful for managing assignments in a course. But an LMS doesn’t work well for managing teacher professional development, according to professors at Fairmont State University.
Gwen Jones and her team in the School of Education have used a number of learning management systems – as well as assessment and accreditation systems – during the last few years. And they’ve tried extending the application of those platforms to accommodate professional development experiences like video coaching.
But after adopting Edthena into their practice, they realized that having a platform built specifically for video coaching and professional development that exists separate from an LMS is critical.
An LMS is designed for turning in assignments and recording a grade. Edthena is designed to facilitate authentic collaboration about evidence of teacher practice.
Why do you think having a separate platform for professional development and video reflection is important?
The ability to share and comment on videos easily with professors and peers is an experience not offered by LMS platforms, and it’s also what sets Edthena apart from other, similar tools.
For example, the video conversations page is designed in such a way that the “conversations” we are able to have with our students around specific instances of teaching are always productive, transparent, and fruitful. This experience alone is unlike any other tool we have used in the past seven years.
Simply put, there is no other tool – LMS or video coaching platform – that we have tried that serves our purposes as completely as Edthena.
What do your student teachers feel about their experience using Edthena in addition to the other platforms they interact with?
Below are comments from one of our graduate level students who used Edthena for the first time this spring within my course:
“I thought that using Edthena was very beneficial and provided some good insight into what I was doing well and what I could do to improve. Working with peers and professors on the platform gave me valuable feedback into the processes that I was using, and gave me ideas about what to work on. In addition, watching the way that others implemented lesson plans and strategies often stimulated ideas that I recognized I could incorporate into my own teaching, which I found so helpful.
I found that Edthena provided a great chance to see other teachers at work, which allowed me to pick up strategies that I had not thought of. I know at my school, and I am sure everyone else’s is the same, there is not a lot of time for other teachers or administration to come and watch you teach and give you feedback, As a new teacher this is something that we really need and helps us be better teachers, create better lesson plans, and shorten the learning curve. Edthena gave us this opportunity, and allowed us to become more effective teachers.”
What was the initial reaction when you introduced Edthena the teachers in your program?
Truthfully, our undergraduate students were not enthusiastic about trying Edthena initially. However, the fact that Edthena was so easy to use and allowed for such seamless practice-sharing won them over.
For our programs, Edthena now serves as a “virtual meeting place” where mentor teachers, content area faculty, students, and peers can all share the same space and engage in the same conversations about teaching and practice.
All of the tools we tried before Edthena were difficult to use and did not deliver on the promise to shorten the time it took to upload the videos. Edthena met and exceeded our expectations in this area.