Ryan Kairalla, an experienced education professional and host of the Charter School Superstars podcast, recently interviewed Edthena founder, Adam Geller, about the experience and benefits of video-based coaching and how educational networks can implement this practice.
You can listen to the full interview above, and we’ve shared some of the highlights below.
What got you interested in developing a video-based coaching platform for teachers?
I think for me as someone who comes from the classroom, it goes back to that first year of teaching. I wanted so desperately to be the best science teacher I could be for my students. I was fortunate that I found someone who could help me and support me. That was an educator at the local science museum. However, he was never able to actually come and observe me.
So fast forward a little bit. I was on the national strategy team of Teach for America and thinking about how they were answering questions for scaling their support model. I realized that this is the same challenge I had as a first-year teacher.
We’re going to run out of the subject matter experts or maybe they don’t live our particular location. I determined that this is really a structural challenge in education. Teachers need help in understanding how their practice is going in their classroom. They need someone who can help them get better at being a self-reflective practitioner.
When you think of a charter school network that has all these different campus sites throughout the country, what benefits could a video-based coaching platform have for those sorts of networks?
Imagine you are part of a large network of schools, but the only school in your network is over a two-hour drive. So sure, you are part of this larger network, but in essence, your individual school building is an island.
It can be isolating for those teachers who still want to get better. Now let’s say you teach middle school science. You’ve only got your teachers in your building to collaborate with, but you want to see what middle school science looks like from other teachers?
In the olden days, you’d have to get on the plane or in a car and you’d have to drive really far to go to actually see that other teacher teaching. But the power of video is that it really lets the teachers collaborate with each other without needing to leave their classroom.
You can basically use that video collaboration network to amplify and spread the greatness that’s already within your organization.
Can you talk about some of the aspects of the platform that assist with collaboration?
One of the big things that we’re known for is how you interact with the video. How the tools help people feel more connected rather than pushed apart by the technology. So a teacher records a video of his or her classroom and uploads it to Edthena. The video will default to private and then they need to share it with a group of colleagues. That group could be in a building or across multiple buildings, across multiple networks. It could be anything.
Then someone on the other end can watch that video, and leave you a timestamped comment. You have this tool to really dig in and align that kind of free form conversation with the actual thing that you’re seeing in the classroom. It’s a collaborative back and forth. You can go in and see my comment and then reply back to me.
Check out the full interview on the Charter School Superstars podcast.