Product Index
Educational Operations


by SmarterCookie

GRADES / Pre-K, Elementary (Grades K-4), Middle School (Grades 5-8), High School (Grades 9-12), Higher Education
PLATFORMS / Web Browser

Lets teachers upload classroom videos & receive timestamped feedback from coaches & peers


SmarterCookie is no longer offering its product or services.

SmarterCookie allows teachers to upload classroom videos and receive timestamped feedback from coaches and other teachers. It helps teachers share what’s going on in their class without having to schedule in-person observations. SmarterCookie stands out among comparable products by allowing individual teachers and coaches to adopt the product for free. A premium version is available to schools for $100 per teacher that applies a custom performance rubric to each video. It also lets schools create a local video library-- that means teachers can check out best practices from other teachers in their school.

Users can download the SmarterCookie app, available for iOS devices, for recording, editing and uploading video to the platform. The app allows teachers to capture video without being connected to the internet. They can upload the video once they connect to a more robust internet connection, giving them a way to still capture video even at times when internet speed is slowed down at school. 

The product was created in the summer of 2012. As of autumn 2013 the product has several thousand users, including charter schools like Ascend, Blackstone Valley Prep, and KIPP SF College Prep.

  • Purpose: Support
  • Cost: Free for individual teachers, $100 per teacher per year for premium version, with volume discounts and unlimited storage
  • On-Label Use: Share video with colleagues and coaches for feedback. For schools, use for coaching and feedback, forming video-based professional learning communities and creating a video library of best practices
  • Off-Label Use: Use to calibrate and manage school culture across the school, i.e., what is standard practice for giving rewards and demerits to students. Also used to share videos of teaching candidate demo lessons with a group of principals who are hiring to gauge interest in the candidate
  • Deal breakers: Lack of video-capturing devices, teachers uncomfortable with being filmed
  • Types of Schools Using It: Mostly charter schools, teacher-training programs  

Product Brief

Value Added

SmarterCookie allows teachers to take control of feedback by giving them tools to capture their practice on video, edit that video, and share it with their network to get feedback. In most schools, coaches for teachers aren’t always readily available to provide advice; conflicting schedules can even make it hard for teachers to schedule time with their peers to observe and comment on classroom practices. SmarterCookie also allows schools to build their own performance rubrics that teachers can use to guide the feedback they give one another’s videos.

How does it work?

To use either the platform or the mobile app, the teachers and coaches must set up an independent account on the SmarterCookie website. They need a video capturing device or can use the app with an iPhone to capture and share video. The app won’t work on Android based phones. They start by opening the SmarterCookie app and then recording video on their phone or by using a video recording device. Teachers can capture any length of video.

Later, they work within the SmarterCookie app to trim the video segment to focus on a specific part of their teaching. Once they save a segment, they can tag the video by lesson topic, objective and the area of professional development.


Via SmarterCookie’s mobile app, teachers can upload video and share that video with pre-created groups or via email. All users (including coaches or other teachers) must have SmarterCookie accounts to see the video segments. 

The web-based platform lets anyone with an account:

  • Watch video segments and add feedback (which is noted with a timestamp);  

  • Create professional development groups of reviewers;

  • Tag videos to a library of exemplars.

Administrators, using the premium version, can also compile a library of stand-out teaching practices created by their own staff. That library will be stored on the SmarterCookie website and can be seen by any teachers with SmarterCookie accounts within the school.                                  

They can forward it to a trusted colleague, grade team member, or a coach via email or through designated groups within their SmarterCookie account.

The video exists only their SmarterCookie account and cannot be forwarded on by anyone but the teacher who created it.

Once a colleague or coach receives a video from another teacher, they can go directly to the video and begin giving timestamped feedback in two ways: Reviewers can pause a video segment and type feedback into boxes below the video. (It will automatically be time stamped.) Alternatively, a reviewer can watch the video continuously and press the “time” icon next to the feedback box to add markers to the feedback without pausing the video. The reviewer can also tag each comment as “glow” or  “grow.” 

The premium version of the SmarterCookie imports a school’s own feedback rubric and creates a customized form that all school members can use to rate videos. The entire community can share a single library of the best videos that their members create. Administrators can also create groups of teachers who can review the library of videos in their professional learning communities.

Once the video has been reviewed, the teacher receives an email notification and can see the feedback immediately. The teacher can navigate to specific parts of the video that were annotated by clicking on the relevant comment to see the related evidence.

For the coaching or administrative functions, which also come with the premium version, administrators can create groups of teachers who can review the library of videos in their professional learning communities.

How is it used?

SmarterCookie’s free version is targeted to individual teachers and coaches. The premium version offers more tools to use the platform school wide, like common performance rubrics used for rating each video, as well as a shared video library of best practices.

The tool is also used to make the observation loop easier by providing common evidence that teachers and coaches can use to point out the exact behavior they reference, rather than vaguely recalling something that happened a week ago.

Teachers can share their videos with their professional learning communities and ask the whole group to comment to create a shared understanding of best practices. Achievement School District, a charter school in Tennessee, for instance, has used the SmarterCookie platform to establish the norms for what classroom behavior deserves merits or demerits

Rocketship Education network is also using the tool in an unique way for hiring teaching and administrative candidates. As part of the hiring process the network asks candidates to upload a demo lesson or an example of a school leader giving feedback to a teacher. The hiring team then shares the video with the network's principals to get feedback on whether they would like to move forward with the candidate.  

Professional development trainers have also used SmarterCookie to show previously uploaded videos, thereby sharing best practices and soliciting commentary from the group.

Who’s using it?

As of mid 2013, a few thousand registered users were using SmartCookie’s free service. Premium users include a few well-known charter networks and one whole school district, including charters like Ascend, Rocketship, Blackstone Valley Prep, and KIPP SF College Prep. Six Teach for America regions have also been using the tool for coaching, as have teacher prep certification programs including Johns Hopkins School of Education.

Assessment and Data

As a video observation tool, teachers collect mountains of qualitative data about their teaching practices through the videos they collect. By working with coaches and peers and customized rubrics for assessing performance, teachers are quantifying and rating the teaching on the videos.

Customized rubrics allow teachers and administrators to focus on the specific professional development goals for their school or district. For instance, if the focus for the year is inquiry-based learning practices, then all the videos can be evaluated according to measures of inquiry-based teaching practices. If the rubric involves a rating system, the school can ask SmarterCookie to aggregate the data and report back to the school.

Privacy Protections

SmarterCookie has intentionally designed the system so that teachers and their coaches decide who will see their videos within a school network.  

Videos can only be shared with an individual outside the school network by whomever made the video. The video lives on the platform and cannot be forwarded to or shared on other media sites.

SmarterCookie provides template permission forms that teachers can customize for their classrooms to get parent permission before they record and share footage including students. 

Training, Integrating, and Implementing


SmarterCookie’s free online Resource Center (for registered users) provides a “Getting Started Guide” for teachers and coaches, agendas for professional development sessions and suggestions on how to set up routines for using the product. Premium customers can get virtual trainings by SmarterCookie at no extra charge, and in person trainings for a fee. Many of these trainings center around how to create a school culture of feedback by using SmarterCookie.


To implement SmarterCookie effectively, there should be more than one teacher with an account within a school so that they can share and comment together. This can also be implemented with a coach and mentee. For implementation, it’s best to set up a regular schedule with teachers so that they get in the habit of using the tool. The schedule can vary from as much as once a week, to as little as once a quarter.


Checking with teachers to make sure there is a level of comfort with videotaping practice is smart before adopting the product. Also, creating norms around feedback is essential. If teachers are unwilling to record themselves teaching, adoption will not be successful. Also, if staff doesn’t know how to give critiques beyond the proverbial ‘Good Job!’ then the tool won’t help teachers grow.

Price, Tech, and Credit  


SmarterCookie is web-based and can be accessed through any browser. There is a native iOS application that can be used to film, cut and share videos. Videos can be taken with any video camera, and then uploaded onto the SmarterCookie site.


For registered users, a free account includes the ability to upload and share videos, and record feedback. Video clips must be less than 10 minutes long but teachers can upload any number of clips. A clip can be shared with only five other SmarterCookie users.

For schools or districts, premium accounts are available and cost between $100 per teacher per year with volume discounts and depending on how many features are included. In addition, premium accounts uncap both the length of the videos and how many SmarterCookie users can see them. The premium version also offers features like customized feedback templates, the ability to tag and create libraries of videos, and the ability to group teachers in professional learning communities. Subscribers of the premium version also have the ability to get user data and reports from SmarterCookie.


There are no credit or certificate options.


Other similar video sharing platforms include products like Torsh, MyTeachingPartner, Great Teaching, Great Feedback, and Edthena.


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School Type: Middle School, 1:1 Devices


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