As of 2013, the Teaching Channel hosted a library of nearly 800 professionally produced videos of expert teachers in action, giving other teachers the chance to see best practices in high-needs areas including Common Core, lesson plan ideas, and classroom management. The platform also makes all materials used by teachers in the videos--including lesson plans and worksheets--used by teachers in the videos available to registered users. Registered users can also join the Teaching Channel community by creating a profile, sharing and commenting on videos. It began creating this library in 2011.
While the site is well known for their high quality video production, it also hosts a range of featured for registered users. Registering is free for all users and allows teachers to make notes and public comments on videos, save and tag videos for later, follow other users, and join in a community Q&A forum. Teachers use the site as a hub for storing ideas and inspiration, and for connecting to a large community of teachers when they have questions or need advice.
The Teaching Channel community includes over 417,000 registered users as of Fall 2013. Individual teachers create accounts and view videos as needed.
- Purpose: Engage, Learn
- Cost: Free
- On-Brand Use: Watch professionally produced videos showcasing effective teachers in action, demonstrating their best practices for other teachers to learn from.
Teachers seldom have the opportunity or time to see other styles of teaching. This is particularly difficult in small schools where a teacher may be the only one teaching a particular subject matter or for teachers with tightly packed schedules that leave them no time to observe others in their school. The Teaching Channel spotlights expert teachers, teaching a diverse array of subject areas, with a special focus on the most challenging assignments. The videos, which have professional production values, aim to capture both the teachers in action and the interactions and reactions of students.
Each video also provides sample lesson plans and materials so teachers who view the videos can try out the lessons in their own classrooms.
How Does It Work?
Anyone can access Teaching Channel’s website to search for or view members, Q&A conversations, and videos. However, to take part in discussions, comment on videos, take notes, or collect and share resources a user account is needed. Creating a user account is free and open to anyone.
The Teaching Channel hosts almost 800 professionally produced videos of teachers in action, demonstrating new and effective best practices in their classrooms. The organization invites its members and school districts to recommend high performing teachers who should be spotlighted.Teachers can also email the channel proposing to be a featured teacher.
An Advisory Board of 200 teachers gives the Teaching Channel feedback about what kind of development or practices are needed (like Common Core, differentiated learning, classroom management, NextGen Science Standards) to improve teacher performance. The Channel then matches the recommended teachers with the needs identified by the Advisory Board. A Teaching Channel affiliated production team then goes out to film specific teachers.
Videos can be watched online. They are accompanied by the objectives and standards of the lesson, discussion questions and relevant materials (lesson plans, assessments and worksheets used in the video). Teaching Channel also partners with GreatSchools to provide demographic information (including student-to-teacher ratios, spending per pupil, etc) on the relevant districts where the spotlighted teachers work.
Each video has a tab where users can take time stamped notes to record their thoughts or questions on what they see in each video. Notes are saved to a users profile and can be shared through social media. Users must create an account and be logged in use the note taking feature.
There are also comments made by registered users on each video that are viewable by anyone. Teaching Channel reports that it gets over 100 comments per day on its videos.Popular videos include:
Common Core State Standards for ELA and Literacy
The Stoplight Method: An End-of-Lesson Assessment
Silent Signals in the Math Classroom
- Kick Me: Making Vocabulary Interactive
A workspace is set up for each registered users. It is home to their profile, saved notes, connections with other users, and a lesson planner feature. In the Lesson Planner, users can bookmark resources directly from Teaching Channel videos or bring them in from other sites via a downloadable bookmarking tool.
Once a resource is added, a screen will pop up asking for the date the teacher intends to use the resource, along with an option to set an email reminder prior to that date. This helps teachers set an alert for themselves to come back to the video when they prior to implementing or using that concept in their classroom. They can also add tags the video based on how they intend to use it.
Teachers can connect with each other through the Q&A forum and individual profiles on the site. There are over 417,000 registered users who are part of the community. Community members can be found by the role they play, the grade and subject they teach. They can “follow” each other and track the videos they’ve watched and saved.
Community members can also crowd source questions and answers from the community through the Q&A forum. Any registered users can submit a question or answer. There are over 924 conversations on the forum as of late 2013.
How Is It Used?
The site provides both a learning tool and community for teachers, but can also be used as a supplementary resource for coaches and administrators as they support teachers in their learning.
Teaching Channel is used by individual teachers looking for ideas and inspiration. Teachers can use their profiles to support lesson planning, by saving ideas they find in videos or resources on the internet and tagging them according to units or lessons they will be teaching in the future.
They can also search for specific areas they’d like to learn about, such as “teaching fractions” or “questioning methods.” The search uses an auto-fill and allows users to filter their search based on whether they are looking for people, videos, or questions.
Coaches and Administration
Coaches and administrators use the Teaching Channel to find examples of great teaching for their staff. Administrators can also use the videos and platform as they develop professional development opportunities for their teachers. Some principals start every meeting once a week with a video that staff watch and then use the video’s discussion questions to reflect afterwards. This can be done in person or online through the comment section.
Who’s Using It?
There are over 417,000 users with accounts on the website. About 25% of monthly visitors dip in and out of the site twice or more throughout the month to find examples of great teaching. Most of the users are individual teachers from many different schools throughout the country.
Content, Content, Content…
As of late 2013, content includes over 800 professionally produced videos of teachers in action and the lesson plans that goes along with those videos. Teachers who are filmed are chosen as top teachers identified by their schools and districts. Teaching Channel then picks teachers to feature based on the needs identified by its members.
Of the nearly 800 videos the topics of the videos are separated into three main categories: Common Core basics, lesson ideas, and teaching practice. Most videos include clips from the classroom, along with reflections and dialogue from the teacher.
Training, Integrating, and Implementing
Teachers and schools can’t upload their own videos to the Teaching Channel. However, Teaching Channel will license some of their videos for schools so they can merge the videos with their own libraries or portals.
Users can upload their own notes, videos, and photos to their Teaching Channel profile and share through the forum.
A school does not need to make a cultural or operational change to use the Teaching Channel; administrators need only give teachers time to watch the videos and reflect on what they see. (Changing teaching practices to reflect what they see in the videos, by contrast, takes more work.)
A teacher must have the network bandwidth to either download or stream video. Without adequate Internet connectivity, the Teaching Channel videos are not viewable.
The Teaching Channel can be accessed on any web browser. There is no native iOS or Android app available. Videos must be viewed through the site. There are multiple version of videos, so that teachers with lower internet speeds can still view the video in a lower quality version.
Viewing videos and creating an account is free on Teaching Channel. The organization does offer the equivalent of a “premium” account, Teaching Channel Teams, which creates a school or district wide walled Teaching Channel experience for $52.50 - $75 per user per year.
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