by Teaching Channel
Teaching Channel Teams gives schools and districts a private web-based social network where they can create groups, upload their own videos, and tap into the Teaching Channel’s professionally made video library. Teachers can create group chat rooms to share resources and collaborate across the school or district. Teachers and coaches can use the platform to share their own videos and resources, to extend coaching time beyond opportunities to do in class observations. Administrators can also use the platform to create a best practices library of their teachers in action.
Schools, districts, and in some cases states have adopted the tool, creating 42,000 individual accounts since early 2013. Big districts including Tulsa Public Schools and Fresno Unified School District and the entire state of Utah have adopted the platform for their teachers.
- Purpose: Engage, Learn, Support
- Cost: $52.50 - $75 per user per year
Deal breakers: Internet Speed, Non-collaborative school culture
- Types of Schools Using It: Big public districts and teacher mentoring programs
Teaching Channel Teams gives schools a platform they can use to structure collaboration between teachers. When teachers often have conflicting schedules and are unable to see each other’s practice, schools are unable to leverage the wisdom and mentoring potential of their own staff. Through Teaching Channel Teams, teachers can film themselves, upload it onto their Teams page, and share it with other staff members for their feedback and advice. It allows teachers to come together on the platform and do professional learning together without having to schedule time in the school day to do it.
How Does It Work?
Teaching Channel Teams is similar to its parent platform, the Teaching Channel. With a similar look and feel, the big differences include the ability to upload personal videos, customize tags, and create a school-wide best practices video library. Teachers still have access to the Teaching Channel library of videos and can time stamp notes on videos within the site. However, with Teaching Channel Teams teachers can record, upload, and tag their own videos to a group or a personal workspace.
To upload videos of their classroom action, teachers can use any video device. There is also an iOS app lets teachers capture video with their phones and upload it directly to their Teaching Channel Teams account.
When videos are uploaded, teachers can tag them with identifiers like lesson objective, video length, questions to consider, and content. Teaching Channel Teams will work with a school or district to create customize the tags. For instance, if a school is working on integrating project-based learning into lessons, using a “PLB” tag could help teachers find examples of their peers putting projects into action.
The platform allows administration and coaches to create the school-specific video library of best practices.
Teachers can form subgroups, create profiles, and follow other teachers. Groups are either private or shared exclusively with the school community. This allows for more privacy and focused collaboration.Teachers can also search for other teachers in their school or district by grade, subject or role.
How Is It Used?
Teaching Channel Teams is a web-based platform that helps communities of teachers within a school or district reflect on their practices while also sharing resources and advice. It supports coaching and mentoring relationships by allowing coaches to create private groups, and supports teachers through chats and feedback. The tool is adopted by whole schools, districts, teacher networks, or whole states.
Teachers can use Teaching Channel Teams to get feedback on their own practice, share other Teaching Channel videos to discuss ideas, and create groups of other teachers for targeted mentoring and support. By jumping on the website a couple times a month, teachers can share practices and get feedback when they need it.
To effectively take advantage of Teams, teachers need to have time to record videos and have feedback or reflection time during their monthly schedule. Teachers uploading their own video to their workspace can do a timestamped reflection on their own work or share it with groups of other teachers for advice. Discussions frequently continue throughout a month.
Admin and Coaches
Teaching Channel Teams is meant to be used in a coaching and support capacity for teachers, not an evaluative one. It enables admin and coaches to give feedback and ongoing support through an ongoing dialogue. Teaching Channel Teams provides a private site for a school community to have those conversations and support them with evidence from video.
Coaches ask mentees to upload their class video to a private, 1:1 group. They can review that video within the platform and give timestamped feedback, and share resources that a teacher could incorporate next time.. This allows the coach to be there to answer questions in an ongoing capacity, rather than just waiting for the next coaching meeting. It also allows them to see practices more regularly, even if they can’t be present in the classroom at the moment teaching is going on.
Who Is Using It?
As of late 2013, Teaching Channel has licensed its Teams platform to over 42,000 teachers and staff, in teacher residency programs, districts, schools, and states.
Among the users are teacher education networks including Academy for Urban School Leadership, who use the tool to guide teacher development when their teachers are doing their residency at hundreds of different schools across Chicago. They continue to coach and observe the teacher in action without having to regularly travel to those schools.
Educate Texas, a public-private network of coaches and leaders uses Teaching Channel Teams to focus on STEM and early college high schools. Some 1,000 Educate Texas coaches use the tool to work with more than 10,000 teachers. Both Educate Texas and AUSL are using the tool to blend in-person coaching and distance coaching; they hope to get the most out of the coach-teacher relationship by allowing the teacher to ask questions anytime and enabling the coach to view teacher practice more often than they could do in person. The University of Washington is also using Teaching Channel Teams in their Center for Educational Leadership College of Education to coach the mentors and improve their practices.
School district customers include Tulsa Public Schools and Fresno Unified School District, which are both working on a new personalized Professional Development model for their teachers under an innovative PD grant from the Gates Foundation. Other public school districts using the product include Moreno Valley USD, Corona-Norco SD, and Teton County. The tool has yet to be adopted by a charter school as of autumn 2013, as marketing efforts have been targeted at larger districts.
Utah’s State Department of Education has also purchased licenses for all the teachers in Utah to support the Utah Education Network.
Content, Content, Content…
Teaching Channel Teams can link to the same treasury of content as Teaching Channel users--namely 700 professionally produced videos of experts teaching with a focus on Common Core. The difference is that TC Teams can also add their own content. A school district could upload any of its training videos or best practices into their Teaching Channel Teams cloud and make it easily accessible for teachers to view and reflect on. This allows the added benefit of giving the school or district the ability to customize the content according to their district’s PD priorities.
Training, Integrating, Implementing
Teaching Channel Teams offers a half day of training to teacher leaders on how to use the platform. Teaching Channel Teams focus training on how to engage staff to use the tool and how to set up routines and norms for using the tool. Once the half day training is done, the Teaching Channel makes available free webinars for all users on the basics of how to use the site.
All TC Team videos are hosted in the cloud. Users can import files, photos, and their own videos into the platform.
In order to successfully integrate Teaching Channel Teams into a school, there should already be some level of collegial coaching culture at the schools, so teachers are comfortable giving feedback to one another.
The platform can be integrated into a school, district, or state-wide system. To onboard teachers, the customer must collect a list of user names. Teaching Channel Teams will then do the work to turn on accounts and notify each user of their login name and password.
Assessment and Data
Administrators are given a dashboard to track engagement on the platform. They can look at user analytics, how often teachers are logging on, the time spent watching videos, and how many times individual teacher contributed to the community.
The Teams environment is walled off from the rest of the regular Teaching Channel and is only accessible by school staff and outside coaches with a login. The groups aspect also adds another level of privacy, giving teachers and/or coaches a private space that even administrators can only access with explicit permission.
The video storage is cloud-based; the whole platform is hosted and accessible by any web browser. There is an iOS app available for iPhone and iPad that allows teachers to capture and upload video to the site.
License are $52.50 to $75 per user per year for teachers, admin, and coaches for big districts. The price is based on the number of people within a school district. Schools with fewer than 40 teachers typically pay about $5,000; groups with between 41 and 100 users more typically pay about $7,000.
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