Teaching Channel: An Online Community Improving Practice

Recognizing that “a video library probably won’t change practice,” Pat Wasley set out to make Teaching Channel (Tch) an interactive community. The former dean of the University of Washington College of Education turned edupreneur took over the Oakland nonprofit two years ago.
Wasley sees Tch breaking down isolation, building collaboration, and promoting reflective evidence-based practice. Core functionality includes:

  • Curated library of 822 videos (230 Common Core aligned) that represent quality pedagogy and are tagged by level, subject, and strategy;
  • Online learning tools including video annotation, lesson planner; and
  • Q&A dialog and resource sharing.

The half million teachers on the channel think Wasley is on to something. More than 1100 questions have prompted rich conversation.
The channel will be licensed to states (Utah signed on), districts (e.g., Oklahoma City), and networks. The 32 AUSL schools in Chicago use their video library with Tch functionality to support more than 500 groups.
District and network customers gain access to an engagement platform that encourages video upload and self-review (satisfying EdTPA requirements),
Videos and the attractive website of the Teaching Channel were developed with a big grant from the Gates Foundation.
Teachers blog on the site most days. Teachers contribute about 100 tweets a day to@TeachingChannel. Following are a few examples:

  • Great middle school English ideas! Through Beowulf
  • Here is a great Math Lesson video – Drew is amazing!
  • Four Reasons Why Argument is Priority #1 from @TeachingChannel
  • Love @TeachingChannel as resource! Enjoy
  • calculus students getting hands-on experience with optimization.
  • Roller Coaster Physics: STEM in Action via @TeachingChannel

There are 50 new videos on Deeper Learning and a NEA series on practice, planning and collaborating for CCSS.
The Teaching Channel product roadmap includes guided pathways with a tailored video sequence for teachers. An iOS app is available, they are working on the Android app.
The product roadmap also includes collaboration space (“learning labs”) where 4 or 5 teachers can watch a video, try that strategy in their class, and send a video to each other for feedback.
The mission of the Teaching Channel is “to revolutionize how teachers learn, connect, and inspire each other to improve the outcomes for all K-12 students across America.” It looks like they are well on their way.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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