Collaboration to Bring Award-Winning Science Techbook to 31,000 Students in 55 Elementary Schools

SILVER SPRING, Md. (September 14, 2016) Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) today announced a new, eight-year partnership with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms.  Though this collaboration, K-5 educators will be empowered with Discovery Education’s award-winning Science Techbooks to create rich and engaging learning experiences for approximately 31,000 students at the district’s 55 elementary schools.

VBCPS’s new partnership with Discovery Education supports the district’s five-year strategic framework,Compass to 2020: Charting The Course. Guiding the evolution of teaching and learning districtwide, this framework sets the district’s vision and efforts for ensuring all students are challenged and supported to reach their full potential. Discovery Education’s Science Techbooks will support district educators as they deliverstandards-aligned instruction that is differentiated to meet unique student needs, as well as help maximize student engagement and create new learning opportunities that include higher-level thinking and questioning.

“Virginia Beach City Public Schools is committed to making a difference for every student, every day,” said Dr. Lesley Hughes, Executive Director for Elementary Teaching and Learning at Virginia Beach City Public Schools. “We are excited to launch this new partnership with Discovery Education, as their unique combination of professional development and digital content will play a central role in transforming the way teachers and students experience science instruction in our school district.”

Discovery Education’s Science Techbook series empowers educators to transform science instruction. Utilizing an inquiry-based format built on the Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate (5E) model, each Science Techbook includes rich, standards-aligned content such as video, audio, text, interactives with hands-on activities, and virtual labs that help educators differentiate instruction and provide a rich and engaging learning experience for students. Additional student features include bilingual text-to-speech and leveled reading tools, and note-taking and highlighting capabilities.

Embedded formative assessment opportunities help educators monitor student progress, and like all Discovery Education digital textbooks, the Science Techbook works on any device and can be implemented in a variety of instructional settings.  To ensure each VBCPS teacher is fully supported in their transition to the Science Techbook, Discovery Education experts will provide Science faculty high-quality professional development supporting the integration of the digital textbook into classroom practice.

A study conducted by independent research firm Merola Research, LLC found that usage of Science Techbook is associated with higher science achievement scores in elementary school students. After one year of implementation in South Carolina’s Rock Hill Schools, fourth grade students whose teachers used Discovery Education Science Techbook scored higher on average on the 2013 Science Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) than students whose teachers did not use Science Techbook. Techbooks are also a substantially less expensive option per student at nearly half the cost of a traditional textbook, with additional savings derived from a lack of textbook replacement or inventory costs.

The Discovery Education Community will also support Virginia Beach educators in their efforts to transform students’ learning experience with digital media. A global community of education professionals, the Discovery Education Community connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing, and inspiration.

“We’re inspired by Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ efforts to create modern digital learning environments that maximize student engagement in science instruction,” said Kelly Burleson, Manager of Education Partnerships at Discovery Education.  “The team at Discovery Education is proud to support their efforts to create classroom experiences that prepare students for success in the classroom and beyond.”

For more information about the Discovery Education Science Techbook series or other services and resources from Discovery Education, visit

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education




National Council for the Social Studies Announces New Executive Director

National Council for the Social Studies is pleased to announce the selection of Lawrence Paska, Ph.D., as its new Executive Director. Dr. Paska will fill the vacancy created after the September departure of long-time Executive Director Susan Griffin. The selection was made after a national search and was unanimously approved by the NCSS Board of Directors. Dr. Paska will begin his appointment in October 2016.

“It’s exciting to be moving NCSS forward with Dr. Larry Paska as our new Executive Director, a visionary and collaborative leader with a deep passion for empowering students to succeed. I look forward to working with him,” said NCSS President Peggy Jackson.

Dr. Paska’s professional experience has provided him with in-depth, multi-level, critical understandings of K-12 education and state education systems. He began his career as a middle school social studies teacher and later served in multiple roles at the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Among his contributions at NYSED were serving as a P-12 state social studies specialist and establishing the Office of Educational Design and Technology in P-12 Education. Most recently, Dr. Paska served as the Director of Professional Development for the Southern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), where he and his team provided instructional programs and services for 32 public school districts in the greater New York City region, supported data-driven instruction, developed instructional leadership seminars, and were instrumental in implementing the NYS K-12 Social Studies Framework.

Within the NCSS community, Dr. Paska has served as the 2015-16 President of the New York State Council for the Social Studies, and as the NCSS House of Delegates Chair of the Resolutions Committee. Dr. Paska is an experienced manager, facilitator and presenter whose professional vision is anchored in collaborative leadership and constructivist teaching. He has taught social studies education methods at the university level and holds permanent 7-12 social studies education and school district administrator certifications in the state of New York. He earned a B.A. in History and an M.A.T. in Social Studies from Union College (NY) and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University at Albany (NY).

Stefanie Wager, NCSS Board Member and a member of the Executive Director Search Committee, stated that “Dr. Paska brings a wealth of experience to NCSS.  He has been a classroom social studies teacher, worked at a state department of education, has experience with educational technology initiatives, and has an extensive background in practices that support effective teaching and learning within the social studies.  Moreover, he has been actively involved in his own state social studies council and understands the important role state councils play within the NCSS.”

In his new role as NCSS Executive Director, Dr. Paska is looking forward to dedicating his energies and broad expertise to furthering NCSS’s mission of supporting teachers in empowering students to succeed in college, career, civic life and in our interconnected world.

“I am deeply honored to serve NCSS at this critical time for social studies education.  There is a wealth of talent and opportunity in our schools to realize the promise of high-quality social studies teaching and learning for every child.  I am excited to listen and learn from our NCSS community – and beyond – to build partnerships that strengthen our profession,” Dr. Paska said.

Dr. Paska is married to Miriam Schroeder Paska, the President and Digital Strategist of Village Green Consulting, which supports web design and online solutions for businesses and member associations.  They have twin girls, Claire and Elise, who are about to enter pre-school.

Dr. Paska will be introduced to the NCSS Membership at the NCSS Annual Conference, December 2-4, and will engage in multiple ways to meet and learn from NCSS members, groups and staff in the months ahead.


Pearson, Follett Partner to Offer Pearson’s Digital Direct Access Model to Follett’s Partners and 1,200+ Campus Bookstores


Partnership enables Follett’s partner institutions to provide students seamless access to Pearson digital content at significant savings, continuing unprecedented growth of Digital Direct Access in 2016


NEW YORK – Sept. 13, 2016 – Pearson and Follett Higher Education Group, higher education’s largest campus retailer, today announced an agreement to offer Pearson’s Digital Direct Access (DDA) model to Follett’s college partners and 1,200+ campus bookstores nationwide. This collaboration builds on Follett’s comprehensive suite of digital solutions, providing institutions with a scalable, sustainable model to deliver Pearson’s high-quality digital content such as e-textbooks, MyLab™ and Mastering™ to students on the first day of class. In addition, DDA promises significant cost savings for students compared to the price of a new print textbook. More than 80 institutions have partnered with Pearson in 2016 to implement the DDA model.


“Follett continues to lead higher education retail with innovative content delivery and pricing models that help lower the cost of education and ensure all students, regardless of academic program and budget, have access to the materials they need for success,” said Jennifer Hatton, Vice President of Course Material Operations at Follett Higher Education Group. “DDA is yet another solution we can offer our partners to help them meet their student affordability and preparedness goals.”


Seamless, first-day delivery is made possible by Follett and Pearson’s technology integrations with campus systems and Follett’s BryteWave™ digital textbook reader. The agreement between Follett and Pearson also now provides faculty and administrators with access to valuable learning data. Visibility into students’ interactions with Pearson content will help educators assess instructional needs and inform and improve future instruction.


“Institutions need effective and sustainable affordability models that help drive down the cost of education for students and ensure access to critical learning materials,” said Tom Malek, Senior Vice President of Partnerships, Pearson. “By partnering with Follett, we’re making these pricing and delivery models available to all of Follett’s partners, increasing student affordability and access, and improving faculty access to real-time data and analytics.”


To learn more about how the transition to digital delivery of course materials and solutions can improve access, affordability, and achievement in higher education, visit this website. To learn more about Follett, visit


About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more, visit


About Follett Corporation

For more than 140 years, Follett has been a trusted partner to preK-12 schools, colleges and campus stores, taking care of the critical details that make it easier for schools to run, teachers to teach, students to learn and fans to celebrate. A leading provider of education technology, services and physical and digital content, Follett currently works with 70,000 schools and operates more than 1,250 local campus stores and 1,600 virtual stores. With the 2016 acquisition of Baker & Taylor, LLC, Follett’s reach also extends into the public library and global retail markets. Today Follett Corporation is the world’s largest single source of books, entertainment products, digital content and multi-media for libraries, schools and retailers. Follett is a $3.6 billion privately held company headquartered in Westchester, Illinois.



Guilford County Schools Partner with x2VOL to Take Service-learning to the Next Level While Easing Management Burden of 1.4 Million Hours


x2VOL Records and Authenticates Service-learning Hours, Helps with District-wide Strategic Character Education Goals and Individual Student Service-learning Reflection


GREENSBORO, N.C. – September 13, 2016 – Service-Learning is ingrained in the culture of Guilford County Schools. The district—which is a National District of Character—has signed on with x2VOL to track the thousands of hours Guilford students give each year to serving in the community. Every student gets involved in service-learning from National Honor Society students and advanced learners, to those receiving special education services, and everyone in between. Click to Tweet.


Guilford needed a comprehensive and proven system that could manage the district’s thousands of service hours and the reporting and verification process, while also easing the approval process for students. x2VOL by intelliVOL, with over 10 million service hours in its system, is the leading service tracking and reporting platform in the U.S. and has the capability to handle such a large and active district. “We looked into the cost of creating our own digital platform, as well as companies that offered ways of tracking our hours,” said Charlos Banks, executive director of student services and character development. “We chose x2VOL because it had the longstanding reputation for accurate management, and it creates a straight forward, user friendly—get in and get out—process for students, staff, and community partners.”


With x2VOL, now Guilford County Schools will know more about where students are making the biggest impact in their community. Yvonne Eason, coordinator for character development and service-learning is one of the pioneering leaders for character development in the district. “We’re using x2VOL to help our students capture the types of service learning experiences, and to quantify the work they’re doing,” said Ms. Eason.


Service-learning gives students an opportunity to engage and build skills needed to be successful in college and career. “This is a great opportunity for all of our students. We can deeply engage our students from different demographic and cultural backgrounds,” added Mrs. Banks.


“We’re extremely pleased to be partnering with the Guilford County Schools’ community to help them build on the excellent foundation of service rooted so deeply into their culture,” said Michele Pitman, founder and CEO of intelliVOL, developers of x2VOL. “We hope to help them understand the additional possibilities of having a comprehensive data system such as x2VOL Service Transcripts, which are available to students for college applications, resumes and scholarship applications.”


See a recent news video about x2VOL in Guilford County Schools here.


About intelliVOL

x2VOL by intelliVOL is an award-winning tracking and reporting platform for student service hours used by private and public schools and districts nationwide to customize service goals, centralize service hours and provide diverse service opportunities. x2VOL provides students with an online and mobile way to track and report service hours specific to the goals of their school while engaging them with local non-profits. Service records are authenticated and verified for each student and can be attached to their college applications, scholarship applications or resumes. x2VOL is the most widely used service tracking and reporting platform in K-12 education with over 10 million approved service hours. Learn more at or email


About Guilford County Schools

Guilford County Schools, the third largest school district in North Carolina, serves nearly 72,000 K-12 students at 127 schools. With approximately 10,000 employees, GCS works alongside local parents, businesses and colleges to deliver an education that connects student interests and skills with the careers and economy of our future here and around the world. Guilford County is also a Say Yes to Education community, giving eligible GCS graduates the opportunity to apply for last-dollar tuition scholarships to attend any 2- or 4-year public institution in North Carolina. Combining choices to meet the individual educational needs for a culturally diverse citizenship and new opportunities makes our families say, “GCS, Yes!” For more information, visit the district’s website at





itslearning and Alan November Partner to Show Educators How to Create Learner-Centered Practices and Environments


Educators can access new webinar recording that  shares engagement strategies and success stories


Boston, MA – Sept. 13, 2016— On August 25, a global audience tuned in to a live webinar sponsored by itslearning ( and presented by world-renowned education leader Alan November. Titled “Strategies for Creating Learner-Centered Environments and Practices” the one-hour webinar focused on strategies for supporting learner agency, creating environments where students feel safe to take risks and engage in valuable peer learning opportunities, and helping students develop critical learning skills to prepare them for the challenges and opportunities of the future.


November referred to Singapore’s “Teach less, learn more” mantra as an example of the idea that students, rather than teachers, should be the ones working hardest in the classroom. “It doesn’t mean that teachers are less important, I should point out,” he said. “It’s not just a question of shifting work, it’s a question of really designing assignments and facilitating, that I think is a very high-level teacher skill.”


“I think that student voice is important, that teachers can learn more about their students,” November continued. He advised teachers to have specific goals for listening to student voice, for example, understanding any misconceptions those students may have and how to correct those misconceptions.

Another reason November mentioned for encouraging student voice is that students often can explain things in ways that a new learner can understand while educators’ expertise may cause them to speak at a level to which novices cannot relate. He suggested that students be encouraged to create tutorials for their peers as well as design problems for their peers or their teachers to solve. He cited a Texan geometry teacher named Jessica Caviness who sent out a photo of a soda cup and challenged her students to design a geometry problem around the image as a no-credit, out-of-classroom activity.


One of Caviness’ students designed a problem that required not just an understanding of geometry but also of buoyancy and ice displacement. “There’s no way you would cover that in the curriculum, there’s too much to do,”November commented. “But as a stimulus to get kids to think, it really works. And in a platform like itslearning, where you can post these kinds of problems that come from students, it’s very motivating for other students. And other kids want to design problems.” He mentioned that the class’s test scores went up and that Caviness was named Texas Teacher of the Year in 2015.


November acknowledged that some attendees might be worried about being embarrassed by student-designed problems that are beyond their expertise.  He pointed out that struggling students often consider themselves “bad”students because they never had the opportunity to watch their teacher learn. He advised teachers to admit when they don’t know something and then show how they learn so that struggling students can realize that their struggles don’t make them a failure.


Another use of itslearning that November recommended was having students use the embedded tools to document their learning. “I am convinced as I watch kids document their learning, take notes, that there’s this wide range of how students document their own learning, and that’s an enormous opportunity to do this cooperatively,” he said in reference to itslearning’s student-to-student collaboration tools such as ePortfolios, blogs, discussion boards, surveys, bulletin comments and peer assessments.


Additionally, November advocated a student legacy approach where, instead of just doing work for a grade, students work for a greater good. He gave several examples of connecting curriculums to real-world problems, including one of students building a robot to help out NASA. The agency uses weather balloons to gather data on whether a planned rocket launch will be safe from lightning strikes. However, if bad weather occurred when personnel should have been outside sending up the balloon, that task and the subsequent rocket launch had to be scrubbed because of the danger the conditions posed to people. So, students at a nearby school built a robot to replace the workers who would have had to release the balloon.

“Call the local police department, call the local fire department,” November advised. “We have all these agencies in town, everywhere in America, that are probably working on real problems.” He cited Loudoun County Public Schools where Superintendent Eric Williams has committed the district to having every student create a legacy piece during the school year.


November also spoke about the changes teachers need to make in order to adopt these strategies such as reducing or eliminating lectures and other familiar tasks. In fact, he thought teachers’ high level of skill and comfort with those tasks may be “the single biggest barrier” to their using technology effectively.  “We’re trying to hang on to teacher behaviors, and we haven’t gone through this shift of control yet where students are being self-directed and collaborative,” he said.

The “Strategies for Creating Learner-Centered Environments and Practices” webinar is available for viewing at no cost at For more information about itslearning visit    # #  #



Tampa Preparatory Adopts 70 Lightspeed Audio Systems in New Upper School

Tampa Prep selects Redcat and Flexcat systems to create active learning environments and foster 21st-century learning


(TUALATIN, Oregon) September 14, 2016­­ — Lightspeed Technologies, the trusted provider of classroom audio solutions, and Tampa Preparatory School are proud to announce the installation of Redcat Access systems and Flexcat audio systems in the newly opened and redesigned Tampa Prep Upper School. Tampa Prep, an independent co-educational college prep school, now has a total of 68 Redcat Access systems and two Flexcat audio systems between the middle and upper schools.


With approximately 650 students in grades 6–12, Tampa Prep has abandoned the old classroom model of stationary desks and a teacher at the front of the room, and created what it calls Active Learning Environments (ALEs). After converting all middle school classrooms to ALEs in 2015, the school continued the trend into the upper school. The new classroom model provides students with a flexible, technologically advanced atmosphere conducive to the four C’s of 21st-century learning: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication. Each classroom is equipped with a Lightspeed audio system, interactive projectors, and movable desks, so no student suffers from being in the “back of the class.”


“The integration of the Lightspeed audio systems, visual equipment, wireless networking, and educational software has been a fun and exciting process. It’s amazing to see all these moving parts and our hard work come together as we open the doors to our new upper school,” said Chad Lewis, the director of technology at Tampa Prep. “Our students can’t hide from learning in the back of the room anymore, and with these new collaborative learning tools, they don’t want to. Our flexible environment, combined with innovative technologies, gets our students out of their seats and learning in new, creative ways.”


Teachers and students use the Redcat every day and during every lesson. The system includes a wearable, wireless microphone for the teacher and a speaker that can be placed anywhere in the classroom. The combination allows teachers to move around the classroom, and saves them from voice fatigue.


“The microphones have been great for us as teachers,” said a Tampa Prep classroom teacher. “We can project our voice without having to raise our voice. Every student can hear me clearly, even if I’m facing the board.”


Tampa Prep’s foreign language teachers use the Redcats to help each student clearly hear the pronunciation of every word. They use the Flexcat systems (which consist of a wearable microphone for the teacher, a speaker for whole-group instruction, and a set of two-way audio pods that allow teachers to listen and speak to small groups) in the school’s soundproof practice spaces where teachers are able to see students working, but cannot hear them. With Flexcat, teachers can simply push a button and hear what students are saying during small-group instruction. The student, in turn, can push a button on the Flexcat pod and ask the teacher a question—all without the teacher being in the same learning space.


“One of the most important pieces of feedback we received was from a parent of one of our students,” said Lewis. “The parent said for the first time in their child’s education, he could actually hear the teacher. That was when we truly realized the power of having audio systems and how they not only help hearing impaired students, but everyone.”


Teachers are not the only ones who take advantage of the Redcats and Flexcats. During presentations, students use the microphone to aid in their speaking, and some record their practice speeches to prepare for student “declamations,” which they give once a year to their fellow students.


As a result of its commitment to expanded curricular offerings and technology supporting a variety of learning styles, Tampa Prep has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence. “The effective use of technology to accelerate learning at Tampa Prep is impressive and innovative,” said David Solomon, the executive vice president and general manager of Lightspeed Technologies. “We are honored to be part of their ALE adoption and will continue to collaborate and offer support for years to come.”


The Redcat and Flexcat are both part of the newly launched Lightspeed Access Technology System, which provides a full range of classroom audio solutions that deliver interactive audio for collaborative whole-class instruction and small-group learning. All systems connect with Flexcat pods and seamlessly work together for easy scalability.

About Lightspeed Technologies

Established in 1990, Lightspeed Technologies is the trusted provider in classroom audio solutions. Our passion is to improve the listening and learning environment for every child. We believe strengthening the connection between teachers and students is at the heart of learning.


Lightspeed classroom audio systems allow teachers to speak in normal conversational tones while being assured that every child has an equal opportunity to hear all of the instruction. The no-installation, easy-to-use Redcat provides clear, low-volume, highly intelligible sound that is evenly distributed throughout the classroom so every child hears every word. The company’s audio system for small-group instruction, Flexcat, gives teachers the ability to gain insights into small group interactions and learning. The Topcat has become the premier solution for new construction and renovations due to its ease of installation, wireless connectivity, and remarkable audio quality. For more information about Lightspeed classroom audio products, visit


Lessons from The Corporate World Help Schools Tap into Thousands of Dollars of Hidden Value


ClassTag’s Parent Interests Feature Increases Parent Engagement and Volunteering.


SEPTEMBER 14, 2016 – NEW YORK: ClassTag, a cloud-based communication and scheduling platform that helps teachers turn parents into partners, announces a groundbreaking new approach to parent engagement and volunteering. Building on a parent’s interests and skills, teachers and school leaders are now able to match individual parents to needs and opportunities in their classroom and school.  ClassTag has found that interest and skill-based opportunities is the secret sauce in increasing parent participation and engagement.


“Teachers and parents love how ClassTag streamlines communications and scheduling, bringing everything they need into a single platform”, says Jason Olim, CTO and co-founder of ClassTag. “But our goal is larger than that. It is to help teachers turn parents into partners in the classroom, and partnership requires a solid interpersonal foundation that we are now supporting with our parent interests feature.”


When parents share their interests and skills on ClassTag, teachers learn more about them, and parents can connect with one another.  Teachers can invite parents to the classroom to share their skills, interests and stories with the students, opening new untapped possibilities for everyone involved.


Taking a cue from Corporate America, ClassTag has discovered that growing skills-based volunteering is much more productive and more successful than simply trying to get a warm body to fill a need. In doing so, ClassTag is seeing a greater potential for school fundraising and cost reductions by utilizing the resources schools already have: parents. In the past, schools have urged parents to volunteer for various activities in fundraising events in effort to reach a specific financial or project goal.  The challenge for many schools is getting parents to do something that may be out of their sphere of talents, skills, abilities, and even desire.


“After working for years in management consulting and big corporations, I have seen first hand how the corporate world approaches employee engagement in a very strategic way,” says Vlada Lotkina, CEO and co-founder of ClassTag.  “Corporations have figured this out. They know that the best way to get involvement from employees for volunteer activities is to match their interests with the needs of the charity or project. Parents, in much the same way, get a tremendous sense of value when they have an impact on children. They appreciate the recognition and the opportunity to give of themselves.”


There is a lot at stake in terms of the value for the volunteer events as well as the volunteer’s time and energy. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 62.8 million Americans, or 25.3 percent of the adult population, gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $184 billion in 2014. The latest figure from 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics data found that the estimated value of volunteer time comes to roughly $23.56 per hour.


Lotkina continues, “What this means for schools is that there is not just more volunteering, but higher value engagement.  We’ve taken what we’ve learned from the corporate world and applied these lessons to ClassTag by linking volunteering opportunities to a parent’s interests and skills, creating more productive and impactful engagement as well as an opportunity to save thousands of dollars for schools.”


About ClassTag

ClassTag is a simple and powerful communication and scheduling platform that brings research-based practices to help teachers turn parents into partners and improve the quality of family support in education. It was founded by Vlada Lotkina, a fortune 500 executive, and Jason Olim, serial entrepreneur and technologist, to help parents like themselves make their children more successful and better prepared for life.  To learn more, visit:


Edthena Launches New Tool to Help Educators and Coaches Identify Specific Trends in Teaching Practices


Comment Stats creates visualizations to support meaningful, data-driven professional development


SAN FRANCISCO (September 13, 2016) – Seeing if teachers are improving their practice after receiving professional development is now easier with the new Comment Stats tool in Edthena, an award-winning video classroom observation platform for teacher development. This one tool transforms the data from comments left on teachers’ uploaded videos into a visual, data-driven way for them – and their coaches – to identify trends and determine if the professional development is improving teaching practices.


Using Edthena, teachers can upload videos of their classroom instruction and then share those videos with coaches and colleagues who provide timestamped comments. The comments are classified by four different types: questions, suggestions, strengths, and notes. With the new Comments Stats tool, the system automatically generates reports and graphs that show comments by their type and by any associated professional framework tags.


“Comment Stats enable teachers to reflect on the changes in their classroom teaching in new ways. Now teachers can look across all comments and reflect upon multiple videos at once to see trends in the types of comments they’ve received,” said Adam Geller, founder and CEO of Edthena. “And, as a coach you can look across multiple teachers at a building and determine if there are trends, such as meeting or not meeting a particular prioritized standards. Without Comment Stats, it would be hard to notice these patterns during the process of coaching individual teachers.”


The Comment Stats tool automatically collects the data from the comments thus not requiring any extra time or effort on the part of the user. The tool also works retroactively, so it will include already uploaded videos in the system-generated visualizations, such as line graphs showing comment data over time and pie charts showing comment data by percentages.


“In developing this tool, we reviewed different visualizations with our partner organizations to ensure we were providing an intuitive way for educators to use and analyze the data,” said Geller. “The Comment Stats tool allows comment data to be used in even more meaningful ways so educators and coaches can identify trends, lead professional learning conversations, and help improve teaching practices.”


Schools, districts, and teacher education programs in more than 30 states are using the Edthena platform. It helps these organizations make video observation an integral part of teacher induction, teacher mentoring, professional learning communities (PLCs), and peer observation.


To learn more about Edthena and its Comment Stats tool, visit


About Edthena
Edthena is the leading classroom observation platform for using teaching videos as part of professional development. Teachers upload classroom videos to share with colleagues who leave time stamped comments. Edthena also offers specialized collaboration tools to help organizations implement best practices for video-based professional learning. Edthena is the recipient of numerous awards from organizations such as SIIA, District Administration, and EdTech Digest. For more information, visit For more news about Edthena, visit


RoboKind Expands Leadership, Welcomes Dr. Gregory Firn as SVP of Strategic Initiatives
Veteran superintendent and education researcher joins RoboKind, steps into new senior vice president role

DALLAS (Sept. 13, 2016) – RoboKind, the world leader in social robotics, announces the addition of Dr. Gregory Firn as senior vice president (SVP) of strategic initiatives. In the new leadership role, Dr. Firn will oversee product development and implementation, and legislative and research initiatives. As a former superintendent and seasoned leader in the research of education effects, Dr. Firn will carry on his work improving the quality of learning in the autism intervention field.

“RoboKind is dedicated to advancing autism intervention and invested in research to support that effort,” said Dr. Firn. “I’m excited to further my passion for teaching and learning by joining a mission to improve education for all students.”

To read the full news release, click here