Teaching in the sharing economy
We are in the midst of a revolution in the sharing economy. We share with and charge each other for everything imaginable – cars, rooms, food and a myriad of other goods and services which create disruptive forces that increase efficiency, productivity, and benefits for both the provider and receiver. These cultural forces have started to push into education with Edmodo, Teachers Pay Teachers, Khan Academy and many other EdTech services. Instead of wasting time searching, teachers can find ready to use resources to support teaching in their classroom the next day. This allows teachers to spend more time teaching and evaluating rather than researching and planning. The sharing economy has come to teaching.
Classroom Silos Still Exist
One area, however, remains sacrosanct – the classroom itself. With the exception of a growing number of project-based and interdisciplinary programs like High Tech High, New Tech Networks, Big Picture Schools, and Expeditionary Learning, classroom doors remained closed. Research shows that teachers still receive feedback on less than 1% of their overall teaching – and many get no actionable feedback, especially after the first year of teaching. We’ve actually seen this first hand as part of our work with teachers across the U.S and Europe. Many teachers have commented that ImproveClass provides their only channel of critical feedback and new ideas for their classroom. We wish that every teacher could receive consistent growth focused feedback, but unfortunately most education systems are not setup to provide weekly, monthly or even quarterly support for teachers.
Our Teacher Observation Process
With your help, we’re testing a new teacher driven coaching model at ImproveClass by crowdsourcing teacher evaluation and feedback. Through beta-tests, we have learned that professional development, unless required by a supervisor, remains at the bottom of the teacher “to-do” list. We have also learned that once teachers are given tools to share classroom observations with anonymous teachers from around the world – everyone gains. We know now that incentives increase the likelihood of sharing and reviewing observations. With this learning, we see a revolution ahead that disrupts the endless stream of teacher “improvement” models through a sharing economy of classroom practice.
What’s Next: Every Teacher Deserves Support
Over the next few months, we’ll talk more about our anonymous teacher collaboration model, the ImproveClass tools and various incentives to increase teacher professional development participation rates.
In 2017, we’re planning to publish a series of blog posts about the core strategy behind ImproveClass. This is our first post and we welcome your input and advice.