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Unleashing great teaching

LearnZillion is all about celebrating teachers. In spite of what you might hear in the press, there are many superstars working in our schools, changing the lives of children every day. The problem is isolation. When one teacher figures out a highly-effective way to teach division of fractions, it doesn’t spread to all classrooms. Each teacher has to figure it out on his/her own—not a very efficient system, to say the least.  

LearnZillion celebrates teachers by capturing models of great teaching and sharing them with teachers and students around the world.  Their learning platform includes screencast lessons that are short (3-5 minutes), produced by talented teachers, and highlight the Common Core standards.

Technology is beginning to change the equation around teacher impact. Many talented teachers ask themselves a question every spring: do I continue teaching next year and have an extraordinary impact on a small group of students or do I leave the classroom (to become an administrator, work in policy, etc) in an effort to broaden my impact? That trade-off is starting to disappear.  

LearnZillion is currently recruiting their second “Dream Team” of teachers to create math and ELA lessons this summer that will help other teachers hone their skills and students work towards mastery anywhere and anytime they choose. LearnZillion’s Dream Team goes deep and broad at the same time. In effect, the deeper their skills in explaining concepts, the more likely they are to touch the lives of thousands of students.

If you are or know some teachers who might be interested in joining LearnZillion’s Dream Team, please send them this link: http://www.learnzillion.com/join. Let’s celebrate the superstars in our schools by helping their great lessons reach the children that need it most. 

3 Responses to “Unleashing great teaching”

  1. I just checked out the LearnZillion website and think it’s a good idea with potential to help teachers.

    The explanation videos are 3-5 minutes well-spent for a teacher who plans to teach a math or science subject for the first time, and/or a parent helping a child with homework. I am a current teacher now teaching high school English, but would use the site for this purpose if I still taught fourth grade math.

    It also seems that a teacher whose students have internet access at home or who have enough computer and internet access at school and who would like to put in the time to structure their classroom around the LearnZillion program could make use good use of the student playlist feature or use the program to help differentiate lessons in various ways. I don’t think it is “a crock” or does “damage,” as the first commenter suggests.

    Of course, as with any technology-based program, it is important not to overhype this one and to be honest about what it can and can’t do. Even the best technology can’t override the bugs in human nature, and this is no exception. Teachers will still run into problems with students who can’t navigate the directions on their own and problems with students who were supposed to watch the videos at home and didn’t. (This is more of a general statement about the flipped classroom model than a comment aimed at LearnZillion: The flipped classroom idea doesn’t do much to get at the formidable problem of students who don’t do what they are supposed to do at home, whether this is homework or watching instructional videos so they can do schoolwork. The problem teachers run into is still that they have to cover much more material in class with students who don’t do homework consistently.)

    With that said, I think LearnZillion is a well-thought-out, user friendly program. I will spread the word about it to my math and science teacher friends, and to my students who are struggling in their math and science classes.

  2. I agree with some of what’s been posted above. My co-founder Eric and I (former teachers) spend most of our time thinking about and talking to teachers in the classroom today–the folks who are doing the hard work.

    I’ll echo: teaching is about relationships, and those relationships deserve respect and support. We’re proud that thousands of real classroom teachers use LearnZillion as a support, and we’re humbled by the other organizations in the NSVF portfolio ( http://www.newschools.org/ventures )–many of them schools themselves with the rest working hard to support schools, teachers, and students.

    Every teacher is as different as every student, and no one voice can represent this diverse group. I know that the conversation, including criticism, will continue, so we should track the points of agreement: let’s continue working to give our teachers what they need to teach, and our students what they need to learn.

  3. TFT says:

    What a crock. You act as though there are secret pedagogies we teachers won’t unleash.

    That’s pure crap. Every child is different as is every teacher. Teaching is about relationships, and there is no model for that–it’s situational.

    You folks do damage. You help n-one. Real teachers think you’re just a joke.

    Please, talk to real teachers in real schools. You need a lesson in humility.