How It's Done: Building A Video Library For Professional Development

video library
(Image credit: Justin Taylor/Hartford Public Schools)

When pro athletes want to bring their game to the next level, they go to film. They see what works, see what needs tweaking. Why should teachers ignore such a valuable resource? Edthena helps teachers make the most of professional learning by recording and uploading videos of classroom practice, model lessons, and coaching conversations into a video library.

Who: Justin Taylor, Assistant Director of Educational Initiatives and Innovation, Office of the Deputy Superintendent

Where: Hartford Public Schools, Hartford, CT

What: Using Edthena in “Lab Classrooms” for Professional Development

As a former teacher, I often watched videos of others teaching in order to improve my instructional practice. While these videos rarely reflected the specific context and unique assets and challenges of our district, they were formative tools in my own professional learning. 

This year, our district’s instructional coaches identified 66 K-12 classrooms where teachers were exemplifying high-quality instructional practices. These “lab classrooms” provided an excellent opportunity for us to celebrate and elevate effective practice within our own district by using video to capture best practices.

We first on-boarded a small group of instructional coaches as Edthena early adopters. These coaches were excited about the prospect of capturing and using video for professional learning and also were comfortable with technology. From November to January, they recorded and uploaded videos of classroom practice, model lessons, and coaching conversations. By February, after all 66 lab classrooms had been identified in the district, we provided training to all elementary, math, and Humanities instructional coaches on how to use the platform to record and upload video of lab classroom teachers. Instructional coaches were tasked with recording and uploading at least four videos for each of their lab classrooms.

Biggest Challenge

While we have yet to face any considerable adaptive challenges, our greatest technical challenge to date is determining how to capture high-quality video with low-cost technology. Currently, instructional coaches are using their cell phones for video recording. While generally okay, the audio quality may sometimes be compromised by excessive background noise or distance between the observer and the teacher. Moving forward, we plan to invest in technology that will improve how we capture video and/or audio in classrooms.

video library professional development

(Image credit: Justin Taylor/Hartford Public Schools)

Finding Funding

We paid for Edthena and offered small stipends to our lab classroom teachers through grant funding from the Barr Foundation.

Pro Tips

By starting with a small group of instructional coaches as early adopters, we were able to generate interest in Edthena with those who were already eager to capture video of teacher practice. In addition, using instructional coaches absolved teachers of any responsibility in recording video, eliminating a potential barrier to participation. Moreover, since we focused on capturing video in lab classrooms, teachers understood that by agreeing to serve as a lab classroom their practice would be recorded and shared for professional learning.

video library

(Image credit: Justin Taylor/Hartford Public Schools)

Tech Tools



IPhones/Android for recording

Sascha Zuger

Sascha has nearly two decades of experience as a freelance journalist writing for national magazines, including The Washington Post, LA Times, Christian Science Monitor, National Geographic Traveler, and others. She writes about education, travel and culinary topics.