ATC Receives Tech Grant to Upgrade Virtual Coaching

Arkansas Teacher Corps (ATC), an alternative teacher certification program of the University of Arkansas, has been selected for one of twenty 2020 Video Observation Technology Implementation Grants provided by the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE).

Each grant provides up to $25,000 in funding to implement the Edthena platform for the spring 2021 semester. Edthena is the leading video observation platform for using teaching videos as part of the teacher training and support process. Teachers upload classroom or Zoom-teaching videos, and colleagues or coaches leave timestamped comments. 

Given ATC’s transition to 100% virtual coaching for the fall semester, ATC Director of Teacher Development Lizzy Hetherington hopes that a comprehensive and streamlined virtual coaching platform will help provide critical support while reducing logistical challenges and feedback delays:

Our coaches evaluate and give feedback to our fellows using the TESS rubric, but our teachers have greatly struggled with navigating the many different platforms that we currently use for collecting and analyzing classroom videos. We have found teacher stress and burnout to have significantly increased during COVID-19 as a result. By implementing Edthena, we hope the ability to upload a rubric directly into the platform and give time-stamped feedback according to that rubric will greatly save time and reduce stress. Our teachers need support in setting expectations and engaging students in virtual learning, both of which could be ideally addressed by real-time feedback tagged according to skill. Furthermore, a platform like Edthena would shorten our reflection loops with teachers, allowing for quicker and more frequently feedback to the teachers who need it the most and leading to greater outcomes for students.

As part of the grant award process, ATC will receive implementation and planning support from the Edthena team to build a deployment strategy that is ready for the spring semester. Representatives from the AACTE member services team will also participate in onboarding training with ATC staff to explore additional resources when possible.

With the implementation of Edthena, ATC hopes to see an increase in fellows’ overall satisfaction with the coaching they receive from ATC and an increase in the academic outcomes of fellows’ students. Additionally, a successful implementation will increase fellows’ participation and investment in virtual coaching, decrease fellows’ logistical challenges with recording and uploading videos, and decrease the total amount of time lost due to inefficient systems.

“Both AACTE and Edthena understand that video observation technology has the potential to positively impact candidates during and after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and CEO. “AACTE is proud to collaborate with partners like Edthena to promote technology growth in schools and colleges of education.”

AACTE is a national alliance of educator preparation programs and partners dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are profession-ready as they enter the classroom. Through advocacy and capacity building, AACTE promotes innovation and effective practices that strengthen educator preparation.

To learn more about the AACTE Video Observation Technology Implementation Grant Program, visit