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Testimonials from Users

Milken Family Foundation

Recently, the Milken Family Foundation recognized Educator's Virtual Mentor as an "authentic, quality teaching [tool] through video." The online article was entitled "Two Brothers: A Thousand Videos." The article goes on to say, "Districts and schools using EVM have expanded the system's use far beyond the ideas originally envisioned by its creators. Schools are using it as support for professional communities; mentors use the tool to work with their colleagues. Principals are allowing veteran teachers to develop their own improvement plans using EVM instructional strategies. Still others are finding ways to incorporate and design classes for district credit with in-service activities." You can read the full article here.

"WOW! I was out of my classroom 18 days last year for professional development. This site is amazing, I can't wait to share it with my principal. Just last week I was talking to my students about metacognition and there is several examples of best practices on this site to use. I am interested in knowing how much a subscription cost for EVM. Thanks for allowing us to experience such great information."
     Message from an education student
     reported by Hank McCallum, Ed.D.
     Chadron State College

Thank you for developing the Educator's Virtual Mentor (EVM) and allowing its use at Chadron State College. It has proven to be valuable to both faculty and students. I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the EVM's attributes and share my impressions regarding its application for education professional development. As you will quickly see, I highly favor its use and find the attributes to be outstanding for both higher education and P-12 public education as well.
     In essence, the EVM is extremely valuable as a teacher and school administrator preparation tool. Specifically, its use at Chadron State College as a platform for Supervision of Instruction, EDAD 632, has proven to be crucial and effective. The EVM application involves providing actual classroom videos of teachers' performance for critical observation. The quality of the videos is excellent and the variety of teacher performances allows for a wide array of exposure to instructional practices. Its function has far surpassed my expectation as an essential element of effective instructional supervision observations. When combined with Charlotte Danielson's Frameworks, the result is described by students and faculty as an extremely powerful professional development tool. In fact, the EMV is used not only for teacher observation practice, but it also serves a secondary function by assisting aspiring school administrators with developing teacher professional development plans. It's difficult to argue the value of the EVM while receiving student comments such as the following:

  • "I have my Master's from Chadron State College in School Counseling and this was one of the best classes that I have taken."
  • "The video matrix (EVM) is an awesome tool. Every teacher should have to experience the process of viewing and analyzing another teacher."
  • "I found this class to be just what I was hoping for. Knowing that I am starting an administrative job this year, I was looking for courses that would be helpful to me right away and this course certainly answered that call. I feel so much better prepared for evaluating teachers, helping them to develop PDP's, working with specialist positions, and considering what components are most important for developing a quality learning environment. I particularly enjoyed the scripted observation activities using the Educator's Virtual Mentor. I felt it was close to hands-on learning which I tend to like."

     The EVM has qualities commensurate with the digital age and it lends itself effective with both on-line and face-to-face learning. The format allows for the necessary instruction flexibility to be effective across a wide array of applications and its data collection capability provides quality and objective feedback. I must also mention that the EVM is user friendly and the tech support is excellent; these attribute have been especially accommodating for busy schedules!
     In conclusion, I whole-heartedly recommend the Educators' Virtual Mentor. The mission is evident: to better prepare educators by enhancing instruction through effective practice and sharing ideas.
     Hank McCallum, Ed.D.
     Chadron State College

Rob and Woody Ziegler have successfully combined years of educational experience and knowledge into a remarkable educational tool – the Educator's Virtual Mentor (EVM) instructional videos.
     The candidates of iteachU.S. are given access to the EVM instructional videos as soon as they are accepted into the educational certification program. The candidates use the videos as a tool to observe master teachers as they display various aspects of the teacher's job in diversified classrooms. Through the videos our candidates develop a keen awareness of research-based pedagogy prior to entering their field experience potion of their certification program. Once our candidates are in the classroom, their Field Supervisor also utilizes the videos as a teaching tool to reinforce a desired performance outcome.
     The one aspect of the videos that has received the most positive response from candidates and faculty alike is the research-based articles that accompany each video. This component of the videos has proved most beneficial to our candidates.
     iteachU.S. is confident that the EVM instructional videos play an integral part in the preparation of highly effective teachers.
     Diann Huber, Ed.D.

"Several years ago, I was searching the Internet looking for articles on the concept of 'Wait Time' to help a teacher, and I discovered the EDUCATOR'S VIRTUAL MENTOR system. I was instantly hooked. Since then, I have introduced the EVM to the entire faculty. Each faculty member is assigned his or her own username and password. Throughout the school, the faculty, mentors, and individuals can focus specifically on one or more parameters to teaching to improve their instruction and, ultimately, student performance. When I write a teacher's evaluation it often includes a reference to an individual video clip. Together, teachers and I have watched video clips, analyzed teacher moves, and discussed best practices. This is very helpful to the visual learners. One of the unique features is that a teacher can watch another teacher who is teaching the same subject at the same level. I have found EVM to be one of the best tools an administrator can use to improve teaching and learning.
     "The Educator's Virtual Mentor website is just what I was looking for. I use the Educator's Virtual Mentor during pre-observation and post-observation conferences,to supplement written evaluations. When a teacher can see an actual example of a suggestion about a parameter of teaching, and not just read about it in an evaluation report,the results have been tremendous. I was so excited about this product that I shared it with all the administrators in the district. Thank you Woody and Rob!"
     Thomas L. Brow
     Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School
     Melrose, Massachusetts 02176

"Educator's Virtual Mentor has provided the School of Education at Peru State College the opportunity to bring the classroom and what happens in it to life for our teacher candidates on a regular basis.  Valuable connections between course content and its important connection to the classroom add another critical dimension to our course of study in classroom management and effective teaching, lend credibility to our courses of study, and effectively enhance the important work of teacher preparation."
     Judith J. Ruskamp
     Assistant Professor of Education
     Peru (NE) State College

Dr. Nancy Biggs"Having Educator's Virtual Mentor available to every administrator and coordinator in Lincoln Public Schools provides them with a valuable tool to use in their work as instructional leaders. The video clips with accompanying research based articles, and the questions, will assist them in reviewing strong instructional practice with their staffs. An additional benefit will be the option to use EVM as a remediation tool."
     Dr. Nancy G. Biggs, Ph.D.
     Associate Superintendent for Human Resources
     Lincoln (NE) Public Schools

Dr. Alan Seagren"I had no idea of how comprehensive the EDUCATOR'S VIRTUAL MENTOR system was in terms of grade level, content areas and research evidence to back up best teaching practices. Teaching kids today is as challenging as it ever has been but it can also be as rewarding as it ever was if we know how to engage learners. I could get real excited about what you have done and are doing to assist teachers and administrators to focus on the improvement of quality of the teaching/learning process."
     Dr. Alan T. Seagren
     Professor of Ed. Adm. and Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education
     University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Pam Cohen"Thanks so much for introducing my staff and me to the Educator's Virtual Mentor Program. Not only will it be of great value to my teachers, most of them new to the profession, but it will be a useful tool in the teacher evaluation process. Teachers can use the site on their own time and really study the clips that are relevant to their personal needs. The research and rubrics that support each clip are further aides that will enhance instruction in the classroom. The clips support current best practices in teaching and are a quick, easy, and non-threatening way to improve instruction. Ultimately it will be the students who benefit from highly knowledgeable teachers."
     Pamela J. Cohn
     Principal, R. M. Marrs Magnet Center
     Omaha, NE

"I personally feel as if the Educator's Virtual Mentor assists the administration. As I have become familiar with the site, I can suggest that teachers visit a specific concept to improve instruction, or to strengthen what they are already doing well. When I write up a walk through observation or a formal evaluation, I can discuss with the teacher what they are doing well, or what I believe they need to improve on, and the teacher can immediately go to the EVM website for growth or reinforcement. I find this makes my job as an educational leader more meaningful working with both master teachers and at risk teachers as well."
     Jim Koontz, Superintendent
     Newman Grove (NE) Schools

"In the day and age of accountability, everyone is trying to maximize staffs' time with students. We attempt to introduce new instructional strategies that will impact student learning. But do we have time to research and analyze what resources are available? As a leader, I have tried to move my staff meetings from focusing on managerial tasks to discussing instructional practices. As the principal, I need to be an instructional leader. Education Virtual Mentor has allowed Stanton Community Schools to view and analyze a variety of educational topics.
     "I need to be an instructional leader. I have divided my secondary staff into small learning teams. We have set aside 30 minutes a month to review the website. It is not the quantity that we focus on, rather the quality. The individual group decides the topic and views the video clip together. At the conclusion of the video, there are probing questions to help stimulate dialogue amongst the members. It was our goal to create an opportunity for the staff to focus on best practice and application to the classroom. The power of these conversations is mind-boggling. Professional colleagues sharing and discussing helps the school impact the education of all students."
     "It was our goal to create an opportunity for the staff to focus on best practice and application to the class room. The power of these conversations is mind boggling. Professional colleagues sharing and discussing helps the school impact the education of all students. The video clips are short and streamlined by topic or grade. If a group would like to further explore a specific strategy, the site provides a reference list. The Education Virtual Mentor has allowed Stanton to set a framework that creates meaningful professional development. Each group e-mails the principal their responses. One of the capabilities of the site is verification of staff use. As an administrator, I can view the topics visited and duration of the visit."
     Chris Stogdill, Secondary Principal
     Stanton Community Schools
     Stanton, Nebraska

"Educator's Virtual Mentor provides educators with excellent model lessons as well as the research behind the techniques being modeled. It is an excellent teaching and learning tool for teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators."
     Bob Hastings, Principal
     Washington Elementary School
     Norfolk, Nebraska

"Thank you so much for sharing L4TF with me! This is a "way cool" site. I have become hooked on watching the videos. Immediately, I can see applications for both new and veteran teachers! Several years ago, Randolph's SIP lead a study group of the Saphier and Gower book, The Skillful Teacher. The following three years, our staff met to delve into the concepts (clarity, attention moves, teaching to the objective, feeback, etc.). We organized into triads: two teachers and one administrator. The teachers took turns observing one another's teaching (for the specified skill or concept) and the administrator was at the observation as a "color commentator", and to provide a cohesiveness among the partner teams of teachers. Only in situations where there is lots of trust built among teachers and between teachers with their administrators could such an idea be successful. And it was successful for us. Over the three years, the partnerships evolved to watching one another, sharing ideas, bouncing ideas and results off their partners, all without the admins' guidance.
     "Now, we've moved into team study groups – two Marzano books, and next year LiPing Ma's Knowing and Teaching Mathematics. But the scheduled, formal observation part is missing in our current model. With your L4TF, I could offer teachers the opportunity to "observe" master teachers demonstrating specific teacher decisions and skills, which they could watch in pairs, and participate in the discussion questions in pairs or small groups! What a cool idea! The video observations also take away the background of knowing the other teachers, and allows us to just concentrate on the demonstrations.
     "If I had a new or struggling teacher, I could set up video sessions for demonstration and discussion, w/o the headaches of scheduling with other teachers here, or having anyone else here know what their colleague is struggling to learn/demonstrate. Thanks for sharing with me. I am planning to do a brief demo with my Great Expectations Team (Randolph's team reps) on Monday. They (teachers and parents) will be excited about this tool!
     Dr. Wendy Bonaiuto, Principal
     Randolph Elementary School
     Lincoln, Nebraska

Learning for the Future