Review by Fayme Evenson, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2017
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Teachers Connect

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Supportive social app for teachers has room to grow

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Character & SEL

Subjects
N/A
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K-12
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Pros: Sets a supportive and inviting tone through an easy-to-use interface and the option for anonymous posting.

Cons: Not wholly developed yet and still needs to gain an audience to be effective.

Bottom Line: Once complete, this could be the app teachers need in order to seek authentic and just-in-time professional learning.

Teachers Connect is a platform to pose questions to a community of supportive educators. If you're having a classroom management problem or if you need a fresh instructional resource, ask the community. Most of the questions that are already posted in the Q&A section of the app have legitimate answers that are going to help teachers improve. There are questions about everything from behavior issues to how long it will take new teachers to really feel comfortable. There's also a place where teachers can share resources and ideas with the community.

If you want to make the most of Teachers Connect, be sure to create your profile with as much detail as possible, and for confidentiality reasons, remember never to post pictures of your students. If you have a question and are hesitant to make it public, use the feature that allows you to search questions that have already been asked. Or take advantage of the anonymous Q&A section; you might just find what you're looking for. 

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Teachers Connect is a social network app and professional learning community (PLC) created for all educators, from pre-service teachers to veterans. After building your profile, you'll land on the Discover section. This is where teachers can share current news, inspirational stories, and helpful instructional resources. Teachers can ask questions -- either anonymously or publicly -- to the community at large in a separate Q&A section. Responses to these questions are automatically set to public; while this might deter trolling and bullying, it also might make some teachers hesitant to post replies.

There's also a Connect section that's not operational yet. Here teachers will be able to connect with educators who teach similar grades and subjects, reconnect with alumni from teaching programs, and engage in private messaging.

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One important way to determine student success is through teacher efficacy: a teacher's belief that she can positively impact the learning of her students. When teachers get more support and resources, they're more successful. Teachers Connect has the potential to be a positive community for teachers. Teachers may not always feel comfortable asking a colleague for classroom management ideas; they may fear that if they ask, the colleague will assume that they aren't a good teacher. The fact is, though, that all teachers need support. Whether you have been teaching for 3 years or 35 years, joining a community of educators that's interested in helping, sharing, and supporting one another could be a huge boon to professional learning.

As of now, however, Teachers Connect still needs to gain a following; there isn't a lot of activity beyond what the creators of the app post. But there's a sound structure in place: a streamlined and simple interface, detailed profile creation to differentiate educators, and the ability to ask anonymous questions. It's disappointing that the Connect section isn't up and running. Teachers connecting with other similar teachers would be a great opportunity for professional learning, but right now it's potential is unrealized. Teachers Connect is an app you might consider joining now and watching grow in popularity over time. 

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

The interface is easy to navigate, and it's a cinch to contribute. After profile creation, however, there's little incentive to interact with a community that really isn't established yet.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Aims to give teachers just-in-time support, resources, and professional development from a community of diverse educators. The part of the app that will really connect teachers, though, isn't functional yet. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

There's limited in-app guidance, and some of the features are confusing. However, since it's built around a community, teachers should have no problem getting the help they need.


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