Website review by Melissa Powers, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2021

Teacherly

Collaborative lesson planning software supports live and asynchronous instruction

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Pros: Shared workspaces provide an easy way to collaborate with a team while designing a curriculum.

Cons: Technical glitches and an uneven user interface diminish the overall experience.

Bottom Line: This teacher-centric platform may win over some educators, but students might not be as impressed.

Teacherly's web interface makes it easy to pull together a digital presentation. Before you can start creating content, you must create a class and add at least one student using a valid school email address. Then you can create a lesson template. If you don't want to start from scratch, there's a small template library that contains lessons written by other teachers that you can modify for your own use. Each part of the template is divided into sections, which are subdivided by phases (slides). A basic toolbar helps you add text, images, videos, attachments, and multiple-choice quizzes to the phase slide. If you share the template with another teacher, that teacher can also edit and assign the lesson. This is ideal for team teaching.

To assign the lesson to students, have students log in to their own Teacherly accounts. The student account interface is different from the teacher's view. Students see their assignments and due dates, but they cannot modify lessons or use the software to create their own templates/presentations. On the teacher dashboard, you'll see a report of how much of the lesson each student has viewed.

Teacherly may be most useful for teachers who need to deliver the same lessons to two groups of students -- one that meets live and the other that works asynchronously. Or perhaps you often have a lot of students missing class due to illness, scheduling conflicts, etc., and these students need to view the lesson on their own schedule. You can embed text/audio/video comments on the slides to guide asynchronous students through the lesson.

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Teacherly is a lesson planning and delivery platform that focuses on teacher collaboration. Teachers can work together to create and share interactive lessons. Lessons can be delivered traditionally in the classroom, assigned as asynchronous work, or delivered live online. Teacherly utilizes the video meeting platform Jitsi to facilitate live distance learning. With a Teacherly account, teachers can build and join multiple workspaces. Within each workspace, teachers create classes and lessons (called templates), assign lessons, and monitor student progress. Students must create an account connected to an email address to access assignments on their own device. The paid version integrates with Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams. Other notable features available in the paid version include student data collection; unlimited teachers, workspaces, and live lessons; and three-minute HD video recordings. Teacherly also offers professional development podcasts for an additional fee.

If you already have a lesson delivery platform that works for you, Teacherly probably doesn't have enough bells and whistles to make it worth switching. The lesson design features aren't as robust as those offered by similar platforms. For example, you can insert multiple-choice quiz questions with one right answer, but you can't take a poll or collect a free-form response. Plus, students can view the content on the screen, but they can't interact with it. You can insert videos, links, and attachments, but there isn't any way to collect student work or responses. While this raw functionality isn't quite at the level of some competitors', Teacherly does boast a unique collaboration feature for teachers, which could meet team teachers' needs in a way that makes up for the missing features.

Teacherly seeks to provide a relevant solution to distance and hybrid learning, promoting itself as a live meeting platform. When you click "Go live" on the assigned lesson screen, it launches the meeting software Jitsi. You then need to send the meeting link to your students and share your screen in order to deliver the lesson. This is no different than launching Zoom, Google Meet, or any other platform you may already be using. If your school has an approved online meeting platform, use it instead to screen-share your Teacherly lesson. Also, if you plan to use Teacherly student accounts, check to make sure their privacy policy meets your school's technology safety standards.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Lesson design tools are on par with other presentation platforms', but content delivery is a one-way street: Students have no opportunities to interact with the presentation, the teacher, or classmates.

Pedagogy

The shareable digital workspaces and communication tools facilitate lesson collaboration among instructional teams.

Support

Premade support resources are at a minimum, so expect to learn through trial and error or contact the company directly for personal assistance.


Common Sense reviewer
Melissa Powers Media specialist/librarian

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