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My quick thoughts, back stage, and rants as I try to Teach kids about the Web while learning how to help others build a better Web.


Come Journey Through the IndieWeb Sites


Greg McVerry

Creating the #IndieWeb CourseWare with @ReviewTalentFS and @withknown thanks to @scsu and @uconn start-up grant

3 min read

Anyone who has followed my meandering path into the knows much of what I do gets driven by teaching.

Our company ReVIEW Talent Feedback System brings this vision to teacher coaching, evaluation and feedback. Reflection and learning should drive classroom improvement.

To that end, we partnered with the Known Open Collective to add learning and reflection to our our platform. We want to help open source learning tools. As part of a start up grant we got from Southern Connecticut State University and University of Connecticut we had three goals

  • Add Single Sign On through OAuth
  • Create a blogging platform to drive coaching and growth through reflection
  • Create an online course builder

OAuth Plugin

The first goal involves a bunch of plumbing. I won't get into this as much to say is what let's you sign into websites with your school email or a social media button. We did do and release all of the development open source. People are already using the OAuth pluging to connect Known to Moodle. That's cool. Open source helps knowledge spread.

Blogging Platform

The second goal derives from ten years of experience in teacher quality and evaluation. We learned important lessons. Mainly we want to measure teacher quality but don't really have the tools yet. Rubric driven observation and coaching does improve efficacy of teaching...jury still out on achievement.

We wanted to give educators a chance to reflect on their growth outside of, but connected to their talent management platform. So we have added the ability to host a school wide network using the software of the Known Open Collective. In fact we donate 50% of any revenue from the reflection blog tools back to the Collective

Course Builder Plugin

I am most excited about the course builder plugin. I have always wanted an IndieWeb course builder and this open source tool is now closer to reaility. We have a few kinks to iron out before we release to the wild for beta testing but I thought I would provide an early view.

You start by clicking on a new course.

You can then design the front page of the course and add course objectives and a code of conduct

adding objectivesThis allows you to include course goals on the front page

add modules and tasksYou can then click on a button to add a schedule or events or add a module.

add a readingOn each module page you get the option to add description, a featured image, a video, and readings.

This is a screenshot of the live module page. We will change the way the reading displays.

My favorite feature, every task is its own page. That means educators or learners can send in artifacts of learning as a webmenton. Meaning they do the learning on their own websites and just link to the task.

The instructor will then be able to see all submissions in one place, while the learner mantains control over their work!

Next Steps

Even cooler we will use this feature for an upcoming webmention badges plugin.

We also need to develop the APIs for the rubrics built into REVIEW Talent Feedback System so we can display scales inside of Known or pull posts into ReVIEW. This goal is more long term.

Also on IndieNews

Greg McVerry

Everyone right now spend the $15 dollars on @screencasto, after predictable design, high expectations and quality feedback it drives my online learning, best built in video editor for a screen capture tool.

Greg McVerry

At 13:00 EST (utc-4) I will do a live demo of @screencasto after high expectations and high quality feedback this is hands down most important tool in my online teaching tool kit. Join me

Greg McVerry

How Will You Move Your Educator Field Work Online? #edchat #teacheredchat #highered

3 min read

review logo

Your students now take classes 100% online. Our k12 schools have shuttered their doors to promote social distance.

What should a teacher candidate do? They came into the semester so excited to do field work or student teach. How can we recreate this learning?

Patrick and I want to help. We will waive the $2,000 annual site fee and reduce our per site license fee down to $10 an account.

ReVIEW Talent Feedback System is a teacher observation and instructional capacity coaching program. It is currently used by New Haven Public Schools, Hartford Public Schools, Killingly Public Schools, and CREC. 

Conflict of Interest Statement: The development of the software is partially funded through a start up grant from the University of Connecticut and Southern Connecticut State University. Dr. J. Gregory McVerry has a revenue sharing agreement with SCSU Foundation and will give portions of profits back to the university

ReVIEW Talent Feedback System Video Library 

All videos are normed against the 2017 CT SEED model and have transcriptions for accessibility purposes. Our framework in Connecticut shares many traits with other rubrics of effective teaching.

The video based calibrations can be used in Ed Leadership replacement observations. They can do a Video Based Calibration as a summative assessment or we have access to high quality partners that have developed curriculum that walks students through 31 strategies for feedback and observation. 

Ed Leadership Replacement Assignments 

Any educator preparation program can use our video library and video based calibration. We will happily donate the VBC platform to any University using the system.

If any program wanted our coaches to score the videos pre and post we have highly talented coached that deserve to be paid so that can not be donated.

We also have access, through our partner network, to high quality curriculum on best practices for coaching through observation and feedback.

If faculty would like to have a class set up in ReVIEW Talent Feedback System as a demo they should email

Teacher Candidate Replacement Assignments 

Any of the videos inside our library can be used to replace scheduled field work. Teacher candidates who can not student teach or students who needed to conduct observations earlier in their program can have pedagogically sound opportunities using our video library,

The videos can be set up for purposeful observations. So, for example, we can watch Ami McMoran teach a small group lesson on vowel sounds and see how she reviews objectives and expectations and sets criteria for students. 

Students could watch for other active discussion techniques in secondary science.

We can use this opportunity to rethink our field work and make sure we use shorter more frequent but targeted observations. We can brainstorm some cool assignments. Long term ReVIEW would be a great place to pilot the validity of a rubric or text the validity of a set of raters.

If faculty would like to have a class set up in ReVIEW Talent Feedback System they should email 

Greg McVerry

Hey @scsu faculty we just finished up our session on feedback and assessment in online learning, up next (which I am also facilitating) is effective discussion boards to drive learning. Join us at 11:00. Great tips on better practices

Greg McVerry

Hey & institutions who just had field work and student teaching cut short. @reviewtalentfs has a library of classroom videos you can use for observation and a double rubric for feedback. We are waiving annual fee

Greg McVerry

Hey @scsu I wanted to share some insights we have had as we build and facilitate trainings to get ready for the 100% move online #edchat #literacies #edtechchat #highered

3 min read

As our students will return to campus without setting a foot on campus we need to ensure we approach the week with care and compassion and then build out a space for learning using four better practices:

  • Use Asynchronous Communication
  • Use Simple Predictable Design
  • Focus On Teacher Presence
  • Provide Timely Feedback

Make Your Class Asynchronous

We have been providing training to many of you on two delivery methods:

  • asynchronous techniques using videos, readings, assignment, and Blackboard
  • synchronous techniques using chat and video apps like Microsoft Teams and WebEx

While as a faculty member you have the academic freedom to design your course in any manner that uses tools supported by the University we wanted to share some better practices:

The majority of your course should be asynchronous. While many faculty may want to just open WebEx or Microsoft Teams, launch the video chat, and teach during their assigned face to face class time this is not considered better practice.

  • Many of your students will be newly unemployed and have child care issues to figure out. Being available at specific times may not be possible to many. Conducting the majority of your classes asynchronously will help ensure every student can succeed.
  • Your synchronous chats should be used to supplement your class and increase your social presence. Better practice would not rely on live chat as your primary delivery system

Keep Your Design Simple

You need to keep your instructional design simple and predictable. For the next few weeks less is more. Provide as few tools to students as possible. Come up with a design for your modules (we made a course template) that you can repeat each week or each two weeks.

Focus on Teaching Presence

After simple design your teaching presence is the most important practice. Set aside 1-2 hours a day for teaching each class and another 1hour per class for delivering feedback. At a minimum you should post a note to each students' first post. Make sure you are posting a minimum of four days a week.

Try so send daily or weekly announcement. A short email, video, or audio announcement can help keep students engaged.
Email messages are very powerful. Send words of encouragement or feedback occasionally to student emails. Research shows this to be a very effective practice at increasing student engagement.

Timely Feedback

We are all worried about the increased work load but we know timely feedback ensures student success in online learning. First begin by asking if your assessments are important. Will they make a difference to student lives in 5 years. If you are doing the assessment for just a grade or accreditation it doesn't really serve a learning purpose and may not be needed.

Think about more frequent and shorter assessments. Use low stakes or ungraded assessments. Rely on peer assessments. Remember feedback, and not the assessment tools and grades we assign, drive learning.

Greg McVerry

My Support for CT HB5376 which eliminates EdTPA in Connecticut #literaces #edchat #teacheredchat #edu506 #edu307 @ctmirror

4 min read

This is a reply to an editorial:

Thank you all for engaging in this important topic, though I do not think the author was suggesting no assessment in student teaching.

Violet Jiménez Sims suggested that EdTPA is the WRONG assessment not that all assessment is bad. The author argued for local control based on high quality feedback rather than handing over testing to a national corporation that leeches away not only dollars from needy students but the American principle of local control in education so important to our federalism.

EdTPA has nothing to do with good teaching as we do not even know if it accurately (reliability) measures what is says it measures (validity). In fact the authors of the state report in support of EdTPA could not even agree on it's efficacy. Two of the report authors REFUSED to sign the report. How do I convince student teachers this matters when two of the State's experts can't even agree?

In terms of authors Aflano, Horton, and Todd voted yes while Grant and Ayalon voted no (copy of report). When 40% of the State's experts do not agree with findings they wrote we need another solution.

A Problem We Created

One of my favorite scholars on teaching writing, Ed White, used to say, "Assess thy self or be assessed." Education Deans around the state made this mess. They never trained, observed or coached student teaching supervisors. We saw this in the data where students would score almost perfect scores every time. This is not a knock on evidence, scores should be skewed positively after four years of instruction, but it was an indicator of lack of validity. Scores should never be that similar.

So the Deans around the state are looking for an easy way to appease accreditation boards far removed from Connecticut classrooms. They turned to giving Pearson, the testing conglomerate, a giant government handout. One that should not sit well with fiscal conservatives or those who favor local control of schools.

A Better way Forward

We learned many lesson in the last decade of edreform focused on teacher quality. Mainly just because you SHOULD do something doesn't mean you CAN do something. It would be great to assign a numerical quality value in CT to every teacher. The math simply does not work. We end up taking multiple flawed assessments and building a composite score. It like we shine two turds, combine them, and then sell the dish as mud pie.

More importantly we learned the importance of coaching and feedback. There are very specific practices we know show gains in student performance. there are class cultures that allow all students to thrive. We can observe teachers, either veterans or candidates, and provide feedback on how they can grow. This increase in instructional capacity may lead to improved student performance.

There is a better way forward in Connecticut. The majority of teachers in the state get assessed against the System for Educator Evaluation and Development which includes the CCT Rubric for Effective Teaching 2017. Here is my novel idea...We train teacher candidates using the same rubric for effective that is used in the classroom. Imagine people using the same instruments that will be used to judge their performance. Not only would we regain and protect local control over edreformers who seek to nationalize teacher preparation but we would use good pedagogy.

In full disclosure: I am not an expert. My PhD is in educational psychology, with an emphasis on cognition and technology, but I have spent the last five years serving as the Peer Validator in New Haven Public Schools. Any teacher who scores at the top or the bottom of the scale gets observed by me. I also spent threes observing hundreds of teachers in Newark Public Schools.

This experience lead me to create an app called ReVIEW Talent Feedback System, to coach school administrators on how to deliver high quality feedback using the CCT Rubric for Effective Teaching. Feedback, not some silly Pearson test, drives growth.

This app has been used by the CSDE, CREC, Hartford Public Schools, and New Haven Public Schools to train administrators on coaching for growth.

Our app is partially funded through start-up grants from UCONN and SCSU. In fact, we have a profit sharing agreement with SCSU if our app truly took off. I receive no income from UCONN or SCSU for the development of this tool.

Greg McVerry

@LisaGrayson2803 Yes! It all begins with a story of growth. Allow feedback to move students

Greg McVerry

@ajpodchaski what districts really need beyond 2day PD is ongoing coaching, observation, and feedback of online learning. Can not provide those services for free, too time expensive, but will do a 50-75% reduction in honorarium


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