Tuesday, March 19, 2013

TeachersClips - the "big idea" is taking shape

What is TeachersClips? Well, this is the thing I have been working on for quite some time. Recently I've had the help of a team of students, and the dream of a database of popular culture clips that can be used in classrooms is starting to become a reality. Up until recently I affectionately referred to it as "my big idea" -which is kind of lame since I am not the one and only person to ever think it up, but now we have a name and second iteration which is almost ready to be released! (see the first iteration here). We have lots of work to do, but I am excited about how things are going.

Our team has gone out and asked for teacher feedback, and we have two great students who are working on the programming of the actual site. We have some pretty good design options in mind (see some shots below) and a few people have committed to beta testing this thing out for us. Last week we pitched the idea to some local experts and actually didn't get very positive comments. I was frustrated (and still am!) because lots of their written feedback appeared to be directly related to things I said. It is likely I wasn't extroverted and clear enough. That is why we need your feedback!

I am flabbergasted by how little I have been blogging about this experience. I will try and correct my ways and get the news out better.
So what if the home page became your profile or hub of clips once you have set up a profile? We have tossed around the idea of having the home page just be the browse page once you have created an account. We want to enable bookmarking so that if and when teachers see clips they want to use for a future unit they can easily bookmark it into separate folders for later use. 

This "Share" page will probably be a pop out form rather than an actual page on the site. Knowing how little time teachers have, we want to make it as easy and quick as possible to share media. Of course, the more info we get on each clip, the more cool stuff we can do with it later - so it is tough to find a balance.

Notice the big empty white space below the last grey bar? We are hoping to have this space filled in with Pinterest-styled thumbnails/images. The Browse page is not meant to fulfill the same purpose as the search feature. This is a place to get new ideas, look around, and bookmark clips away that look interesting. Thus we hope that as more and more people add things to TeachersClips one can just scroll down and look at what is new. Of course if you want to see something specific or search the tags that is what the search feature is for. The top three lines of clips will be constant ("Related to your subject", "New clips", and "Most viewed?). What do you think? Is there a better way? Would you use this site if it was fully functional?


  1. Definitely looks interesting. Perhaps you could also add a feature that allows teachers to vote on whether a video was helpful or not? That might allow some of the better videos to get more publicity, making good content easier to find.

    1. I like that idea Liana! Also, what do you think about having a page or a spot where teachers could submit requests? So they might say "can't find a video that goes well with 'Walden'" or 'would love to see something about photosynthesis" That way teachers could see what was in demand?

      Also, we are thinking of ways to increase teacher motivation to upload clips. What motivates teachers? I am guessing lots of different things . . . but maybe if we said something like "first 10 people to upload 20 clips will get ____" . . . ? Any ideas?

  2. Whoa--this is really exciting! I like the mock-ups that you have here. One quick item of design feedback--the logo seems like it should be the same height as the rest of your menu bar, and maybe have the same gray background behind it? If you look at some of the big-name sites that share a similar type of menu bar, you'll see what I mean (Youtube, Facebook, and Google+ are a few examples). This is probably the least of your concerns--this is looking SO awesome! I can't wait to see what you do with it in the future.