A Profile on Utah’s SEDC
Originally created in 1969, the Utah Southwest Educational Development Center (SEDC) is a regional educational service agency (RESA) serving the southwest corner of Utah. They have just over 100 schools and 50,000 students in their membership, which comprises an area roughly the size of West Virginia. They provide educational equity for their districts and charter schools by leveraging their cooperative resource power to spread opportunities across their rural landscape.
What was the original goal?
Last Spring the SEDC’s executive board was looking for a safe and secure way for teachers to manage and share educational media. They were also looking for a solution that would allow them to create a protected video library of exemplary teaching strategies for their growing community of educational coaches — and they wanted this library to be easily accessible by their members, without having to share it out publicly. Clint Stephens, Technology Integration and Data Specialist at the SEDC, said they first looked at self-hosted solutions, but the cost was prohibitive. They also looked at other video hosting and sharing solutions but did not find the right balance between the ability to share content and the ability to keep media files secure. “There wasn’t really a nice solution that was easy to use and fit well for everybody until we found you guys,” he shared.
How does MyVRSpot address those needs?
Each district or school within the SEDC’s membership now has access to a full-service media management platform, tailor-made for K12 educators. They can upload and store unlimited media files that can be easily accessed and organized. There is no more frustration trying to remember if they saved a file on their hard drive, Google Drive, One Drive, or within a software program. They now have one central place where they can filter through and quickly find everything; an ever-growing repository of engaging digital instruction. And it’s all securely controlled by the school or district.
They can also easily create and share their educational media with other teachers, saving each other precious time. Additionally, if an educator is doing a unit on a specific subject, they can search that subject and all related media and materials created by their colleagues within the SEDC (and marked as shareable) will come up for them to view and duplicate. They can even create special Groups to collaborate with content area teams, professional development cohorts, or any other group they’d like to create. Media can be shared out to students and the community via URL, QR code, embed code, or directly to Canvas, and other LMS solutions, through an LTI integration.
Another way to share media that has been particularly helpful to SEDC members is the Video Showcase feature. Matt Edwards is a CTE instructor at Parowan High School. His district was recently able to purchase a milling machine that would allow him to teach his students CNC machinery. The software that came with the machine included some very nice instructional videos. Unfortunately, due to the platform the company used, access was blocked for students. While other teachers around the state decided to have the videos viewed by students at home as homework, Matt took the situation to the SEDC.
Together they came up with a solution to use MyVRSpot’s Video Showcase feature, which allowed them to create a customized, secure, easily shareable repository page. Matt explained, “With permission from the company that made the training videos, we were able to nest the videos within MyVRSpot. This was a fantastic solution. It not only made these videos available for my students, but every student in an SEDC school now has access to excellent learning opportunities that were previously unavailable.”
Clint Stephens thought the project might take days to implement but was pleasantly surprised when he completed the Video Showcase in one morning. When asked what he thought about the Video Showcases he shared “I think they’re so flexible, easily embeddable into Canvas, and a great way for teachers to build their own learning library of videos, that’s easily organized and accessible.”
Jeremy Teeples, a principal in the Millard School District, liked the solution so much he attended webinars and completed a project to become a MyVRSpot Certified Educator. He now uses his expertise as he leads his staff at Filmore Middle School.
Clint Stephens likes the “One-stop-shop” aspect of the platform, “I really think MyVRSpot can replace a dozen different tools that teachers use . . . So, I think it’s a great solution.”
An additional benefit the SEDC found helpful was MyVRSpot’s media tracking feature. McKay Thompson, SEDC Systems Specialist, remarked “The reporting is amazing. Being able to go on there and see who’s actually using it and how much they’re using it. That’s, I mean, two thumbs up for me.”
As the MyVRSpot platform becomes more and more widespread throughout SEDC schools, it will be exciting to see how educators use the platform’s features to equalize opportunity for their students. The teachers in the smallest, most rural districts in Southwest Utah now have access to the same high-quality digital tools as those in Utah’s most urban areas. The SEDC/MyVRSpot partnership is one more way the SEDC is accomplishing its mission of educational equity for all the students in their region.