It's time for Effective Professional Development
Trusted by 100,000 + Educators worldwide
Years of Video PD
Who We Are
Born out of a research project. Passionate about education.
The future is uncertain, yet, one thing we can say with confidence is that the coming 50 years will be challenging. Those challenges will require empathy, flexibility and deep expertise to address. We need to raise a generation of adaptive experts, able to deal with existential threats like climate change, political and economic instability and the emergence of deeply disruptive technologies.
To raise this generation of adaptive experts, our vision is for children around the world to be educated by an unbroken chain of expert teachers, setting them up with the best possible starting point to thrive with these challenges. Our mission in all of this? To support teachers at scale with everything they need to develop expert teaching skills, accessible at any time from anywhere at any stage of their career. Building on years of education expertise and research, we have developed IRIS Connect UnityPD, a unique all-in-one teacher development platform. Find out more here >
It is the people at IRIS Connect who bring our company values and mission to life every single day. We are fortunate enough to have a great team of people who are motivated by their genuine passion to apply their knowledge, skills and experience to make a difference for educators and students alike. Many of our people previously had a career in education themselves and have a thorough understanding of the day to day challenges in schools.
Our journey began in 2007 at the University of Sussex with groundbreaking work on the use of video in initial teacher training and culminated in the development of a web-based platform to enhance teachers reflection and collaboration. Since then the company has evolved, worked closely with over 2,500 organisations in 50+ countries and grown into an internationally recognised brand.
It all started when Andrew Newell (as a former ed-tech trainer, now Founder and MD of IRIS Connect), realised that one off transmission-based training wasn’t effective. Keen on finding a solution, he got involved with the InStep project at the Sussex University (for ITT) to explore how the transfer from theory to practice could be improved through the use of video technology.
Andrew also found a dissertation by Shawn Edmondson (now Research & Evaluation Director & CEO of IRIS Connect US) discussing similar principles around effective PD. They then collaborated together in another research project funded by the US department of Education to see if technology could also assist with coaching – especially over distance.
All of these events culminated in the creation of a new professional development solution, now known as IRIS Connect.
With our commitment to create a PD tool that empowers teachers to reflect on their practice and share expertise, the world’s first video professional platform with mobile camera system was developed that’s fully secure and cloud based. It was followed by the launch of LiveView, our first coach-controlled pan-tilt zoom camera with in-ear headset to provide real-time, instructional coaching during lessons.
First School in the UK joins the IRIS Connect Community
This year was exciting for us as we developed the new IRIS Connect brand, released our first white paper (“Making the network for teachers”) and started to showcase our role in professional teacher development at big education shows in the UK including BETT.
The first version of our portable classroom video recording system. Over the years the Discovery Kit has been developed further with some amazing new features such as iOS and Android based systems, single or dual view configuration and more.
VIA University College in Denmark used the IRIS Connect system as our first international partner for a 4-year research project to support the learning of student teachers. In the following years we got involved in many more educational projects overseas such as the Creative Classroom Lab with the European Schoolnet, European Commission co-funded Erasmus Plus projects such as the ITELab and ViSuAL Knowledge Alliance, British Council projects to support blended teacher professional development in South Africa, Thailand, Pakistan, Armenia and many more countries. Nowadays we are proud to work with educators in 6 continents all over the world.
Washington STEM partnered with IRIS Connect to investigate how technology can be used to overcome the challenges that are preventing teachers from having effective professional learning experiences. 17 schools in 5 school districts of Washington State participated in STEM-PD by integrating the technology into their professional development plans, focused on enabling teachers to enact new instructional practices. Other prominent organisations like Harvard, Boeing and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation were also involved in this project.
Allowing us to replace the cameras in the Discovery Kit with iOS devices and add additional features like dual view recordings.
* Already 20,000 + teachers using IRIS Connect
Already 20,000+ teachers using IRIS Connect
The release of a more intuitive and technically advanced V2 version of our professional development platform with better lesson analysis tools.Our cloud based software enables teachers to collaborate around classroom practice by creating a permission based, sustainable approach to sharing and discussing lessons.
* 1000th school joined the IRIS Connect Community
1000th school joined the IRIS Connect Community
- Start of a video observation and coaching project with the EEF (Education Endowment Foundation) in collaboration with Whole Education.
- IRIS Connect office set up in Seattle, USA
- Release of a new white paper ‘Going Beyond CPD’ and hosting of our very own professional learning conference ‘Shaping The Future of CPD’.
- Features added to the iOS app and platform such as live view, online editing of videos and the ability to create Groups for high impact, low cost collaboration.
- Launch of iConnect
As we have realised that our solution could also help people in other professions outside of education, we have created a separate brand to support high-quality training and development in corporate settings and healthcare.
* Over 4,000 videos a week being securely uploaded to IRIS Connect
Over 4,000 videos a week being securely uploaded to IRIS Connect
This had a major impact in schools. The ready-made professional learning programme developed together with the EEF helps teachers to analyse and discuss teaching and learning more effectively, successfully developing a culture of openness and trust. Read more about its impact here >
Over 20,000 videos a week viewed on our platform
by over 60,000 in over 40 countries
1 in 3 of teacher trainees in Denmark using IRIS Connect
IRIS Connect was selected as the technology to be used in one of the largest experimental studies around PD by the US Department of Education. The $16 million study included 100 elementary schools within 14 large school districts and included 353 teachers and 8,906 students. The findings in 2022 provided strong evidence that video-based teacher coaching by IRIS Connect and Teachstone has significant impact on student achievement, as much as 2+month additional instruction per academic year.
Supporting schools during the pandemic
To enable teachers to effectively reflect on and develop their teaching in these unprecedented circumstances, we developed and added new functionality into our platform: Screen capture to securely record online teaching practice, and our own video conferencing tool (Rooms) to allow teachers to connect and develop wherever they are teaching.
New strategic partnership with one of the world’s leading Initial Teacher Training Providers
Teach First join IRIS Connect for a national pilot of supporting trainee teachers over distance using video observations. More
- Our network now encompasses 45 ITT programmes, 2,500 school based CPD programmes and multiple development projects such as The Early Career Framework and C-Teach.
Launch of our platform in China. The platform is now available in 4 languages (English, French, Dutch and Chinese).
Our network now encompasses 45 ITT programmes, 2,500 school based CPD programmes and multiple development projects such as The Early Career Framework and C-Teach.
While we were collaborating with schools in Australia as early as 2014 and the first NZ school took on board IRIS Connect in 2019, it was 2022 when we opened our first Asia-Pacific regional office in New Zealand.
Utilising 15 years of experience in education, IRIS Connect launches UnityPD, a unified professional development solution for teachers at every stage of their career. UnityPD brings together everything that the research shows is needed to lead to sustainable, positive change in teaching practice: from evidence-based theory & models, to developing powerful technique and supporting effective transfer to practice.