Panorama Unveils Playbook, an Online Community for Teachers

Panorama Education has built a fast-growing business selling software for surveying K-12 students and teachers—and then analyzing that data to help school officials understand where they can improve.

Now, the Boston-based edtech startup is taking things a step further with a product that helps teachers devise a plan for addressing those shortcomings. The new offering, dubbed Playbook, is an online community where teachers can share best practices and discover resources for making their classrooms better.

Panorama co-founder and CEO Aaron Feuer (pictured above left) hinted at the product in August, when the company announced a $12 million Series A funding round. With Playbook, Panorama is positioning itself not only as a means for quantitatively assessing things like school safety, culture, and morale, but also as a go-to source of potential solutions for any trouble spots, and a trusted “professional learning tool” for teachers.

For example, if an eighth grade math teacher wants to get students more engaged, Playbook will present “successful strategies from teachers of similar grade levels and subject areas at similar schools,” Panorama educator engagement director Brian Rainville wrote in a blog post today announcing Playbook. “Then, teachers can close the loop by assessing their improvement” through student feedback gathered by Panorama’s survey software.

An online community for teachers would have obvious benefits, but it’s hard to do well. So far, so good for Panorama, though. Playbook is already being used by 7,000 teachers at 300 schools, Rainville said.

Panorama isn’t the first to try and build an online community for teachers. The effort might have some overlap with startups such as Edmodo, which has built a K-12 social network for teachers and students. But it’s too early to say how things will play out.

Founded in 2012, Panorama has raised $16 million from Owl Ventures, Spark Capital, Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup:Education fund, Google Ventures, Y Combinator, and other investors. The company employs about 40 people and is hiring across several types of positions, including engineering, products, design, sales, marketing, and research.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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