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Success Stories out of the Institute of Education Sciences' SBIR Program: thereNow, Inc.

Photo of a teacher woking with elementary school students with an overlay of the therenow camera system


IRIS Connect is a video-based professional development tool that supports teachers to reflect on, analyze, and share their practice. The Discovery Kit and Live View camera systems enable teachers to record their teaching using auto-tracking technology and wireless microphones to capture student and teacher interactions simultaneously. These cameras send their videos to the secure IRIS Connect web platform, which allows for educators to share their videos, reflect on their own teaching, collect data, and receive feedback about their teaching. The platform has bank level security and all videos are encrypted from the time it is captured, during storage, and while streaming.


The developers of the IRIS Connect technology used an iterative research process to identify and field-test different technologies to determine which were best for capturing audio and video in the classroom. After field-testing numerous iterations in a wide-variety of classrooms in several counties, final designs were selected for production.


A variety of research studies demonstrate that IRIS Connect supports improved teacher learning, teaching quality, and student achievement. Quasi—experimental studies demonstrated that using the technology had a significant impact on teaching quality and student achievement, as most teachers reported IRIS Connect had a positive impact on their teaching, increased their confidence, and had a positive impact on their collaboration with their colleagues.

There are also several ongoing research studies on the impact of IRIS Connect. For the past two years, an education non-profit in Seattle called Washington STEM has been investigating how IRIS Connect can provide teachers with high-quality professional learning experiences. This project, called STEM-PD, has engaged nearly 400 educators from 50 schools across the state in developing a comprehensive change management model that utilizes IRIS Connect technology.

Additional ongoing and upcoming research on the impact of IRIS Connect includes studies at: the University of Bedfordshire in London; VIA University College in Denmark; and an Educational Endowment Fund project which is pan-European and involves several universities.


IRIS Connect has commercialized the technology through direct sales in the U.S. and Europe. As of 2015, more than 35,000 educators in 12 countries uploaded an average of 1,700 hours of classroom video each day. The IRIS Connect technology has also been used in variety of research projects conducted by the Harvard University, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the University of Michigan, Texas A&M, Westat, the Tennessee Department of Education, the Kentucky Department of Education, and Baltimore City Schools.