The service was built around the feedback of a teacher community and enabled educators to create, modify and share standards-based curriculum.
Yahoo! For Teachers: Overview
The service also provided curated web search results, the ability to share learning materials with parents' and students', maintain classroom blogs, groups and lists, network with other teachers' and create a public ePortfolio.
One of the other goals of the project was to incorporate social networking and other Yahoo! services (Flickr, Jumpcut, Yahoo! Groups, Yahoo! Messenger into the education ecosystem.
One of the key features of Yahoo! Teachers was a web tool called "The Gobbler" which allowed users to grab snippets of text, video and images and use them in their lesson plans. The Gobbler (now renamed Yahoo! Search Pad) tracked the attribution for the various media clips and annotated it at the bottom of the lesson plan.
The project was an internal start-up established with executive sponsorship from Jerry Yang and Jeff Weiner. The project team first began working on the project in late 2005.
Yahoo! Teachers of Merit
In July of 2006, Yahoo! invited a cadre of teachers, media specialists, and librarians to come spend a week on the Yahoo! campus and talk about how together we could leverage the technology and social media know-how at Yahoo! to support teachers in the classroom. We called this group of educational pioneers our Yahoo! Teachers of Merit.
They came from urban, suburban, wired, not-so-wired, public and private schools located all over the San Francisco Bay Area. We had veteran teachers and newbie teachers. We had first year Teach for America teachers and teachers entering their final year of teaching. We asked this amazing and diverse group of educators to bring their teacher's eye, and plenty of advice.
We wanted to know what technology works, what doesn't work in the classroom. We also made it clear that Yahoo! understands it's about using technology to support instruction, not using instruction to support technology.
At the 10 day Yahoo! Teachers of Merit program teachers learned how to use all the latest Yahoo! services in an educational instruction: like image-sharing, effective and credible web searching, and making the most of online communities.
Participants were also given the opportunity to use the alpha version of Yahoo! Teachers (code named 'Hallpass') and provide feedback to Yahoo! on what features worked and didn't work for them in the classroom.
After the participants left for the evening, a group of Yahoo! engineers (all volunteers) would take the feedback and write new code to incorporate the changes requested by the teachers.
The result was Yahoo! For Teachers, a free ePortfolio and global social networking community for educators.
We also had student filmmakers from BAYCAT, a non-profit community media producer that educates, empowers and employs underserved youth and adults in the digital media arts, come film the entire process.
Yahoo! Teachers Goes Beta
In September 2005, Yahoo! invited our Yahoo! Teachers of Merit back to the Yahoo! HQ to celebrate the release of Yahoo! For Teachers into a closed beta. We also extended invites to all their colleagues and other educators to begin using the service.
The Yahoo! Teachers project was publicly launched in March 2007 at the National Science Teachers Association conference held in St. Louis, Missouri.
The feedback from teachers at NSTA was phenomenal. Science teachers from Gilbert, Arizona to Stockholm, Sweden crowded around the Yahoo! Teachers booth and watched us use the Y! Gobbler to easily collect, organize, and annotate resources from any page on the web.
Teachers at our NSTA workshops saw first hand how they could use Yahoo! Teachers to collaborate with teachers from down the hall or Down Under. Like our YTOMs, teachers at NSTA caught the vision of how social media tools can be leveraged to support the teaching community.
Yahoo! Teachers National Social Media Tour
In the summer of 2007, Yahoo! Teachers Beta version was introduced to educators across the country at social media workshops held at various colleges around the United States.
The workshops focused on teaching educators how to use various Yahoo! services in the classroom. The workshops also introduced the Yahoo! Teachers and Gobbler tools to educators and provided them with a day long, hands-on experience with the service.
Yahoo! Teachers workshops were held at the University of San Diego, University of Chicago, University of Texas at Austin, Yahoo! HQ in New York City and on the floor of the 2007 NECC Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
The workshops were directed and facilitated by members of the Yahoo! Teachers team, including: Karon Weber, Derek Baird and Bill Scott.
Yahoo! Teachers User Guide Developed by Derek Baird & Karon Weber