UPDATE 2/29: Butterfly has paused accepting videos temporarily as they are preparing to launch subscription channels.
About a month ago, I was contacted by another online ESL teacher on Instagram about a brand new company called Butterfly Educators.
I’m always keeping an eye out for new nontraditional education work opportunities, something that social media has been a useful tool for!
Since the experience of recording educational videos is a new adventure for myself and many of you out there, I wanted to document my journey with this endeavor from the beginning.
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am merely sharing my personal experiences and information provided by the company and will aim to give a balanced view.
As with any company, I encourage you to check it out for yourself and reflect on if it is a good fit for you! If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
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About the Company
Butterfly Educators a start-up educational video website/app with this mission statement:
“Our vision is a world where everyone has the ability to access affordable language lessons. Our mission is to give our teachers a flexible work environment while being able to make both an active and passive income. Our mission for our students is to provide an affordable path to their English speaking goals and access to amazing teachers and lessons. We want students and teachers to work together and transform into their best selves.”
They have only been around for a month, so there’s not much information out there beyond what is shared with us hired teachers, but their website has recently been launched. Information and updates are most consistently shared on their Facebook page.
From what we’ve been told, the idea is for teachers to record educational videos to put up on their subscription app (a la YouTube). Down the line, teachers are supposed to earn both active income upfront for making the 2-5 minute videos (usually $10.50 per video or $15 for special videos) as well as passive income from subscribers in the future.
At this point, we are only making videos but do not have subscription channels yet. As far as I know, everyone who has made videos that pass the video rubric (clear sound, horizontally oriented, appropriate speaking speed, etc.) has been paid.
Butterfly states that any classroom or online teachers with “neutral North American accents” can apply. For now, the application process is pretty easy.
1st Step: Read and complete the Application form (below).
2nd Step: Complete the video release form using the form link that appears once your application has successfully been submitted.
If you’re interested, you can apply here – please include IVANA CUSICK as your referrer and I will receive a small bonus! 🙂
Equipment/Tools I use
Note: Links below are affiliate links. I personally use these products and there’s no extra cost to you, but I may receive a small bonus if you click through and purchase. Feel free to also look elsewhere as well! 🙂
Field Trip Videos:
- Apple iPhone 6 – or –
- Sony A6000 camera
- 2013 Macbook
- Logitech Headset (about $20 on Amazon)
Umbrella Light – Neewer 200W 5500K Continuous Lighting Umbrella Kit (currently on sale!)
- Whiteboard/clipboard from Dollar Tree
- Flashcards from Target Dollar Section
- Various props from around my home
- Whiteboard Markers – U Brands Low Odor Magnetic Double Ended Dry Erase Markers With Erasers
Types of Videos
There are three types of videos that Butterfly is currently accepting:
- Curriculum Videos
- Field Trip Videos
- Classroom Videos (if you are a B&M teacher)
I’ve previously seen other teachers mention making educational videos for other companies, but because I don’t have much video editing experience, I was initially apprehensive to pursue an opportunity like this.
One of the things I like about Butterfly so far is that they’ve explicitly mentioned that they aren’t expecting completely professional-quality videos at this point and they’ve provided lots of sample videos and resources to help with making videos.
Note: My sentence above is slightly outdated as they now have higher standards for videos, as will be outlined in my February post in a few days.
So far, I’ve used my phone and my computer camera to film videos, and Kapwing to edit videos (when necessary).
The only edits I’ve needed to make so far is sometimes splicing a few video clips together and adding subtitles (as of February, subtitles are required).
You can also use iMovie or other video editing software, but since I’m a newbie I wanted to start with the simplest option first.
Edit: Butterfly has stated that once they buy a video from us, we are not to share the video on any other public platform. However, there may be sample videos that have been permitted by Butterfly to be shared on YouTube or Instagram by searching #butterflyeducator.
Screencaps of field trip videos:
Sample curriculum video (not purchased by Butterfly)
As of February, this video passed all of their criteria except for the door frame being visible and lighting (which was noted the 2nd time I submitted it).
If you have any specific questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pros: So far, it’s been a very flexible and fun opportunity to make a little extra money now and potentially more passive income in the future if students start to subscribe to my channel.
Any questions I’ve had have been answered promptly and the staff who answer emails/Facebook questions have been very respectful, professional, and responsive to teacher questions. They also host weekly giveaways for engaging videos for specific topics and other fun activities!
In terms of payment, I’ve made about 20 videos and was paid for all of them so there have been no payment issues.
Cons: It’s a new company and not many aspects of its funding are fully known.
As with any start-up, things change quickly and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of changes unless you check the Facebook page regularly once you’re hired. Also, if you’re not super familiar with the process of filming and editing videos, there can be a learning curve that might not be worth the initial income.
Finally, it’s not exactly clear when or how the subscription program will work, so there is a certain degree of uncertainty (but also potential) as to what the future will look like here.
My takeaway: Given how new this company is, I’m going in with cautious expectations and only allocating a small amount of my extra time so far on this endeavor.
However, it does seem to be promising and I look forward to seeing what happens next!
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The Introverted Online Teacher