VOLUME 39 / NUMBER 5
IDEAS AND TOOLS FOR ED TECH LEADERS
DECEMBER 2018 / JANUARY 2019
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The Best in Edtech
To see more Tech & Learning scan the code or visit us online at: www.techlearning. com/JAN19
COMPUTER GAMING GETS REAL See page 11 for more.
RETHINKING DIGITAL TOOLS See page 12 for more.
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COMPUTER GAMING GETS REAL
TECH AND ANXIETY
TOP 10 TECH PREDICTIONS FOR 2019 AND BEYOND
RETHINKING INSTRUCTION, LEARNING AND DIGITAL TOOLS
By Holly Aguirre The successful Overwatch tournament hosted by the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) lends even more credibility to the esports craze. By Suzy Brooks Chances are you know quite a few people who have anxiety, whether or not you’re able to see it. Here’s a sampling of the tech-based tools adults and children can use to help manage it. By Steven Lahullier As emerging tech becomes more affordable, Steven Lahullier predicts we’ll see more of it in classrooms next year and beyond. Tech & Learning advisors share their perspectives on technology trends, how they impact instruction, and some of their best tech tools.
T&L AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE: 2018 FINALISTS
COMPANIES TO WATCH FOR 2019
T&L’s advisors spent countless hours reviewing nominations, researching, and applying their expertise to select these 10 finalists in each of three categories: best use of edtech in the classroom, school, and district. T&L’s guide to companies offering a variety of edtech products to K-12.
DEPARTMENTS & COLUMNS
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4 EDITORS DESK Edtech’s Best 6
TRENDING DIY Professional Learning, 15 Sites for Differentiated Instruction, Top Tech Trends in K–12, 10 Sites for Checking Plagiarism, and more
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ince 1982, T&L has sought out and celebrated the best in education technology through our annual Awards of Excellence. The contest used to be a simple review of speeds and feeds: What was the fastest dot matrix printer? How long did it take for that 2400 baud modem to connect? How did your students take to Oregon Trail? It’s not that easy anymore. As the tech used in schools has become more sophisticated, so has the way we judge it. Speeds and feeds don’t cut it when you are analyzing content management systems or a reading curriculum package. We want to know about how these products and services improve teaching and learning through the stories of those who use them. First, we asked the manufacturers who submitted products to provide us with case studies about how districts have been putting their technology through its paces. Then, we reached out to a number of our esteemed advisors, edtech leaders from around the country who manage tech for school districts, to get their take on the entries. Advisors selected 10 finalists in three categories— Best use of edtech in a classroom, school, or district. All finalists will be invited to a special reception at the SPEEDS AND TCEA show in San Antonio, TX next month, where the FEEDS DON’T CUT top winners for each category will be announced. Be IT WHEN YOU ARE sure to follow @Techlearning on Twitter and online at ANALYZING CONTENT techlearning.com to find who will be the big winners in case you can’t wait for the April print issue. Congratulations MANAGEMENT and good luck to all the finalists! SYSTEMS OR A
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READING CURRICULUM PACKAGE. WE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT HOW THESE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES IMPROVE TEACHING AND LEARNING THROUGH THE STORIES OF THOSE WHO USE THEM.
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NEWS TRENDING ANDTRENDS THE LATEST NEWS & STATS AFFECTING THE K-12 EDTECH COMMUNITY
top10 WEB STORIES
Data, Access, and Innovation A shift from focusing on efficiency to changing pedagogy and other top trends: highlights from SETDA’s Education Forum.
What’s New in Google
Catch up on everything new in G Suite for Education and discover great ideas and resources.
Helping Others Along—
Motivation Theory and the SAMR Model How can we best help colleagues to understand the value of new technology and how it might benefit their students?
How to “ClassSource” a
Simple, Meaningful, and Useful Review Document Review takes on an inventive twist when students create videos to explain, negotiate, and teach a problem using Google Forms.
Can’t think of that word? Finally, a dictionary that allows you to search for words by their definitions.
Real or Fake? Factitious is a
Breakthrough Tool for Assessing Student Online Literacy Assess your students’ abilities to distinguish between fake and real news with this fun and simple online game.
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“What is it about technology that compels us to believe it is a necessary component for a well-rounded education? We inventory how much of it we have, how many times it is used, and ask ourselves if we need more of it? Maybe we should stop and ask ourselves exactly what is it that we are talking about.” —Micah Shippee “Educators must know how to empower students to understand how to use technology as a tool of engagement to support real learning.” —Lisa Nielsen “Sometimes we forget the fact that if you post someone’s content and do not give them credit, you are essentially stealing their work.” —Matthew X. Joseph
Cyber Security Resources
for Teachers and Students Teach students of all ages about cyber security using these teaching platforms, curricula, websites, and video resources.
Google Science Fair as My
Biology Final Exam Forget the poster boards. Inspire students to turn their thoughts and ideas into a format that addresses a real-world problem.
This new Web tool will help you create links and share video clips free of distracting, unrelated, and adult content.
Digital Equity: It’s More
Than Just Student Access Learn how educators are looking beneath surface inequities to consider how digital tools can revolutionize learning.
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TOP TWEETS Susan Sudberry, Ed.D. @SusanSudberry: “School culture is the glue that binds the transformation process on its journey to successful outcomes. Every interaction is either a culture builder or culture killer.” Alice Keeler @alicekeeler: It’s 2018 . . . digital skills are not touching a mouse and word processing. Can they edit video? Do they know keyboard shortcuts? Can they adapt easily to a new tech tool? techlearning @techlearning: “Students learn less with passive use of tech than no use of tech.” —Joseph South, ISTE Chief Learning Officer @southjoseph
STUDENTS FROM VERMONT HONORED BY SETDA SETDA has chosen St. Albans (VT) City School as the winner of the 2018 Student Voices Award. US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos introduced the school’s students at the awards luncheon at SETDA’s Leadership Summit in Arlington, Virginia. In their presentation to an audience of state leaders and guests from national education organizations, the US Department of Education, policy makers, and corporate partners, the students highlighted specific examples of how technology tools and resources provide them with personalized learning opportunities infused with innovative, project-based learning. They also shared the ePortfolio system that captures the many dimensions of each student’s learning pathway through their years from pre-K–12. “I am pleased and proud that St. Albans City School has been recognized as both the first Vermont school and the first pre-K–8 school nationwide to receive the SETDA Student Voices Award,” said Dan French, Vermont Secretary of Education. “It’s a testament to the innovative spirit of #vted educators, who are constantly finding new ways to integrate technology into the classroom at every level. It’s just one of the many ways we’re building a world-class education system that guarantees quality and equity for all Vermont learners. St. Albans’ method, incorporating technology at the core of the student experience, is outstanding and worthy of emulation.”
“It’s been so inspiring to hear from these students at the elementary and middle school levels about the ways students and teachers are leveraging technology to innovate and collaborate,” said Dr. Tracy Weeks, Executive Director, SETDA.
SITE OF THE WEEK
By Andrea Tejedor and Sheri McNair
KIALO: VERSATILE FREE PLATFORM FOR STUDENT DEBATE AND ANALYSIS
CREATING AND CODING
Are you waiting for the perfect professional learning opportunity? No need to wait any longer—you can design your own DIY (do-ityourself) learning to earn edtech, coding, and makerspace certificates. Here are three opportunities to get you started:
EDTECH TOOLS AND RESOURCES
Students can learn about social and political issues while practicing digital citizenship and engaging in thoughtful debate.
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Symbaloo Certified [PAID: PRICE VARIES] Symbaloo is a visual resource management tool to create customized Web-mixes that organize Web-based resources and bookmarks. There are three certifications available: basic certification, PD certification, and a free student certification.
Picademy (Raspberry Pi Foundation) [FREE] Picademy is the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s free face-to-face professional development program that supports educators throughout their digital making and computing journey. This two-day training event is held at venues around North America. After completing the program, Raspberry Pi Certified Educators join a community of passionate digital making practitioners.
PEDAGOGY AND BEST PRACTICE Common Sense Media [FREE] Common Sense Media provides educators with the tools and strategies necessary to become responsible and effective teachers (and users) of technology. After completing the prerequisites and a two-part application process, each approved educator receives a digital badge and an invitation to become a Common Sense Ambassador.
APPS OF THE DAY FROM TECHLEARNING.COM
15 SITES FOR DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION
App of the Day picks are selected from the top edtech tools reviewed by Common Sense Education.
Differentiation, or meeting the needs of a variety of learners, is a key component of successful teaching. David Kapuler provides the following alphabetical list of sites that educators can use to differentiate instruction.
ACTIVELY LEARN—Users can add questions, annotation, and collaboration to any reading material.
The Answer Pad—This student response system and assessment tool enables teachers to go paperless, and with the “Go Interactive” tool they can collaborate with students in real-time and gauge understanding.
BoomWriter—Students write book chapters and then vote on which one should be included in the finished product. A trade paperback copy of the finished product can be ordered, turning students into published writers. BoomWriter’s toolkit contains standards-based rubrics and real-time assessment.
Buncee—Create presentations or digital stories with this fantastic digital canvas. With Buncee Classroom, teachers can assign quizzes and track and monitor student progress.
Simple Way to Incorporate GameBased Learning into the Classroom
TeacherGaming is an all-in-one platform with high-quality lesson plans and learning analytics that give teachers the confidence and support they need.
edcite—Teachers can create digital assignments, quizzes, and more. Best of all, edcite can automatically grade student responses in real time and generate detailed reports.
Edji—With this cool new learning tool students can interact with online texts through highlighting, annotation, comments, and even emojis. The detailed “heat map” lets educators gauge student understanding.
EDpuzzle—This is probably the world’s most popular site for flipping a classroom or lesson by adding questions to a video and then assessing students’ answers.
Hippo Video—Students and educators can create stunning digital videos, and teachers can use these videos to introduce a subject, create a screencast, and even gauge student understanding.
IXL—This popular math site allows for student tracking with detailed reporting. And with the ability to track student “trouble” areas, teacher can adjust their teaching to meet students’ needs.
Night Zookeeper—Interactive lessons and competitions help students with their writing skills and the educational portal allows educators to track student progress.
Otus—This one-to-one LMS is also a mobile learning environment with detailed real-time analytics.
Fun STEAM App Animates Learning
Kids will find Choreo Graph, an artsmeets-math creation tool, engaging (and silly), and coordinating geometry lessons support learning.
Pear Deck—Educators can create quizzes, slides, or presentations. Students respond via their mobile devices, enabling teachers to assess student understanding in real time.
PowerMyLearning—A digital learning platform that enables educators to customize the learning experience for their students.
Quizster—Students submit work via photos, and teachers can then annotate, comment, and grade in real time.
ZooWhiz—This site, aligned to educational curriculums in a wide variety of subjects including math, grammar, and vocabulary, offers detailed progress reports that help teachers assess students’ learning needs.
Game-based learning is another option for differentiating instruction, and Badaboom and Kahoot are two easy and popular tools for “gamifying” the classroom. F O R M O R E G O TO W W W.T E C H L E A R N I N G .CO M /JA N 1 9
Free App Offers Fascinating Look at River Ecosystems
WWF Free Rivers’ gorgeous AR model is simple but compelling, with sights and sounds that immerse students in this important topic
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GIVING A VOICE TO AMERICA’S EDUCATORS The 2018–19 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Educator Confidence Report found that optimism regarding the state of the teaching profession is holding steady from 2017, remaining over 25% higher than it was in 2015. Top bright spots include teacher collaboration on student instruction, shifts towards critical thinking, and real-word curriculum relevancy. In addition, despite less access to technology overall, educators in high-poverty schools are more likely to have experienced several key benefits from educational technology, including improved student achievement, earlier indicators of student learning gaps, and improved teacher/student connections.
OTHER KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE: 94% of educators agree that the most important thing in the learning landscape is the human connection a teacher makes with a student 96% of educators are always looking for ways to improve their practice 96% of educators have seen benefits from the use of educational technology
EDUCATORS’ TOP THREE CONCERNS ARE: ■ ■ ■
Teacher salaries (69%) Lack of funding (60%) Keeping schools safe from intruders (42%)
WHAT ARE THE RESOURCES EDUCATORS RELY ON MOST TO SUPPORT THE EFFECTIVE USE OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY? ■ ■ ■
Informal discussions with colleagues (76%) Self-guided research (64%) Formal PD provided by the school or district (51%) Social media/online communities to support PLNs (39%)
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO WWW.HMHCO.COM/EDUCATOR-CONFIDENCE-REPORT/KEY-FINDINGS
TOP TECH TRENDS IN K–12 Supervisor of instructional technology Brandon Lutz identifies resources for these five top trends in K–12 education and includes resources to use for each:
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10 SITES FOR CHECKING PLAGIARISM Technology has made it easier for teachers and students to check for plagiarism and make sure that work is original. Here are ten resources (in alphabetical order) from David Kapuler: BibMe—Checks for plagiarism as well as grammar and allows for proper citation to prevent stealing others’ work. EduBirdie—Upload or copy and paste text into the submission field to receive a report detailing which words and phrases are unique or “stolen,” with listed sources. Grammarly—Users can check for plagiarism and get recommendations for citations on sources that need to be properly credited. Noplag—An excellent online resource for teachers and students to check for plagiarism, spelling, and grammar. OuiWrite—This innovative all-in-one site checks for plagiarism and acts as a writing assistant, automatically searching and citing sources as students write. PaperRater—Checks grammar, spelling, and plagiarism. PapersOwl—With this plagiarism checker students can check their work and get detailed reports. PlagTracker—Users upload documents, scan for plagiarism, and receive accurate reports. Plagiarisma—Users can paste in text to check for plagiarism. QueText—Copy and paste or upload text to this fantastic site to detect plagiarism and generate detailed reports. F O R M O R E G O TO W W W.T EC H L E A R N I N G .CO M /JA N 1 9
Be Internet Awesome— Amazing Internet safety program for kids
Google Sites: Easily make student portfolios within your Google domain
Common Sense Media— Internet safety resources for teachers, parents, and students
Cirkled In: Student-created portfolios they can take with them to college
NetSmartz—Internet safety resources for teachers, parents, and students
The Death of Flash—2020
Makerspaces and Maker Mindset • Maker Ed • Curiosity Machine • Instructables for Teachers
Virtual Reality PHET—Simulations for science and math using HTML5
• Google Tour Creator • Insta One Camera • Oculus Go
a sport.” His father is also a gamer, and his parents note that his grades have improved, as has his level of responsibility. These teams have weekly practices, meetings, and even coaches. UC Irvine recently started offering esports scholarships. According to Forbes, the industry raked in nearly $500 million in 2017, and those numbers are predicted to double in a year. Big business is hopping on the bandwagon too. Early investors include Russia’s richest man, Alisher Usmanov, as well as Red Bull and Doritos. Sponsorships supply the gear needed to set up proper play stations as well as access to gaming experts. Also on hand at the event were UCI undergraduate admissions, UCI Esports, Connected Camps, and Bloody Gaming, with a post-game industry panel that included Matt Birris and Michael Sherman of Riot Games, Billy Sprout of Blizzard Entertainment, Jessamyn Acebes of NASEF and UCI Esports, Joshara Edwards of Blind Squirrel, ChuckDTV of Twitch Streamer, and Rajiv Kothari from Bloody Gaming.
COMPUTER GAMING GETS REAL By Holly Aguirre
he successful Overwatch tournament hosted by the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) lends even more credibility to the esports craze. Do your homework, brush your teeth, and play at least three hours of League of Legends before lights out. Wait, what? Given the meteoric rise in popularity of esports and the astronomical number of students (and adults) who are gamers, educators have hatched a plan to incorporate STEM, ELA, and other elements of learning as well as social and emotional growth into online game play. Leading the way is the Orange County (CA) Department of Education, which formed the OC High School Esports League in January 2018. There are now 38 teams from 25 high schools in the OC that compete against one another every week for eight weeks. Participants are expected
to maintain a certain code of conduct and play well with others. The hope is that they also practice and learn skills such as team building and time management. In November, the NASEF Esports Arena in Orange County hosted the season’s top teams—Fountain Valley High and LaQuinta High School—for an epic championship faceoff, complete with real-time announcers and an audience. Teams came from as far away as Canada and Pennsylvania to participate. Educators from around the country also attended to gather tips for taking an esports program back to their schools. Speaking before the crowd of approximately 500, Fountain Valley sophomore Connor Dang Vu said that participating in esports is just like being on any other team. “You’re practicing just like any other sport. You’re thinking, spending time with other people,” he said. “I think if it’s something that keeps you active, whether physically or mentally, then it should be deemed
FOUNTAIN VALLEY SOPHOMORE CONNOR DANG VU SAID THAT PARTICIPATING IN ESPORTS IS JUST LIKE BEING ON ANY OTHER TEAM. “YOU’RE PRACTICING JUST LIKE ANY OTHER SPORT. YOU’RE THINKING, SPENDING TIME WITH OTHER PEOPLE,” HE SAID. “I THINK IF IT’S SOMETHING THAT KEEPS YOU ACTIVE, WHETHER PHYSICALLY OR MENTALLY, THEN IT SHOULD BE DEEMED A SPORT.” HIS FATHER IS ALSO A GAMER, AND HIS PARENTS NOTE THAT HIS GRADES HAVE IMPROVED, AS HAS HIS LEVEL OF RESPONSIBILITY.
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EREADERS Having an ereader on their device allows anyone who’s feeling anxious to escape into a book to calm and collect themselves before or after a stressful event.
Check out the Spotify list of the 10 “Most Relaxing Songs Ever” researched to reduce anxiety. Many of these songs will be familiar, but one song in particular was developed with sound engineers to slow the heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol. According to research done by neuroscientists at MindLab International, “Weightless” by Marconi Union can reduce stress levels by up to 65 percent.
TECH AND ANXIETY By Suzy Brooks
y favorite definition of anxiety is “the desire to do something, accompanied by unease.” Though anxiety is often well hidden, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America tells us that 18 percent of adults and 25 percent of children struggle with anxiety. Chances are you know quite a few people who have anxiety, whether or not you’re able to see it. Thankfully, there are many technology tools designed to help ease anxiety. Instead of telling colleagues or students not to worry, use your techy skills to help them channel energy in positive ways. Here’s just a sampling of the tech-based tools adults and children can use to help manage anxiety:
MOODTRACK DIARY Moodtrack Diary turns feelings into a spreadsheet and allows users to track their
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MAPPING SOFTWARE Google Maps is also a great addition to the tech-savvy anxiety arsenal. If you worry about being late or not finding the right entrance or have students who are anxious about field trips, use Street View to plunk the little Google guy down into the map and preview the area before you head out. With a clearer vision of where you’re going, it’s easier to plan for the unknown.
The Breathe2Relax app walks the user through breathing exercises to learn the stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing. Breathe2Relax can now connect to your Apple Watch and track your heart rate while you breathe.
Although technology gets a bad rap for disconnecting us, social media can be a help when it comes to social anxiety. I use social media to make new friends, talk about difficult topics, or remember names and faces before meetings and conferences. Just like my students, in face-to-face social situations I often require think time. Sometimes thinking takes so long I miss the opportunity to speak. Online, we can carve out the time to think before responding and can be part of the conversation instead of remaining on the periphery.
The Pacifica app has many meditations, breathing routines, and muscle-relaxing exercises to calm the mind and the body. Being mindful is a great strategy to recognize and manage anxiety, and Pacifica uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help reframe thinking and shift behavior. Users can also track data including mood, sleep, and exercise. Pacifica for Edu is available for school staff to help students.
Please note these strategies are not a replacement for advice from licensed counselors and health-care providers. But those with technology know-how can help people suffering from anxiety learn to channel its powerful energy into positive experiences.
moods over time so trends, patterns, and possible triggers become clearer. The app also has an under-moderated social connection feature— something to be aware of if using with students.
Suzy Brooks is the Director of Instructional Technology for Mashpee Public Schools in Massachusetts.
outside of a traditional classroom and then meeting in person with a teacher to conduct in-person discussions and for hands-on projects to extend online learning. There are many possibilities for blended learning in both synchronous and asynchronous learning environments. An increase in data-driven instruction—Web apps that track student data to drive instruction are already being used. As more are developed and become more affordable, I predict that many will jump on the bandwagon and begin intently tracking data. The fear is that teachers will be teaching (more so than they are already) almost completely to standardized tests in an attempt to prove that they put the district’s data tracking system to good use. While tests are important, there’s more to education than assessments. Wearable technology—I predict this trend will continue to grow. Wearable devices could be excellent classroom tools if implemented carefully and correctly. The main barriers now seem to be price and training. Wearable technology also has a whole host of benefits in the area of special education. 3D Printing—Prices are already becoming more reasonable for 3D printers and supplies, and I could foresee every school having a 3D printer for its STEM classes. The benefits of learning and implementing the design process are significant. Robotics—Similar to 3D printing, the design process of making and tinkering with robots and robotic components is beneficial to students of all ages and can spark student interest in STEM careers. The best part is that cost doesn’t necessarily prohibit integration. Some robots can be constructed with as little as five dollars’ worth of materials. Increased vocational training—With mounting student debt and a sometimes difficult job market facing college graduates, I foresee an increase in students enrolling in vocational programs in their high schools. There are many jobs, for example, for trained mechanics, communications technicians, IT specialists, Web designers, cable installers, plumbers, carpenters, and electricians.
TOP 10 TECH PREDICTIONS FOR 2019 AND BEYOND By Steven Lahullier
s technology advances, costs are decreasing and access is increasing. This combination may allow for more widespread adoption of tech programs that are beginning to gain a foothold in education. Here are some predictions for technology in education for 2019 and beyond: The continued push for coding in the classroom—Coding resources are becoming more plentiful and accessible. Code.org, for example, offers free, high-quality computer science activities. Coding in the classroom will continue to grow, particularly with younger students. Virtual reality fades—Unless a less expensive method of delivering virtual reality
resources in the classroom surfaces that can also provide high-quality and varied content, virtual reality, in its current form, may be on its way out. 1:1 devices—The arrival of the Chromebook made it possible for students to have a device around $200. I predict cheaper devices will allow more schools to adopt and maintain 1:1 programs in the near future. Learning with video games—This has been tried before. Does it work? It depends. Video games that are fun for students but also have an educational purpose could be significantly beneficial. The games found on Code.org and Minecraft for Education are examples of how this can be done right. Increase in blended learning environments—This may be more of a long-term prediction, but it’s on the horizon. This could mean students completing most work
Steven Lahullier is an elementary school technology teacher at the Robert Gordon School in Roselle Park (NJ) and doctoral candidate in the Educational Technology Leadership program at New Jersey City University.
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The results are in. T&L’s advisors, some of the nation’s top edtech innovators, have spent countless hours reviewing nominations, researching, and applying their expertise to select 10 finalists in each of three categories: best use of edtech in the classroom, school, and district. “To win a Tech & Learning Award of Excellence (AOE) isn’t just a badge of participation. It’s an endorsement that the product or service meets the standards of the most innovative edtech educators working in classrooms today,” says Kevin Hogan, Managing Director of Content for T&L. “Being selected as an AOE finalist is a true stamp of approval,” says Christine Weiser, Content Director for T&L. “These products are making an impact in the way schools teach and learn.” Each finalist offers unique solutions to specific problems in the classroom, school, or district. TOP TEN FINALISTS:
CLASSROOM ACER C732T CHROMEBOOK
The Acer C732T Chromebook is designed to handle the demanding needs of computer users in an educational environment. This high-performance and ultra-durable laptop received high marks from T&L advisors for its 11.6-inch screen size and integration of IPS touchscreen technology, as well as for its student-friendly standard of sturdiness. “The IP41 rating and U.S. Military Standard MIL-STD 810G intrusion and ruggedness standards are the highest we’ve seen in a Chromebook yet. This is a big plus for 1:1 programs, where many devices get damaged, for example, in students’ backpacks and during labs and outdoor use. The fact that it can be dropped from 48 inches and withstand 132 pounds of force is outstanding,” say T&L judges. “The touchscreen will also work really well with the new Chrome OS 70, that will allow more tablet-like input, and it’s powerful enough to be used as a thin client.” The C732T is also great for schools where students share devices, as Google Chrome allows each student to log onto their account to access information and files. All of their information is kept safe even if the Chromebook is lost or stolen.
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Find out how the C732T is helping students learn at Prosper (TX) ISD: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/197287-5bc4e91a8b0de.pdf
Education Galaxy provides online assessment and practice for students in grades K–6 to build mastery towards state standards. The program is easy to use, available in both English and Spanish, and built with student engagement in mind. Education Galaxy motivates students to answer questions correctly and to master topics by providing both instant and long-term rewards. When students miss a problem, the revolutionary Alien Explanations provide immediate VIDEO feedback that is specific to the problem missed. Students work on their individualized study plans, practicing important concepts while teachers pull formative assessment reports to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their classroom and of individual students. “Education Galaxy is an engaging, gamified way to get students learning. The formative assessments and the individualized learning paths are strong,” say T&L judges. This would be a great additional resource to get caught up in the areas where students need more time for learning. This product could also show teachers the power of gamification in the classroom. Find out how Education Galaxy is impacting state test scores: https:// educationgalaxy.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Milestones-2018Comparison-Georgia-1.pdf
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM FOR TEACHERS (FAST) BY FASTBRIDGE LEARNING
FAST is the only solution that combines curriculum-based measurement (CBM) and computer-adaptive testing (CAT) to transform the way teachers screen and monitor student progress in reading, math, and social-emotional behavior. It’s an easy-toimplement and userfriendly tool for gathering and processing data to guide instruction for K–12 students. FAST is used to implement effective multitiered levels of support in K–12 classrooms in more than 40 states, including a statewide adoption in Iowa (in reading). “FAST integrates a three-tiered system of support and pulls data on the district, on classrooms, and on individual students,” say T&L judges. “These tools fill a need in schools as data-based decisions can be made and then monitored. Suggesting interventions is a powerful tool, and collecting data to help students reach their potential is needed in our schools.” Learn how FAST assessment data are helping to improve student performance in a Minnesota district: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws.com/ uploads/187498-5b9db28ac9660.pdf
CALIFONE GROUPLINK BLUETOOTH JACKBOX
For many students, hearing is the fastest route to understanding. With the Califone Grouplink Bluetooth Jackbox, teachers can stream audio from a smartphone, tablet, or other Bluetoothenabled device to six separate headphones. This durable and flexible device is ideal for a variety of classroom listening activities, from literacy groups to ELL lessons. “The Califone Grouplink Bluetooth Jackbox is an amazing piece of technology and is perfect for small-group instruction or listening centers,” say T&L judges. “Its Bluetooth ability makes it easy for teachers to stream their content to students without having to dedicate a sound source to that listening station. Multiple Jackboxes can also be daisy-chained together so that larger groups can enjoy a streamed presentation of content.”
MANGO CLASSROOM BY MANGO LANGUAGES
Referred to as “the world’s most patient tutor,” Mango Classroom offers a practical and engaging way to bridge the gap between textbook learning and real-world conversations. Mango’s comprehensive program for K–12
educators is built by linguists and informed by educators. The program complements the curriculum with proven language-learning methodology, called Intuitive Language Construction, in alignment with the 5Cs of the national World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. Mango Classroom provides students with real-world content, authentic native-speaker audio, and linguist-backed learning tools to practice and apply language skills comfortably and confidently in the classroom, the community, and beyond. “Mango Classroom is an amazing tool,” say T&L judges. “It can be personalized for students at any level and uses short bits of lessons repetitively to reinforce comprehension. Teachers will love it for its automatically graded assessment features and easy-to-use interface for progress reporting. It’s easy to set up learning groups and classes through Mango’s portal, and students can use it on any device and continue right where they left off on one device as they log in to another.” Read about how a Spanish teacher in New Jersey is spreading languagelearning enthusiasm with Mango Classroom: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws. com/uploads/187501-5b9dd23e8fea2.pdf
“MERGE Cube is the best-kept secret for education on the planet,” say T&L judges. MERGE Cube is an AR tool that allows students to hold and interact with virtual objects. The soft and durable foam cube provides a touch-based sensory AR experience that goes beyond the limits of a device screen. Students can hold a galaxy, examine fossils, explore physics, and create 3D objects. “The MERGE Cube solves a number of problems because it provides affordable access to enhancing lesson plans by AR and VR for less than $15.00 per cube. It’s easy to use and deploy— even for teachers who are reluctant to use technology in their classrooms. There are 30+ Cube apps available and more are being added, including collections of AR objects to support a variety of STEM and Common Core requirements. The MERGE Cube works with Android and iOS mobile devices that have a camera, to bring curriculum to life in the classroom instantly,” say T&L judges. In classrooms with only a single device, teachers are projecting AR objects onto whiteboards so the entire class can interact. Students and teachers simply download and launch their desired app from www.MINIVERSE.io, point their device at the MERGE Cube, and watch it transform into an AR
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NetSupport School is powerful classroom management software that allows educators to monitor, manage, and interact with all student devices in the classroom. To ensure students remain on task and devices are used as intended, NetSupport School provides instructors with dedicated assessment tools as well as real-time screen monitoring, collaboration, and control features to help enhance the quality of technology-led instruction. T&L judges like the variety and granularity of the controls it gives teachers, as well as the ability to delegate some control to a student group leader. “Monitoring student devices in various ways is so important. It safeguards both the students and instructional staff. Also, being able to show student screens as examples and control student access to devices will save time and frustration during class.” See what educators think about NetSupport School and how they’re using it in their classrooms: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/1867955b9bd9ac26d76.pdf
POWERSCHOOL UNIFIED CLASSROOM
PowerSchool Unified Classroom was developed to provide K–12 educators with a single place to manage the entire instructional process, engage with students and parents, collaborate with other teachers, create online discussions, and ultimately improve student outcomes. This one software solution gives teachers a 360-degree view of student performance and combines assessment, grading, learning, and special education products including IEP management, section 504, and language learning support. T&L judges note that “Unified Classroom has a very solid integrated platform. The data analytics piece of the program is excellent and gives a variety of reporting features so teachers and administrators can track progress and be proactive with issues that may arise. It’s a robust LMS—not just for distributing assignments, but also for communication.” Discover how PowerSchool Unified Classroom is enriching education by supporting mastery learning at a charter school in Detroit: https://swoogo. s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/187084-5b9c0d3b0172d.pdf
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ActivPanel is an interactive flat panel that delivers a tablet-like experience and puts the digital world at the fingertips of teachers and students. With highly accurate touch detection, ActivPanel creates a smooth pen-on-paper writing performance with no script-lag and automatically detects differences between pen, touch, and palm erase. ActivPanel comes with Promethean’s suite of teaching and lesson delivery software, including Promethean’s intuitive new whiteboard app. With ClassFlow and ActivInspire, teachers can create and deliver interactive, multimedia lessons offline or online. “ActivPanel’s technology gives it a more tablet-like feel, which allows for hand gestures,” say T&L judges. T&L advisors also liked the whiteboard app and the ability to add a variety of Bluetooth devices to the board, which gives teachers more flexibility. “The fact that it comes with ActivInspire and Classflow for free is a great value, and the apps that can be added are also valuable.”
The Qball is the only throwable microphone designed specifically for the classroom. It’s simple to set up and engineered to be plug-and-play with existing speakers. Like the nerf ball or koosh ball that many teachers use as a “talking stick” to manage discussions, the Qball engages students in conversations while ensuring that everyone is heard. It can be dropped, tossed, and rolled and lends itself to a fun, free-flow classroom discussion. “Qball is an amazing communication tool for bringing everyone in a classroom or small group presentation together. It can even be used in large group presentations between presenters and audience members,” say T&L judges. T&L advisors particularly like the new Qball Elite, which utilizes existing audio systems in large rooms to enable collaboration. “The Qball has great range between the microphone and the receiver by itself. But when combined with an existing sound system, it enables everyone in a large room filled with people to have a voice.” For more information on the impact of audio quality on student performance, see this whitepaper: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws.com/ uploads/195801-5bbe5f7c79494.docx
TOP TEN FINALISTS:
SCHOOL BLOOMZ APP
Bloomz is a mobile and web app that securely and privately connects parents with educators and makes school organization easier. Bloomz has developed their original platform to integrate a wider range of functionalities, including instant messaging, photo and video updates, announcements, and alerts. The app can also translate content in the user’s preferred language. Parents can connect with their child’s classroom by accessing a daily feed of classroom updates, activities, events, field trips, and volunteer opportunities. Portfolios, contacts, and notes on behavior can also be integrated into Bloomz. The online scheduling feature allows parents to sync their calendar with their child’s school day, making it easier to plan and coordinate meetings and events. “Bloomz is the perfect communication tool for today’s parents,” say T&L judges. “They love hearing directly from the teacher and seeing the things their children are doing in the classroom in a safe environment. This app does more for communication than the old-style newsletter and allows for conversations at home about curriculum and projects. It’s an excellent resource!”
EPSON BRIGHTLINK INTERACTIVE DISPLAY
“Epson once again changes the game with their BrightLink 697Ui Interactive Display,” say T&L judges. “This projector provides the best of HD quality with interactivity that requires only the pressure of a finger to manipulate. The price is super competitive with HD LED displays, especially 4K displays, and it boasts a much larger viewing area than their LED display competitors. With nearly a foot more display size than the biggest LED display on the market and for less than a third the cost (education price) of the comparable LED display, the Epson BrightLink 697Ui Interactive Display is the wise choice when deciding which way to go between LED and projection.” T&L judges particularly like being able to project onto a wall painted with whiteboard paint and using dry-erase markers so that what’s drawn can remain even after the projector is turned off. The ability to do Whiteboard Screen Sharing is another game changer highlighted by T&L judges. The BrightLink 697Ui can share a presentation with any device on the same network. The presenter can then set sharing permissions for annotation only or full collaboration, giving participants some voice in what they’re learning. Learn how the BrightLink is helping educators transform learning environments in Des Moines (IA) Public Schools: https://swoogo. s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/187113-5b9c10852ae10.pdf
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FreshGrade, a portfolio and assessment platform, was designed to provide visibility into a student’s learning progress through digital portfolios. Unlike other products in the market, FreshGrade also integrates assessment and evidence gathering so that portfolios capture ongoing evidence of learning and aren’t simply a place to store completed student work. Using the FreshGrade for Parents app, stakeholders can build parent-teacher communication in a way that strengthens parent involvement and improves student achievement. Parents are able to connect to the platform from their mobile devices and see real-time updates, making visibility into their child’s education as easy as using a social network. Google Translate is integrated to enable all parents to communicate effectively and collaborate with their child and their teacher. “FreshGrade allows teachers to share activities and instructions with students and empowers them to take pictures and video of their work, creating a digital portfolio that actually shows students and parents what has been done,” say T&L judges. “FreshGrade can take the place of clunky online notebooks and SIS. The social aspect makes it fun for students—and it saves paper!”
administrators can save time and money every year by generating real-time reports. They can approve, partially approve, or deny hours online and eliminate parent phone calls related to service hour progress. x2VOL also eliminates storage issues for archival and form requirements.” Another key benefit, T&L judges say, is that x2VOL “enables teachers and districts to recognize students for their service more frequently and in a digital way.”
MindPlay Literacy is a reading software program that targets K–12 and adult struggling readers, many of whom have reading and learning disabilities. It also helps all students achieve greater fluency and increases comprehension. MindPlay was created by Judith Bliss, the CEO, who is dyslexic herself. “This program meets the growing need in schools for dyslexia resources,” say T&L judges. “States are beginning to require schools to provide this kind of resource, and schools have not addressed the issue of dyslexia to the extent that they are now being asked to. MindPlay is very engaging, and the analytics allow parents and teachers
X2VOL BY INTELLIVOL
x2VOL is a secure, Web-based platform for tracking and managing the hours students give in volunteering and for listing volunteer opportunities in a given geographical area. The school, student, and volunteer organization stay in sync with centralized data and an automated approval and verification process. Most schools using x2VOL have drastically increased the number of hours students give to service because the system makes it easier for all parties. X2VOL provides school administrators with an easy-to-access source of accurate, real-time data. They can manage activities, post opportunities, track and approve student volunteer hours (in batches or by individual), monitor progress toward goals, analyze trends, and quickly produce reports for college and scholarship applications—all without paper. Nonprofit organizations can post opportunities, confirm student commitments, and verify hours served. In addition, x2VOL now offers an Official Service Transcript of verified service hours, transmitted directly to colleges via Parchment. T&L judges note that x2VOL is “a very thorough system that also helps college applicants demonstrate their wellroundedness. It’s easy for teachers or school administrators to set up and has wonderful reporting features for both the organizer and the volunteer. Teachers and
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to see the students’ progress. This program is fantastic, and the virtual coach feature is a game changer and an added bonus.” At Manor (TX) ISD, ensuring that high-risk students are targeted with the reading intervention help they need is a central goal—including those in the upper grades who may have fallen through the cracks. Within 15 hours of MVRC usage, nine out of 15 district campuses demonstrated an average growth of one or more reading levels. The district is also hoping to expand their pilot parent program, which supports parents who struggle with literacy, by offering access to MindPlay at home and in the evenings at district campuses.
MobyMax offers the only complete digital K–8 curriculum for 27 subjects, including math, reading, phonics, language, vocabulary, spelling, writing, science, social studies, and state test prep. MobyMax is a flexible and affordable solution that can be used on any device with an internet connection. Its suite of integrated, automated, and time-saving classroom tools includes comprehensive assessments, grading and markup tools for writing, diagnostics, IEP reporting, messaging, and real-time progress monitoring. More than 82 percent of all K–8 schools in the US use MobyMax in a variety of ways. Its differentiated learning model enables students to consistently gain more than one full grade level after just 20 hours of work. MobyMax has earned 59 industry awards in the past two years. “The idea behind MobyMaxis to supplement the core curriculum and provide added opportunities for learning,” say T&L judges. “Every student has areas that could be strengthened, and this program identifies areas of need and assigns
the practice work based on those areas. It’s easy to use and does the predictive and assessment tasks that technology can do well—leaving the human touch to the teacher. The research is strong, and the price structure is affordable.” Find out how schools are using Moby for intervention and enrichment and achieving tremendous gains: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/1870655b9c056c2e8a0.pdf
Schools use NEO, an award-winning learning management system (LMS), to deliver online learning to K–12 students at different levels and with various learning styles. Teachers use NEO to manage all classroom activities—from creating and delivering educational content to assessment, tracking student achievement, and promoting communication and collaboration. NEO also offers cutting-edge features that many other systems do not support, including automation, adaptive learning, and competency-based learning. “NEO’s responsive design is built into the product’s core, so it performs well regardless of the device used to access it,” say T&L judges. “Its layout is beautiful and elegant, its functionality scales well, and it’s extremely easy to navigate. Its dashboard is excellent and teachers will find the extensive analytics valuable.” NEO also provides: parent accounts, the option to connect schools within a district in a network, and integration with SIS systems and the most useful apps for education. Teachers save time on tasks that can be automated, leaving more time for instruction, and schools save money on hardware and storage, record keeping, software licenses, training costs, and class consumables.
NetSupport DNA combines industry-leading IT asset management functionality to help track, manage, and support school- and district-wide IT assets from a central point. A unique toolkit of internet safety features helps protect students while promoting digital citizenship and responsible online behavior. NetSupport DNA is designed to reduce costs through economies of scale and real-time data. This single integrated solution performs a range of tasks that are traditionally managed by multiple standalone tools, including school-wide IT asset management, endpoint security, classroom management tools, Internet safety, and integrated remote-control
functionality for remote troubleshooting and problem resolution to minimize system downtime. “This product has a very nice range of features, like fast install and autodiscovery, as well as the QR code scanner to identify a computer very quickly,” say T&L judges. “The Web filter allows control by age group or time of day or through enforcement of access to only those websites that are approved.” Find out how administrators are solving challenges in their schools using NetSupport DNA: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/1872405b9c221102483.pdf
Unicheck is a powerful plagiarism checker tool that’s ideal for K–12 schools. It’s flexible, easy to use, highly accurate, and cost effective. It supports any platform through painless integration with every major elearning system (including Canvas, Google Classroom, Moodle, Schoology, Brightspace, SmartSchool, and Edsby). Users can also connect multiple LMS systems to a single Unicheck Enterprise account or use Unicheck as a standalone solution. The tool automatically scans every paper and delivers fast, interactive, and thorough reporting that’s easy to read. Its high search accuracy eliminates “fake potential plagiarism,” and powerful anti-cheating algorithms effectively spot character, font, and encoding replacement. Its real-time index guarantees Unicheck finding a document as soon as it appears on the internet. Unicheck offers flexible pricing and packages for teachers, classes, schools, and districts. T&L judges like that Unicheck integrates with most major learning management systems and that it automatically excludes cited and attributed information, which cuts down on false positives.
ZSPACE AR/VR LAPTOP
The zSpace Laptop is the world’s first AR/VR laptop. It encourages collaboration and creativity and allowing learners to gain a deeper understanding of STEM concepts by physically manipulating virtual simulations with a stylus. “zSpace has hit another homerun!” say T&L judges. “Five years ago, zSpace released their first AR/VR curriculum work stations. They brought virtual frog dissections and Newton’s physics experiments into the palms of your hands, minus the smell and potential for hazards. Although these systems were nothing short of amazing, they were expensive and took up a lot of classroom space. Those obstacles have been eliminated with this
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new laptop, which makes learning in an AR/VR environment personal and mobile. Schools should be filling classrooms or laptop carts with these amazing tools.” Judges also praised the laptop’s form factor and computing horse-power. Programs load quickly and easily, and the new interfaces are easy to manipulate and very intuitive.
Barracuda Essentials is a scalable, cloud-based solution that provides organizations of all sizes with end-to-end protection for email, whether they’re using Office 365, Microsoft Exchange, or G Suite. Barracuda Essentials stands out from the competition because it provides the flexibility customers need if they’re dealing with hybrid environments. The solution’s email security and compliance archiving can operate with any mix of Exchange deployments, so it’s perfect for districts that aren’t ready to move all their users to the cloud. Learn more about the results one district experienced with Barracuda Essentials: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/197253-5bc4ddef01265.pptx
CatchOn is an administrative tool that provides a real-time digital inventory for district leaders on all apps, software, and website activity. This comprehensive data analytics tool enables leaders to make data-informed decisions about their software application usage, technology initiatives, and professional development.
Learn how Clark County (NV) School District is leveraging zSpace technology as they implement a modern and cost-effective Career and Technical Education program: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws.com/ uploads/185145-5b980e6ca0471.pdf
TOP TEN FINALISTS:
DISTRICT BARRACUDA CLOUDGEN FIREWALL AND BARRACUDA ESSENTIALS
Unlike traditional next-generation firewalls that are mainly designed to be deployed at the gateway in backhauled network environments, Barracuda CloudGen Firewalls are designed from the ground up to enable direct access to cloud applications in dispersed networks where quality of service, network reliability, and secure connectivity are required at every location. “This firewall has the flexibility in platform types to make it very attractive to a variety of applications. Whether it be in premise hardware, virtualized, or in the cloud, it gives districts some choices,” say T&L judges. “The ability to set a variety of granular controls based on policy, user group, or individual user is a great feature. The addition of advance endpoint threat protection is very well devised. The use of AI for ransome ware and other highlevel intrusions is very attractive.” Learn how Tuscaloosa County (AL) School System is securing their network with Barracuda solutions: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws.com/ uploads/197242-5bc4dc0c79da4.pptx
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CatchOn is unique in that it also shows information about unknown apps that are being used in a school or district. This data is critical because some of these unknown tools pose a risk to a district’s student data privacy policies. Before CatchOn, it was nearly impossible for school districts to monitor all the online resources being used in classrooms. Now, they can transform their data into relevant analysis that can be leveraged to improve instruction and training, save money, and monitor and help safeguard student data privacy. “There are no extra costs for this stand-alone program, which also gives recommendations,” say T&L judges. They particularly like the graph of apps that are outperforming other apps. “CatchOn has saved our district a lot of money and is part of our data and purchasing discussions,” says one T&L advisor. “Over the last few years, we have deployed thousands of devices within our district. We needed a way to track what tools and applications our students and teachers are using on those devices to optimize and safeguard our learning environments,” says Jeremy Bunkley, Director of Information Services at Clay County (FL) School District. “CatchOn provides us with actionable information we can use to make data-informed decisions, identify trends, and inform professional practices.”
ClassLink Analytics gives decision makers the usage data they need. Schools invest heavily in the adoption of digital learning resources but are unsure how often they’re actually used. ClassLink Analytics provides these answers with reports accessible on any device. ClassLink provides in-depth and easy-to-read reports so educators can see which apps are the strongest or most frequently used, which ones are underutilized, and more. New features include the ability to compare school logins and app launches across campuses. “ClassLink takes the guesswork out of wondering if students are using tools and provides the data necessary to back up your instructional technology investments. School administrators have 24/7 access to log-in and Web-app usage reports from their devices,” say T&L judges. “ClassLink is refining and updating their library at a rapid pace and they have a great team of people to help.”
EDMENTUM EXACT PATH
Edmentum Exact Path utilizes adaptive diagnostic assessments paired with targeted student learning paths to ensure academic growth in K–8 reading, language arts, and math. Each assessment administration identifies students’ individual strengths and abilities within a vertical K–12 learning progression. The solution also integrates with NWEA MAP Growth assessments and Renaissance Star assessments to kick-start learning using schools’ existing data. Assessment results automatically create a unique learning path of high-quality curriculum, including 100 percent mobile-optimized instruction, practice, and assessments. Educators are also supported with meaningful data views, reports, and progressmonitoring tools to pinpoint growth and set goals. “Exact Path’s adaptive, diagnostic assessments are geared precisely to each individualized learner. This is the direction
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schools are going, and this kind of researched-based software leverages the power of technology to create the precise path for a student, while gathering the analytics needed to monitor progress,” say T&L judges. “This is the tool schools and educators need because it measures each student and keeps records of the progress. This is truly where technology intersects with the human relationship for student learning.” Edmentum’s commitment to provide simplified technology, high-quality curriculum, and research-based outcomes sets Exact Path apart as a program built by educators, for educators. More than 700 schools and districts and over 250,000 students use Exact Path to power personalized learning experiences.
GALE’S KIDS INFOBITS
Kids InfoBits is a content-rich, authoritative, and easy-to-use digital resource that introduces elementary school students to database searching in a fun and engaging way. Its research-friendly platform features age-appropriate, reliable, curriculum-related content that covers a broad range of educational topics and is continuously updated. The modern design and simple navigation make it easy for users to explore content and gain comfort with database searching. Unique features include the ability to browse topics within a category to find something of interest and to limit search results by content type, content level, and other limiters. Students can use integrated tools to create highlights, notes, and citations, and download information to Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or their device. Teachers can integrate Kids InfoBits easily into the classroom curriculum and workflow. This resource also helps young learners make a seamless transition from elementary- to middleschool resources. When students learn how to navigate and search one Gale database, they learn them all. “For those interested in personalizing education, allowing students to read about people from their culture, and seeing history from multiple perspectives, this resource is terrific,” say T&L judges. “Kids InfoBits also allows teachers to share curated resources and primary sources with students. This phenomenal tool enables culturally relevant teaching, which is a great need in schools today.” Learn how one Ohio district is leading the way in 21st-century learning by leveraging this resource to enhance critical thinking, research, and problem-solving skills: https://www.gale.com/binaries/content/assets/ gale-us-en/databases/stand-alone-collections/databases_kib_sch_successstory_chagrin-falls.pdf ?utm_source=tl-article&utm_medium=pr&utm_ campaign=got19883573
HOVERCAM PILOT 3
The HoverCam Pilot 3 is the world’s first fully integrated wireless digital teaching station. Featuring a Windows PC, 13MP document camera, and 21-inch touchscreen with wireless HD mirroring functionality in a mobile podium, it eliminates the outdated AV cart and liberates teachers from
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stationary desks or lecterns. The mobile, sturdy wireless transceiver instantly beams the podium’s screen and touch annotations to any interactive flat panel, projector, or TV in resolutions up to 4K. With the Pilot 3, educators have all the tools they need—and because they all work together, they’re easy and intuitive to use. “The Pilot 3 is a very innovative solution for teaching,” say T&L judges. “It combines the old style of a podium with the high-tech multimedia needs of today’s classroom. Its units can be replaced without a lot of trouble, and it’s flexible so peripherals like other computers, tablets, and projector can be added easily. Also, the image quality is excellent.”
IMPERO EDUCATION PRO
Impero Education Pro offers online safety, network administration, and classroom management tools. Impero Education Pro’s classroom management features provide a range of classroom control, instruction, and device monitoring. Teachers can monitor students’ screens, share content with students, and control or lock student devices when needed. IT administrative functions include the ability to remotely track, monitor, and manage resources across the district network. IT administrators can reset passwords remotely and set computers to power on or off at certain times.
“Impero Education Pro gives teachers the ability to control and monitor student devices during a lesson. The variety of instructional features, like screen sharing and instructional rooms, is very nice, as is the fact that it’s cross platform,” say T&L judges. “The suite of IT management tools help with support but also allow for management and oversight of computer and printer fleet usage. The patch and license management tool is great for security and possible non-compliance. The internet safety piece does more than most Web filters. It has really nice analytics reporting as well as granular controls. Giving students the ability to anonymously report issues is a valuable feature too.”
Learn how Impero Education Pro is helping teachers in the Gilchrist County (FL) School District manage and monitor devices and teach digital citizenship: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/1868135b9be05c75c36.pdf
The Otus Student Performance Platform is a Web-based platform that uses the SaaS (software-as-a-service) business model. Otus is a single, fully integrated platform that includes a learning, assessment, and data management system. Otus features portfolio, assessment, assignment, blog, communication, data, and classroom culture tools in one place.
per classroom per year if they deploy devices four times a day. “The materials and build quality of these units are very high. The use of aluminum, stainless steel, and powder coating make them durable under heavy use,” say T&L judges. “The design of the storage system makes it very easy to set up and manage cables. They’re also open enough to let teachers see if all units are in and charging. Also, the idea of having fewer devices in the unit keeps students separated enough to expedite getting devices in and out.” Find out how PowerGistics Towers are saving space, time, and money at Barbers Hill (TX) ISD: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws. com/uploads/197269-5bc4e6ba95453.pdf
“Otus provides what it calls ‘the Ultimate Student Profile,’ giving teachers, administrators, parents, and even students a 360-degree, real-time picture of a student’s progress and learning path,” explain T&L judges. “Although Otus is sometimes characterized as an LMS, it’s that and so much more. It’s truly an LPS (Learner Positioning System). It can be used as a data warehouse, but also as a digital portfolio system, a robust common formative assessment system, and a fantastic teacher-to-parent communication tool.” Otus includes powerful query and comparative analytics tools, and the Learning & Classroom Management functionality provides differentiated learning experiences to each student based on their unique needs. Through the Assessment Management feature, Otus gives educators choice in how students are assessed. Find out how educators in the Gravette (AR) School District are benefitting from the full functionality of Otus: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws.com/ uploads/187746-5b9fbf5a1c0c5.pdf
“Shmoop is a product whose time has come,” say T&L judges. Shmoop believes that education need not be an arduous Herculean set of labors—fun is not the enemy. Shmoop offers learning guides, videos, courses, test prep, teacher materials, and more. Shmoop resources balance a teen-friendly, approachable style with academically rigorous materials to help students understand how subjects relate to their daily lives. “Schools are working to prepare more students for college and career than ever before, and Shmoop may help students obtain the ACT and college entrance scores they need to be accepted to the university of their choice,” say T&L judges. “Shmoop makes learning easier and more palatable because it makes difficult concepts clearer and more relevant for students. It takes material like Shakespeare and puts it into language that today’s students understand. The cost is affordable and student engagement is priceless.” Find out what kinds of results districts around the country are seeing with Shmoop: https://swoogo.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/1827155b8d40d682cb7.pdf
POWERGISTICS CHARGING TOWERS
PowerGistics Towers’ unique vertical design offers a small, space-saving footprint, and its open concept allows for visual inventory of devices even while securely locked. The unique cable management on each individual tray prevents tangled cords and additional wear and tear. Students are responsible for their own devices with PowerGistics Towers. Student-managed storage and charging frees teachers and encourages students to take responsibility. Placing Towers at different locations in the room allows for a less congested deployment process, saving time and eliminating lines. The average district can save two weeks of teaching time
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students that have moved through all of the “missions,” Coder Z gives students the choice to move out of the Java block coding environment and code directly in a text based editor.”
HONORABLE MENTIONS The following products also received good reviews from the judges, and will be recognized as Honorable Mentions in the 2018 Awards of Excellence Contest: AVER INFORMATION’S CP3 SERIES INTERACTIVE FLAT PANEL The CP3 Series Interactive Flat Panel activates learning with the ability to enhance any lesson plan. “This integrated wireless document camera feature will be heavily used by teachers who already use Aver technologies. Built in features like split screen and integrated class schedules, time and a digital bulletin board allow for practical use when not in interactive mode.”
BENQ RP704 The 70-inch BenQ RP704 interactive flat panel “is not just a large, beautiful, 4K display, but it has a lot of features that educators would really like. Not only does it support up to 20 touch points simultaneously, but the BenQ 704K also has a glare-resistant glass and a coating of ionic silver which has bacteria resistant properties. This is very much needed when using it with multiple students, day in and day out.”
BRAINPOP CREATIVE CODING Creative Coding includes block- and text-based coding projects spanning the K-12 curriculum. “BrainPOP supports students to create visual coded projects based on many of the BrainPOP topics. For elementary level, this is a great intro tool to computer science.”
CLEVER KIDS UNIVERSITY PREK, POWERED BY FOOTSTEPS2BRILLIANCE Clever Kids University Pre-K is a powerful new bilingual, English and Spanish, app by Footsteps2Brilliance designed specifically to help parents and teachers prepare pre-schoolers for kindergarten. “The platform houses Lesson Plans, Tool Kits, and Game Card makers that help the youngest of students on their path to learning so many basic skills in letter recognition, pronunciation, and word formation. These skills, learned early on, will help these young students to be prepared for coming to school, not to mention setting the stage for beginning reading skills.”
CODERZ BY INTELITEK CoderZ is an online platform that teaches students in grades 6-12 valuable STEM skills such as coding, robotics, and physical computing that will help their careers and prepare them for college. “The classroom management component allows teachers assign, track progress, and identify students needs very easily. For more advanced student’s, or
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Edthena helps teachers analyze teaching through classroom video and online collaboration. “Excellent tool for peer, supervisor, or coach evaluation of instruction. Good use of indexing within the video so the teachers can see precise moments in their instruction that correlates to the feedback. The ability to add documents to accompany the uploaded recorded lessons helps teachers to tell a fuller story of what was intended in their lesson. It takes away the guesswork of the observer who may only be seeing a small portion of the overall unit of study.”
EXPLORELEARNING GIZMOS ExploreLearning Gizmos is a library of interactive online simulations for math and science education in grades 3-12. “Fast, easy way to do multiple trials and inquiry labs without equipment, set up or tear down. The inquirybased simulations that are aligned to state standards help students understand scientific concepts used in engineering.”
FABLEVISION FAB@SCHOOL MAKER STUDIO Fab@School Maker Studio is a digital design and fabrication program developed specifically to introduce elementary and middle school students to the excitement and power of engineering design. “Allows a thoughtful introduction to the Maker Movement for younger students. Unlike traditional 3D printing, students can quickly fabricate their ideas and build off their successes and failures. Encourages an iterative approach to Making.”
GOGUARDIAN ADMIN GoGuardian Admin employs true AI solutions to deliver content-based filtering that understands the content students are accessing in real-time and takes action based on configurable district, school, and student-specific policies. “We could not launch our 1:1 initiative without the support and ‘eyes in the sky’ of this tool. The product is easy to set up and update. Districts can apply policies or specific settings, even for individual students.”
LEARNING ALLY AUDIOBOOK SOLUTION Learning Ally is an audiobook reading solution designed to support struggling readers and help educators to bridge the gap for students who read below grade level, especially those with vision impairments and learning disabilities. “Professionally and dramatically read books by real humans, many of whom are obviously professional voice actors. Impressive breadth of books and other reading materials. Text highlighting will keep readers engaged with the experience, rather than merely listening.”
LEGO MINDSTORMS EDUCATION EV3 LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 is a hands-on, cross-curricular STEM solution that engages students by providing the resources to design, build and program their creations. “Extremely high quality parts that multiple generations have come to expect of Lego. The ability to program directly on any device makes this an extremely versatile solution. The range of scaffolded activities means that students will get neither overly frustrated nor bored as they continue to face appropriate challenges which grow in complexity and rigor.”
METAMETRICS LEXILE AND QUANTILE GROWTH PLANNER The recently updated Lexile and Quantile Growth Planner from MetaMetrics is a free online tool that offers new features, greater
functionality, and a more personalized view to prepare students for college and career. “Allows for educators, students, and families to identify areas of academic concern at a very early age, so that students can get back on track much more easily. Identifies learning challenges, and provides resources so that students can overcome them via the Growth Planner. Encourages students and families to identify career and life aspirations from an early age and underscores the math and literacy skills needed along the way to meet them.”
MIMIOFRAME BY BOXLIGHT
PBS LearningMedia offers an array of resources from the many genres that PBS stations are known for – from science programs and documentaries, to news and public affairs, to history and the arts. “Enhances student learning by relating it to current events and culture. The program comes with standardsaligned video and audio clips, interactives, and documents, and lessons. District leaders are looking for programs to use across many grades and this does that. It is easily accessible for all ages.”
Utilizing a district’s existing whiteboard, projector and computer, the MimioFrame touch board kit turns a basic, conventional whiteboard into a modern digital touch board in just under 15 minutes. “Portable and easy to install. Affordable way to add interactivity to any whiteboard surface. Multiple students can interact simultaneously.”
NWEA MAP READING FLUENCY MAP Reading Fluency is a computer adaptive, automatically scored, K-3 oral reading fluency assessment that eliminates the need for one-on-one administration. “MAP Reading Fluency will reduce the time that teachers, specialists and districts invest in screening students for reading skills. The assessment is adaptive, and therefore respectful of each student’s current reading skills. Adaptive screening allowing students to engage without frustration or boredom and yields more accurate results.”
PaperCut MF is all-in-one document management software that lets users print, scan and photocopy easier than ever. PaperCut MF works with a school’s existing fleet of multi-function printers. “This is a powerful and flexible program that give schools the ability to control all aspects of printer management. The reporting features and analytics are top notch. I also like that it is printer agnostic and works with Google.”
PEARSON PROJECT IMAGINE: U.S. HISTORY GRADES 9-12 Project Imagine is a digital companion program for the U.S. History classroom. “Excellent collection of primary sources and resources specifically designed to help students use and evaluate primary sources. Engaging lessons that provide creative and less traditional ways for students to demonstrate learning. Teachers will appreciate the lessons and activities that are designed to help young readers. I also like that it is printer agnostic and works with Google Cloud print.”
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A guide to companies offering a variety of edtech products to K-12. 321INSIGHT
321insight’s Trauma Informed training toolkit is designed to make it easy for a school to become trauma-informed and resilience-oriented by providing concise videos on ACES, Resilience, Regulation, Building a Trauma Informed Classroom and more, as well as job-specific guides for all roles in a school.
Achieve3000 offers literacy solutions that serve more than three million PreK-adult learners each year. Achieve3000 now supports schools and districts with Smarty Ants for personalized foundational literacy (PreK-grade 2) and Actively Learn for deeper learning through boundless content and strategies to activate and reveal thinking (grades 6-12).
Autodesk continues to support students, teachers, and academic institutions worldwide with free access to Autodesk software. Products like Tinkercad offer new features to help drive STEAM innovation in classrooms including bringing CAD and code together through Codeblocks. Autodesk’s Design Academy showcases the latest techniques and trends in design.
6crickets’ online registration, roster management, and parent communication tools allow schools to easily manage after-school programs right on the school campus. Free to schools, the 6crickets platform provides unified rosters across programs, with real-time student information and the ability to automatically pay providers.
ABL SCHOOLS (ablschools.com)
Abl Schools developed their master schedule solution with the understanding that the master schedule is one of the greatest enablers, or inhibitors, of implementing district plans with fidelity to increase educational equity, and quality. By combining modern, cloud-based scheduling tools with expert coaching, Abl streamlines the entire master scheduling process to tackle difficult scheduling challenges, build the school team’s capacity, and help districts adapt as needs change. With real-time notifications of potential student conflicts and reports of key student metrics, the platform allows leaders to quickly see the impact of scheduling decisions to ensure progress on their school’s goals.
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AMAZE is a collaboration between Advocates for Youth, Answer, and Youth Tech Health working to create an engaging, age appropriate, online sex education resource for young people aged 10-14. AMAZE’s YouTube video series is fun, funny, and animated, providing young people with an engaging resource to complement sex ed they may receive at school.
APERTURE EDUCATION (apertureed.com)
Aperture Education provides strength-based social and emotional learning assessments and resilience-building resources to help schools and out-of-school programs address the whole child. Aperture Education supports students in areas such as self-management and responsible decision making.
AtlasIED offers mass notification, life safety, VoIP, background music, paging and soundmasking systems. AtlasIED product lines include more than 2,000 innovative audio solutions.
(www.autodesk.com/education;| www. tinkercad.com; academy.autodesk.com)
AVID CENTER (www.avid.org)
Over the course of its nearly 40-year history, AVID has become the go-to provider of professional learning for teachers and administrators to prepare students for college and career. The organization is responsible for training 70,000 educators each year. This year AVID launched a new professional learning initiative focused on teaching with technology.
B&H offers 700,000 products from over 5,000 technology vendors, most in stock and ready to ship, along with free expert advice, and national, state, and local contracts to choose from.
BARRACUDA NETWORKS (www.barracuda.com)
Barracuda security and data protection solutions work together to extend advanced, highly effective security across your entire IT infrastructure. They are uniquely easy to manage with a minimum of personnel. And they are affordable—many are even available with subscription (OpEx) pricing, leaving your capital budgets untouched.
Benchmark Education creates innovative, research-based, award-winning resources in print, online, and blended formats for both core and supplemental classroom use, with 800+ new titles available this school year alone. Benchmark Education offers an extensive line of literacy resources for English Learners and Spanish speakers, with a growing line of text sets and classroom libraries in Mandarin Chinese.
From complex integrations to actionable analysis, BrightBytes is a powerful end-to-end data solution for education organizations. The BrightBytes solutions efficiently unify education data and combine top research and advanced analytics, delivered across easy-tounderstand, intuitive dashboards, so educators can turn big data into big benefits for students.
Certiport offers learning curriculum, practice tests, and performance-based IT certification exams to open up academic and career opportunities for learners. Entry-level certification utilized as part of a CTE program can help learners identify strengths and start on a path to building an IT career of their choosing. Certification validates the skills needed to meet the needs of employers all over the country, especially in IT fields with growing skills gaps like cybersecurity.
BenQ is reimagining success for students by giving schools affordable, advanced display solutions that are user-friendly and capture students’ attention. BenQ’s interactive Blue Core laser projectors for education provide a large, clear, and vibrant image that can be seen all the way to the back of the room. To rev up learning, they can also double as innovative hubs where students can interact with curriculum content via pen or touch.
The Bloomz mobile app experience makes it simple for teachers to juggle the countless apps they use every day. The tool features calendars and reminders to volunteer and item signups and student portfolios to behavior tracking. Additionally, the tool includes an online scheduling feature that allows parents to sync their calendar with their child’s school day, making it easier to plan and coordinate meetings and events.
Brainchild has offered self-paced instruction on the web and on its proprietary Study Buddy device for at-risk students for 25 years. Brainchild’s content library covers Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. Other high stakes test preparation products include GED, HiSET, and TASC preparation for those high school equivalency tests.
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BULB DIGITAL PORTFOLIOS (bulbapp.com)
bulb Digital Portfolios is the place where your work comes together beautifully. Students and educators use the web app to capture the education journey and prepare for a lifetime of learning. Educators often use bulb to accurately track student growth and measure competency, and because the portfolio travels with the student through school and into their career, it provides a holistic view of what a student knows and is able to do.
Buncee is an award-winning, powerful, and user-friendly creation platform for learners of all ages and abilities. By providing a wealth of opportunities for creating, Buncee allows students and educators to create visually engaging and interactive classroom content that supports learning and instruction in countless ways, bringing learning to life.
ClassLink’s mission is to empower educators to improve learning through innovative systems and services. ClassLink’s LaunchPad technology enables single sign-on access to web, Windows, and Google applications, and instant access to files at school and in the cloud. ClassLink Roster Server easily and securely delivers class rosters to any publisher using open technology standards. Accessible from any computer, tablet or smartphone, ClassLink is ideal for 1-to-1 and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives. As recognized through their many awards, ClassLink’s primary benefit is instant login to any web app through their LaunchPad technology.
Casio utilizes unique Laser and LED hybrid light source technology to provide projectors with high brightness, reliability, and a lifespan of up to 20,000 hours. LampFree projectors are economical and energy efficient, resulting in significant savings over time. They do not need costly lamp replacements, and have a dust resistant design that eliminates frequent filter changes in dusty rooms.
Codelicious builds confidence in educators and students in the classroom by providing instant access to computer science curriculum for grades 3-8 that any educator can teach. Codelicious’ full-semester, comprehensive skills-building, and interactive curriculum ensures that teachers are always connected with the most current technology.
CDI TECHNOLOGIES (cdicomputers.com)
In January 2019 CDI Computers is relaunching as CDI Technologies. CDI Technologies’ refocused mission is to deploy classroom-ready ecosystems so that educators are empowered to create inspiring educational experiences and connect students to a love of learning and a lifetime of achievement.
COMMUNITYSHARE (www.communityshare.us) CommunityShare is an education initiative that is re-imagining the relationship between
schools and communities. CommunityShare features an online platform that matches educators with regional community partners who want to serve as mentors, project designers, internship hosts, content-area consultants, guest speakers, and field trip sponsors.
CONTENTKEEPER TECHNOLOGIES (ContentKeeper.com)
ContentKeeper Technologies provides a fullfeatured K-12 Gateway Filtering Platform, giving schools the comprehensive set of tools they need to allow safe access to valuable educational content. Intelligent SSL inspection at multigigabit speeds provides granular controls and accurate reporting of encrypted traffic across all devices and browsers ensuring student safety both on and off campus. Real-time monitoring, analytics, and alerting help prevent potential school violence, self-harm, and bullying.
CoolSchool is a six-week curriculum that teaches students how to manage behaviors in a positive way. Backed by research, CoolSchool influences student outcomes, promotes better classroom management, and reinforces positive behaviors. With Cool School, you can proactively address attendance issues, classroom management issues such as impulsiveness and aggression, bullying of all kinds – verbal, online, and physical.
CURRICULUM ASSOCIATES (www.curriculumassociates.com)
Curriculum Associates’ flagship i-Ready online program, used by over six million students, collects data on student abilities to identify areas where a student is struggling, measure growth across a student’s career, support teacher-led differentiated instruction, and provide a personalized instructional path within a single solution. This coming year, Curriculum Associates will launch Ready Classroom Mathematics to help teachers deliver data-driven and discourse-based instruction, while empowering students to take ownership of their learning.
DISCOVERY EDUCATION (www.discoveryeducation.com)
In 2019, Discovery Education will continue transforming teaching and learning through
award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Currently serving approximately 50 million students and 4.5 million educators in over 50 countries, Discovery Education’s awardwinning services include Discovery Education Streaming Plus, the Techbook series, and the recently launched STEM Connect service. In 2019, Discovery Education will build even more partnerships with like-minded organizations that develop and distribute no-cost resources for educators, students and their families in traditionally underfunded areas such as STEM/ STEAM, financial literacy, health and wellness, and college and career readiness.
eCare Vault provides privacy-compliant document-management and care team collaboration to ensure that each student receives the right care, at the right time, from the right person. The Boston-based company was founded in 2015 by Aparna Rao, a Harvardtrained neuropsychologist, who channeled her passion for helping children in need of support and services by developing a tool that fosters communication and removes the silos among service providers.
ED LEADERSHIP SIMS (www.edleadershipsims.com)
Ed Leadership Sims (ELS) offers peer-sourced computer simulations of common—and less common—challenges that leaders face as they juggle the interests and concerns of the diverse populations they support, serve, and guide. Mapped to the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders, ELS offers educators experience in a range of relevant topics, from cyberbullying to cultural competency and budget crises to supporting transgender students.
EDCAMP FOUNDATION (www.edcamp.org)
The Edcamp Foundation promotes Foundation this professional development model for educators and supports volunteer organizers around the word as they provide participantdriven professional development for teachers.
Edsby is a comprehensive digital learning and analytics platform available for K-12. Edsby enables personalized learning experiences and gives school districts, regional, or national governments powerful ways to measure their educational effectiveness. Edsby was designed specifically for K-12, so it includes assessment and reporting features for the unique needs of junior and elementary students.
Edthena continues to transform the old-school way schools and districts once conducted professional development. With the Edthena platform, teachers can quickly and easily upload videos of their classroom instruction. They then share those videos with peers and coaches who provide timestamped comments categorized as questions, suggestions, strengths, and notes and use that information to improve their teaching. Coaches can additionally view reports and graphs linked to the school’s or district’s associated professional standards.
EDUCATION ELEMENTS (www.edelements.com)
The Personalized Learning Implementation Framework created by Education Elements was inspired by hundreds of conversations and workshops with education leaders. The framework consists of 25 areas essential to effectively designing, launching, supporting, sustaining, and deepening personalized learning. Education Elements has built a reputation for helping design and implement student-centered instructional models and changing how schools operate to better meet the needs of students.
Epson continually advances to address schools’ and districts’ AV pain points. Epson launched the BrightLink interactive projector in 2010, a touch-enabled 3LCD interactive projector in 2014, and a touch-enabled 3LCD interactive laser display in 2017. Epson also reduced the
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price of their replacement lamps to $49 through its Brighter Futures program. In 2019, Epson will continue challenging how projection is used in education. The new LightScene EV-100 series is an unobtrusive 3LCD laser projector perfect for digital signage. Schools can project information, videos, and create immersive learning experiences by projecting moving patterns or projection mapping on small objects.
offers collaborative involvement, allowing students and faculty to work together and share information to enhance learning, problem solving and communications skills. FSR complements its HuddleVU family with an extensive series of wall, floor, table and ceiling boxes, digital ribbon cable, a variety of charging and power solutions, and more. FSR products are eco-friendly and made in the USA.
GLOBAL ONENESS PROJECT (www.globalonenessproject.org)
Designed to provide visibility into students’ learning progress, FreshGrade is a portfolio and assessment platform that helps educators, parents, and students have deeper conversations about learning. Unlike other products in the market, FreshGrade integrates robust assessment tools with evidence gathering so that portfolios capture ongoing evidence of learning and aren’t simply a place to store completed student work. The platform supports a range of state and custom objectives as well as a variety of embedded assessment tools—including traditional grading, mastery-based, and formative assessment—to make assessment easy. In addition, student ownership of their learning is improved through the practice of student reflection. Using the free FreshGrade for Parents app, parents are able to connect to the platform from their mobile devices and see real-time updates, making visibility into their child’s education as easy as using a social network. Google Translate is integrated to enable all parents to communicate effectively and collaborate with their child and their teacher. Principals and administrators get usage reports that provide them a window into the classroom. From the convenience of a mobile device, they can see how FreshGrade is being used throughout the school and track progress on school and district initiatives.
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GoGuardian puts student success and well-being at the core of their platform, creating industry-leading innovations in effective digital learning environments.
GREEN BRONX MACHINE (greenbronxmachine.org)
Green Bronx Machine is an award-winning program that specializes in the art and science of growing vegetables indoors--using 90% less water and 90% less space--aligned to Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, P21 and International Baccalaureate. The program is used in thousands of schools and their curriculum is used by the State University of New York to train teachers.
FSR develops solutions designed for technology rich and inspirational spaces. Their HuddleVU platform provides a vast range of options that
Founded in 2006, the Global Oneness Project brings the world’s cultures alive in the classroom using stories as a pedagogical tool for growing minds. The Project offers a library of multimedia stories comprised of award-winning films, photo essays, and articles. The Project aims to connect, through stories, the local human experience to global meta-level issues, such as climate change, water scarcity, food insecurity, poverty, endangered cultures, migration, and sustainability. Companion curriculum and discussion guides are also available in English and Spanish and are aligned to National and Common Core Standards, all for free.
Hello Ruby offers a whimsical way to learn about technology, computers, and programming.
They provide tools for kids, parents, and educators to understand programming in a fun and creative way.
HoverCam seeks to transform the teaching and learning experience by engineering simple, smart, and cost-effective collaboration solutions that integrate together so that educators can better prepare students for jobs on the horizon while relieving some of the biggest challenges of operating disparate devices that impede success for 21st century learners.
ILLUMINATE EDUCATION (www.illuminateed.com)
Illuminate Education’s innovative tools bridge the gap between instruction, assessment, and data analytics, transforming the potential of teaching and learning. This year, Illuminate Education merged with IO Education, SchoolCity, Alpine Achievement, and Key Data Systems. The new company, named Illuminate Education, is wellaligned to help educators improve learning outcomes through Multi-Tiered System of Supports and by shifting from singular to multiple measures that gives insight into the whole child.
Impero Software offers remote monitoring and management software relied upon by education establishments around the world. Its award-winning, innovative solutions, commitment to student safety and digital citizenship, and proactive partnerships with advocacy groups make it a company to watch. Innovations this year will include moving to a cloud-based platform. Impero partners with advocacy organizations to develop its software in compliance with CIPA and e-rate funding, and to create the extensive keyword libraries used by schools around concerns such as self-harm or radicalization, and most recently, based on schools’ needs to address threats from within.
5 Ways to Increase Parent Engagement We know that students perform better at school when their parents are actively involved in their education. According to Karen Smith Conway, professor of economics at the University of New Hampshire, “Parental effort is consistently associated with higher levels of achievement... We found that schools would need to increase per-pupil spending by more than $1,000 in order to achieve the same results that are gained with parental involvement.”
“We love the FreshGrade updates and little videos as well as where they are at with certain aspects of their learning. It is so nice to stay connected as a full time working parent.”
— Parent of a 2nd grade student
2,670,000 total parent views per month (average) in 2017–2018 school year 11 Average views per parent per month
FreshGrade is a portfolio and assessment platform that provides parents with a window into the classroom. 1.
Have students upload images and videos of their work — even the messy bits! — regularly and across all subjects.
2. Reward students for having their parents look at what they learned that day. 3. Give parents “conversation starters” to help them learn how to talk with their child about their portfolio. 4. Use Google Translate to eliminate language barriers with families that speak a different language at home. 5. Showcase the digital portfolio during conferences with parents to demonstrate student growth.
“When I asked the teacher what she did to get this kind of engagement, she replied, “They know their work will be posted in FreshGrade for their families to read.” — Matt Renwick, Principal Mineral Point USD, Wisconsin
“We selected FreshGrade for parent communication after speaking with our school community. To our surprise, the most impactful benefit was an increase in student pride and ownership of learning.” — Mary Dunlevy, Principal Denton ISD, Texas
Contact us as inquiries @freshgrade.com or visit freshgrade.com.
Let’s have a deeper conversation about learning.
Insight ADVANCE is putting professional learning back in the hands of educators in research-driven ways. The ADVANCE Suite of software products makes it possible for teachers, observers, coaches and administrators to connect using video as a common piece of evidence. Its products save time and bring consistency to practitioner effectiveness processes by creating a one-stop program to support self-reflection, peer feedback, and observation.
Knack is an online tutoring program that lets students have tutoring sessions one-on-one with the tutor, or they can bring in others for a group session. The social-medialike interface of the program makes it intuitive and easy to navigate. Knack also has a partnership program with employers and colleges, letting hiring managers recruit top-performing students, while working with colleges to create an ecosystem of peer learning, boosting academic achievement, and empowering students to succeed in their coursework.
INTERACTIVE DIVERSITY SOLUTIONS
Interactive Diversity Solutions is creating digital solutions that engage students around complex, sensitive issues like identity, race, gender, and sexuality. Interactive Diversity Solutions inspires deep social science learning in a way that is interactive and fun, using principles from gaming and using real photos and real people.
IXL LEARNING (www.ixl.com)
IXL Learning creates innovative learning experiences that bring personalized instruction to more than 350,000 teachers and 7 million students around the world. The Continuous Diagnostic constantly works in the background to analyze students’ knowledge levels and suggests specific next steps to help each learner improve. With IXL’s comprehensive K-12 curriculum, students, and teachers have access to anything they want to learn or teach. And, IXL’s real-time Analytics interprets data from all of a student’s work in IXL to uncover insights that help teachers make better instructional decisions.
KINDERLAB ROBOTICS (kinderlabrobotics.com)
KinderLab Robotics is the creator of KIBO, a robot toy based on 20 years of child development research, that lets 4-7 year-olds build, program, decorate, and run their own robot. KIBO engages children in active STEM/STEAM learning by teaching them to code. Created by Prof. Marina Bers at Tufts University specifically for teachers, KIBO is used in 54 countries with proven efficacy in helping kids learn STEM.
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Learning A-Z is a literacy-focused PreK–6 education technology provider. Their awardwinning products blend traditional teacher-led instruction with technology-enabled resources to make teaching more effective and efficient, practice more accessible and personalized, assessment more strategic and automated, and learning more informed and proactive.
LEARNING ALLY (www.learningally.org)
Learning Ally, a nonprofit organization, delivers a vast library of audiobooks, narrated by skilled voice artists and subject matter experts, to support students who struggle to read due to learning and print disabilities. Serving 15,000 districts and 375,000 students to date. Access to grade-level content and popular books improves reading fluency, comprehension, critical thinking skills, vocabulary, and fosters a love of independent reading and learning confidence.
With a 30-year history of delivering classroom management software, Lenovo continues to be a company to watch in 2019. This year, the company launched
LanSchool Air, a cloud-based version of its LanSchool classroom management platform that enables teachers to monitor real-time progress, keep students on task, and increase class participation in a safe online environment. LanSchool Air was designed for the Google Classroom as a software-as-a-service to eliminate hardware, security, and maintenance expenses; reduce installation time, and ensure schools always have the latest features and functionality.
(www.lightspeedsystems.com) Lightspeed Systems is an edtech industry veteran changing the filtering game with Relay, an AI-powered cloud filtering, monitoring and safety solution for K-12. With advanced features and support for every operating system, Relay keeps inappropriate content at bay, thanks to an advanced AI database built specifically for the needs of education. Filtering today isn’t just about blocking bad content, though — it’s also about identifying unsafe behavior and students in trouble. That’s why Relay provides schools drill-down reporting with detailed, actionable insights. With immediate alerts of suspicious activity, Relay ensures your school administration has the data to intervene and help students at risk of suicide, self-harm and other violence. That’s not all. Relay easily integrates with our Mobile Manager MDM software and classroom management solution, Classroom — meeting all your device filtering, managing and monitoring needs in one easy platform. Lightspeed Systems: keeping K-12 schools safe, mobile and easily managed since 1999.
Lyfta is a digital platform that uses simple technology to bring the world to the classroom, integrating learners’ independent enquiry and discovery with tailored curriculum and learning objectives that are
identified and shaped by the teacher. With Lyfta, teachers and pupils can access stunning immersive storyworlds alongside curriculumbased lesson and assembly plans. Lyfta’s learning experiences are ideal for teaching Literacy, PSHE, Global Citizenship and Art, as well as fostering values and skills such as empathy, self-direction and critical thinking. Lyfta was selected twice in HundrEd’s top 100 educational innovations in 2018 and 2019.
Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft made Office365 Education software inclusive to all learners and are providing it for free to students and teachers. Software like Microsoft Learning Tools are improving reading and writing comprehension for over 15 million people around the world today, and free Minecraft tutorials have brought computer science education to underserved communities worldwide. With the support of technology, teachers can focus on developing students’ social and emotional skills, making classrooms more inclusive, creative and collaborative to better prepare students to thrive in the modern workforce.
MINDPLAY LITERACY MindPlay Literacy is an online reading program that addresses all district reading issues by increasing fluency and comprehension for students and helping learners with dyslexia and other disabilities make significant progress in a short amount of time. The program includes a Universal Screener that diagnoses weak areas and prescribes personalized lesson interventions. Lessons feature virtual reading coaches. Management features for educators and parents include progress tracking dashboards, progress reports, and printable certificates of celebration.
NATIONAL SCHOOL CLIMATE CENTER The National School Climate Center (NSCC) is a national leader in school climate reform. NSCC provides general school climate and bully prevention supports through their educational services and programs ranging
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Nepris is a free online skills-based volunteering platform that virtually connects learners of all ages with industry professionals and employers around the world. These, face-toface engagements range from 20-60 minutes and are beneficial to industry, education, and intermediary users. Educators and learners connect with industry professionals to see how classroom learning is relevant for their future careers. Employers and industry leaders can inform learners about the career opportunities available and how to obtain various jobs. Intermediaries can create branded portals to connect regional employers, students, and job seekers in one centralized hub, building up the local workforce and economy by keeping the local talent local.
from professional development to their two distinct programs: Leadership Certification Program and Empowering Youth, Engaging Schools. They also have BullyBust, a website that provides schools with anti-bullying resources.
With 30 years’ experience and a 17 million worldwide install base, NetSupport is a leading producer of education software solutions. The company provides schools with a complete IT solution for teaching with and managing technology in the classroom, across the school and district, while simultaneously protecting students from online risks. The NetSupport range comprises best in breed classroom management software, trusted by many educators to enhance the quality of technology-led instruction ensuring all types of student devices are used in the classroom as intended, students remain on task, and positive student digital interaction and collaboration is encouraged to raise the awareness of digital citizenship. Complimentary tools including NetSupport DNA, provide a broader toolkit of functionality for school wide IT management offering IT technicians complete visibility of their IT assets and endpoints including automatic discovery of devices, real-time inventory, software license
data and application usage controls. Uniquely, a powerful internet safety component offers student digital protection alerting trained staff members to any online activity that may place students at risk. Keyword and phrase monitoring, age appropriate internet controls and the option for students to report concerns directly to trusted staff helps maintain a safe learning environment.
Optoma is a top DLP projector supplier and 1080p leader in the Americas and worldwide leader in 4K UHD projection. Optoma projectors and interactive flat panels are easy to use and offer superior image quality to rooms large and small. With a focus on premium quality and functional style, and available in a variety of formats and sizes to serve any venue and budget, Optoma solutions are ideal for education.
PAPERbasket is an edtech analytics company that won Best New Product 2018 by EdTech Digest. PAPERbasket can help a district identify unused and underused resources in a matter of months and have developed a method for distinguishing active vs. inactive use, helping schools get a more accurate picture of real usage.
Parlay includes three modules: The Parlay Universe, a free and open content library that makes it easy for teachers to spark meaningful discussions in minutes; The Online RoundTable, an online written and interactive discussion that encourages students to think for themselves and to give constructive feedback; and The Live Discussion, an in-class face-to-face discussion that encourages students to speak, listen, and build on ideas. It enables teachers to assess participation in real time.
PBS NEWSHOUR STUDENT REPORTING LABS (studentreportinglabs.org) PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL) is a project-based learning program reimagining the
education experience around video storytelling, community journalism, and civic engagement. SRL brings students front-and-center in the national conversation surrounding education, the economy, school shootings, education, and other key issues affecting our future. SRL focuses on production of ambitious news stories for an authentic audience tied to a national news organization, and includes a strand dedicated to STEM.
based method into both direct instruction and software, a truly blended approach. Reading Horizons Elevate uses the same approach and concentrates on age-appropriateness materials and instruction. Teachers receive engaging, inperson training and 24-7 access to video training modules for true fidelity.
REALNETWORKS/ THE SAFR TEAM
Peachjar unites schools, parents, and communities in their joint mission to elevate student outcomes and increase parent engagement. Its cloud-based communication platform streamlines school-to-home communication by distributing important school updates and community resources directly to parents as digital flyers. On average, each school saves 740 hours in labor and 84,000 sheets of paper annually. More than 600 school districts, 20,000 community organizations and 10 million parents in 40 states rely on Peachjar to deliver resources critical to student achievement and social emotional health.
With over 20 years of experience in K-12 classrooms, Promethean is a global leader in education technology. Promethean’s combined hardware and software solutions are designed to transform learning spaces into collaborative and connective environments, promote student participation and engagement throughout the learning process, and provide access to limitless interactive teaching and learning resources that bring lessons to life. Promethean has an established global reach, with one million classrooms worldwide featuring Promethean interactive displays, over 4 million teachers, parents and students registered on their ClassFlow program. They also have over 50,000 schools and institutions in 154 countries using Promethean solutions.
Capstone’s PebbleGo is a research database that provides educators and students with more than 1,000 vetted articles that support common curriculum topics. With simple navigation, children can build literacy skills with spokenword audio, dictionary definitions, and text highlighting. Citation support, lesson plans, and other extended learning opportunities build students’ research skills and cross-curricular proficiency.
In 2019, school administration software company PublicSchoolWORKS will significantly reduce the time staff spend on annual refresher training by launching shortened online training courses. The 25 “Rapid Learning Modules” are each approximately 5 minutes long and include an end-ofcourse assessment. The 30 “Micro Learning Modules” are each 2 minutes long and have no assessments. The modules can also reinforce best safety practices year-round. PublicSchoolWORKS will also be helping districts be proactive toward crises by focusing on clear communication; reporting tools for staff, students, and families; and proper investigative protocols for administrators.
POWERUP Toys, with their line of motors that clip onto paper airplanes, including battery powered and app-controlled models, are taking the classic paper airplane lesson to new heights. Students first learn about aerodynamic forces; then they design paper airplanes, run test flights, and make design tweaks. Students
then attach the POWERUP motor, which exaggerates aerodynamic force and challenges students to further tweak their designs for better performance. POWERUP Toys provide students with the ability to collect performance data from their airplanes further enhancing the learning experience.
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READING HORIZONS (www.readinghorizons.com)
Reading Horizons specializes in foundational reading for K-3, weaving their Orton Gillingham-
SAFR (Secure, Accurate Facial Recognition) from RealNetworks is an AI software solution that can help improve school safety by raising awareness of who is on the campus. With the help of SAFR, schools have been able to bolster security and better protect students and staff. RealNetworks announced the release of SAFR in July 2018 and made it available for free to every K-12 school in the United States and Canada. As schools continue to invest in their security systems, RealNetworks is certain to become a top company to watch in 2019.
Renaissance’s research-driven solutions and professional learning services help education leaders assess student progress, inform instruction, personalize practice, and increase equity and access. Renaissance is collaborating with partners such as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Edgenuity, Classworks, and Edmentum to deliver assessment-driven instruction and practice to more students. With reliable data from Renaissance Star Assessments making it easy to monitor student progress and personalize learning with content from a variety of providers, teachers and leaders will be able to further promote student growth. Plus, with new partners and solution enhancements on the horizon, Renaissance will be a must-watch company in 2019.
RUCKUS NETWORKS (www.ruckuswireless.com)
Ruckus helps to elevate the digital learning experience with safe and reliable network access. Connectivity solutions from Ruckus power the connected modern classroom with carrier-grade Wi-Fi and edge switching performance coupled
with simple, secure onboarding and policy management. This gives educators the ability to provide a safe and reliable learning environment at an affordable price.
RUSHWORKS’ latest product is VNEWS, a turnkey, out-of-the-box news production system that includes PTZ cameras, lights, teleprompter, and optional PTZ camera dolly. The VNEWS software lets users create rundowns using camera position presets (with or without motion) as elements in the list. The goal of the system design lets users get up and ‘mediacasting’ in about one hour, and will be available from RUSHWORKS and from select System Integrators.
SECOND NATURE LEARNING (qwertytown.com)
QwertyTown 2.0 is a web-based keyboarding app that teaches typing, digital literacy, and online communication skills. QwertyTown 2.0 is now compatible on any device, including Chromebooks, tablets, PCs and Macs. By progressing through QwertyTown’s keyboarding lessons and assessments students unlock features that enable them to communicate with friends, customize their Avatars, and go Head2Head in a real-time gaming environment. The new roster management tools have received a lot of positive feedback from teachers and administrators. QwertyTown has partnered with Clever to offer Auto Sync, which allows changes in your SIS to show up in QwertyTown automatically.
Securly provides edtech safety solutions exclusively to K-12. Currently, over 7M students use Securly’s filtering solutions worldwide, and thousands of districts use Auditor, Securly’s AI-based tool for cyberbullying and self-harm detection on Gmail. In addition to Filter and Auditor, Securly has expanded their product suite to include Parent Portal, 24, Plug n’ Play Hub, and many more.
THE SOCIAL EXPRESS (thesocialexpress.com)
The Social Express provides an opportunity for users to become more socially competent
and have successful social interactions. Fun characters in the program’s ‘Webisodes’ (videos) model ways children can start conversations, join a group, and make friends appropriately. From preschoolers to high schoolers, these researchbased animated interactive lessons encourage users to practice real-life social interactions. The curriculum offers online and offline activities, and help children learn to identify feelings in others, understand the importance of eye contact, and more.
In 2018, Sphero embraced the knowledge that play is a powerful teacher and every product that Sphero creates, will come from this ethos. Sphero BOLT--the third iteration of their programmable, robotic ball--launched in September 2018 with more capabilities than ever, including an 8x8 LED matrix, infrared communications, extended battery lift, ambient light sensor and auto-aim. In 2019, Sphero will launch another new product that will continue to teach the values of STEAM learning in fun, exciting ways.
Music-based educational app Studytracks has made its debut in the U.S. market, making it a top company to watch in 2019. Studytracks was created by awardwinning songwriter and music producer George Hammond-Hagan, and uses the “Earworm Effect” to encourage student retention and achievement in and out of the classroom. The app has over 1,300 tracks across 45 subjects, giving students the ability to study multiple topics easily.
TECHPILOT LABS (techpilotlabs.com)
Since 2012, TechPilot Labs has provied school-specific mobile device management solutions to the K-12 market. TechPilot supports all Apple platforms and Google’s Chrome OS through a cloud-based solution. TechPilot Labs recently earned the iKeepSafe COPPA Safe Harbor, FERPA, and California Student Data Privacy Certifications. These certifications signify that TechPilot’s mobile
device management and Chromebook classroom management products have been proactively and independently assessed by iKeepSafe, an experienced privacy protection organization.
THE BUCK INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATION (www.bie.org)
The Buck Institute for Education works to help prepare students to succeed in a projectbased world. With Project Based Learning (PBL) students work on a project that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. It asks students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing a public product or presentation for a real audience. In the coming year, the organization is developing tools to provide even more support for teachers as they engage students in PBL.
THINK GLOBAL SCHOOL (thinkglobalschool.org)
THINK Global School is a world traveling high school, seamlessly blending place- and projectbased learning with technology to create the next generation of changemakers. THINK Global School’s unique Changemaker Curriculum uses modules and projects designed around the places we visit, allowing students to truly be informed by their surroundings and the people who inhabit them.
Founded in 2013, Titus Learning is the result of a shared desire to provide properly tailored e-learning platforms, connecting teachers, students and parents. Initially focused on the International School market, Titus Learning has expanded to working with schools and businesses in over 19 countries worldwide, with clients ranging from schools, colleges, and multi-school groups to international businesses supporting over 50,000 users.
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Transcend enables visionary learning communities to build and spread breakthrough models that prepare children to thrive in and transform the 21st century in three ways. They build and spread innovative models in partnership with visionary school communities. Transcend also deploys a diverse force of R&D talent, called the Yellow Hats League, to develop, codify and spread these new learning models. They also share actionable knowledge to inform the innovation process with evidence-based insights.
TYPING AGENT (typingagent.com)
Typing Agent has been the top choice for K12 keyboarding in schools and districts of all sizes for more than seven years straight. Now they have released their most ambitious version yet – TA v5.0. Featuring an all new interface, adaptive keyboarding curriculum, advanced Learn to Type Code, Digital Citizenship, a Spanish typingmodule and so much more. Typing Agent will not only change the trajectory of your student’s future, but also dramatically lighten the load of all your hard working teachers due to the intuitive nature of the program. Typing Agent’s recipe for success has always been centered around keeping the program fun for students while giving teachers and admins all the tools they could ever ask for. TA is committed to bringing the most cutting edge technology to schools and districts and they have no intention of slowing down. They even have a few more exciting tricks up their sleeve for their customers in 2019 and will be
ushering in some first to market applications that are sure to excite students and teachers. In addition to bringing the newest technologies to students and schools around the world, TA is also keenly aware of the importance of giving back to communities and have been proactive in this regard through their program, Agents of Change. This program is unique to Typing Agent, as they are the only K12 keyboarding and technology tutor that offers its full ad-free version to schools in low income communities completely free for a year. When you choose Typing Agent you are not only choosing to invest in the future of your students with a program that delivers cutting edge technology, but you will instantly become part of something bigger, by helping give back to schools who cannot otherwise afford a keyboarding tutor for their students. Now that’s a win-win for all. Visit typingagent.com for your free full version trial today.
TYPING MASTER FINLAND, INC. (edu.typetastic.com)
Typing Master Finland is a leading provider of engaging keyboarding courses. The newest product, TypeTastic School Edition, brings keyboarding to K-12 offering easy and gradual steps to learn how to type. The School Edition was launched officially in August 2018. The curriculum introduces students to more than 250 entertaining new keyboarding activities that cover touch-typing and fluency, numbers, and symbols. Next in line in product development are improvements in Teacher Dashboard to serve schools and large districts even better.
VERNIER SOFTWARE & TECHNOLOGY (www.vernier.com)
and learn science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through hands-on science. In 2019, Vernier will continue to add new solutions to its extensive collection of interfaces, sensors, and graphing/analysis software. Vernier additionally produces a number of NGSS-aligned lab books that helps students develop the critical thinking skills required for success in the 21st century.
ViewSonic designs education-focused solutions that engage students and empower teachers. Whether it’s for a Google, Apple, or Microsoft campus, ViewSonic products work well with existing technology and seamlessly integrate into nearly any environment, offering an array of future-ready products. Their ViewSchool Education Program delivers digital tools and product solutions that enhance students’ learning experiences through technology.
The zSpace Laptop breaks the screen barrier, combining a range of innovations including 3D display, head tracking, and motion stylus to let people dive into the content as if it were a real-world experience. Over 1 million students are already using zSpace, with additional opportunities for healthcare, entertainment, shopping, and beyond.
For over 30 years, Vernier Software & Technology has supported teachers and students by developing creative ways to teach
UPCOMING 2019 EVENTS } March 7-8 | Marina Del Rey, CA | Theme: Innovation } June 21-22 | Philadelphia, PA | Theme: Pre-ISTE
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RETHINKING INSTRUCTION AND LEARNING AND DIGITAL TOOLS By Annie Galvin Teich Just before the Thanksgiving break, a group of Tech & Learning leaders met online to share their perspectives on technology trends, how they impact instruction, and some of their best tech tools. Jerri Kemble, assistant superintendent in Lawrence (KS) Public Schools, discussed her district’s moonshot initiative—in which they stepped back to rethink and redesign the way they deliver education. Instead of using instructional hours as the guidepost, they asked themselves what the district would look like if they were to ask each student what problems they’d like to solve as an adult instead of what they wanted to be. Efforts to rethink how Lawrence fosters creative learning environments have led to: ■■ More emphasis on “soft” skills such as SEL initiatives, character education, and restorative justice. For example, they now bring in preschoolers to be read to by kindergartners to help preschoolers prepare for kindergarten. ■■ They’re redesigning learning spaces to foster more cooperative learning. The district is raising money through a bond issue to redesign the look and feel of schools. ■■ Using more technology for blended learning and to teach smarter. ■■ Letting students, teachers, and schools move forward at their own speed. ■■ Re-educating the community, parents, and business partners as to why this reshaping is important to students’ futures. ■■ Providing each student across the state with their own individual plan of study. Lawrence began with a group of pilot schools and plans to add new schools each year. However, this is not a cookie-cutter approach. Every school in the state is tasked
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with re-inventing itself. Each community must determine how to do this on their own to respond to their unique communities and challenges. Kemble says that learning about systems thinking as a district has been enlightening. They’re rethinking everything. When they introduced project-based learning (PBL) at the school with the highest number of ELL students, they discovered that while these students don’t speak English well, they are successful using project-based learning strategies.
TECHNOLOGY THAT INDIVIDUALIZES LEARNING Marianthe Williams, director of technology at River Dell (NJ) Regional School District, reported that her district made the decision some years ago to be a Microsoft-only district. They adopted the Office 365 path several years ago. She talked about the newest functionality they have with class notebooks. OneNote Class Notebook has a personal workspace for every student. These are private for each student and can only be seen by the student and teacher.
Through another of the OneNote learning tools suite, they can personalize instruction for struggling readers with an immersive reader. Writing is also easier for students, as the new tools allow students to voice to text. Math equations in Windows 10 are easier, as students can use their stylus with the notebooks. Solving math homework is now less of a struggle for students. The Microsoft streaming tool has also been helpful, as videos are automatically shared through OneNote or Microsoft Stream. This tool also keeps file sizes down. Teachers embed the assessment in the file with the video. The new partnership between Flipgrid and Microsoft (announced at ISTE 2018) provides students with a social learning platform that allows them to establish their voice through video. They can work collaboratively, which creates a less stressful environment. Students can go on a virtual gallery walk, for example, and leave video responses. Williams also talked about how much their teachers love creating videos on Flipgrid. They’re now using the tool for PD days as well as with students.
Strategies for K-12 Technology Leaders
VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY
Sean Wybrant, career and technical education high school teacher in Colorado Springs (CO) District 11, was named Colorado Teacher of the Year in 2017, in part because of his collaborative and innovative way of teaching. He teaches both computer science and video game development. His classes are moving toward a studio environment, which is more conducive to his subject matter and style of teaching. His primary recommendation is not to wait until a teacher with a computer science background gets to your school or district, but to find a teacher who is willing to be a learner and just go for it. Jump in. Wybrant reminded everyone that this is new technology, so traditional training doesn’t mean much. It’s very interdisciplinary work. You need programming, leadership, art, and design. He advises education leaders to think about this as they support a teacher in this role. These teachers will need specific professional development and support that other teachers may not need. When asked what a good first step might be, Wybrant responded by saying that it depends on the purpose and cost of the program. Some VR headsets, for example, allow users to grab some content or click through. Others allow students to make interactive content themselves. He has kids making VR museums, for example. They use Unity as a game design engine because it supports 3D app development. “Find the developer site for whatever hardware you’re buying, and be careful with your purchases,” Wybrant cautioned. “Here on the edge of technology, you get what you pay for.”
COMPUTER CODING Diane Doersch, chief technology and information officer in Green Bay (WI) Public Schools, shared that they participated in the December Hour of Code this year. Although they’ve wanted to participate for some time, the organization had not previously signed the district’s student privacy agreement. According to the Code.org website, there have been Hour of Code events in more than 180 countries with more than 177,000 registered events just this year alone. Green Bay plans to code with students during school hours and with parents in the evening.
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3D PRINTERS AND CAD TOOLS
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“I looked long and hard to figure out the best way to use a 3D printer meaningfully, instead of just printing widgets,” said Frank Pileiro, supervisor of technology at Linwood (NJ) Board of Education. He wanted students to be able to take everyday objects and produce energy with them. Students have been using 3D-printed objects with electromagnets to produce energy. Also, they’ve used CAD to change some downloaded designs as well as their own designs and then used the ShopBot CNC Mill with 3D carving ability to produce desks and art displays for the school. You can see some of their work in the pictures shown here.
WEBINARS How to Launch an Instructional Technology Strategy Sponsored by: OverDrive Education
Strategies for Delivering Required ESSA Reporting and Supporting Student Success Sponsored by: BrightBytes
8 Ways Teachers Can Incorporate Technology into the Classroom Sponsored by: Voyager Sopris
Back to School: Putting Lessons Learned from ISTE Into Practice Sponsored by: itslearning
The Journey to Data Interoperability: How Lawrence Public Schools Simplified and Centralized Data to Inspire District Success
5 TRENDS THAT IMPACT TEACHING Cheltenham (PA) School District is also experimenting with virtual reality, says Brandon Lutz, supervisor of instructional technology. “We’re using Occulus for discovery education; we’re not programming it yet,” he says. “Our fourth graders just went to the space station and we are hoping to eventually create some content ourselves.” Virtual reality is one of the trends Lutz sees that can lead to more immersive learning experiences for students. The “maker mindset” is another such trend. Lutz believes being a maker is as much about design thinking and student creation as it is about physical space. He suggests Google’s Tour Builder as a resource for students and teachers to integrate into the curriculum. The death of Flash, which is going away by 2020, is a trend he’s paying attention to because so many teachers are still using it, although they need to move to HTML5. Now that college and career readiness is so important, Cheltenham
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has mandated the creation of student portfolios beginning in third grade. The district wants to help students learn how to tell their story—to have them reflect on their own learning. Students can create portfolios and then have the story of each school year they can take with them when they graduate or leave the district. They’re using Cirkled In as their portfolio platform. And finally, Lutz says, it’s critical to help kids practice good digital citizenship. He suggests Google’s Be Internet Awesome as well as Common Sense Media and NetSmartz as go-to references for solid recommendations and practices in this area. Ed Ruiz, board of education member in Asbury Park (NJ), said that his district is also focused on studentcreated portfolios. They’re using Seesaw because students can take pictures, make videos, and record their voices. Parents can also link to the portfolios to keep up with their student’s development.
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