Tech & Learning.com - Back to School Essentials Sept 2021

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SEPTEMBER 2021

TECHLEARNING.COM



CONTENTS 14

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How to Show Appreciation for Teachers By Kecia Ray

6 Social-Emotional Wellness: ‘Put Your Own Oxygen Mask on First’ By Annie Galvin Teich

The Best Tools 24 for Back to School

10 High-Yield Strategies to Normalize 2021-22 School Year

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By Dr. Kecia Ray

12 Classroom Engagement: 4 Tips From Students for Teachers

25 THE BEST TOOLS

FOR BACK TO SCHOOL PRIMARY GRADES

By Erik Ofgang

14 How Schools and Districts Are Connecting with Families

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By Ray Bendic

38 THE BEST TOOLS

FOR BACK TO SCHOOL SECONDARY GRADES

18 Zoom for Education: 5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of It By Erik Ofgang

22 5 Tips for Talking to Social MediaAddicted Teens

53 THE BEST TOOLS

FOR BACK TO SCHOOL HIGHER EDUCATION

By Nicole Rice

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HOW TO SHOW

APPRECIATION FOR TEACHERS

Appreciation for teachers needs to be a priority during this challenging time By Dr. Kecia Ray

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n 2013, the Global Teacher Status Index was established in an attempt to measure the value a country placed on professional educators. Twenty-one countries participated in the original scope of the index and, today, 35 countries are represented. Teaching no doubt looks different in each country so the study focuses on four points: inspiration to become an educator; status of primary and secondary teachers and principals when compared to other professions; a teacher’s social status within the country; and the amount of respect students have for teachers. The most recent index (published in 2019) reveals the top ten countries at both the top and bottom of the index. China took the lead in the No. 1 spot and Colombians indicated their country valued teachers the least. The classroom teacher is the lynchpin between the children the district serves and the programs the district designs. The teacher must implement these programs and teach standards that prepare students for ultimate success beyond school. But today, the teacher has much more on her shoulders than teaching, especially when the pandemic is still ongoing. Many governors and mayors are insisting students return to in person classes and have even threatened reduced funding if local school district’s don’t comply with state requests. Masks continue to be a point of contention as municipalities struggle to return to normal even though the percentage of vaccinated citizens is less than desirable. In Tennessee’s Rutherford County Schools, 500 students were diagnosed with COVID within the first four days of school while 50 teachers also contracted the virus. And, in many of these very same districts, state leaders are limiting hybrid and virtual options. An attempt to represent normalcy seems to be taking its toll on the school and landing on the shoulders of our incredible teachers. Our teachers have learned in short order how to use technology in ways they may have never used technology for teaching. They have had to support students who are losing parents and other family members daily and they are trying to provide as much stability as possible by focusing on the social and emotional needs of their students. Districts are also addressing learning gaps as a result of these incredible challenges. Last school year districts received a bye on highstake assessments that benefited teacher’s evaluations, but this year most districts are being directed to administer high-stake state assessments. The teacher’s role in the classroom has changed dramatically from 2018 to 2021 and it might be the biggest leap we’ve ever experienced.

HOW TO SHOW APPRECIATION FOR TEACHERS In the attempt to return to “normal,” have we? Once upon a time teachers didn’t have to worry about becoming deathly ill and dying as a result of showing up for work. Before 2019, many teachers were using technology as an instructional tool but not a virtual learning tool. Before 2019, social emotional learning was something districts may be implementing in pilots with a select group of teachers taking on the responsibility for the school. Before 2019, teachers had classrooms with manipulatives and shared instructional materials for all students. As we begin this school year, everything about teaching and learning has to change and our teachers are the impetus. No easy solutions, but we can honor our teachers and value what they mean to our communities. As the 2021-22 school year kicks off, here are some ideas to show just how much a teacher means to your school, district, or community.

ONCE UPON A TIME TEACHERS DIDN’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT BECOMING DEATHLY ILL AND DYING AS A RESULT OF SHOWING UP FOR WORK. BEFORE 2019, MANY TEACHERS WERE USING TECHNOLOGY AS AN INSTRUCTIONAL TOOL BUT NOT A VIRTUAL LEARNING TOOL. BEFORE 2019, SOCIALEMOTIONAL LEARNING WAS SOMETHING DISTRICTS MAY BE IMPLEMENTING IN PILOTS WITH A SELECT GROUP OF TEACHERS TAKING ON THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SCHOOL.

• Districts are implementing social-emotional learning for students but SEL for teachers is needed too! Consider implementing SEL support for teachers just as you do for your students. • School boards and district administrators should reach out to the local communities to see if they would be willing to offer teachers discounts in their establishments. Some companies offer discounts nationally, including ATT offering teacher pricing and deals and even car companies offer discounts to teachers that can save as much as 5K on the purchase of a vehicle. Here is a list of more than 100 discounts teachers qualify for throughout the country, plus 5 ways to save on vacation. • Principals can work with the district HR departments to offer flexible schedules to teachers or co-op options to teachers with children. Los Angeles USD took the lead on this initiative last year to support teachers with childcare issues. • Teacher salary can’t be overlooked. Think about ways the school board can increase benefit packages or salaries, even in the midst of challenging budget years. This resource from Sanford University may prove helpful. • Be loud and proud of your teachers! Celebrate teachers each and every day in person and virtually. Let them know they are appreciated and valued! • If you see any educator out and about, thank her PROFUSELY! The U.S. may not be top ranked in the Global Teacher Status Index, but this is the time to make the effort to move up in our ranking and at least show up in the top 10. Many thanks to our educators who showed up this year to explore new possibilities for students and families even though they are exhausted. Wishing you much hope for the year to be promising and bright.

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SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL WELLNESS:

‘PUT YOUR OWN OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST’

Social-emotional wellness and updated practices in post-pandemic teaching By Annie Galvin Teich

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ith the challenges and disruption of the last 18 months, there is new awareness and commitment to the importance of health and wellness of teachers, staff, and students. “You have to put your own oxygen mask on first before you can help others,” said Dr. Brandy Nelson, executive director of learning and teaching, Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Schools, during the recent NYC Schools Tech Summit (watch free on-demand), hosted by Tech & Learning. The virtual event explored how educators and leaders are focusing on wellness and shifting their approach to technology as they prepare for the new school year. In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, there is a commitment to staff health and wellness as they return to support students. “Even with professional development, we need to ask if we’re doing it from a place that honors belonging, partnership, and wellness for the staff,” Nelson said. “Then in

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partnership, we can support our students with wellness initiatives and strong instruction.” The other panelists — including Dr. Tracy Daniel-Hardy (director of technology at Gulfport School District), Michael D’Onofrio (assistant principal, PS 186, New York City Schools), and Sarah Marshall (global head of content for BETT, the world’s leading education show) — discussed how education leaders are rejecting old assumptions, such as “learning only happens at school,” “classroom seat time is required for learning to occur,” and “teachers control how learning happens.” Although their approaches differed, the educators agreed that the pandemic has provided an opportunity for schools to transition to new teaching approaches and learning experiences in which social-emotional wellness is at the core for both students and teachers. Access to technology continues to be the pre-eminent equity challenge for many districts, although relying on well-trained teachers who are supported with ongoing professional development still is the most important ingredient for success in the classroom.



SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL WELLNESS DR. BRANDY NELSON Over the past year we learned that learning can happen anywhere/anytime; seat time is not required for learning02 to occur; and students should control their learning. We have to create spaces and opportunities for that. Our core work is strong instruction, so we need to make sure our content is strong and aligned to standards and that we understand how to use technology effectively to support the work, now that it is a major player in our learning models.

DR. TRACY DANIEL-HARDY The technology seemed to overshadow some of the teaching and learning last year, so this year we are going back to basics. We want to emphasize that there is nothing more important than good teaching and that teachers are the most important part of the puzzle in educating our children. Technology, like any other teaching and learning tool, is a means to an end, but we can’t talk about technology in isolation. It is part of how we are going to support the programs we’re using, and students need to have the appropriate devices to participate in our programs.

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TAKEAWAYS KEYKEY TAKEAWAYS • Social-emotional wellness is a key focus for teachers, staff, and students, particularly coming back together in person after 18 months. • Educators are focused on finding the best ways to support SEL, equity, diversity, and inclusiveness while delivering core curriculum. • Reconsider all your assumptions about teaching and learning and whether or not it is still actually true, such as seat time is equated to learning. • Defining and monitoring student success is critical, so developing effective systems around that is crucial. • Getting technology was a focus last year, so now leveraging it to support strong instruction is the key to the year ahead. • Focus on rigor, relevance, and relationships for good outcomes.

MICHAEL D’ONOFRIO Even before the pandemic, our district had begun a push for social-emotional learning by expanding our team with a counselor. Students learn a different social-emotional trait, such as empathy or mindfulness, each month, and we offer yoga as one of the options for students. At our school, students spend the first 20 days of the year getting to know one another and their teachers, building relationships with each other, and working together to learn these traits. Each school may do it a little differently, but we’re building relationships from the classroom level all the way up to the district level.

SARAH MARSHALL The recent tech integration as a result of the pandemic is helping us rethink teaching and learning. We’re considering what has worked and what should be continued, but with staff well-being and workload fully in mind as we help teachers recover and find a better way through. For example, online parents’ evenings have been broadly embraced and I don’t think many schools will return to face to face. Even though the pandemic has been very stressful, it has led us to some new ways of doing things.



HIGH-YIELD STRATEGIES TO NORMALIZE 2021-22 SCHOOL YEAR Focusing on strategies in two key areas — ­ social and emotional needs and the assessment gap — can pay dividends for educators in the upcoming school year By Dr. Kecia Ray

exactly what kind of learning loss exists. A recent study presented at the March Society for Information uring this past summer, superintendents and central office Technology and Teacher Education conference focused on “the assessment teams planned and prepared for school leaders, teachers, and gap.” Author Joseph M. Woodside noted that this assessment gap actually students to return to a healthy and safe environment. They also limits the ability to accurately gauge impacts on learning loss. A very thought about strategies to ensure all learning needs are met. interesting and thoughtful reflection of where districts are as we return to Returning to a more normalized learning environment was no schools this fall. doubt the priority for many districts this fall. Many districts will begin benchmark testing in the fall to see where This year also marks the task of measuring the impact the pandemic students are in their learning pathway, but before it takes place, somewhere has on district achievement. With this in mind, there are two areas of focus between October and December, teachers should be incorporating that can aid in normalizing school and nurturing formative assessments into their daily practice. achievement. Formative assessments come in many forms. Educational software or digital curricula use these MEETING SOCIAL AND to determine a student’s completion of a particular EMOTIONAL NEEDS learning pathway. Teachers also develop their own Districts recognize the stress this pandemic has formative assessment to measure learners’ progress on children and many are preparing teachers to and could easily use these assessment strategies to recognize and support the social and emotional build self-awareness for the learner. Ultimately, the LEARNING HAS THE needs of learners as they return to school over the data collected from these types of assessments help CHANCE TO LOOK next few weeks. A focus on social-emotional learning inform the teacher’s design of learning activities AND FEEL DIFFERENT helps students develop self-awareness, self-control, and how best to introduce concepts to the students. THIS YEAR. and interpersonal skills necessary for success in Involving the learner in their own assessment HELPING STUDENTS school and beyond. review builds key SEL skills and helps inform them UNDERSTAND THEIR CASEL is a tremendous resource for SEL, of their overall progress toward mastery. Not only PLACE IN THEIR with well defined competencies and resources for do formative assessments provide data to inform OWN LEARNING teachers to implement these competencies into instructional practices but these also help teachers and IS SOMETHING WE their classroom practice. Harmony SEL is another students better prepare for a benchmark assessment. organization that offers a no-cost solution to Recalibrating the use of formative assessments as a SHOULD EACH STRIVE implementing the CASEL competencies. learning and instructional tool can be very beneficial TO DO BETTER. A key component of SEL is self-regulation and to both students and teachers in every grade level. one way students can self-regulate is to become To help teachers get started with formative more aware of their progress in their own mastery. assessment this school year, check out Kathy Dyer’s Formative assessment is an incredible tool to help students develop selfblog that highlights digital tools and apps useful for formative assessment. regulation for their learning practices. Another great resource is the National Council on Measurement in Education where there are a wide variety of resources from pre-assessment TENDING TO THE to feedback. And of course, Tech & Learning also offers a list of the best free ASSESSMENT GAP formative assessment tools and apps. Teaching and learning has been the focus for states and districts Learning has the chance to look and feel different this year. Helping students throughout the pandemic while assessment has received a pass due to the understand their place in their own learning is something we should each strive circumstances. However, assessment is the only way we can determine what to do better. Focusing on SEL and assessment can be very complimentary and it students have mastered, so without authentic assessments we can’t be sure can help grow today’s learners into resilient successful adults.

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CLASSROOM ENGAGEMENT: 4 TIPS

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Four students share their advice for teachers looking

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FROM STUDENTS FOR TEACHERS to create more engaging and impactful classes.

By Erik Ofgang

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ust like teachers, students have experienced a shift in attitudes and expectations regarding education during the past year-and-a-half of pandemic-disrupted school. They’ve seen what works for them and their learning preferences as well as what works for their classmates. Listening to what they think can help provide educators with key insight regarding classroom engagement. During the recent NYCSchools Tech Summit (watch free on demand here), four students who were either current New York City high school students or recent graduates shared their thoughts and advice for educators.

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CREATE EDUCATIONAL SPACES IN WHICH STUDENTS FEEL SUPPORTED SOCIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY

Haojing Huang, a senior at Brooklyn Technical High School, said educators should strive to create an environment in which everyone feels able to share their feelings and concerns. “Teachers can initiate this by sending out surveys every so often checking in on everyone’s social and emotional wellbeing,” Huang said. “Personally, these surveys make me stop and reflect on my mental state, and they can give a teacher an idea of how well everyone is doing, like if the material is going too fast, or it’s too much, or if they’re stressed, out or if they’re behind.” “I feel that we need educators to shift from being leaders to being guides for students on their own educational journeys,” said Josh Stern, a freshman at New York University majoring in education studies. “Interpersonal connections are especially important this school year as we begin to guide students back into traditional learning environments. So I would encourage educators to bring trauma-informed practices into their classrooms as well this fall. We’ve been through a year of tremendous personal growth but also tremendous loss and tremendous change, and I think it’s important that we account for that as we welcome students back into a more traditional environment.”

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LET STUDENTS DRIVE THEIR OWN EDUCATION

Sophia Liu, a senior at New York University, said educators should not be afraid to let students make mistakes on their own. “I feel that a lot of educators like to keep themselves in their comfort zone and not let students explore different materials or technology when they introduce them to the class,” said Liu, who is majoring in early childhood education and special education. “I feel like this takes away the opportunity for students to kind of discover and explore on their own and find their own passion.” She added, “Every time educators introduce a new technology or new manipulatives to students, they should give them some time to freely explore the materials as long as it is safe, of course.” Nava Bahrampour, a junior at Bard High School Early College Queens, said learning spaces should celebrate all student strengths, not just strengths that relate to conventional subjects, majors, and fields. “For example, occupational and trade interests or artistic interest should be seen as equally valuable. Every single student has a valuable story to tell and a role to play in society,” she said. “Educators really should be willing to change their ways

and methods to accommodate their students who are still learning and growing rather than students having to adhere to a really strict set of rules and standards.”

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COLLABORATE WITH STUDENTS TO FORM RELATIONSHIPS AND ENHANCE LEARNING

“I believe in really strong one-on-one connections between teachers and students,” Bahrampour says. “Knowing and really trusting your educator to believe in you, challenge and encourage you, is probably the most valuable part of going to school and being a student. That’s why I think that small classes are super valuable. No matter someone’s neurological wiring or their academic or social level, one thing that every single student needs is a mentor who knows them on a professional but also a personal level.” Instead of standard-but-often-boring powerpoint presentations, Huang urges teachers to explore more engaging educational tools, such as games related to their course material. While he says this process can start with teachers looking for tools on their own, they should consider forming an after-school committee that tests out these tools and offers feedback. Students can also help informally. “Students are always looking for tools and apps online to make their homework more interesting or fun,” Huang says. “They might already have many great tools in mind that they can share with the rest of the class.”

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CONNECT STUDENTS WITH PRACTICAL, REAL-WORLD LEARNING EXPERIENCES

“In my experience, students do best with learning that is practical,” Stern said. He advised educators to think about ways in which they can partner with institutions and companies to create more practical learning opportunities for students. “For example, when teaching coding, how can we leverage a partner like Apple who has these tools such as a coding playground already in existence to power these practical learnings?” he said. Liu said educators also have an opportunity to partner with classrooms outside the local area. “Think about how to connect with other educators around the world to see if there are chances where you can work together and come together to practice, either languages or share ideas together,” she said. “With edtech this is definitely possible, and I can’t wait to see it happening in classrooms of all grade levels.”

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HOW SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS ARE CONNECTING WITH FAMILIES

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Connecting with families continues to be a focus for educators as the 2021-22 school year begins

By Ray Bendici

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s students head back to school, fostering the new connections to families forged during the pandemic continues to be a priority for all school districts. “The big question that we’re asking ourselves is how can we bring back, how can we reconnect, how can we continue to build these connections that we have built over the past 18 months?” said Dr. Adam A. Phyall III, Director of Technology & Media Services for Newton County School System in Covington, Georgia, during the recent #NYCSchools Tech Summit. (Available free on demand here) Building capacity, forging partnerships, and maintaining transparency are all part of the answer. “We make sure that parents are part of everything we do at the DOE, from decision-making to partnering up,” said Dery Rodriguez, project manager strategic initiatives for NYC DOE Family and Community Empowerment office. “So from the district to the borough to the school, we’re charged with making sure that parents are our partners in this work.” Philippa Wraithmell, Head of Digital Technology and Innovation at Cranleigh School in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and Sandra Paul, Director of IT/Operations for Township of Union Public Schools in New Jersey, also participated in the discussion.

HOW ARE YOU BUILDING CAPACITY AND SYSTEMS FOR YOUR STUDENTS? At Cranleigh, Wraithmell is dealing with students from 74 different nationalities and in many cases, parents are speaking their native languages at home, not English, so being connected is crucial. “Technology has allowed us to use platforms that can be fully translated for them, just at the touch of a button,” Wraithmell said, which is helpful when sending vital communications to make sure there are fewer misunderstandings. The school has also offered opportunities for parents to book one-on-one sessions on a daily basis.

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Technology is a key to communicating with parents, and the NYC DOE has had to completely change family engagement practices, Rodriguez said. Parent coordinators have been partnered with the digital literacy team to level up technology skills by bringing in experts from companies such as Google, Microsoft, Talking Points, and Zoom to learn how to use new technology. “That was a game changer for us, using technology to make sure that language wasn’t a barrier,” she said. Continuing to build trust with their communities is a focus, as is meeting parents where they’re at and ensuring educators are ready to work with parents. In response to New Jersey’s The Road Back guidance, the Township of Union Public Schools created four collaborative committees composed of key stakeholders that were led by parents in the effort of getting back to in-person classes. “It was great having that community input for closing out the end of last year, from March through June,” Paul said. Rather than focusing on learning loss, the focus has been on learning opportunities. “The stuff that we had to teach our teachers and show our parents was definitely different than the core curriculum and content, so the learning was on a different trend than what we would’ve done if we were in school,” Paul said. They had to explain to parents how certain platforms operated, the differences in technology (for example, a chromebook vs. a laptop), and how to get internet access.

HOW CAN WE HELP TO BUILD THE INFRASTRUCTURE TO ENSURE ACCESS AND KEEP FAMILIES CONNECTED? The first thing educators need to do is change the mindset that technology is impossible to implement, said Rodriguez. “Stop making those assumptions and provide opportunities to learn,” she said. New York City saw parental engagement “skyrocket” through online opportunities, and has created a parent university that offers courses on edtech tools, social-emotional learning, and more. In the U.A.B, many parents didn’t have technology while growing up and are just now understanding that it can be used for learning. “Parents



CONNECTING WITH FAMILIES have been at home with their children, watching them use that technology for learning, and they’re finally seeing that connection, and now are much more engaged in wanting to be part of that,” Wraithmell said. Her team offered “Tech Tuesdays,” during which they would provide videos and lessons about various aspects of school for parents. The flexibility of recorded videos allowed parents to upskill themselves at times most convenient for them. Parents are also seeing that accessibility is providing equal learning opportunities for all students. “Access needs to be a non-negotiable part of life for everyone now,” she said. Sometimes we forget that staff are also parents, and they have the very same issues as all parents, said Phyall. For example, some teachers in his district had to park next to schools in order to get internet access to teach. “We have to take care of the people we employ in our school systems, but sometimes I think we forget about that in our conversations about parents,” he said.

HOW ARE YOU EMPOWERING YOUR PARENTS IN REGARD TO TECHNOLOGY? Empowerment is critical. “Not all parents had good experiences with school, so if they have that barrier up, we have to find ways to tear it down and bridge that relationship,” Phyall said. The Township of Union Public Schools is focused on continuing to develop virtual workshops for parents, and has put in place supports such as QR codes that parents can scan to help kids log into their virtual desktops. As the state of New Jersey is providing free lunch for every student this year, the district has made the information available through several digital methods, including on social media, its website, via email, through various apps, the parent portal, etc. “The important thing is

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making sure everyone knows that it takes all of us to be there for the students of our community,” Paul said. Trying to find free resources that parent coordinators can learn from and use continues to be a focus in New York City, as is creating real partnerships. “We don’t want just that one-time opportunity,” Rodriguez said. “How do we create that opportunity, that pathway or pipeline, for parents to be our partners in this work, and also send that message this partnership matters, and that parents’ skills are just as valuable as any staff member’s in the building.”

HOW DO WE BUILD TRUST AND RE-ENGAGE WITH PARENTS AND THE COMMUNITY? The NYC DOE is focusing on three things with parents to build community and trust: • What does a welcoming environment look like and how do they provide that for families? • How to honor families • How to connect families with resources, the classroom and teachers, and other administrative pieces. “One thing I’ve learned is that you have to earn the right to be heard,” Rodriguez said. “We have to earn that right with our parents and understand that they come with a lot of their own traumas and challenges.” Transparency and open communication continue to be priorities in building trust with families. “If parents ask about something, tell them what it was, how we did it and why we did it so that they know they’re being listened to,” Wraithmell said. “There’s nothing more frustrating than asking about something and not knowing if someone has done anything


about it.” She suggests that educators remind parents that sometimes a situation can’t be resolved overnight, but you can lay out your process to reassure them it’s being addressed. And of course, honesty is still always a good policy. “No one likes being lied to or feeling that way,” she said. “That can create a toxic relationship between parents and schools, if they feel as if they’re asking for something and we’re not delivering anything back.” When facing shortages with devices and other tech issues, Paul has invited vendors to do town meeting-style virtual events to talk to parents to provide honest, expert answers. “Sometimes I tell parents, ‘I don’t know the answer to your question but I will try to find out,’” she said. “But having a representative there, actually with the township and community to understand what they’re going through, helps a lot.”

HOW DO WE STAY CONNECTED TO OUR FAMILIES? Making sure access continues to be part of the solution is important, said Phyall. In Newton, his team creates videos, sends messages through multiple platforms including local newspapers, and even posts information through houses of worship or in apartment complexes. “It’s really understanding and assessing your community about what is the best way that parents want to receive communication,” Rodriguez said. Asking directly how they want information is simple and effective. Home

visits with every family can also be effective in building relationships. In the U.K. during the pandemic, some districts used bus drivers to help deliver homework and other important information. “A lot of our efforts were concentrated around just really letting parents know that we’re there,” Wraithmell said. “Whatever is their best way to contact us, be it through email or Twitter, they’re able to connect with us and get support and help.”

WHAT IS ONE BIG TAKEAWAY FOR EDUCATORS REGARDING CONNECTING WITH PARENTS AND FAMILIES? “Refine what you do this year and make it consistent so you can get students to thrive and strive without changing it all the time,” Wraithmell said. “Students and parents will know, ‘This is where work goes, this is how I can communicate,’ and you’re taking away a level of stress that doesn’t need to be added.” “This year has shown us that we’re still able to be creative in a time when it’s challenging and tough and scary,” Rodriguez said. “We have so many beautiful websites and have seen so many educators embrace technology to express themselves and communicate. Just continue to be you.” “Don’t let parent communication fall through the cracks,” Paul said. “We have so many ways to connect with our community now, so the big thing is to make sure we don’t lose what we have built.”

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CLASSROOM


ZOOM FOR EDUCATION: 5 TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF IT By Erik Ofgang

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ven with most higher education and K-12 institutions returning to in-person learning, Zoom remains an important component of many online classes and a common option for online office hours and group meetings outside of class time. Though many educators have been regularly using Zoom for more than a year and a half, many are not getting the most out of the

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product, says John T. Thompson, associate professor emeritus Computer Information Systems at Buffalo State College. “How many people are still stuck on Zoom from 12 months ago?” Thompson says. “In 2020 alone, they released 400 features and improvements.” While some of these are minor updates, others can improve the class experience. Here are some tips on getting the most out of Zoom.

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Many educators are still only using the basic Zoom features despite new upgrades to the video conferencing software.



ZOOM FOR EDUCATION TEACHING WITH ZOOM:

1 Using Immersive View In the spring of 2021, Zoom launched its immersive view, which allows meeting hosts to choose a variety of immersive backgrounds to house participants. It gets rid of the student and instructor’s backgrounds and captures just their head and shoulders, placing them around a virtual conference table or within an auditorium. Accessing this feature is easy, just open your meeting, then click on “view” in the upper right corner and choose an immersive background. “It’s more realistic,” Thompson says, and its novelty can also keep students interested because right now few educators are utilizing it.

TEACHING WITH ZOOM:

2 Using Third-Party Apps “There’s over 1,000 apps that you can add to Zoom now by third parties,” Thompson says. These apps are available on the Zoom’s App Marketplace and can be accessed during Zoom sessions. Educators can search the education portion of Zoom’s app store, where they will find favorites such as Kahoot!, Nearpod, Coursera, and other Zoom apps for several popular learning management systems. Educator favorites, such as Google Drive and Workspace, are also available, as well as transcription apps in addition to Zoom’s inbuilt transcription services, which can help make class sessions more accessible to all students.

TEACHING WITH ZOOM:

3 Blurring Backgrounds In March 2021, Zoom released the blurred background feature, which allows students or educators to blur their background if they don’t want to share their surroundings with the class. While virtual backgrounds had been an option previously, the blurred

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background is an easier and quicker option. It can be selected from the “choose virtual background” menu from the “start video” or “stop video” icon in a Zoom meeting. Educators can also show students how to use this function to help protect their privacy.

TEACHING WITH ZOOM:

4 Getting the Most Out

of Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms are a common function in Zoom and can be one of the best ways to keep students engaged with class material, Thompson says. But online instructors need to be mindful of making sure students stay on topic during the small group discussions. “It’s like the old adage, ‘Trust but verify,’” Thompson says. “If you set up breakout rooms, the instructor can’t take a break.” Instead, instructors need to be moving room to room, making sure to observe and help keep the small-group work or discussion going. It can also help to give groups in breakout rooms a task to complete. Educators can keep students focused by requiring groups to complete short projects during breakout sessions using interactive features on some of the new third-party apps available on Zoom.

TEACHING WITH ZOOM:

5 Continuing to Learn With so many features constantly being added, Thompson understands why educators have trouble keeping up, and instead play it safe and stick to what he calls the “vanilla” version of Zoom. “You can’t can’t fault people for not being on top of the latest and greatest new features,” he says. However, Thompson advises educators to spend some time exploring the different Zoom functions. For educators looking for more than Zoom basics, he recommends the tutorials and other learning resources on Zoom’s website as well as Russell Stannard’s Zoom tutorials.



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5 TIPS FOR TALKING TO SOCIAL MEDIA-

ADDICTED TEENS

Talking to social-media addicted teens requires meeting them where they communicate By Nicole Rice

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ondering how to talk to teens glued to their phones who primarily communicate through SnapChat and TikTok? The new book, Does Your Teen Talk? No, But They Text, Snap, and TikTok, offers tips to get adults and teens talking more in a digital world. Author Nicole Rice, a high school technology teacher from New York, collected years of insight from teens to conclude that they really do want to have conversations and form stronger relationships with adults. The trick is learning how to have these conversations when battling for their attention. Here are 5 tips that parents and teachers can take to better communicate with teens:

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1 Text me, Snap me Texting may be the best way to communicate with a teen who is attached to their phone as if it’s a new appendage. It may be the only way until you reel them back in. Email isn’t a sure thing, but you have a 100% chance that a teen has opened your text. They may not reply, but they will see it. On average, teenagers send more than 100 texts per day and mainly communicate through Snapchat and TikTok. Teens have groups to stay in touch with friends and family, so creating a Snapchat group with your students can be a great way to collaborate on a class project with pictures, messages, and emojis all in one place. Lola, age 13 says, “My mom and dad don’t understand technology at all, and it drives me crazy.” Talk to your students on their platforms, and you can have a whole conversation motivating your class and it does not even have to be in complete sentences. A text saying, “DNF your test tomorrow and GL” (“Don’t forget your text tomorrow, and good luck”) just might lead to more time studying than saying it as they walk out your classroom door.

TEENS NEED TO SEE THE PURPOSE OR REASON THEY ARE LEARNING SOMETHING OR YOU ARE GOING TO GET THE “CUTS LIKE A KNIFE” REACTION OF “WHY DO WE HAVE TO KNOW THIS?” OR WORSE, “I AM NEVER GOING TO USE THIS.”

2 “Class, take out

4 Make a TikTok

your cell phones”

During quarantine together and shelter in place, kids were roping their parents into creating content. Sarah, 15, says what she likes to do most for fun is, “Scrolling through TikTok and making TikToks with anyone that will.” Kids spend hours each day engaging in ideas with one another through screens. So teachers can tap into these connections with their students; the same also applies to parents. Encouraging creativity in connecting is the hook in how to communicate better with teens. In our digital video classes, you see kids creating TikTok videos that include all the production parts of the intro, supporting content, and a snappy conclusion, all while engaging and sharing their final project with a real audience. You cannot get a more suitable audience to motivate kids to do their best work than their own followers, and future followers they gain from making remarkable content. Teens also need to see the purpose or reason they are learning something or you are going to get the “Cuts like a knife” reaction of “Why do we have to know this?” Or worse, “I am never going to use this.”

Cell phones are an integral part of a teen’s life. Jay, 17, says, “When my phone is broken, I can not do anything else until it is fixed.” Join students on their turf and encourage them to use their phones for exploration lessons. It is surely better than fighting for their attention while they hear their phone vibrating in their book bag under their seat with every new notification and cannot concentrate on anything else. Ninety-four percent of students want to use their phones for school research, so encourage them to learn the proper way to find reliable sources, fact check, and download information, all without ever leaving their spot. Teens and smartphones are an unstoppable force and seeing the adults in their life giving them credit for using their device in productive and fun ways can be a great environment in which teens want to learn.

3 Get street smart Become street smart, such as hallway monitors naturally do. You hear teens talking, and sometimes it can shock you, but monitors learn what students are going through and can provide insight — boys are not mad at one another all that much, or don’t stay mad at least; girls get offended by the hour, and are best friends this week and enemies next week, and then it’s like nothing ever happened. Jamie, 16, says, “I have FOMO (fear of missing out) all day, every day, every minute, wondering if I should be somewhere else.” Give teens a place to go, and allow them to have group meetings in your classroom much like when they have their friends over to their house. You want to know in person who they are hanging out with and that they are doing good things. When they come, make the environment unique and welcoming, offer snacks, a clean place to sit, technology access, or a fun atmosphere so they don’t just end up in their room at home with the door closed.

5 Know the code The coded language of teens can be good to know. Teens can be creative and quick with social media acronyms. Educating yourself on some of the slang so you can better understand what teenagers are saying and show you too are keeping up can lead to better messages over devices. Some acronyms may surprise you as well, such as POS (Parent Over Shoulder) or Salty (upset or mad over something minor). Chris, 16, says, “I scroll through my dad’s phone all the time to see memes he sends the guys, but I don’t want him even glancing at my screen.” Find more tips on talking to social media-addicted teens, including real hallway stories, real quotes from the teens, and cartoons to help you survive having teenagers in your day in Does Your Teen Talk? No, But They Text, Snap, and TikTok.

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THE BEST TOOLS for BACK TO SCHOOL As schools get ready for the 2021-22 school year, Tech & Learning’s new Awards of Excellence program, “The Best Tools for Back to School” is designed to help our readers find the most impressive products and solutions that will support their work in any learning environment. Eligible products included hardware, software, curriculum, and more, all divided by grade levels to make it easier for readers to find the solutions they need.

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“As we head into another uncertain year in education, technology will continue to be one of the key drivers for innovation,” says Tech & Learning Group Publisher Christine Weiser. “Our judges chose the winning products recognized here for their versatility, compatibility, value, and ability to help schools solve challenges and support continuous instruction. Congratulations to all of our winners.”

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THE BEST TOOLS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL

PRIMARY GRADES

ACCELERATE LEARNING INC. STEMSCOPES SCIENCE STEMscopes Science is used in the classroom, distance learning, and hybrid learning settings. Teachers have access to intervention and acceleration lessons. Students learn with content such as interactive simulations and hands-on activities. Using content connection videos, teachers can take students on virtual field trips. “The game characteristics make this product good for young learners,” Tech & Learning judges said.

ACER CHROMEBOOK C733T The Acer C733T Chromebook includes two USB Type-C 3.1 Gen-1 ports to allow charging, transfers, and a connection to a larger external display. Using the latest Intel Celeron processors, the C733T provides a long 12-hour battery life. Our judges said it has “fantastic battery life,” and were impressed by the durability, spill-resistant keyboard, and touch screen.

AVER DL30 AUTO TRACKING DISTANCE LEARNING CAMERA The DL30 is a distance learning tool that allows teachers to engage with their students no matter where they are learning. Designed for the modern classroom, the DL30 enables teachers to move about the room while the camera automatically follows to engage both in-class and remote learners equally. Features include AI Auto Tracking, 12X Optical Zoom, PoE+ with USB, and HDMI connectivity. Our judges said, “This unit has a lot of features for a compact unit. We like the tracking features as well as network management features.”

ACCELERATE LEARNING INC. STEMSCOPES MATH With the 5E plus Intervention and Acceleration lesson model in STEMscopes Math, teachers reveal the wonder of math in the everyday world. Inquiry-based investigations, virtual manipulatives, and interactive games engage students as they build their understanding. The judges said, “STEMscopes Math combines digital, print, and kit components to provide teachers with everything they need to create meaningful math learning experiences for students,” and called it a “huge benefit for alignment and planning.”

AGE OF LEARNING MY MATH ACADEMY: CLASSROOM EDITION Math Academy: Classroom Edition is an engaging game-based digital school solution that guides pre-K through 2nd grade learners through a personalized learning adventure It offers a standards-based dashboard providing real-time insights, helping teachers differentiate instruction. “We especially liked the data analysis from the student results that help teachers to create learning groups in their classrooms more easily,” the judges noted.

AVER M5 DOCUMENT CAMERA The M5 distance learning document camera is a plug-n-play document camera for both the classroom and home use. With an 8MP camera putting out Ultra High Definition (UHD) resolution and frame rates up to 60FPS, content is clear, crisp, and smooth, while the 360° swivel camera head allows users to point it in any direction in the room. Judges called the device affordable and versatile, and liked the feature set, especially the light and ability to plug and play.

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BENQ RE SERIES INTERACTIVE DISPLAYS BenQ RE Series interactive displays bring immersive engagement opportunities, affordability, and an antibacterial touchscreen to the classroom. The UHD displays come equipped with BenQ’s EZ Write software, featuring cloud-based tools that allow users to collaborate and InstaShare, a license-free wireless collaboration and presentation system. “These are full-featured and multi-functional displays,” said the judges, who especially liked the anti-microbial coating.

BOXLIGHT MIMIOCONNECT MimioConnect Blended Learning Platform combines lesson building and instructional tools to help teachers create an active learning environment. It is a turnkey solution that can be integrated with existing class technology including iPads, Chromebooks, interactive projectors, and touch displays. Teachers and students can access MimioConnect from anywhere at any time, allowing in-class, remote, and hybrid learning. Our judges said, “The features and versatility make it a very good tool for teachers and students.”

BOXLIGHT EOS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Boxlight-EOS has developed training solutions that enable technology integration, increased efficiency and effectiveness, and improved outcomes for teachers and students. Their research-based programs are focused on using the hardware and software platforms available to the teacher. Training can be facilitated inperson, virtual, or a combination of both. Our judges liked the solution overall, especially the free options, flexibility in delivery, and customization of training.

BOXLIGHT PROCOLOR INTERACTIVE DISPLAY The ProColor Interactive Display’s touchdriven 4K UHD screen can function as an interactive whiteboard, Android PC, and collaboration tool for everyone in the class including those learning from home. Other key features include: 20 singlepoint touch or 10 dual-touch and gestures to work simultaneously with Touch 360° interactivity; MimioStudio classroom software, MimioConnect blended learning platform, and OKTOPUS software with GameZones. “These are very full-featured boards. We like the versatility and ability to connect with students from anywhere,” the judges said.

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CARNEGIE LEARNING FAST FORWORD BOXLIGHT ROBO 3D PRINTER & MYSTEMKITS Robo 3D printers brings 3D printing to classroom and school makerspaces with standards-aligned activities, lessons, and Design Challenges via MyStemKits.com. Each Robo 3D printer is Wi-Fi and hotspot enabled for Chromebooks and iPads, including cloud printing. The judges noted, “This is a good solution for educators who want to integrate 3D printing into their curriculum but aren’t sure how. The solution packages the supplies, support, PD, and technology to make the users and students comfortable and successful.”

Fast ForWord is an adaptive, personalized program that helps struggling K-12 readers achieve their full potential as learners. Fast ForWord’s 3-in-1 approach simultaneously develops reading, cognitive, and socialemotional skills. “The Fast ForWord product is a robust tool for students and teachers to improve reading achievement quickly,” said our judges. “We particularly liked the continuous multilevel progress-monitoring feature for teachers to easily track response to intervention progress.”


CATCHON CatchOn is an expansive data analytics tool that provides district leaders a window into the efficacy of their technology investments, initiatives, integrations, and professional development. The judges said, “This is very valuable for tech directors looking at ROI and engagement for digital tools. It gives real-time analytic information on student app/website use and allows for accurate planning and budgeting of resources and PD.”

CTL CHROMEBOOK NL71TW CLEAR TOUCH INTERACTIVE 43XE MINI CONVERTIBLE STAND Clear Touch’s Mini Convertible Mobile Stand offers fully adjustable height and angle settings with an extra low profile for early learners. With accessibility in mind, this stand was designed with a C-shaped base to allow for closer proximity to the technology. “This is a very good mobile solution that gives teachers the ability to convert their boards to an interactive table,” said the judges. “The design does allow for users to interact without legs, etc., getting in the way.

The CTL Chromebook NL71TW houses an Intel Gemini Lake R Quad Core N4120 Processor that has the capability to flip from laptop to tablet mode. Users have the ability to complete tasks with the Wacom EMR Stylus Pen. The two different HD camera options provide different perspectives for distance learners or those who may be capturing media or live streaming with 4/32GB or 8/64GB storage options. “This is a solid and versatile Chromebook,” our judges said. They especially liked the ruggedized features, options for stylus, the world-facing camera, and carry handles.

CLASSLINK SUITE ClassLink provides cloud-based education products that connect educators and students with their classroom, their curriculum, and one another, offering instant access to apps and files with single sign-on, streamlined class rostering, automatic account provisioning, and actionable analytics. Our judges called it “nifty software” that’s “so convenient,” adding, “For young students this is a big benefit; it makes it easy to access online programs.”

CONTENTKEEPER TECHNOLOGIES CONTENTKEEPER CLOUD ContentKeeper Cloud provides the crossplatform cloud filtering intelligence required to ensure a safe and secure digital and virtual learning environment. Key benefits include web filtering across all platforms, including iOS, PC, MAC, Android, Chromebook, BYOD, and IoT devices; real-time monitoring alerts; detailed insights for policy compliance and student safety requirements; and flexible deployment options. Our judges liked all of the features of ContentKeeper Cloud.

CURRICULUM ASSOCIATES I-READY Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready helps teachers balance differentiated instruction with engaging grade-level learning. The online program combines assessments for K-12 with effective instruction in reading and mathematics for K-8 students. “With all the data-driven decisions, this tool gives actual real-time solutions and information. An all-inone data platform,” the judges said.

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BEST TOOLS PRIMARY GRADES

EDMENTUM EDOPTIONS ACADEMY

DEFINED LEARNING Defined Learning is an online project-based learning (PBL) solution providing K-12 curriculum and assessment tools (virtually or in-person), a library of standards-aligned projects, career-focused videos, editable rubrics, and more. Defined Learnings projects are based on careers and provide opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world challenges. “Defined Learning is super powerful when it comes to bringing the power of makerspaces and STE(A)M learning to each and every classroom. This program is robust and easy for teachers to implement and integrate into their daily lessons,” said our judges.

EARLYBIRD EDUCATION With EarlyBird, educators can identify children at risk for reading difficulties in the window when intervention is most effective — before they formally learn to read. The cloud-based EarlyBird technology platform includes a game-based app that provides comprehensive student testing and a dashboard that points teachers to action plans and resources. “This product addresses, identifies, and assesses dyslexia in even our youngest students using phonological awareness, rapid automatic naming, sound symbol correspondence, and oral language comprehension,” said the judges. “Students do not need to be readers to be identified for intervention.”

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EdOptions Academy pairs research-based online curriculum with state-certified online teachers to provide a student-centered kindergarten through career virtual learning experience. With 500+ courses ranging from elementary subjects to AP and CTE options, EOA is equipped to expand options and increase access to learning for all students. “The EdOptions Academy course materials are cleanly designed, easy to navigate, and use, with high-quality media content. Information is clearly presented, and with the combination of text and media elements, courses are engaging and grade-appropriate.”

EDMENTUM EXACT PATH Exact Path combines adaptive diagnostic assessments with individualized learning paths to promote growth for K-12 students in math, reading, and language arts. With Exact Path, teachers can diagnose needs, instruct students with individualized learning paths, target learner needs, plan intervention, and analyze growth, progress, and usage. “Exact Path’s adaptive features personalize learning for all students,” said the judges. “Mastery of skills through analysis of student skill levels is valuable for teachers as they challenge and support students.”

EGLASS BY PATHWAY eGlass allows teachers to write on the board without turning their backs, increasing student engagement and allowing students to see the teacher’s facial expressions, gestures, and gaze alongside their writing. Our judges were impressed and noted, “eGlass is THE tool for interactive classroom teaching for both in-person and hybrid or concurrent lessons simultaneously! The software that reverses the teacher’s handwriting so that the teacher can see what they write correctly is outstanding, and the ability to add graphics and multimedia to your lessons in real-time is amazing.”

EIE, MUSEUM OF SCIENCE EiE, Museum of Science is an integrated engineering and computer science curriculum that shows how STEM and computer science practices work together. Essentials offers classroom lessons in five paired engineering and computer science units for grades 1-5. “This product ensures that students of all abilities are successful in STEM programs through hands-on, minds-on real world activities,” said the judges.


EMOTIONAL ABCS Emotional ABCs is an evidence-based socialemotional learning curriculum for grades K-3. The program is free to teachers and school counselors at brick-and-mortar public and private schools. “Its versatile approach provides teachers and students many options, including games, videos, and animation,” noted the judges.

HOUGHTONMIFFLIN HARCOURT WRITABLE

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT AMIRA LEARNING

Writable is a digital writing platform that helps teachers scaffold and motivate students to become purposeful, proficient writers. With more than 600 customizable assignments, including essays, short responses, student models, state-level benchmark assessments, and more, Writable helps schools assess and monitor writing growth. “It supports not only middle and high school students, but also the younger grades.”

Amira, for grades K-5, provides 1:1 reading tutoring, assesses oral reading fluency, and screens for dyslexia risk to help accelerate reading mastery for all students—in English and en español. After students take the assessment, they are placed into 1:1 reading tutoring, powered by dozens of microinterventions. “What makes this a valuable product is that it uses students’ oral reading fluency assessment to automatically place them into powerful 1:1 reading tutoring.”

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT WAGGLE

FLOCABULARY ACQUIRED BY RENAISSANCE FLOCABULARY Flocabulary helps students build literacy, vocabulary, and reading comprehension skills through interactive videos, activities, and lessons. Throughout the 700+ K-12 standardsaligned lessons, Flocabulary showcases a diverse range of cultures, develops social and emotional skills, and increases exposure to Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary. “Great product that engages students through music and videos that are culturally relevant and spark engagement. It also ties to state standards and is easily integrated with classroom lessons,” said our judges.

Waggle is a digital learning solution for grades K-8 that adapts the practice level to meet students’ needs. Waggle assesses both growth and proficiency by analyzing 13 data points for each item a student encounters. The data collected also identify skill gaps that teachers can use for deeper intervention. “This product for younger students supports ELA and math skills through multimedia experiences. Its tiered approach is ideal for remote, independent, and small group learning,” our judges noted.

HUE ANIMATION STUDIO HUE Animation Studio is a STEM.org approved, all-in-one stop-motion animation kit for children aged 7-13. The kit includes the HUE HD camera, perpetual single-use license of HUE Animation software designed for children by teachers, the HUE Book of Animation with step-by-step instructions, and digital resources including sound effects, backdrops, and printable activity sheets. The judges said, “HUE Animation Studio is a great addition to a teacher’s toolbox. The use of canned resources such as sound effects will also kickstart creativity and lower frustration.”

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BEST TOOLS PRIMARY GRADES

IMAGINE LEARNING IMAGINE ESPAÑOL ILLUMINATE EDUCATION EDUCLIMBER eduCLIMBER is an interactive data management and visualization system that helps to strengthen multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) implementations. Educators can identify student needs and determine intervention effectiveness. Features include: student profiles, virtual behavior walls, interactive reports to track student progress, data aggregations, custom equity dashboards to monitor key programs and initiatives, and more. “This MTSS solution focuses on the whole child approach. With its real-time data, it monitors growth and supports SEB,” said our judges.

ILLUMINATE EDUCATION FASTBRIDGE FastBridge is a research-based universal screening and progress-monitoring system for reading, math, and social-emotional behavior (SEB). The system includes intervention recommendations and built-in coaching. Our judges said, “This product supports social and emotional learning in schools. Its one-stop shop evaluates and provides interventions that can easily be integrated into classroom and small-group instruction.”

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Imagine Español is a personalized learning program that accelerates grade-level reading and language proficiency in Spanish for students in grades preK-2. The instructional design provides contextualized practice for each learner to amplify confidence for reading, singing, and communicating in Spanish. The judges said, “Its utilization as an after-school or summer program extends learning and provides scaffolded instruction to both native and non-native Spanish-speaking students.”

IMAGINE LEARNING IMAGINE MATH PREK–HIGH SCHOOL Imagine Math PreK-8 is an adaptive, online, supplemental math solution that combines rigorous instruction and meaningful practice in two age-appropriate learning environments. Imagine Math PreK-2: Visual models, songs, and contextualized vocabulary reinforce personalized learning and academic language development. Available in English and Spanish. “This supplemental math program supports a language-based approach to teaching math to students as young as pre-K. It ignites engagement through student choice,” noted our judges.

INFOBASE LEARN360 Learn360 is a streaming multimedia resource for K-12 schools, allowing access more than 182,000 media resources on any internetenabled device, anytime, anywhere. Engaging content landing pages make it easy to find videos, interactives, printables, audio content, maps, and flags. The entire site and all landing pages can be filtered by grade level (all grades, elementary, or middle/high) for targeted browsing. “This multi subject K-12 media library eliminates the need to use YouTube and other websites that may not be as secure as needed for students,” the judges said.

LEARNING.COM EASYTECH EasyTech is a comprehensive building-level and district solution for K-12, which develops students’ digital, computer science, and STEM skills for asynchronous instruction in both traditional and online classroom environments. The curriculum offers hands-on practice and gamified content that culminate in real-world projects. “This product brings digital literacy to school districts as they implement STEAM and STEM programs in their schools. Classroom teachers and students benefit from assistive technology and interdisciplinary lessons.”


IMPACT RAPID-CYCLE EVALUATION BY LEARNPLATFORM IMPACT is a rapid-cycle evaluation (RCE) engine that uses data from multiple sources (e.g., usage, achievement, demographics, cost, feedback) to generate evidence about the effectiveness of edtech interventions. Rapidcycle evaluations using IMPACT are formative and iterative, allowing administrators to examine what works in their local contexts. “This addition to the LearnPlatform program allows district leaders to assess the ROI of digital software. This program ensures equity, data privacy and improves digital integration,” said our judges.

LEXIA LEARNING LEXIA CORE5 READING Lexia Core5 Reading is an adaptive blended learning program that provides all students— from at-risk to on-level and advanced—a systematic and structured approach to six areas of reading, from phonological awareness to comprehension. With Core5, teachers can differentiate instruction; administrators can see a full picture of academic progress across a district, school, grade, and class, down to the individual student. Our judges said, “Students use Lexia every day in our district, in class, at home, or in the library. Each level has a variety of skills that they need to complete covering reading, phonics, and letter names and sounds. A very useful and dynamic tool.”

MAXCASES EXPLORER 4 WORK-IN CASE The MAXCases Explorer 4 Work-In Case with Pocket is an always-on protective case that doubles as a carrying bag, such as an added “hinge strap,” non-scratch bezel hooks, and stay-put elastic straps with gel microbeads. Available in 11” and 14” sizes to accommodate most standard-sized Chromebooks, MacBooks, and laptops. “This is an excellent protective Work-in Case,” said our judges. “We appreciate the detail in design for not only protection, but also cooling and quality components.”

LESSON PLANET LEARNING EXPLORER Learning Explorer is a learning object repository and curriculum management platform for preK-12 teachers. Its database contains more than 4 million curated educational videos, images, teacher-reviewed resources, and district-procured content from publishers including Discovery Education, McGraw Hill, Newsela, and others. “This onestop shopping product provides teachers with a platform to curate district digital content, web resources, OER resources, and standards to develop lessons and units. It is easy to navigate, share, download, and push out to students,” said the judges.

LOGITECH RUGGED COMBO 3 TOUCH The Logitech Rugged Combo 3 Touch is a protective keyboard case with an integrated Multi-Touch trackpad for 7th and 8th generation iPads. The Rugged Combo 3 Touch’s sturdy design and construction can withstand drops of up to 4.5 ft, and the device uses Smart Connector technology to connect to the iPad instantly—no pairing or charging required. “This is a nice case solution that is protective with a good keyboard. Access to the camera and the attached keyboard keep the parts together, as well as preventing students from swapping devices,” said our judges.

MIND RESEARCH INSTITUTE ST MATH ST Math is a preK-8 visual instructional program that leverages the brain’s innate spatial-temporal reasoning ability to solve mathematical problems. The program’s patented approach helps students learn through challenging puzzles, non-routine problem solving, and informative feedback. “This product teaches students math the way the brain learns. Its premise is teaching the foundational concepts visually, then connecting the ideas to the symbols, language, and discourse,” said the judges.

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MOBILEMIND MobileMind offers a cloud-based, asynchronous learning platform designed to help teachers integrate technology into the classroom. With two offerings, MobileMind for Google and MobileMind HQ, the professional learning hub allows districts to consolidate all PD initiatives, from Google Workspace for Education to other technology, compliance, and curriculum. The judges said, “This professional development tool not only supports teachers using Google apps in their classrooms, but also provides a professional learning hub that district and school leaders can use throughout the school year.”

NUITEQ SNOWFLAKE MOVE THIS WORLD Move This World is a provider of socialemotional learning multimedia experiences for preK-12 students, educators, and families. The MTW platform allows educators and families to incorporate SEL into their students’ schedules every day, without planning or prep. “This SEL solution uses short evidence-based videos that introduce a common language and methods for expressing emotion. It can be implemented as part of a classroom lesson throughout the year with age-appropriate concepts and no additional preparation by teachers,” said the judges.

NUITEQ Snowflake is a desktop and online (snowflake.live) educational software that brings interactivity to a school and remote learning environments. Our judges said, “Based on UDL, this product provides teachers with an engaging game-based platform, with content aligned to standards, including lesson plans and instructions for differentiation. Its ability to include multiple forms of media provides equal access to content, whether in the classroom or online.”

OVERDRIVE EDUCATION SORA, THE STUDENT READING APP

NEARPOD ACQUIRED BY RENAISSANCE NEARPOD MOBYMAX MobyMax offers a complete K-8 curriculum for 27 subjects, including math, reading, phonics, language, vocabulary, spelling, writing, science, social studies, and state test prep. MobyMax‘s digital courseware solution can be used on any device with an internet connection. “This product’s suite of integrated and automated classroom tools and interactive curriculum personalized learning for students,” said our judges. “It also provides real-time snapshots of student progress to enable them to support learning.”

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Nearpod creates opportunities for teacherdriven, student-centered learning. Teachers can upload their existing content and make it interactive using Nearpod’s 20+ formative assessment and rich-media features so that all learning is active and collaborative. Educators can also tap Nearpod’s library of more than 15,000 standards-aligned lessons, videos, and activities. The judges said, “Nearpod as an online platform for schools has been invaluable. With its interactive content and resources, teachers can customize lessons and activities that are personalized and studentcentered.”

Students use Sora to read popular ebooks and audiobooks from their school library, access curriculum titles assigned by educators, and borrow age-appropriate titles from the public library. Available on all popular devices, Sora gives students 24/7 access to digital books. Sora’s app incentivizes engagement with avatars and achievement badges while educators can assign individual titles, view reading analytics, and more. Said the judges: “Both teachers and students can curate ebooks within their own collections or classroom. Its assistive technology tools ensure that all students are avid readers.”


PROMETHEAN WORLD ACTIVPANEL PIXTON COMICS INC. PIXTON Pixton is a web app that gives teachers and students a unique way to create stories, demonstrate learning, and enhance writing assignments through digital comics. Users can explore topics in math, science, social studies, history, English, art, or any other subject. “Pixton is a wonderful tool to get students writing as well as making their writing come alive with characters,” said our judges. “It covers substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition in the SAMR model, which is very important.”

THERAPY ESSENTIALS FROM PRESENCELEARNING Therapy Essentials, which includes the PresenceLearning interactive platform, assessments, and training for school-based teams, helps clinicians deliver services inperson or remotely for special ed students. “Offering therapy through online support makes it so much easier to schedule students as well as eases the issues that districts are facing trying to recruit these positions in their districts. The live video therapy still has the feel of being face-to-face and has built-in tools and activities for students to practice and learn,” said the judges.

Promethean’s ActivPanel is an interactive display designed for modern classrooms. Its unified menu is always accessible, allowing teachers to move between content and resources without disrupting the lesson flow. Our judges said, “Promethean ActivPanel offers teacher control through classflow, easy management through their panel management software, and the OS makes it easy to switch through applications seamlessly. Having these panels on carts helps ensure that learning can take place anytime and anywhere.”

RENAISSANCE FRECKLE Freckle is an adaptive practice program that helps educators differentiate math, ELA, science, and social studies. Featuring more than 70,000 unique math questions and more than 1,000 fiction and nonfiction passages, Freckle also includes science and social studies resources to support learning across the curriculum. “Materials are adaptive and keep students engaged by being short and at their level. Collecting coins to spend at the store will likely be an incentive for younger students,” said our judges.

READING HORIZONS DISCOVERY Reading Horizons Discovery is a phonicsbased solution that provides educators with the tools they need to teach beginning and struggling readers and help K-3 students build a strong foundation in reading and spelling. “This product differentiates instruction for each student to meet their needs. This is so important to get students more practice on skills they are struggling with as well as letting students move on for skills they have mastered. This would be a wonderful product to get students reading on grade level,” said the judges.

RENAISSANCE STAR ASSESSMENTS Star Assessments are a suite of assessments for reading, math, and early literacy, available to educators in both English and Spanish. Star’s computer-adaptive tests (CATs) mean that each student’s experience is unique because questions start at grade level and get more difficult as students answer correctly, or less difficult if they answer incorrectly. By eliminating unnecessary questions in this way, Star assesses individual student growth and performance in fewer items and less time than non-adaptive assessments. The judges called it a “great resource.”

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RENAISSANCE ACCELERATED READER Accelerated Reader is an independent reading practice program that helps K-12 students become confident readers. Supporting more than 220,000 fiction and nonfiction books and articles at a wide range of levels, Accelerated Reader gives students extensive choice in what they read—and keeps them engaged in independent reading practice as they work toward personalized goals. “The designed quizzes and activities demand meaningful reflection and challenge kids to develop their reading skills. Terrific reports and interface, and the built-in tours, online instructional videos, and lively user community make for a supportive, intuitive experience,” said our judges.

SAE INTERNATIONAL A WORLD IN MOTION NAVIGATING THE DIGITAL UNIVERSE SAE International’s A World In Motion (AWIM) worked with d’Vinci to create Navigating the Digital Universe, an online curriculum to teach elementary school children about their rights and responsibilities as digital citizens. Through blended hands-on and digital activities, students learn how to engage with technology and the digital world in a positive, responsible way. The judges said, “Navigating the Digital Universe has made it easy to teach elementary students how to become great digital citizens and help them to navigate the digital world in a positive, safe, and responsible way. This would be a great addition to any classroom.”

SCHOLASTIC LITERACY PRO Scholastic Literacy Pro (grades K-8) is an independent, instructional reading program that provides access to more than 2,500 ebooks. Students set and monitor personal goals, while educators are provided realtime, actionable data about activities, comprehension, and progress. Our judges noted, “This new product from Scholastic is incredible for increasing literacy for all ages. It offers a unique blended learning approach and is versatile for both in-person and remote learning as well as self-paced and guided reading opportunities!”

SCREENCAST-O-MATIC

ROBOTLAB INC. VR EXPEDITIONS 2.0 VR Expeditions 2.0 is a virtual reality field trips tool. Using the app, teachers can take students on virtual field trips to various locations, while engaging the students with history, arts, culture, science, and geography. Said the judges: “The VR Expeditions from RobotLab is a great way to continue VR Expeditions in your classroom and really enhance all sorts of lessons!”

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SCHOLASTIC SCHOLASTIC F.I.R.S.T. Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. (Foundations in Reading, Sounds & Text) is an adaptive digital adventure on Ooka Island that teaches the five foundational reading skills: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension for students in grades preK-2. “The Scholastic F.I.R.S.T. reading program for early literacy as young as 2 years old is outstanding!” said our judges. “The gamebased journey engages students right away, works on multiple device platforms, and provides fantastic reporting and assessment capabilities for teachers.”

Screencast-OMatic is a screen capture, videoediting, and videohosting platform. The end-to-end solution provides educational institutions convenient tools to share information and streamline learning and development. Teachers, students, districts, and universities can record, edit, and share videos to enhance and improve learning. “Screencast-O-Matic has a very user-friendly platform that allows users to create, edit, share, and manage your videos. It is also priced very well for education,” said the judges.


SMART TECHNOLOGIES LUMIO

SOURCEWELL EDSPRING

Lumio is web-based software that helps teachers create engaging lessons that students interact with through their devices, in class, remotely, or on their own time. Teachers import lessons and resources ­— including combining and editing a variety of file types — and enhance these with customizable components, such as games, activities, and collaborative workspaces. The judges said, “Being able to put all your lesson elements in one place saves a lot of instructional time, as well as helping keep students on task. The premade lessons are a wonderful way for teachers to get started and save time.”

edSpring is a tool-agnostic platform that helps educators identify students who are potentially at risk in a consistent, equitable way. Offering district-level insight and teacher-level control, edSpring monitors, reports, and coaches educators and administrators on factors that impact MTSS and RTI performance. “This fills a need for all campuses to pull data from other sources and put it in an easily adaptable dashboard,” said the judges. “This product will save a ton of time for staff and help students get the support they need.”

STUDYPAD SPLASHLEARN SplashLearn is a digital game-based learning program for math and reading, allowing teachers to assign, monitor, review, and assess student work through the teacher dashboard. A dedicated dashboard for parents allows them to view their child’s activity and performance and to customize the experience. It has a content library of 6,500+ math and reading games and worksheets that break each topic into several milestones. The judges called the teacher and student dashboards “very userfriendly” and appreciated the digital rewards and game-based approach.

SNAPPLIFY ENGAGE Engage combines Snapplify’s collaborative elearning products into one platform ­— giving schools access to their own 24-hour-access digital content library and allowing institutions to purchase curriculum-aligned textbooks and share teacher-created, multimedia resource materials with students. The platform offers a free tier designed to lower barriers to entry. The judges said, “The power of the tool is it allows teachers to add different media to reinforce the text they are assigning to the students.”

SOURCEWELL SPRINGMATH SpringMath is a research-based math intervention solution that aims to accelerate achievement for all K-8 students. SpringMath’s interactive platform combines tools for assessment, intervention, and progress monitoring to help teachers provide a clear path to math achievement for every learner. Our judges noted, “The nice thing about SpringMath is that lessons will change depending on mastery. Interventions can be done whole-class or individually, which gives teachers choice depending on schedules.”

TCI SOCIAL STUDIES AND SCIENCE BLENDED LEARNING SOLUTION TCI’s science and social studies programs and resources offer an interactive curriculum that is comprehensive and promotes blended learning methods. Included are ready-to-teach lessons, rich media, lesson games, interactive activities, and more. “TCI has put a complete blended learning platform together to teach students K-8 in science and K-12 in social studies,” said our judges. “The program gives teachers a flexible approach and guides them through powerful lessons.”

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TWIG EDUCATION TWIG CREATE

TEQ OTIS FOR EDUCATORS OTIS for educators is an online professional learning platform that offers courses on how to effectively integrate technology into instruction. The on-demand PD library and calendar of live sessions provide easy access to hundreds of courses, with topics on STEM, SEL, literacy, ENL/ELL, and more. OTIS is a Google for Education Partner, Microsoft Training Partner, and ISTE standards-aligned. “With its numerous courses, accreditations and certification options, OTIS provides educators with anytime, anywhere learning,” our judges noted.

Twig Create allows K-8 students to create and fulfill video-based tasks to help them build language skills. The program provides editable, ready-made digital media and film templates. Lessons are mapped to numerous standards, including ELA, ELD/WIDA, science, history, and social sciences. “TwigCreate is not only safe and secure, but also gives access to millions of rights-cleared multimedia content. Video is a powerful way to give students choice and voice in their education and is a great way for students to learn how to collaborate on a project,” said the judges.

TWIG EDUCATION TWIGSCIENCE | NEXT GEN

TINKRWORKS STEAM-X TinkRworks provides STEAM project kits that build upon skills that students learn as they progress. Projects range from programming sensors that measure the moisture content of potted plants (for 2nd-grade students) to designing, building, and flying quadcopter drones (for 6th-grade students). These are not shared classroom manipulatives, but personalized kits kids take home and keep, customizing and extending the learning beyond the classroom. “This STEAM curriculum provider offers a great way to purchase a classroom-based STEAM solution,” said our judges. “They align to the core curriculum standards and have developed ageand grade-level appropriate lessons.”

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Twig Science Next Gen is a complete preK-8 STEM program built for the Next Generation Science Standards. It provides comprehensive coverage of 3-D science standards through engaging hands-on and digital investigations in which students take on the roles of realworld scientists and engineers. The judges said, “TwigScience has partnered with SCALE and Imperial College London to create a wonderful STEM curriculum,” and added that the program would be especially useful for teachers without a STEM background.

VARITRONICS, LLC VARIQUEST VISUAL AND KINESTHETIC LEARNING SUITE The VariQuest Visual and Kinesthetic Learning Suite provides easy-to-use visual and kinesthetic learning tools paired with leadingedge content. Its Perfecta Series Poster Design Systems, Cutout Maker 1800 Digital Die-Cut System, Motiva 400 Specialty Printer, and Cold Laminator 2510 all work together using Engage Every Learner Content and VariQuest Design Software to create and edit posters, banners, flash cards, labels, bulletin board cutouts, learning supports, anchor charts, and more. More than 20,000 templates, cutouts, fonts, graphics, and collections are included. Our judges noted, “The Design Center software looks very user-friendly and we like the fact that there are thousands of graphics and posters preloaded.”


The ViewSonic myViewBoard Visual Learning Software Suite is a collection of tools that allows teachers to build lessons and find and share engaging content. The software allows real-time wireless collaboration, screen mirroring/sharing, and digital whiteboarding. It works with Windows-, Android-, and cloud-based environments. Our judges said, “Viewsonic’s Visual Learning Suite provides a powerful whiteboard annotation software that works with most devices. One of the key features we like is you can bring in lessons from Smart and Promethean without losing functionality.”

ONE BY WACOM The One by Wacom pen tablet offers a portable design for small desk spaces and flexible classroom arrangements. The tablet works with PC, Mac, and most Chromebooks, and the pressure-sensitive and battery-free pen brings a familiar, pen-on-paper feel to drawing and writing. “The One by Wacom is a wonderful tool to allow teachers and students to annotate on their device with a natural feel,” said the judges. “This is also very important when teaching virtual students.”

WORK ON LEARNING, INC. TEACHERMADE TeacherMade lets users create interactive digital worksheets from any PDF or DOCX in a few clicks. TeacherMade is also a markup tool to transform content and auto-score it. Upload PDFs and overlay any of 12 autograded question interaction zones. Then transform by adding audio, hyperlinks, video, and more. Our judges said, “This is a time saver for teachers and allows them to put together powerful online lessons with just a few clicks. The free version works great, and the priced-right pro version gives teachers more control, more features, and helps them stay organized.”

MONKEYBUSINESSIMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

VIEWSONIC MYVIEWBOARD VISUAL LEARNING SUITE

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THE BEST TOOLS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL

SECONDARY GRADES 7 MINDSETS 7 Mindsets offers a research-based SEL solution that helps create and sustain positive school cultures rooted in healthy relationships. The complete web-based curriculum has 19 ready-to-teach courses that work with both in-person and virtual learning schedules. The courses include video, discussion prompts, projects, and reflective journaling activities. “This product solves school districts’ challenges of supporting both students and teachers with SEL programs,” our judges said.

ABC-CLIO’S HISTORY AND GOVERNMENT SUITE AND AMERICAN MOSAIC SUITE

ACER TRAVELMATE SPIN B3 The TravelMate Spin B3 convertible Windows laptop is a convertible Windows notebook that includes an HD touchscreen, full HD webcam and Intel Wi-Fi 6, as well as the latest Intel Celeron or Pentium processors. The device features military-grade MIL-STD 810H compliant durability, a spill-resistant keyboard with mechanically anchored keys, a moistureresistant touchpad, and Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass. The judges said, “It has a solid, reassuring, robust feel.”

ABC-CLIO’s History and Government Suite lets student researchers explore the key events, defining moments, and unique individual contributions that have shaped our world. With hundreds of Topic Centers, each providing a comprehensive library and inquiry-based curriculum, students can explore every historical era. It includes: American History; American Government; World History: The Modern Era; and World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. Our judges called it “very comprehensive and relevant.”

ALLHERE AllHere’s adaptive chatbot automates personalized, two-way text messaging to provide 24/7 support so that educators can focus on meaningful interactions. AllHere’s platform combines AI with evidence-based strategies on how to partner with families so that they can more effectively support attendance and learning. “We particularly liked the ‘Nudge’ feature and the ‘Ask Me Anything’ feature that proactively addresses key goals around student attendance, enrollment, and engagement,” said our judges.

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AVER X18IS UV SANITIZING CHARGING CART The AVerCharge X18iS is an 18-device UVsanitizing charging cart that is lab-tested to kill up to 99.99% of germs and viruses within 5 minutes. Safety features immediately stop UV sanitization if the door is opened or tampered with, while LED lights indicate sanitization status. “This is a very good solution. We like the idea of sanitizing versatility as well as the cable management and smart charging,” said our judges.

AVER VB130 VIDEOBAR The VB130 is an all-in-one distance learning collaboration tool that combines 4K video with clear built-in audio to give remote students an in-class experience. It features AI, combining SmartFrame technology with voice tracking, to keep the teacher in camera view while focusing on their voice. The judges said, “This is very good for smaller classrooms. The AI features make it very flexible and the light is a good feature as well.”


BENQ WDC20E WIRELESS PRESENTATION SYSTEM The BenQ InstaShow WDC20E is an affordable wireless presentation system. Educators can share their screen to the classroom’s interactive displays or projectors at the touch of a button. It streams 4K video and 16-bit stereo audio, with up to 32 participants or input sources at a time. The judges said, “We really like that it needs no network configuration and is compatible with a variety of systems that are currently in use.”

BOXLIGHT PROCOLOR INTERACTIVE DISPLAY The ProColor Interactive Display’s touchdriven 4K UHD screen can function as an interactive whiteboard, Android PC, and collaboration tool for everyone in the class including those learning from home. Other key features include: 20 singlepoint touch or 10 dual-touch and gestures to work simultaneously with Touch 360° interactivity, MimioStudio classroom software, MimioConnect blended learning platform, and OKTOPUS software with GameZones. “These are very full-featured boards. We like the versatility and ability to connect with students from anywhere,” the judges said.

BOXLIGHT ROBO 3D PRINTER & MYSTEMKITS

BENQ RE SERIES INTERACTIVE DISPLAYS BenQ RE Series interactive displays bring immersive engagement opportunities, affordability, and an antibacterial touchscreen to the classroom. The UHD displays come equipped with BenQ’s EZ Write software, featuring cloud-based tools that allow users to collaborate and InstaShare, a license-free wireless collaboration and presentation system. “These are full-featured and multi-functional displays,” said the judges, who especially liked the anti-microbial coating.

BOXLIGHT MIMIOCONNECT MimioConnect Blended Learning Platform combines lesson building and instructional tools to help teachers create an active learning environment. It is a turnkey solution that can be integrated with existing class technology including iPads, Chromebooks, interactive projectors, and touch displays. Teachers and students can access MimioConnect from anywhere at any time, allowing in-class, remote, and hybrid learning. Our judges said, “The features and versatility make it a very good tool for teachers and students.”

Robo 3D printers brings 3D printing to classroom and school makerspaces with standards-aligned activities, lessons, and Design Challenges via MyStemKits.com. Each Robo 3D printer is Wi-Fi and hotspot enabled for Chromebooks and iPads, including cloud printing. The judges noted, “This is a good solution for educators who want to integrate 3D printing into their curriculum but aren’t sure how. The solution packages the supplies, support, PD, and technology to make the users and students comfortable and successful.”

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CARNEGIE LEARNING MATHIA

BOXLIGHT-EOS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Boxlight-EOS has developed training solutions that enable technology integration, increased efficiency and effectiveness, and improved outcomes for teachers and students. Their research-based programs are focused on using the hardware and software platforms available to the teacher. Training can be facilitated inperson, virtual, or a combination of both. Our judges liked the solution overall, especially the free options, flexibility in delivery, and customization of training.

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Built on 30+ years of research in cognitive science and AI, MATHia mirrors a human coach, analyzing thousands of data points to provide a personalized 1-on-1 experience for every student. MATHia asks students to show their work, and adjusts to the methods they are using to give hints and feedback. “The MathIA program from Carnegie Learning is powerful!” said the judges.

CASIO AMERICA, INC. CLASSPAD.NET ClassPad.net is a web-based mathematics resource that gives creators of digital papers the freedom to show or hide content for instructional purposes and customize their workspaces to create enhanced activities and quizzes. The software also offers a math-based text editor that provides a rich assortment of mathematical templates for algebra, geometry, pre-calc and calculus, and statistics. The judges especially appreciated the pre-populated workspaces.

CERTELL, INC. POPTENTIAL Poptential is a family of free social studies courses that infuse lessons with pop culturerich media to engage learners. Courses are standards-based, developed by social studies teachers, and include history, civics, economics, and personal finance. The courses offer a sensible curriculum that teaches students how to think critically. The judges noted, “It easily engages students and can be readily integrated into whatever teaching platform or LMS teachers use.”

CARNEGIE LEARNING FAST FORWORD

CLEAR TOUCH INTERACTIVE COLLAGE

Fast ForWord is an adaptive, personalized program that helps struggling K-12 readers achieve their full potential as learners. Fast ForWord’s 3-in-1 approach simultaneously develops reading, cognitive, and socialemotional skills. “The Fast ForWord product is a robust tool for students and teachers to improve reading achievement quickly,” said our judges. “We particularly liked the continuous multilevel progress-monitoring feature for teachers to easily track response to intervention progress.”

Collage is part of the Clear Touch software suite and is especially useful for show-andtell, student presentations, and cooperative teaching. Collage has wide-ranging compatibility, a full note-taking toolset, and the ability to share multiple devices. It also works seamlessly with nearly all of today’s most popular devices. Our judges said, “Up to 9 devices can share simultaneously and wirelessly to the ClearTouch panel. The software is incredibly robust.”

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CATCHON CatchOn is an expansive data analytics tool that provides district leaders a window into the efficacy of their technology investments, initiatives, integrations, and professional development. The judges said, “This is very valuable for tech directors looking at ROI and engagement for digital tools. It gives real-time analytic information on student app/website use and allows for accurate planning and budgeting of resources and PD.”


CLEAR TOUCH INTERACTIVE HUDDLE CAMERA The Clear Touch Huddle Camera is designed for hybrid and remote learning environments. With a 4K camera and integrated audio, it helps transform any interactive panel or computing device into a blended learning environment. The 120-degree, wide-angle camera ensures every student can be seen simultaneously on-screen. “This is a versatile camera. The noise cancelling and ability to pick up voices from 25 feet away is very important,” said the judges.

CONTENTKEEPER TECHNOLOGIES: CONTENTKEEPER CLOUD ContentKeeper Cloud provides the crossplatform cloud filtering intelligence required to ensure a safe and secure digital and virtual learning environment. Key benefits include: web filtering across all platforms, including iOS, PC, MAC, Android, Chromebook, BYOD, and IoT devices; real-time monitoring alerts; detailed insights for policy compliance and student safety requirements; and flexible deployment options. Our judges liked all of the features of ContentKeeper Cloud.

CTL CHROMEBOOK NL81 CLEAR TOUCH INTERACTIVE 6000K+ INTERACTIVE TOUCH PANEL The 6000K+ Interactive Touch Panel by Clear Touch simplifies remote, in-person, and hybrid learning. The device allows for 20 points of simultaneous touch, comes equipped with a built-in subwoofer and sound bar, and is available in three different sized screens. Our judges said, “The new 6000K+ Interactive Panel by ClearTouch is amazing! Everything is built-in and the software compatibility and opportunities are endless.”

The CTL NL81 has a large 14” FHD anti-glare panel, HD camera, HDMI ports, and USB-C quick charge capabilities. It is equipped with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and offers up to 12 hours of battery life and an Intel Gemini Lake R N4020 processor. The judges said, “This is a very good Chromebook for someone who needs more business-class power. The touch screen and durability features make this a very good value.”

CYPHER LEARNING NEO LMS NEO is an LMS for use by schools and universities, known for its intuitive user interface, extensive feature set, and strong return on investment. It offers a centralized environment for creating classes, organizing learning material, assigning and submitting homework, taking assessments, collaborating with classmates, and analyzing results. “This is a full-featured LMS with everything a teacher and student needs,” said our judges.

DELEDAO EDUCATION Deledao offers real-time AI web protection with Filter Zoom Bombing and Google Meet Bombing, filter streaming YouTube videos as they play, AI-detection of signs of cyberbullying/self-harm, and student online data privacy. It blocks ads and third-party trackers, and anonymizes Google searches. “The Deledao Filter looks very promising,” said our judges.

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EDMENTUM COURSEWARE DISCOVERY EDUCATION K-12 LEARNING PLATFORM BACK-TO-SCHOOL UPDATES Discovery Education’s K-12 platform connects educators to standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, intuitive quiz and activity creation tools, and professional learning resources. New content and relevant resources are added monthly, and through partnerships with Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, Brightspace, and Clever, integrating it into existing IT architecture is easy. “Now working with Google and Microsoft Teams and Clever is a big plus,” said TL judges.

Edmentum Courseware digital curriculum is built to help students develop real-world skills, identify their passions, and cultivate perseverance. Courseware is aligned to state and national standards with more than 500 courses covering elective, CTE, world language, and AP subjects. It offers course progressions leading to industry-recognized credentials for three different career paths. Our judges said, “Whether based on mastery of skills, learning interests, or access to advanced course offering, this is a one-stop shop for school districts.”

EDMENTUM EDOPTIONS ACADEMY

EDGENUITY COURSEWARE Edgenuity Courseware offers schools access to more than 400 courses—including core curriculum, AP, honors, and CTE—that can be completed for initial credit or concept and credit recovery. These flexible, online courses align to state standards, Common Core, and the NGSS. “Edgenuity allows for a multitude of options, from a full online course needed to just specific skills, so it gives flexibility in how you can use it,” said our judges.

EdOptions Academy pairs research-based online curriculum with state-certified online teachers to provide a student-centered kindergarten through career virtual learning experience. With 500+ courses ranging from elementary subjects to AP and CTE options, EOA is equipped to expand options and increase access to learning for all students. “The EdOptions Academy course materials are cleanly designed, easy to navigate, and use, with high-quality media content. Information is clearly presented, and with the combination of text and media elements, courses are engaging and grade-appropriate.”

EDUCATION ADVANCED, INC. BUILDYOUROWNCURRICULUM (BYOC) BuildYourOwnCurriculum (BYOC) is a curriculum and instruction solution aligned with state and national standards so districts can analyze curriculum and address issues raised in standards-based assessments. Resources are centralized so teachers can search and replicate courses, units, or lessons from more than 200 districts. The judges said, “This product enables teachers to collaborate, update, and share within content areas as well as vertical alignment.”

EDUCATION ADVANCED, INC. CARDONEX Cardonex is a master scheduling and staff planning platform that enables schools and districts to quickly build master schedules and staffing plans accurately. It integrates with existing SIS solutions automatically so schools can produce a balanced master schedule and staffing plan immediately. Said the judges: “The data analytics provides building and district administration insights into curriculum, budgeting, and teacher performance.”

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FILEWAVE UNIFIED ENDPOINT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE EGLASS BY PATHWAY eGlass allows teachers to write on the board without turning their backs, increasing student engagement and allowing students to see the teacher’s facial expressions, gestures, and gaze alongside their writing. Our judges were impressed and noted, “eGlass is THE tool for interactive classroom teaching for both in-person and hybrid or concurrent lessons simultaneously! The software that reverses the teacher’s handwriting so that the teacher can see what they write correctly is outstanding, and the ability to add graphics and multimedia to your lessons in real-time is amazing.”

FileWave’s platform consists of unified endpoint management, mobile device management, enterprise mobility management, and ITAM solutions, and is built to empower IT teams throughout the entire device lifecycle process. FileWave’s all-in-one, scalable software, (cloud and on-premise supported) supports both client (desktop/ laptop) and mobile devices across multiple systems. “This is a comprehensive and versatile system, especially for districts with large technology deployments,” noted our judges.

FLINN SCIENTIFIC SCIENCE2GO Science2Go is a digital learning solution that offers a new approach to laboratory education for middle and high school students. It allows them to engage in science and engineering practices in any learning environment without requiring access to supplies or equipment. Students learn how to synthesize facts and connect the data to the real world. Our judges noted, “Science2Go contains solid, interesting science information.”

FLINN SCIENTIFIC WHITEBOX LEARNING

EPSON BRIGHTLINK INTERACTIVE LASER DISPLAYS Epson BrightLink Interactive Laser Displays feature 3LCD laser technology and images up to 120 inches. The fully integrated interactive displays also work with existing whiteboards. Teachers can ideate, annotate, capture, and share ideas in real time locally or with remote participants. “Laser projection is long lasting and low maintenance,” our judges said. “The sharing features and management for IT are good additions.”

WhiteBox Learning is a web-based, NGSSaligned STEM learning solution that brings real-world engineering design to middle and high school students. With 12 applications using CAD-inspired engineering software, students design and analyze a 3D model, learning through simulations and unlimited design iterations. Our judges said, “Students will embrace the design competition and love the chance to see their designs quickly with simple CAD tools.”

FLOCABULARY ACQUIRED BY RENAISSANCE: FLOCABULARY Flocabulary helps students build literacy, vocabulary, and reading comprehension skills through interactive videos, activities, and lessons. Throughout the 700+ K-12 standardsaligned lessons, Flocabulary showcases a diverse range of cultures, develops social and emotional skills, and increases exposure to Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary. “Great product that engages students through music and videos that are culturally relevant and spark engagement. It also ties to state standards and is easily integrated with classroom lessons,” said our judges.

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GALE, A CENGAGE COMPANY GALE IN CONTEXT: FOR EDUCATORS Gale In Context: For Educators is a lessonplanning tool that enables educators to find and personalize digital learning content, plan activities for remote or in-person environments, and build an equitable and culturally responsive classroom. It includes custom lesson plans and tools as well as shareable, curriculum-aligned resources. “This tool provides educators rich resources to curate and develop personalized digital content for teaching,” said our judges.

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT MATH 180, STUDENT SOFTWARE MATH 180’s Student Software is a complete online digital experience aimed to give age-appropriate content to students who are one or two grade levels below. The adaptive student software allows students to receive targeted instruction and to move at their own pace, with gradually released scaffolds and a support ecosystem. “This is a great product to supplement in class instruction as well as a programming solution for summer school,” said the judges.

HUE HD PRO The HUE HD Pro multipurpose USB classroom camera can view a full A4 or U.S. letter sheet and project it to a whiteboard via PC and projector. The camera features Full HD 1080p image and video resolution, a noise canceling mic, manual focus lens, and LED lights. “This is a very good basic document camera that will address the needs of most educators,” the judges noted.

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT WRITABLE HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT HMH COACHING STUDIO Coaching Studio provides the virtual space for ongoing personalized professional learning. Educators can share resources, engage in discussions, and reflect on their learning at any time, in one centralized location. Private coaching space is available as is a library of on-demand videos to model lessons. “Districts can customize the learning based on needs of the district as well as monitor progression through the modules,” said the judges.

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Writable is a digital writing platform that helps teachers scaffold and motivate students to become purposeful, proficient writers. With more than 600 customizable assignments, including essays, short responses, student models, state-level benchmark assessments, and more, Writable helps schools assess and monitor writing growth. “It supports not only middle and high school students, but also the younger grades.”

IBM CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IBM SKILLSBUILD FOR STUDENTS IBM SkillsBuild for Students provides free online learning and badges for the technological and professional skills required to be successful. It provides overviews of technologies from AI to Z-series mainframes as well as tips on writing a resume or working in a diverse workplace. “This is an excellent, free learning resource,” our judges said. “The content and curriculum design are very good.”


ILLUMINATE EDUCATION EDUCLIMBER eduCLIMBER is an interactive data management and visualization system that helps to strengthen multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) implementations. Educators can identify student needs and determine intervention effectiveness. Features include: student profiles, virtual behavior walls, interactive reports to track student progress, data aggregations, custom equity dashboards to monitor key programs and initiatives, and more. “This MTSS solution focuses on the whole child approach. With its real-time data, it monitors growth and supports SEB,” said our judges.

IXL LEARNING IXL INCIDENT IQ Incident IQ is a service management system that offers a full suite of support tools to assist school districts with all the responsibilities and tasks associated with asset management, help ticketing, and facilities management. “This asset management, help desk, and facilities management system provides districts with a streamlined process for inventory and work orders,” said our judges.

IXL is a personalized learning platform with a curriculum of more than 8,500 skills covering five subjects, fully aligned to state standards and over 40 popular textbook series. Its adaptive assessment tool, the RealTime Diagnostic, evaluates students across every concept in the math and language arts curriculum to provide an accurate portrait of knowledge levels. “With its math, ELA, social studies, and science assessments, IXL continues to be a leader for standards-based curriculum and assessments,” said our judges.

ILLUMINATE EDUCATION FASTBRIDGE FastBridge is a research-based universal screening and progress-monitoring system for reading, math, and social-emotional behavior (SEB). The system includes intervention recommendations and built-in coaching. Our judges said, “This product supports social and emotional learning in schools. Its one-stop shop evaluates and provides interventions that can easily be integrated into classroom and small-group instruction.”

KAHOOT! IPEVO V4K PRO ULTRA HD USB DOCUMENT CAMERA The IPEVO V4K PRO Ultra HD USB document camera incorporates AI-based voice enhancement, and with its flexible multi-joint build, is able to capture images from various different angles and heights while taking up minimal space due to its small footprint. Our judges said, “Since it is 4K, it has good enough resolution to do 300 DPI for OCR processing. And it works with ScanTaylor, Microsoft Lens, Nuance OmniPage, and BookSorber.”

Kahoot! makes it easy for anyone to create, share, and play learning games that can be played in person or virtually, using any device with an internet connection. With more than 100 million learning games, learners can discover content on any subject, including Kahoots created by educators and brands such as Disney, Angry Birds, and National Geographic. “A quick pace, suspenseful music, and instant scoreboards keep competition lively and learners engaged,” our judges noted.

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LEXIA LEARNING LEXIA POWERUP LITERACY KAJEET SENTINEL

LEARNING.COM EASYTECH

Kajeet was built for education and with the safety of students in mind. Sentinel provides administrators with complete visibility and management of data usage on all connected devices as well as educator-specified mobile policy controls, content blocking, and website filtering. “Kajeet Sentinel and the hotspot solution overall are excellent,” our judges said.

EasyTech is a comprehensive building-level and district solution for K-12, which develops students’ digital, computer science, and STEM skills for asynchronous instruction in both traditional and online classroom environments. The curriculum offers hands-on practice and gamified content that culminate in real-world projects. “This product brings digital literacy to school districts as they implement STEAM and STEM programs in their schools. Classroom teachers and students benefit from assistive technology and interdisciplinary lessons.”

THE LEARNING ALLY AUDIOBOOK SOLUTION The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is a multisensory reading resource to support students who struggle with reading deficits in grades 3-12. It complements teachers’ evidence-based reading instruction to improve core reading skills, enhance engagement, and instill independence. Accountability data gives teachers insight into reading behaviors, while professional learning tools provide teachers with research and best practices. “This solution ensures that all students have access to books,” said our judges.

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Lexia PowerUp Literacy is an adaptive blended learning program that accelerates literacy gains for struggling and non-proficient readers in grades 6-12. The program identifies skill gaps and provides instruction in three areas: word study, grammar, and comprehension. By blending online student-driven instruction with offline teacher-delivered lessons, the program simultaneously addresses gaps in fundamental literacy skills while building higher-order analytical skills. The judges called it “impactful.”

MACKINVIA LESSON PLANET LEARNING EXPLORER Learning Explorer is a learning object repository and curriculum management platform for preK-12 teachers. Its database contains more than 4 million curated educational videos, images, teacher-reviewed resources, and district-procured content from publishers including Discovery Education, McGraw Hill, Newsela, and others. “This onestop shopping product provides teachers with a platform to curate district digital content, web resources, OER resources, and standards to develop lessons and units. It is easy to navigate, share, download, and push out to students,” said the judges.

MackinVIA is a free digital content management system that provides students and educators with access to ebooks, readalongs, audiobooks, databases, and videos. With one login, users can view and manage all the school’s digital resources on any device, anywhere, any time. “The library of free titles is great, as well as the huge selection of paid titles. The other tools that they have make it a complete package for in-person or distance learning,” said our judges.


MOBILEMIND

MANAGEDMETHODS ManagedMethods provides a centralized command center for managing Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 cybersecurity and student safety risks. The platform uses deep API integrations to monitor for these risks 24/7/365, and provides automated controls to prevent data security breaches, account takeovers, and cyber attacks. “IT teams are notoriously understaffed and not fully trained in cybersecurity,” our judges said. “Any tools that help are of great value.”

MobileMind offers a cloud-based, asynchronous learning platform designed to help teachers integrate technology into the classroom. With two offerings, MobileMind for Google and MobileMind HQ, the professional learning hub allows districts to consolidate all PD initiatives, from Google Workspace for Education to other technology, compliance, and curriculum. The judges said, “This professional development tool not only supports teachers using Google apps in their classrooms, but also provides a professional learning hub that district and school leaders can use throughout the school year.”

NEARPOD ACQUIRED BY RENAISSANCE: NEARPOD Nearpod creates opportunities for teacherdriven, student-centered learning. Teachers can upload their existing content and make it interactive using Nearpod’s 20+ formative assessment and rich-media features so that all learning is active and collaborative. Educators can also tap Nearpod’s library of more than 15,000 standards-aligned lessons, videos, and activities. The judges said, “Nearpod as an online platform for schools has been invaluable. With its interactive content and resources, teachers can customize lessons and activities that are personalized and studentcentered.”

MOVE THIS WORLD

MAXCASES EXPLORER 4 WORK-IN CASE The MAXCases Explorer 4 Work-In Case with Pocket is an always-on protective case that doubles as a carrying bag, such as an added “hinge strap,” non-scratch bezel hooks, and stay-put elastic straps with gel microbeads. Available in 11” and 14” sizes to accommodate most standard-sized Chromebooks, MacBooks, and laptops. “This is an excellent protective Work-in Case,” said our judges. “We appreciate the detail in design for not only protection, but also cooling and quality components.”

Move This World is a provider of socialemotional learning multimedia experiences for preK-12 students, educators, and families. The MTW platform allows educators and families to incorporate SEL into their students’ schedules every day, without planning or prep. “This SEL solution uses short evidence-based videos that introduce a common language and methods for expressing emotion. It can be implemented as part of a classroom lesson throughout the year with age-appropriate concepts and no additional preparation by teachers,” said the judges.

NETSUPPORT INC. CLASSROOM.CLOUD NetSupport’s classroom.cloud is a cloud-based classroom management and teaching tool that can be used across platforms, devices, and locations. With everything accessible in one intuitive click, it does not require swapping between multiple solutions. Teachers can monitor students’ screens in real time, manage web/application usage, and survey student understanding. The judges called it a “powerful tool” and especially appreciated its real-time monitoring of student web searches.

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PROJECT PALS

PIXTON COMICS INC. PIXTON NOREDINK CO. NOREDINK NoRedInk helps students become better writers with its online, adaptive writing curriculum that includes diagnostic tools, skills practice, and instructional resources. It offers learners personalized exercises, differentiated practice, and step-by-step guidance as they draft and revise essays. The judges especially loved the student tracking ability and the cumulative vs. individual class mastery options.

Pixton is a web app that gives teachers and students a unique way to create stories, demonstrate learning, and enhance writing assignments through digital comics. Users can explore topics in math, science, social studies, history, English, art, or any other subject. “Pixton is a wonderful tool to get students writing as well as making their writing come alive with characters,” said our judges. “It covers substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition in the SAMR model, which is very important.”

PROMETHEAN WORLD ACTIVPANEL

PARENTSQUARE ParentSquare is a school-home communication platform that unifies district-, school-, and classroom-level communications to families, meeting needs from large districts to single-site schools. Districts and schools can engage all families, regardless of language or socioeconomic barriers. “Its interactive data dashboard provides districts with valuable information regarding school communication,” said our judges.

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Project Pals is a web-based platform to manage collaborative learning, including project-based and inquiry-based learning, for students working in class or remotely. The platform supports collaborative problem-solving and project management methodologies that are increasingly valuable in modern workplaces. “This would be a great addition to PBL campuses to keep projects organized and have real time collaboration,” said our judges.

NAVIANCE BY POWERSCHOOL Naviance by PowerSchool is a college, career, and life readiness platform that provides strengths and career assessments, customized surveys, career and college profiles, and course-planning capability. It allows for personalized messaging from schools and a secure and transparent way for students to navigate their pathway planning. For educators, Naviance provides case management and in-depth analytics. “Naviance’s ability to simplify the college application process for students and their families is invaluable,” said the judges.

Promethean’s ActivPanel is an interactive display designed for modern classrooms. Its unified menu is always accessible, allowing teachers to move between content and resources without disrupting the lesson flow. Our judges said, “Promethean ActivPanel offers teacher control through classflow, easy management through their panel management software, and the OS makes it easy to switch through applications seamlessly. Having these panels on carts helps ensure that learning can take place anytime and anywhere.”


RENAISSANCE STAR ASSESSMENTS Star Assessments are a suite of assessments for reading, math, and early literacy, available to educators in both English and Spanish. Star’s computer-adaptive tests (CATs) mean that each student’s experience is unique because questions start at grade level and get more difficult as students answer correctly, or less difficult if they answer incorrectly. By eliminating unnecessary questions in this way, Star assesses individual student growth and performance in fewer items and less time than non-adaptive assessments. The judges called it a “great resource.”

RENAISSANCE ACCELERATED READER Accelerated Reader is an independent reading practice program that helps K-12 students become confident readers. Supporting more than 220,000 fiction and nonfiction books and articles at a wide range of levels, Accelerated Reader gives students extensive choice in what they read—and keeps them engaged in independent reading practice as they work toward personalized goals. “The designed quizzes and activities demand meaningful reflection and challenge kids to develop their reading skills. Terrific reports and interface, and the built-in tours, online instructional videos, and lively user community make for a supportive, intuitive experience,” said our judges.

ROBOTLAB INC. VR EXPEDITIONS 2.0

SECOND LIFE MAC TOUCHLESS TRADE-IN

VR Expeditions 2.0 is a virtual reality field trips tool. Using the app, teachers can take students on virtual field trips to various locations, while engaging the students with history, arts, culture, science, and geography. Said the judges: “The VR Expeditions from RobotLab is a great way to continue VR Expeditions in your classroom and really enhance all sorts of lessons!”

Touchless Trade-in is a tech-enabled drivethrough process for schools to refresh digital learning devices. The process enables students, parents, and administrators to maintain COVID-19 social distancing recommendations, while also enabling schools to move forward with plans to collect used devices and distribute new ones. “Second Life Mac has created a non-touch device tradein system that is really needed during the pandemic,” the judges noted.

SCREENCAST-O-MATIC Screencast-O-Matic is a screen capture, video-editing, and video-hosting platform. The endto-end solution provides educational institutions convenient tools to share information and streamline learning and development. Teachers, students, districts, and universities can record, edit, and share videos to enhance and improve learning. “Screencast-O-Matic has a very user-friendly platform that allows users to create, edit, share, and manage your videos. It is also priced very well for education,” said the judges.

SECURLY INC. SECURLY CLASSROOM Securly Classroom is a cloud-based classroom management tool designed to deliver a userfriendly experience across devices and is ideal for both 1:1 and BYOD programs. It integrates with a variety of roster sources including Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology, Classlink, and Clever. Said the judges: “This powerful program allows teachers to be able to manage their students when online in their classroom.”

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TCI SOCIAL STUDIES AND SCIENCE BLENDED LEARNING SOLUTION SHURE INCORPORATED MV5C HOME OFFICE MICROPHONE Shure’s MV5C Home Office Microphone provides studio-quality audio for video and online classes. It’s ideal for teachers who need to talk all day with minimal distraction and students attending classes in which participation and engagement are important. “This new office Microphone by Shure is perfect for remote teaching and extremely easy to set up,” said our judges, who particularly loved the headphone integration and the user’s ability to hear themselves in the audio feed.

TCI’s science and social studies programs and resources offer an interactive curriculum that is comprehensive and promotes blended learning methods. Included are ready-to-teach lessons, rich media, lesson games, interactive activities, and more. “TCI has put a complete blended learning platform together to teach students K-8 in science and K-12 in social studies,” said our judges. “The program gives teachers a flexible approach and guides them through powerful lessons.”

TEQ OTIS FOR EDUCATORS OTIS for educators is an online professional learning platform that offers courses on how to effectively integrate technology into instruction. The on-demand PD library and calendar of live sessions provide easy access to hundreds of courses, with topics on STEM, SEL, literacy, ENL/ELL, and more. OTIS is a Google for Education Partner, Microsoft Training Partner, and ISTE standards-aligned. “With its numerous courses, accreditations and certification options, OTIS provides educators with anytime, anywhere learning,” our judges noted.

WORK ON LEARNING, INC. TEACHERMADE SNAPPLIFY ENGAGE Engage combines Snapplify’s collaborative elearning products into one platform ­— giving schools access to their own 24-hour-access digital content library and allowing institutions to purchase curriculum-aligned textbooks and share teacher-created, multimedia resource materials with students. The platform offers a free tier designed to lower barriers to entry. The judges said, “The power of the tool is it allows teachers to add different media to reinforce the text they are assigning to the students.”

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TeacherMade lets users create interactive digital worksheets from any PDF or DOCX in a few clicks. TeacherMade is also a markup tool to transform content and auto-score it. Upload PDFs and overlay any of 12 autograded question interaction zones. Then transform by adding audio, hyperlinks, video, and more. Our judges said, “This is a time saver for teachers and allows them to put together powerful online lessons with just a few clicks. The free version works great, and the priced-right pro version gives teachers more control, more features, and helps them stay organized.”

TUTORME TutorMe is an online platform that provides high-quality academic support to all students, regardless of location, time of day, or financial resources. Students are connected within seconds to tutors who are available to help with more than 300 subjects, and all sessions are recorded to review material at any time. Our judges said, “This program also partners with teachers regarding student progress to support what is going on in the classroom.”


UWORLD LEARNING TOOLS FOR AP COURSES The Learning Tools for AP Courses provide teachers with practical applications of standards and objectives outlined in AP courses and data on progress and mastery. College Board-level questions and researchbased methods for providing explanatory feedback help students understand and retain information while also developing criticalthinking skills. “This is a wonderful tool to provide immediate feedback to students and allow teachers to facilitate lessons to keep students on track,” said the judges.

VERNIER SOFTWARE & TECHNOLOGY VERNIER GRAPHICAL ANALYSIS PRO The enhanced Vernier Graphical Analysis Pro app lets educators and students insert, view, and sync a video to sensor data for analysis, and it features the ability to perform live experiments and share data in real time. It includes videos with sample experiments synced with data and instructions that cover common topics in biology, chemistry, physics, and middle school science. Said the judges: “The interface looks very easy to use and the product is priced right.”

VECTOR SOLUTIONS’ STUDENT SAFETY & WELLNESS COURSES

VIEWSONIC CORP. VIEWBOARD IFP52 SERIES INTERACTIVE DISPLAY

Vector Solutions’ (formerly SafeSchools) Student Safety & Wellness Courses are webbased video lessons that support student safety in person and online. The lessons cover essential safety, wellness, and SEL topics such bullying, cyberbullying, suicide awareness, alcohol, vaping, and drug prevention. The judges liked the program and saw it being used for both whole-class instruction and for students who are struggling with behavior issues.

The IFP52 series of interactive displays feature advanced audio capabilities and a user-centric design to enhance classroom and learning experiences. With sizes from 65 to 86 inches, this series comes with a multimedia sound bar built into the display and front-facing USB-C inputs for easy connectivity to other devices. The judges said it has “all the bells and whistles” and especially liked many of the new features.

VIVACITY TECH PBC STUDENT REPAIR ACADEMY In the Vivacity Tech Student Repair Academy program students learn the basics of repairing a Chromebook and how to provide tech support and customer service, all while repairing their school’s edtech. “The student repair academy that Vivacity has put together is a wonderful product to get students involved in the repair process. There is no better way to learn than hands-on. This would be a great addition to any district,” said our judges.

VOCABULARY.COM Vocabulary.com exposes learners to an array of words, question types, real-world examples, and activities to develop literacy skills. Its content integrates with any curriculum, allowing teachers to create literacy-building activities. Learning is gamified with The Vocabulary Bowl—an academic competition across North America to master words. “The dashboard is wonderful for letting teachers watch their students grow through the program,” said our judges.

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ONE BY WACOM XELLO Xello is an online college, career and future readiness program that helps students achieve a deeper understanding of themselves, explore pathways, and plan for the future. Using a discovery-based model, students build knowledge, real-world skills, and individual confidence to prepare for post-secondary academics and careers. Our judges noted, “Xello is a curriculum that delivers highquality career readiness.”

ARIEL SKELLEY/GETTY IMAGES

The One by Wacom pen tablet offers a portable design for small desk spaces and flexible classroom arrangements. The tablet works with PC, Mac, and most Chromebooks, and the pressure-sensitive and battery-free pen brings a familiar, pen-on-paper feel to drawing and writing. “The One by Wacom is a wonderful tool to allow teachers and students to annotate on their device with a natural feel,” said the judges. “This is also very important when teaching virtual students.”

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THE BEST TOOLS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL

HIGHER EDUCATION

CRESTRON ELECTRONICS CRESTRON XIO CLOUD

AVID AE-75 UNIVERSAL COMMUNICATION HEADSET The universal AE-75 communication headset by AVID Products includes features such as deluxe ear padding, a padded adjustable headband, and an adjustable noise-canceling boom microphone that cancels out ambient noise. “This is a solid headset with durability features that are needed for education,” TL judges said. “The price point is also very appealing.”

Built on the Microsoft Azure software platform, Crestron XiO Cloud’s IoT-based platform enables IT managers to deploy and manage thousands of devices in the time it would ordinarily take to manage just one. “This is a very good solution for larger higher ed institutions that have a large investment in Crestron products,” said our judges. “The cost per month is reasonable and it is built on a solid platform (Azure).”

CRESTRON ELECTRONICS CRESTRON FLEX Crestron Flex is a portfolio of videoconferencing solutions that transform any classroom into a collaborative learning environment. Innovations include the mobile Crestron Flex R-Series rapid deployment collaboration system, which provides a shared resource that helps bring videoconferencing where it’s needed most. The added flexibility of BYOD makes it easy to connect with other platforms. TL judges especially liked the variety of configurations available as well as the scheduling and management features.

CRESTRON ELECTRONICS CRESTRON DM NVX

BENQ WDC20E WIRELESS PRESENTATION SYSTEM The BenQ InstaShow WDC20E is an affordable wireless presentation system. Educators can share their screen to the classroom’s interactive displays or projectors at the touch of a button. It streams 4K video and 16-bit stereo audio, with up to 32 participants or input sources at a time. The judges said, “We really like that it needs no network configuration and is compatible with a variety of systems that are currently in use.”

Crestron DM-NVX-363 is a compact AV-over-IP encoder/decoder designed to function as either a transmitter or receiver. The DM- NVX-363 includes secure web-based control and management, a scaling HDMI output, video wall processing, and more. “This is another good solution for various deployments, especially for large institutions,” said our judges. “The manageability and flexibility are excellent, and we also like the ease of installation and low network latency.”

CTL CHROMEBOX CBX2 The CTL Chromebox CBx2 is a cost-effective and high-powered computing solution that provides the functionality of a desktop in a compact, high-powered device. A highpowered Intel Celeron Processors makes multitasking quick and easy, and it includes an SD card reader plus USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports to access external media. The judges really liked the features of this Chromebox for the price. “The ports as well as configuration options are excellent,” they said.

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NVIDIA JETSON NANO

IPEVO IPEVO VZ-X WIRELESS DOCUMENT CAMERA CYPHER LEARNING NEO LMS NEO is an LMS for use by schools and universities, known for its intuitive user interface, extensive feature set, and strong return on investment. It offers a centralized environment for creating classes, organizing learning material, assigning and submitting homework, taking assessments, collaborating with classmates, and analyzing results. “This is a full-featured LMS with everything a teacher and student needs,” said our judges.

The IPEVO VZ-X document camera features three connection modes: Wi-Fi, HDMI, and USB, and allows users to stream real-time images to a computer, iOS/Android devices, Apple TV, projector, TV, or monitor. VZ-X comes with an 8MP camera equipped with the Sony CMOS image sensor and Ambarella integrated system-on-a-chip. Our judges liked the small footprint, durability, battery life, and ease of connection for distance learning.

The NVIDIA Jetson Nano is a platform for teaching and learning AI and robotics. Intermediate and advanced teachers can use Jetbot and other DIY robot kits powered by Jetson Nano to explain concepts ranging from programmatic motor control to training a custom AI to avoid obstacles and collisions. The judges especially liked the affordability and called the network of resources “excellent.”

OTHOT

MEAZURE LEARNING PROCTORU EGLASS BY PATHWAY eGlass allows teachers to write on the board without turning their backs, increasing student engagement and allowing students to see the teacher’s facial expressions, gestures, and gaze alongside their writing. Our judges were impressed and noted, “eGlass is THE tool for interactive classroom teaching for both in-person and hybrid or concurrent lessons simultaneously! The software that reverses the teacher’s handwriting so that the teacher can see what they write correctly is outstanding, and the ability to add graphics and multimedia to your lessons in real-time is amazing.”

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ProctorU proctors verify identity and monitor exams in real time or review recorded exam sessions after the exam is completed. This active monitoring and intervention reduces the number of sessions that need administrative review by the testing organization to just 1 percent. “This product is a great solution for any online testing done by colleges and universities,” the judges said. “The live proctors ensure the integrity of testing and are key to the security of the testing environment.”

Othot is an advanced data analytics and AI platform used in higher ed institutions. Othot focuses on each institution’s specific enrollment, student success, and advancement goals, and then applies an advanced analytics software solution leveraging AI to develop real-time intelligence to meet those goals. “Othot offers colleges powerful data to recruit new as well as maintain their students by using advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence,” said our judges. “This product would help many higher ed schools reach their goals.”


OUTLIER.ORG Created by the co-founder of MasterClass, Outlier.org offers online courses for just $400, 80% less than the cost of a traditional college course. Students enjoy access to one-on-one tutoring for math courses, AI-proctored assessments, dynamically-generated problem sets, and cutting-edge, active learning materials. TL judges said, “The courses are taught by very high-level instructors and can be done completely online.”

SCREENCAST-O-MATIC Screencast-O-Matic is a screen capture, video-editing, and video-hosting platform. The end-to-end solution provides educational institutions convenient tools to share information and streamline learning and development. Teachers, students, districts, and universities can record, edit, and share videos to enhance and improve learning. “Screencast-O-Matic has a very user-friendly platform that allows users to create, edit, share, and manage your videos. It is also priced very well for education,” said the judges.

SHURE INCORPORATED MICROFLEX ADVANCE MXA710 LINEAR ARRAY MICROPHONE The MXA710 Linear Array Microphone is designed for high-quality audio capture in contemporary teaching and learning environments. The sleek form factor allows for placement virtually anywhere on a college campus including on a wall, around a display, ceiling, or into a table. The judges called it “perfect for classrooms” and particularly liked the Steerable audio feature, which shifts when students change their positions around the room.

SONIC FOUNDRY MEDIASITE The new generation of Mediasite’s automated and scalable video platform is a modern video experience enabling engaging, interactive, and personalized content regardless of time and distance. More efficient video delivery, smaller file sizes, accessibility updates, new integrations with web conferencing systems are among the list of new features. “This product is a very powerful tool for districts to create, organize, and share videos quickly,” said our judges, who especially liked the polls, bookmarks, search, and cloud editing features.

SOLOLEARN Sololearn aims to change how people learn to code by building a habit-forming experience in which people learn at their own pace with bite-sized lessons and unique ways to practice. Students learn programming languages from Python to C++, Java, SQL, and many more. “SoloLearn is a wonderful platform for learning how to code in different programming languages,” our judges noted. “It works on any device and the courses are designed for students of all ages, including professionals.”

TURNITIN GRADESCOPE Gradescope by Turnitin helps educators build, administer, organize, grade, and report on assessments and assignments. Supporting in-person, online, and hybrid learning, Gradescope works across all subjects and assessment types, including paper-based, digital, and code. “This product digitizes handwriting work to reduce the amount of time professors spend on grading,” said the judges. “This ensures more time for learning and acting on feedback.”

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9000

BEST TOOLS HIGHER EDUCATION

TUTORME TutorMe is an online platform that provides high-quality academic support to all students, regardless of location, time of day, or financial resources. Students are connected within seconds to tutors who are available to help with more than 300 subjects, and all sessions are recorded to review material at any time. Our judges said, “This program also partners with teachers regarding student progress to support what is going on in the classroom.”

VIEWSONIC CORP. VIEWSONIC LD163-181 DIRECT VIEW LED DISPLAY The ViewSonic LD163-181 is an all-in-one, 163-inch Direct View LED display solution designed for professional-grade, 24/7 operation on higher ed campuses. It delivers content without lines or distortion for one continuous image, with a 4,440Hz refresh rate and 600 nits of brightness. “ViewSonic has put together an all-in-one LED display that can be installed by pretty much any handy employee,” said our judges. “Just a beautiful display!”

WACOM THE CINTIQ PRO 24 The Cintiq Pro 24 pen display offers an RGB rating and a large 4K screen with a soft, matte finish with virtually no parallax. It includes a battery-free Wacom Pro Pen 2 and adjustable stand allowing freedom to artists. “The Cintiq Pro is a great addition to any graphic arts classroom,” said the TL judges, who particularly liked the flexibility provided by the Ergo stand and Flex arm.

VERNIER SOFTWARE & TECHNOLOGY VERNIER GRAPHICAL ANALYSIS PRO

DJANGO/GETTY IMAGES

The enhanced Vernier Graphical Analysis Pro app lets educators and students insert, view, and sync a video to sensor data for analysis, and it features the ability to perform live experiments and share data in real time. It includes videos with sample experiments synced with data and instructions that cover common topics in biology, chemistry, physics, and middle school science. Said the judges: “The interface looks very easy to use and the product is priced right.”

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