Tech & - Best of 2021 - February 2022

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Overcoming Digital Deserts: The Birth of Bronx Digital Equity Coalition By Erik Ofgang

36 6 Tips For Asynchronous Teaching From An AwardWinning Educator By Erik Ofgang


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4 How to Quiet the Hyperactive Hive Mind in Schools


Tech & Learning magazine names the winners of the Awards of Excellence: Best of 2021

By Michael Gaskell

Group Publisher Christine Weiser

Production Manager Heather Tatrow


Managing Design Director Nicole Cobban

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HOW TO QUIET THE HYPERACTIVE HIVE MIND IN SCHOOLS School leaders need to identify and quell toxic groupthink that can lead to a hyperactive hive mind that impairs everyone By Michael Gaskell


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n December 2021 principals everywhere found themselves scrambling to provide assurances to their communities while investigating an increased number of security threats. I was one of those principals, and have become alarmed, not as much by the threats, but by the misinformation being fed to our communities. Consider that school communities are already taxed by the seemingly never-ending pandemic. Add unsettling news and we are instantaneously brought over the edge. An increase in toxic groupthink amplifies these problems. I have researched and written about the negative effects of social media distortions, and propose time-tested practices for school leaders and their communities to embrace. For example, start by presenting convincing evidence of truth, and help people reclaim an objective lens. Help them see

that misinformation is the dangerous product of an online feedback loop, with algorithms designed to drive more inaccurate news content, further fueling our confusion and concern. While increasing school tragedies expose the harshest societal realities, an event is still far unlikely to occur. Reinforcing ways to fight online misinformation begins with a recognition of the damage caused, and formulating strategic ways to address panic and anxiety. These challenges disrupt school communities, so we must find ways to make schools restorative sanctuaries for learning. Recognition starts with identifying the toxic groupthink as a hyperactive hive mind that impairs everyone.


The hyperactive hive mind is groupthink at its worst. It is inflamed by the destructive forces of digital disruptions. While school violence causes devastating tragedy, students have a far lower chance of being harmed in school than almost any other risk they face. This includes traveling to and from school, catching a potentially deadly disease, and suffering from a life-threatening injury through interscholastic sports. But the hyperactive hive mind fools us into believing the risk is far greater. Why? People are emotionally connected to their children, and that causes us to override practical thinking and logic. We assess the prominence of a school shooting, based less on the probability and more on the nature of the experience. Scientists refer to this as the awareness heuristic: a mental shortcut we rapidly make to measure the expected chance of something too big for us to understand. These shortcuts are often grossly inaccurate, catalyzed by primal thoughts that are the enemy of higher cognitive processing. Social media aggravates this. In fact, a Twitter study confirms that false information travels so much faster than facts that the frequency occurs fully six times faster. No wonder school communities endure hyperactive THE HYPERACTIVE hive mindset. We are inundated with misinformation, and filtering through this can be overwhelming. How do we HIVE MIND IS overcome this and find a path to truth? GROUPTHINK AT


THE ANSWER Consider two interconnected paths to provide protective solutions: internal (within school) and external (beyond school walls).

INTERNAL: Shield learners and staff within schools in ways that allow them to engage the frontal lobe for higher thinking while protected at school. The climate leaders commit to cause a lasting impact on a child’s experience. Fortifying a school community with the structures to nurture the kind of learning that creates engaging interactive experiences is the answer. Numerous models promote learner-friendly, comfortable


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QUIET THE HIVE MIND environments. For example, New Jersey’s Positive Behavior Support in Schools System is a positive behavior incentive program for individual students and schools. Evidence-based programs should be inclusive and integrated in all communities. EXTERNAL: Focus on teaching students and families about outside traps we are prone to, and how to find escapes. Students are away from school for two-thirds of their day. Educators have little control over what students are exposed to, and how to manage the many obstacles and confusion they encounter. This is especially true of negative content and misinformation. A best practice is to teach self-regulation strategies. Our work assisting students and families in managing the constant distractions and alarming news cycles includes a strong commitment to simplify this information. Also highlight for families reliable, evidence-based truths. Unveil this, and the statistical probabilities highlighted previously. Teach students and families alternative habits.

TEACHING FOCUSED EMPOWERMENT IN A DISTRACTED WORLD THE BENIGN DISINHIBITION EFFECT Use social media to initiate positive social media experiences, something referred to as the benign disinhibition effect. Positive, supportive, and monitored groups who aid one another anonymously offer a safe and confidential place to seek support. These are searchable online, and having access to such a group offers an alternative that is healthy for online engagement, similar to the effect of anonymous, in-person support groups.


DIMINISH COMPARISON EFFECTS Many well-known figures address comparison traps by exposing the real version of themselves online. They are closing the fantasy gap of a perfect persona who students feel they cannot compare to. It is wonderful to see famous individuals share their vulnerabilities to empower others to feel okay about their own imperfections.


INHIBIT BAD ONLINE BEHAVIOR Teach children the damaging effects of misbehavior online. Online history is easily uncovered by colleges and potential employers through searchable, archived databases. Helping learners recognize that

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QUIET THE HIVE MIND behaving badly online is never kept secret enables them to avoid going down that path before it’s too late.


REMEMBER ONLINE FEEDBACK LOOPS MAKE US LESS INTELLIGENT Help students see that negative social media engagement has an adverse effect on their wellness. In fact, it drives them to be less intelligent, which has a harmful, and potentially long-term damaging effect on their aspirations and dreams. Using on and offline tools, such as ambient noise, journaling, and gratitude practices, are all methods to fight against the detrimental effects of the hyperactive hive mind and, in turn, individually harmful impacts. Consolidating these ideas into a framework and implementing these practices can result in groupthink being shifted into productive flow rather than a hyperactive hive mindset. Students and families need to understand the benefits of solitude and a tranquil absence from the relentless echoes of online rants. Learning to harness this time instead in more constructive ways yields productivity dividends that are remarkably more positive. This enables whole schools to empower themselves to thrive, rather than suffer.

Connecting People with Potential & Passion At At Boxlight Boxlight we we understand understand the the importance importance of of creating supportive, culturally responsive, and creating supportive, culturally responsive, and focused focused learning learning experiences experiences where where kids kids are are encouraged to discover their passions and encouraged to discover their passions and realize realize their their full full potential. potential. The The Connected Connected Classroom Classroom is is where where our our technology technology and teaching professionals come together and teaching professionals come together to to illuminate illuminate human human possibilities possibilities and and bring bring more more power power to to knowledge. knowledge. Schedule Schedule aa demo demo today today to to find find out out how how our our solutions can support Social and Emotional solutions can support Social and Emotional Learning Learning in in your your schools. schools.

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Tech & Learning magazine has named the winners of the Awards of Excellence: Best of 2021 contest, which recognizes educational technology that exceptionally supported teachers and students last year. The contest focused on outstanding products that supported education this past year no matter the learning environment, whether face-to-face, remote, or anything in between. Eligible products included hardware, software, curriculum, and more, all divided by grade levels to make it easier to find the solutions you need. Each nominee answered the following questions: What specific problem does this product solve? How did your product exceptionally support teaching and learning in 2021? How does your product address the challenges facing education today? Tech & Learning’s panel of educators evaluated the nominations based on a set of criteria that included: the product’s ability to support different learning environments and student needs; value; versatility; and ease of use. “2021 was another challenging year for schools, so it was inspiring to see both educators and the industry continue to come up with new solutions to support teaching and learning,” says Tech & Learning Content Director Christine Weiser. “Our judges were impressed with the creativity presented by our Best of 2021 nominees, many of whom found new and innovative ways to use technology to ensure students continue to get an equitable education in any learning environment.” Please join us in congratulating the winners!

Age of Learning My Math Academy My Math Academy is a, standards-based program for preK-2 students that features embedded formative and summative assessments that are integrated into gameplay to create personalized learning paths for counting, comparing quantities, the base ten system, addition, and subtraction. One T&L judge said, “I especially liked the data analysis from the student results that help teachers to create learning groups in their classrooms more easily.”


Accelerate Learning Inc. STEMscopes Suite STEMscopes is a comprehensive suite of handson STEM curriculum and digital PD solutions. Created by educators for educators, it includes embedded PD throughout the curriculum, and is flexible enough to adapt to teachers’ individual instructional styles. The judges noted that by being designed for younger students, this suite of coding programs ensures that districts are introducing STEM into elementary schools.


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Acer Acer Chromebook R853TA The Chromebook R853TA features a convertible design with 360-degree hinges and a 12-inch 3:2 aspect ratio HD+ display so students can easily view text, maps, photos and schoolwork. Extras include as a world-facing camera, militarygrade durability, school-friendly keyboard, and a scratch-resistant touch display. Our judges said, “This Acer Chromebook is a great value and student device. The visuals are good and the keyboard is sturdy.”

Amira Learning Amira Learning Amira is an artificial intelligence-powered reading coach for children ages 5-10. The proprietary technology helps improve reading mastery by listening to children read aloud, identifying errors, and providing real-time feedback. “This product is so needed, especially in today’s remote learning environments,” said the judges. “Amira’s voice-based technology listens to students’ reading to create running records, audio recordings, and metrics at levels of oral reading listening accuracy nearly equivalent to teachers.”


AVer Information, Inc. AVer VB130 All-inOne Distance Learning Collaboration Solution The VB130 is an all-in-one distance learning collaboration tool that combines 4K video with built-in audio. Specifically designed for a hybrid classroom, it features AI technology with voice tracking to keep the teacher in camera view so remote students do not miss any lesson content. “This is a compact and full-featured camera system,” our judges said. “The voice tracking, audio fencing, low light setting, etc., make it a portable virtual meeting solution.”

Boxlight MimioConnect Blended Learning Platform MimioConnect Blended Learning Platform is an active learning solution that integrates with class technology such as tablets, Chromebooks, and interactive projectors. It includes whiteboard and classroom management tools, premade lessons, and video conferencing. “MimioConnect is a wonderful blended learning platform,” said the judges. “It has built-in tools to check for understanding on the fly, which allows teachers to know if they can move on to the next concept or not.”

single-point touch or 10 dual-touch and gesture interactivity; software to create activities and lessons; access to more than 200 vetted education apps; and screenmirroring software. “With blended learning being a must, this panel would be a great addition to any classroom,” said the judges.

Breakout EDU Breakout EDU

Boxlight MyStemKits is an online platform that includes ready-to-print 3D models, STEAM design challenges, virtual STEM kits, and lesson plans. It also includes a teacher guide, student handouts and assessments, answer keys, programming and design procedures, and assembly guides. “As close to having a science lab as you can get at home,” said the judges. “Safe and clean for students and parents while creating fun learning.”

Breakout EDU provides access to thousands of games that cover a wide array of subjects, as well as a virtual classroom. It also offers a digital game builder in which students and teachers can create their own games. “Breakout EDU is a powerful platform that helps students learn, explore, think critically, communicate, collaborate, and create,” said the judges. “Digital breakouts keep students engaged and excited to learn.”

AVer Information, Inc. AVer X18is UV Sanitizing Charge Cart The AVerCharge X18is is an 18-device UV sanitizing charging cart that is labtested 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 much needed solution for the times,” said the judges. “We really appreciate the windows in the doors and the intelligent charging features.”

CatchOn CatchOn Boxlight ProColor Interactive Display The ProColor Interactive Display is a touchdriven 4K UHD screen that can function as an interactive whiteboard, Android PC, and collaboration tool. Features include: 20

CatchOn is a data analytics tool that enables district leaders to see the apps and online resources their students are using on any district device, both in and out of the classroom. The platform turns raw usage data into insights to help make decisions. Our judges said, “This product is a three-pronged solution for tech directors as they are challenged to measure usage, data privacy, and efficacy of instructional software.”


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ClassLink ClassLink ClassLink Suite ClassLink providesSuite ClassLink cloud-based ClassLinkeducation provides products cloud-based that connect education educators products and that students connect with educators their classroom, and students their curriculum, with theirand classroom, one another their in curriculum, various ways. and ClassLink one another offersininstant various access ways.toClassLink apps and files with offers single instant sign-on, access streamline to apps and classfiles rostering, with automatic single sign-on, accountstreamline provisioning, classand rostering, actionable analytics. automatic “The account educators provisioning, I have talked andto are happy actionable with ClassLink, analytics.” said “Theone educators judge. “The I ability to set have uptalked the entire to aresuite happy makes withprovisioning ClassLink,” accounts, said onerostering, judge. “The andability SSO seamless. to set up” the entire suite makes provisioning accounts, rostering, and SSO seamless.”

CTL CTL Chromebook NL72TW

Cypher Learning NEO LMS NEO is a customizable K-20 learning platform infused with AI functionalities. Teachers can store learning resources, create interactive lessons, assess students, track achievements, promote collaboration between students and faculty, and create personalized learning experiences. T&L’s judges called it a flexible and comprehensible LMS, adding, “Giving teachers the choice to use their own or the curated content is excellent. The communications features are especially valuable in these ever-changing times.”

With its 360-degree design, touchscreen, and keyboard, the CTL Chromebook NL72TW can transform into a laptop, tablet, or stand-up display to perform tasks in most learning environments. “We have seen during the pandemic that Chromebooks need to have better specs to make the devices faster and to handle multiple tabs and windows, and CTL has done just that with the new NL72TW,” said T&L’s judges.


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Discovery Education’s compatible K-12 platform provides standards-aligned content, ready-touse digital lessons, intuitive quiz and activity creation tools, and professional learning resources. Standards-aligned content and resources are vetted and added to the platform regularly to help bring the outside world into teaching and learning. “This program solves both classroom teachers and technology department challenges with seamless integration into current systems,” said T&L’s judges.

Discovery Education Mystery Science

Curriculum Associates i-Ready Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready is an online program that combines assessments and insights for K-12 with effective and motivating instruction in reading and mathematics to address individual student’s needs. “This is a valuable math and reading diagnostic program for teachers as they assess and personalize learning paths for students,” said the judges. “The extra cost to districts for more access to intervention programs limits the one-stop shopping solution for schools.”

Discovery Education Discovery Education K-12 Learning Platform

Defined Defined Learning Defined Learning is an online project-based learning solution that includes a library of standards-aligned performance tasks, career videos, lessons, research resources, and more. Projects are based on real-world situations in the STEM field. The judges called it a great way to inspire STEM research, with one adding, “I found this to be a great interactive website to engage students with problem-solving real-life situations.”

Mystery Science is a K-5 science and STEM curriculum resource featuring ready-to-teach multimedia lessons. Each lesson features a series of brief videos and prompts used to guide class discussion, and concludes with an activity incorporating supplies commonly found in a classroom or at home. The judges called the videos and lessons engaging, with one adding, “I would give it a 12 out of 10 for the elementary school level.”

Edmentum Edmentum Exact Path Exact Path combines adaptive diagnostic assessments with individualized learning paths


for math, reading, and language arts. Students in need of intervention, remedial support, or even acceleration, have the opportunity to work in an age-appropriate environment to close gaps to prepare for on-grade level courses. “The ability to customize and adjust for individual student needs is a must nowadays and this does it very well,” said the judges.

Edmentum EdOptions Academy EdOptions Academy pairs research-based online curriculum with state-certified online teachers to provide a student-centered K-12 virtual learning experience. It features more than 500 courses, IEP/504 plan support and instruction, and online tutoring. The judges called it a great product for middle and high school learners, and added, “The EdOptions Academy course materials are cleanly designed, easy to navigate and use, with highquality media content.”

ExploreLearning ExploreLearning Frax Adaptive and game-based, Frax is an online system that uses the latest research-based instructional methods to create a more effective, more fun way to learn fractions. “What I really like is it limits how much time you can spend in the program per day,” said one judge. “This helps keep students from being burned out on the program and gives them something to look forward to.”

Frontline Education Frontline Education Frontline Education Student Frontline Education Student Health Management with Health Management with COVID-19 Functionality Frontline School Health Management COVID-19 Functionality Frontline includes School extensive Health andManagement improved includes extensive functionality and improved for managing functionality COVID-19 for managing related health COVID-19 data to related help schools health data handle to help tasks schools suchhandle as addressing tasks such vaccine as addressing mandates vaccine for teachers mandates andfor staff, teachers testingand unvaccinated staff, testing unvaccinated personnel regularly, personneland regularly, requiring anduniversal requiring universal masking. masking. “Of all “Of the Frontline all the Frontline sites, this sites, this is the is the most most robust robust andand useful, useful, ” said ” said T&L’s T&L’s judges. “It judges. gets real-time “It getsinformation real-time information that is accurate that isand visually accurate organized. and visually ” organized.”

Infobase The Mailbox School and District The Mailbox School & District is packed with 52,000 fun and engaging ideas, activities, and worksheets for grades preK-6 to help inspire imagination while teaching essential skills. All content is curated by a team of former teachers. “Mailbox is a wonderful tool to put in your teachers’ toolbelts,” said the judges. “The activities are created so that they do not require expensive or hard-to-find materials.”

Hazel Health Hazel Health School-Based Telehealth EiE, Museum of Science Engineering is Elementary, 2nd Edition Engineering is Elementary, 2nd Edition is an evidence-based, engineering curriculum for grades 1-5. Each standards-aligned unit consists of five hands-on and hybrid lessons requiring 8 to 10 hours of instruction. Topics include earth and space science, life science, and physical science. The judges called it a very good solution for diverse populations. “I am not usually a big fan of ‘pre-packaged’ STEM solutions, but I like this one,” added one.


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Hazel provides ondemand telehealth to students, including urgent care for acute common issues, such as pink eye or a cold, along with preventative health screenings and mental health services. It adheres to FERPA, HIPAA, and district and federal policies, and offers multilingual and culturally competent care. The T&L judges said, “Hazel Health connects students to the exact healthcare they need, when they need it, no matter if it’s socio-emotional or medical.”

IXL Learning IXL IXL is a personalized learning platform for preK-6 students featuring a curriculum that offers hundreds of bite-sized video lessons to complement math skills for grades 5-6. The diagnostic tool provides insights on students’ reading and math proficiency, while the real-time analytics help teachers make instructional decisions. The T&L judges called this a highly recommended program for diverse student populations.


bullying, and school violence. Reports are sent to designated school staff for intervention, and human review helps to determine appropriate intervention. Lightspeed Safety Specialists are trained by both threat assessment and suicide prevention experts. “This is a valuable resource for school and student safety,” said T&L’s judges. “The Safety Check with Screenshots is great for discussion with students.”

IXL Learning Rosetta Stone for Schools Rosetta Stone for Schools provides language lessons that build speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in 25 languages. The platform provides ELLs and world language learners with tailored instruction that uses visual and conceptual clues. “Rosetta Stone has been used by adult learners for a long time with success,” said the judges. “The Education program is having the same results with students, but in a safe learning environment.”

LEGO Education LEGO Education SPIKE Essential LEGO Education SPIKE Essential is a crosscurricular STEAM tool for grades 1-5. Students can build a fun and engaging creation and then bring it to life through Scratch-based coding. Lesson plans are designed with flexible scaffolding, and there are more than 50 combined hours of educational content and real-world themes for each unit. “The LEGO Spike Essential is a great addition to any new or existing STEAM club or classroom,” said the judges.

Lightspeed Systems Lightspeed Filter Lightspeed Filter is a 24/7 K-12 web filter that combines web filtering, AI learning, and a support team to block millions of harmful sites. It helps technology teams scale student safety with cloud-based, device-level protections that work across all devices, operating systems, and learning environments. “The ease of pushing to chromebooks is a benefit,” said the judges, noting that once set up, chromebooks will automatically install the software.

Lexia Learning Lexia English Language Development

LEGO Education LEGO Education Professional Development LEGO Education Professional Development is a free, personalized, competency-based learning program that helps teachers learn, practice, and master the skills needed to facilitate hands-on STEAM learning. With a research-based approach, real classroom examples, and free on-demand and selfguided learning, it offers tips and strategies to foster student success. “Districts love when companies put time in to make sure teachers can be successful,” said the judges.


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Lexia English Language Development is an adaptive blended learning speaking and listening program that supports students’ English language development through academic conversations. It integrates speaking, listening, and grammar, while emphasizing the language of content in math, science, social studies, and more. Speaking and listening lessons are in both digital and printable formats to support blended learning. “Lexia provides teachers and ELLs the tools they need for success,” said the judges.

Lightspeed Systems Lightspeed Alert Lightspeed Alert is an early-warning threat detection solution to help schools prevent suicides,

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. The hinge strap, nonscratch bezel hooks, and stay-put elastic straps with gel microbeads provide device stability, and it accommodates most standard-sized Chromebooks, MacBooks, and laptops. Said one T&L judge, “I like how slim the case is, the airflow channels in the interior, the look, ID card location, and expandable pocket.”


Move This World Move This World SEL Curriculum MobileMind MobileMind Merge Merge EDU Merge EDU is a hands-on science and STEM learning platform that features digital 3D objects and simulations. It covers subjects such as animal classification, human anatomy, and geology, and simulations include integrated quizzes and standardsaligned activity plans. “I like how students can use the cube with the Merge Explorer, Object Viewer, or Museum Viewer apps to explore the water cycle, view fossils, examine rocks, and experiment with simple machines.”

MobileMind is a cloud-based, asynchronous professional learning platform that also allows districts to consolidate PD initiatives, including edtech, curriculum, and even compliance, with access to personalized, gamified micro-courses, activity-based learning, digital badging, and reporting. “MobileMind is a great solution to deliver anytime PD on a comprehensive list of topics,” said the judges, with one adding, “I am a big fan of micro-credentialing as a motivator for teachers and this integrates it well.”

Move This World provides social-emotional learning multimedia experiences for preK-12 students, educators, and families. Content is delivered through short interactive lessons that allows students to incorporate SEL into their daily schedules. Multimedia curriculumexperiences are rooted in creative expression and participatory movement. Each course features 36 weeks of lessons. “We all need this right now,” said the judges. “Our younger learners need this foundation and guidance.”

Pathway Innovations, Inc. eGlass

MIND Research Institute ST Math ST Math is a preK-8 math instruction program that supports learning through challenging puzzles, non-routine problem solving, and formative feedback. It features on building spatial-temporal reasoning ability in students, and is currently being used by 1.7 million students and 102,000 teachers in 8,700 schools. “The approach to learning in this program goes beyond math skills,” said the judges. “It can be transferred to other content areas.”


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MobyMax MobyMax MobyMax offers a K-8 curriculum for 27 subjects, including math, reading, language, writing, science, social studies, and state test prep. The digital courseware solution can be used on any device with an internet connection and features comprehensive assessments, grading and markup tools, diagnostics, IEP reporting, messaging, and real-time progress monitoring. Said one T&L judge: “I highly recommend this product for its versatility, accessibility, and value as a long-term solution to student success.”

eGlass is an illuminated transparent writing glass with a built-in camera. Teachers write on the glass with glowing ink while facing the class, and the device flips it all around so that the text reads correctly and students can see the teacher’s face. “eGlass is THE tool for interactive classroom teaching for both in-person and hybrid or concurrent lessons simultaneously,” said the judges.

PowerGistics Core16 USB PowerGistics Core Towers are vertical device storage and charging stations that can be wall-mounted, kept on a stand, or placed on a roller to be mobile, and feature a standard antimicrobial coating. These also have a USB power strip in the spine and 16


Reading Horizons Reading Horizons Discovery

colorful shelves on which devices lay flat in their optimal position. The judges called the PowerGistics Core Towers a very well designed and put-together storage solution.

PowerSchool PowerSchool Overall

PresenceLearning Therapy Essentials

PowerSchool provides cloud-based

Therapy Essentials includes the PresenceLearning interactive platform, assessments, and training for school-based teams, and is designed to work in-person or remotely. Key features include a 100,000plus resources content library, assessments, FERPA compliance, a therapy command center, and the ability for clinicians to upload their own therapy materials. “Therapy Essentials provides tele-access to school therapists to students no matter their therapy needs,” said the judges.

PowerSchool software for K-12 education, including for administration (district finance, payroll, PowerSchool Overall PowerSchool and humanprovides resources cloud-based processes),software talent for K-12 management education, (recruiting including for and administration hiring (district activities, finance, onboarding, payroll, and job human descriptions, resources processes), and PD),talent student management information (recruiting systems, and hiring family activities, and community onboarding, communication, job descriptions, and andanalytics. PD), student The judges information said, “PowerSchool systems, family andkeeps community improving communication, and adding features and analytics. and Theprograms judges said, that“PowerSchool unify data centers keepsthat improving andprovide addingdistricts featureswith and programs easy accessthat to all unify data centers components that provide of running districts a school with easy district. access ” to all components of running a school district.”

PowerSchool PowerSchool Unified Classroom PowerSchool PowerSchool Unified Classroom is a comprehensive solution that connects PowerSchool Unified Classroom PowerSchool learning tools, Unified student Classroom performance is a data, comprehensive and social-emotional solution that learning, connects and offers learning it tools, all in student one place performance for teachers, data,students, and socialand emotional families.learning, Educators and can offers buildit data-driven all in one place forlesson teachers, plans, students, deliverand whole families. child instruction, Educators canmonitor build data-driven progress, and lesson develop plans,real-time deliver whole child learning instruction, adjustments. monitor“This progress, program, and develop when real-time used with learning the other adjustments. components “This offered program, by when Powerschool, used with the is powerful other components for parentsoffered and by Powerschool, teachers,” said is powerful T&L’s judges. for parents and teachers,” said

Promethean ActivPanel Promethean’s ActivPanel is designed specifically for educators with an always accessible menu, allowing teachers to move easily between content and resources without disrupting the lesson flow. Also included are interactive lessons, activities, and resources from educators worldwide. “The ActivPanel would be a great addition to any classroom or meeting space,” said T&L’s judges. “It is very easy to use and offers tools to help teachers facilitate their classrooms.”

Reading Horizons Discovery is core reading and spelling curriculum for grades K-3. It provides a framework for teaching basic building blocks of English, and is easily adaptable for students with dyslexia, English Language Learners, and those with special needs. “This differentiates instruction for each student to meet their needs, which is so important to get students more practice on skills they are struggling with,” said the judges.

Rise Vision Rise Vision Digital Signage Rise Vision is an intuitive, cloud-based digital signage solution that offers hundreds of free, professionally designed templates, and provides customer support. It helps users save time, engage with an audience, and communicate more clearly. The judges noted that this is priced right and works with low-cost devices, adding, “This is nice on snow days, or when people are out sick. Integrators can schedule content, exactly where and when needed.”

Savvas Learning Company Savvas Math Screener and Diagnostic Assessments for enVision Mathematics Grades K-8 The Savvas Math Screener and Diagnostic Assessments enables educators to assess and address learning needs for K-8 math students. It provides a clear picture of student proficiency at individual, classroom, and district levels, as well as actionable data to inform instruction. “In a post-pandemic introduction to the new normal in education, this product enables schools and teachers to quickly identify areas of learning loss,” said the judges.


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achievement, and prioritizes human engagement over screen time by using paired learning. Assessment, MTSS tool selection, and progress monitoring are all also included. The judges noted that when it comes to tracking RTI initiatives and interventions to guide MTSS services, this product does it quite well.

Scholastic Inc. Scholastic News Scholastic News looks at current events, science, and social studies from a grade 1-6 perspective. Each story is supported by additional multimedia content that aligns with curriculum and prepares students for assessments. “When the world went digital, Scholastic News followed suit,” said the judges. “Now in the pandemic new normal, it has adjusted, adapted, and modified its product to meet the needs of learning loss, SEL, and hybrid classrooms.”

Teaching Things OTIS for Educators Studypad SplashLearn SplashLearn is a digital, game-based learning program to support math and reading, at home or in schools. Teachers can assign, monitor, review, and assess student work through the dashboard, while a dedicated parent dashboard allows families to view activity and performance. “This tool covers almost any math concept you can think of, with lots of practice questions in each area,” said T&L’s judges.

OTIS for Educators is an online professional learning platform that offers courses on how to effectively integrate technology into instruction. With an on-demand library and calendar of live sessions, it features courses on STEM, SEL, literacy, ENL/ELL, and more. “This program is needed now more than ever,” said the judges. “With our students learning in hybrid, remote, and online learning environments, teachers, admins, and parents need technology skills too.”

SMART Lumio Lumio is a digital learning tool that turns PDFs, Google Slides, PowerPoint, and SMART Notebook files into lessons with interactive activities, games, and group workspaces. It offers game-based activities, brainstorming, and classroom conversations tools, as well as pre-built resources and activities. “Being able to put all your lesson elements in one place saves a lot of instructional time as well as helps keep students on task,” said the judges.

TeachTown TeachTown enCORE Special Education Curriculum Tales2go Inc. Tales2go Audiobooks

Sourcewell SpringMath SpringMath is an evidence-based math intervention program for students in grades K-8. It combines tools for assessment, reporting, and interventions to provide a clear path to math


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Tales2go is a subscription audiobook service with more than 14,000 titles from leading publishers. The catalog spans preK through high school, fiction and nonfiction, popular characters and series, classics, and titles in English, Spanish, and French. The judges said, “This product keeps the children interested in the task at hand so they do not become bored or lose interest in what they are reading.”

enCORE is a standards-based, adapted core curriculum for K-8 students with moderate to severe disabilities. It features grade-aligned content, high-quality literature with visual supports, and integrated technology, blending hands-on lessons with technology-facilitated instruction. One judge said, “I particularly love how they have modified literature that is taught at all grade levels so that learners with special needs can still read along with the exact same book choices as their regular education peers.”


AVer Information, Inc. DL30


Twig Education Twig Science Next Gen Twig Science Next Gen is a preK-8 STEM program aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards that features hands-on and digital investigations in which students take on the roles of real-world scientists and engineers. It also offers on-demand videos and multimedia activities. The judges called it easy to use, with one adding, “I had never heard of this before this review but was very happy with everything I read and tried.”

ViewSonic Corp. ViewSonic myViewBoard Visual Learning Suite The ViewSonic myViewBoard Visual Learning Software Suite is a collection of tools that allows teachers to build lessons and find/share content. The software supports real-time wireless collaboration, screen mirroring/sharing, and digital whiteboarding. T&L’s judges appreciated the ability to have tools that are software agnostic and can support virtual and hybrid environments, and called the device management features “very nice.”


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Accelerate Learning Inc STEMscopes Science Developed by Accelerate Learning Inc. in partnership with Rice University, STEMscopes Science is a K-12 science curriculum built to Next Generation Science Standards and individual state standards. With a digital format, print materials and exploratory hands-on kits, the blended curriculum helps students learn through inquiry and investigation. “Highly recommended as a STEM solution, in both in-person and remote learning environments,” our judges said.

Acer Acer TravelMate Spin B3 The new TravelMate Spin B3 convertible Windows laptop (TMB311R-32) is a convertible Windows education notebook that features an HD touchscreen, full HD webcam, and Intel WiFi 6, the latest Intel Celeron or Pentium processors, military-grade compliant durability, a spill-resistant keyboard, and a moisture-resistant touchpad. The judges called it “a great tool that allows for learning and creativity,” praising its durability, size, and ability to hold a charge.

Designed for the modern classroom, the DL30 enables teachers to move about the room while the camera follows to engage both in-class and remote learners. Features include AI auto tracking, 12x optical zoom, and PoE+ with USB connectivity. “This unit is a nice upgrade for those who need a little more from their camera,” said our judges, who especially liked the tracking capabilities, with no need to wear a tracking pendant.

AVer Information, Inc. M11-8M The AVer M11-8M document camera is designed to meet the needs of changing learning environments. Offering HDMI and plug-andplay USB power and connectivity, the M11-8M allows sharing in the classroom or through video conferencing platforms for distance learning. T&L’s judges liked the swiveling head and said, “The compatibility with the most popular operating systems is great. Also, the threeyear warranty is generous.”

Boxlight MimioConnect Blended Learning Platform MimioConnect Blended Learning Platform is a turnkey solution that can be integrated with existing technology including iPads, Chromebooks, interactive projectors, and touch displays. Key features include: whiteboarding tools; classroom management tools; over 10,000 premade lessons; built-in video conferencing and single sign-on with major LMS such as Google, Microsoft, Schoology, Canvas, Moodle, and Blackboard. Our judges called it “wonderful,” citing the built-in tools and ability to connect with any device. ¶


Boxlight MyStemKits

developed research-based training solutions that promote technology integration, increased efficiency, and improved outcomes for teachers and students. Training can be facilitated in-person, virtual, or a combination of both depending on a school or district’s needs. Our judges liked the clean online interface as well as the abundant offerings. is the online platform for all Boxlight STEM products, including ready-toprint 3D models, STEAM design challenges, virtual STEM kits, and lesson plans for the MyBot robotics system and Labdisc portable sensors. MyStemKits turnkey curriculum bundles include (where applicable): teacher guide, student handouts and assessments, answer keys, programming and design procedures and assembly guides. “These 3D printed kits can bring a new level of understanding to more learners,” said the judges.¶

Clear Touch RL400 PTZ Camera

CatchOn CatchOn CatchOn is a data analytics tool that enables district leaders to see the apps and online resources students are using on any district device, both in and out of the classroom. The CatchOn platform turns raw usage data into insights that enable district leaders to make data-driven decisions. T&L judges called it a “three-pronged solution for challenged tech directors.”

Aiming to maximize the potential of the virtual experience, this Ultra HD camera provides full body tracking, 20x optical zoom, a wide variety of programmed presets, and the ability to operate effectively in low light situations. Our judges praised its excellent performance and deemed it “highly recommended.”

Boxlight ProColor interactive display The touch-driven 4K UHD screen can function as an interactive whiteboard, Android PC, and collaboration tool, and includes 20 singlepoint touch or 10 dual-touch hand gestures; MimioStudio classroom software, MimioConnect Blended Learning Platform, OKTOPUS software; MimioMarket app store; content mirroring and the ability to control and report on the operation of multiple displays. “This new panel has great color, tools, and is priced right,” said &L’s judges.

Boxlight-EOS Boxlight-EOS PD The Boxlight-EOS Education philosophy is based on three fundamentals to improve teaching and learning: teacher motivation, teacher effectiveness, and purposeful engagement. Boxlight-EOS has


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CTL CTL Chromebook PX11-E ClassLink ClassLink ClassLink Suite ClassLink offers instant access to apps and ClassLink Suite ClassLink files with offers single instant sign-on, access class torostering, apps and files with automate single sign-on, accountclass provisioning, rostering,and automate account actionable provisioning, analytics.and “Classlink actionable is aanalytics. great “Classlink product,is” said a great T&L product, judges,” said adding, T&L“The judges, adding, ability“The to set ability up the to entire set upsuite the entire makessuite makes provisioning provisioning accounts, accounts, rostering, rostering, and and SSOSSO seamless. seamless. ” ”

The CTL Chromebook PX11E features Intel Jasper Lake processors that are up to 35% more powerful than previous generation processors. Responsive WiFi 6 ensures a secure and reliable connection while minimizing battery drain, while the lightweight, slim, and rugged design allows it to be used anywhere. T&L judges liked the processor speed, 4GB of RAM, and affordable price, and predicted it would help conserve precious instructional time.


Edmentum Apex Courses

Discovery Education Discovery Education K-12 Learning Platform Connecting educators to standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, quiz and activity creation tools, and professional learning resources, Discovery Education’s K-12 platform provides educators the resources to facilitate engaging, daily instruction in any learning environment. “This program solves both classroom teachers and technology department challenges with seamless integration into current systems,” said the judges. “Its more than 2000 curated customizable lessons are invaluable for teachers and students.”

Apex Learning Courses provide digital curriculum—in English, math, science, social studies, CTE, electives, and world languages—and program management to help accelerate learning for students in grades 6-12. Courses are available in core, AP, and Honors formats and include interactive instruction, embedded assessments, practice, and a variety of activity types and varied opportunities to demonstrate comprehension. T&L’s judges praised its versatility across fully virtual school, hybrid, or in-person self-guided learning.

Edmentum Apex Tutorials Tutorials provide a catalog of standards-aligned, digital curricula that provide teachers with an effective way to identify student needs. With a pretest, adaptive remediation, on-grade direct instruction (Learn It), practice (Try It), review (Review It), and assessment format (Test it), Tutorials provide a comprehensive, personalized learning experience. “The data and feedback it gives both the students and teachers are valuable for advancing and remediating content based on student answers,” said our judges.

Edmentum Courseware

DisplayNote Montage Montage is a wireless screen-sharing tool that allows teachers and students to share their screen to the main classroom display from any device. Montage doesn’t require any hardware, and there are no cables to manage. Our judges said, “The price point is affordable and does not lock you into a contract. The security, sharing, and whiteboard features have the tools the teachers need while allowing them to utilize the software on their devices.”


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Courseware provides more than 400 customizable, standards-aligned courses that help educators achieve first-time credit and credit recovery needs, and prepare students for post-secondary education and the workforce. Aligned to state and national standards, Courseware has courses covering core, elective, CTE, world language, and advanced or technical education subjects. The judges liked its flexibility, and highlighted the inclusion of CTE subject matter as a strong point.

Edmentum Exact Path Exact Path combines adaptive diagnostic assessments with individualized learning paths to promote academic growth in math, reading,

and language arts. Educators can diagnose and target individual student needs and analyze growth, progress, and usage via data visualizations and reports. “This product hits the target for intervention and enrichment. It is a ‘gap filler’ for remedial through advanced student needs,” said T&L’s judges.”It’s a great diagnostic tool.”

Edmentum EdOptions Academy EdOptions Academy pairs research-based online curriculum with state-certified online teachers for a K-12-plus virtual learning experience. The platform is especially useful for students who require more flexible schedules, are hospitalized or homebound, and those who have behavioral needs. “The EdOptions Academy course materials are cleanly designed, easy to navigate and use, with high quality media content,” said our judges, adding that it’s a “great product for middle and high school learners.”

Education Advanced, Inc. BuildYourOwnCurriculum (BYOC) BuildYourOwnCurriculum is a curriculum and instruction solution connecting learning objectives to a continuous cycle of development, delivery, assessment, and refinement across teachers, classrooms, and grade-levels in K-12 districts. “This tool will help teachers make sure their curriculum is meeting the needs to close the gaps that the [pandemic] learning loss has created,” said T&L’s judges.

Education Advanced, Inc. Cardonex Cardonex is a scheduling and staff planning technology that integrates with existing SIS solutions and allows schools to build master schedules and staffing plans. “With these features, this product can change the paradigm in master scheduling,” said our judges, who were impressed by the automated class size feature, as well as the ability to match the best staffing for the situation.


Education Advanced, Inc. TestHound TestHound is a comprehensive assessment scheduling and resource management tool that integrates data from disparate systems into a single platform to coordinate student assessments. “Test Hound provides the help school districts need in coordinating the massive amount of assessments that are given each year,” the judges said, noting that it seamlessly links with most SIS as well as most assessment vendors.

Gale, part of Cengage Group Gale In Context: For Educators Gale In Context: For Educators is a lesson planning tool that enables educators to find and personalize digital learning content, plan activities for remote or in-person environments, and foster an equitable and culturally responsive classroom. “Gale in Context makes it easy for teachers to come to class equipped and prepared with a plethora of lesson plans and resources for almost any subject,” the judges said.

Flinn Scientific PAVO PAVO by Flinn Scientific is an all-in-one platform for school district science programs that offers customizable labs across all subject areas at the middle school, high school, and AP levels, giving educators the tools to support digital and hands-on learning, facilitate inquiry-based exploration, and differentiate instruction. The judges praised PAVO, noting its comprehensive content and safety lessons, AR and VR, and the free PD offerings.

Frontline FrontlineEducation Education Professional ProfessionalGrowth Growth/ / My MyGrowth GrowthJourney Journey Frontline Frontline Professional Professional Growth Growth is is a data-driven a data-driven system system offering offering individual individual PD PD plans plans and and targeted targeted learning learning opportunities. opportunities. The The solution solution consists consists ofof professional professional learning learning management, management, employee employee evaluation evaluation management, management, and and learning learning and and collaboration collaboration resources, resources, which which collectively collectively assist assist educators educators inin personal personal development development planning and planning collaboration. and collaboration. “This program “This is extremely program is valuable extremely as avaluable transparent, as a transparent, supportive resource supportive and evaluation resource tool and evaluation for administrators tool for and administrators educators,” said andT&L’s educators, judges” said T&L’s judges. .

IXL Learning IXL IXL is a personalized learning platform for grades 6-12. The curriculum offers more than 8,500 skills that automatically adapt to each student’s level of understanding, while the real-time diagnostic provides up-to-the-minute insights on students’ reading and math proficiency. Our judges said, “This program is valuable for teachers to assess grade-level skills of students in ELA and Math.”

Jupiter Jupiter GameSalad, Inc. GameSalad for Education GameSalad combines a visual programming platform with a standards-aligned curriculum to teach computer science foundations and game design. Students build on Chromebooks or anywhere a modern browser is available, and can play games on their mobile devices. “This program solves the need for schools to offer more coding courses in schools,” said the judges, noting that the program can be taught by teachers with limited or no coding experience.

Jupiter is an all-in-one K-12 LMS and SIS that offers an online gradebook, interactive, engaging content and parental communications. Teachers can monitor student progress, collaborate on curriculum, and spend less time on grading and data entry. Our judges were particularly impressed with the grading, communications, and data integration features.

HUE HUE HD Pro The HUE HD Pro is a multipurpose USB camera featuring full HD 1080p image and video resolution, a high-quality, noisecanceling microphone, manual focus, and LED lights. “This is a terrific affordable document camera,” said our judges.”The plug and play, compatibility, and portability are great.” The judges added that it would be easy for any users to operate.

Liberty AV Solutions DigitaLinx HDMI & USB-C HDBaseT Wall Plate Extension Set w/USB This extender set auto switches and transmits HDMI or USB-C audio and video, analog audio, USB 2.0 High Speed data signals, and RS232 over single category 6 twisted pair cable. It is HDMI 1.4b and HDCP 2.2 compliant. T&L’s judges said it made managing classroom cables much easier and called it a “simple but powerful wall plate.”


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MAXCases Explorer 4 Work-In Case Mackin MackinVIA MackinVIA is a free digital content management system that provides schools, students, and educators with access to their collection of ebooks, read-alongs, audiobooks, databases, and videos. MackinVIA provides access to more than 3 million multimedia digital resources. “This product has a great model for learning: it lets the school curate its own content” said our judges, adding that “it solves a problem for those of us that are still in a hybrid or virtual situation.”

The MAXCases Explorer 4 Work-In Case with Pocket is a protective case that doubles as a carrying bag. Features include a weather-resistant exterior, improved stability and stay-put elastic straps. Available in 11” and 14” sizes to accommodate most Chromebooks, MacBooks, and laptops. T&L’s judges liked the slim profile, interior airflow channels, the ID card location, and expandable pocket, and called it one of the best they’ve ever seen.

MobileMind MobileMind ManagedMethods ManagedMethods ManagedMethods is a Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 cybersecurity, student safety, and compliance platform for K-12 school districts. The platform monitors district Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 email, file sharing, chat, and video apps 24/7/365, and empowers district IT admins with full visibility and control of their cloud environment. T&L’s judges said, “This program is critical for school IT teams to protect student data and monitor student safety.”

Mango Languages Mango Classroom Mango Classroom is the language education solution that bridges the gap between textbook learning and real-world conversations. Mango aligns with ACTFL proficiency standards and the 5Cs of the National World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. The judges called the courses “well-designed,” and particularly liked how the multiple course offerings will help districts expand course offerings for students, even when a languagequalified teacher isn’t available.


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MobileMind’s cloud-based, asynchronous learning platform allows districts to consolidate all of their PD initiatives, including educational technology, curriculum, and compliance. MobileMind delivers anytime, anywhere access to personalized, gamified micro-courses, activity-based learning, digital badging, and reporting. Our judges called it “flexible and comprehensive,” and said, “This gives teachers the on-demand solution they need for PD.”

Move This World Move This World SEL Curriculum Move This World provides socialemotional learning experiences for preK-12 students, educators, and families. The platform allows educators and families to easily incorporate short interactive SEL lessons into their students’ schedules every day. “Move This World is a comprehensive social and emotional learning curriculum for students of all ages that begins with the early childhood years and progresses through grade 12,” said the judges.NetSupport Inc.

NetSupport Inc. is a cloud-based classroom management and teaching platform. Teachers can broadcast screen and audio; interact with students on surveys, questions, chats and help requests; and use ‘allowed’ and ‘restricted’ lists of applications/ websites to keep everyone on task. Our judges said, “This product has a very good suite of tools that allows teachers to deliver content as well as control student devices during direct instructions.”

NoRedInk Co. NoRedInk NoRedInk’s online writing curriculum includes diagnostic tools, skills practice, and scaffolded writing activities. The program engages students based on their interests, boosts their skills with adaptive practice, and guides them through the writing and revision process. T&L’s judges said, “NoRedInk’s SEL writing prompts are aligned with strategies teachers can use to support SEL in the classroom such as affirming identities, building community, creating emotional safety, fostering academic mindsets, and promoting academic reflection.”

Pathway Innovations, Inc. eGlass eGlass is an illuminated transparent writing glass with a built-in camera that allows teachers to write while facing their students. “eGlass is THE tool for interactive classroom teaching for both in-person and hybrid or concurrent lessons simultaneously!” the judges said. “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 lessons in real-time is amazing.”


PowerSchool PowerSchool PowerSchool PowerSchool is a provider of cloudPowerSchool

Piper Learning, Inc. Piper Make Piper Make blends hardware kits with cloud-based, drag-and-drop coding software to allow students to explore building with the Raspberry Pi Pico Micocontroller. The interactive dashboard guides students to learn about prototyping design, math and science, engineering design methods, computational thinking and coding with Blockly. “The possibilities of Piper Make are endless and will help get students excited about not only building with technology but excited about coding,” said our judges.

PowerGistics Core16 USB PowerGistics Core Towers are vertical device storage and charging stations. The Core16 USB features a USB power strip in the spine, and 16 colorful shelves. The innovative TechStop is placed in one of three locations to keep devices at the front of the shelves, making device access easier. T&L’s judges liked the included warranty and charging cables, adding, “These are very well designed and put-together storage solutions.”


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PowerSchool based software is a for provider K-12 education, of cloud-based software including for solutions K-12 education, to streamline including district solutions toadministration, streamline district manage administration, recruiting and manage hiring recruiting activities,and provide hiringteachers activities, with provide personalized teachers with learning personalized tools, manage learning student tools, manage information student information and provide and actionable provide actionable insights across insights all across key aspects all key aspects of school ofand school district and district operations. operations. “PowerSchool “PowerSchool keeps improving keeps improving and addingand adding features features and programs, and programs, ” said”our saidjudges, our judges, who who especially especially liked liked thethe comprehensive comprehensive suite suite of of solutions solutions toto help help districts districts manage manage allall aspects aspects of administration. of administration.

PowerSchool PowerSchool PowerSchool Unified PowerSchool Classroom Unified Classroom PowerSchool PowerSchool Unified Unified Classroom Classroom is is aa comprehensive comprehensive solution solution that that connects connects learning tools, learning student tools, performance student performance data, and socialdata, emotional and social-emotional learning in order learning to help in order educators to deliver help educators personalized deliver whole personalized child instruction. whole Unified child instruction. Classroom brings Unifiedtogether Classroom solutions including brings together Unified solutions Classroom including Schoology Unified Learning, Unified Classroom Classroom Schoology Performance Learning,Matters, UnifiedUnified Classroom Classroom Special Performance Programs, Matters, and Kickboard, Unified provider Classroom of K-12 Special education Programs, behavior and Kickboard, management solutions. providerThe of K-12 judges education called it behavior “powerful for students, management parents, solutions. and teachers. The judges ” called it “powerful for students, parents, and teachers.”

activities, quizzes, and immersive resources. ActivPanel now includes increased personalization functionality and enhanced security. “The ActivPanel would be a great addition to any classroom or meeting space,” our judges said. “The panel makes it easy to switch between applications, which saves precious instructional time in the classroom.”

Rex Academy Technology Learning Platform Rex Academy is a browser-based platform for computer science learning offering a self-paced curriculum, easy integration, professional development, remote teachers, and 24/7 live learning support. “Rex Academy will help close the gap of the shortage of coders in the world today,” our judges said, noting that the company offers grants to selected Title I schools.

Savvas Learning Company Experience Physics Experience Physics is a new physics curriculum that is organized around real-world, observable events to drive student engagement. Features include hands-on labs, digital simulations, virtual labs, data analysis and modeling documents, and engineering projects. “This product will give teachers a complete physics curriculum that will spark students’ interest and help motivate them to learn,” said T&L’s judges.

Promethean ActivPanel

Savvas Learning Company Savvas Math Screener and Diagnostic Assessments for enVision Mathematics Grades K-8

An interactive display for educators, the ActivPanel includes Promethean’s lesson delivery software, which keeps students engaged in interactive lessons,

Savvas Math Screener and Diagnostic Assessments enable educators to address learning needs for K-8 math students. Our judges were impressed, saying, “This adaptive assessment containing 30 items identifies each student’s level of mathematical


concepts, adjusts to the individual’s proficiencies in real time and provides a range of math problems that are on-, above-, and below-grade level.”

toward a college degree, and overcome obstacles in their learning. Courses are self-paced, pedagogically sound, and designed to make the learning process simple and engaging for students. “This product offers users of all types quick and easy access to valuable content,” our judges said.

15,000 expert tutors covering 300 subjects. TutorMe partners with K-12 schools and colleges to help address educational equity by providing students at participating institutions with free access to world-class academic support regardless of their location, income, or ability. “This product is solving challenges that school districts have with providing students with real-time accessible educational support,” T&L’s judges said.

SchoolStatus SchoolStatus Communication Platform SchoolStatus is a SaaS platform for K12 districts that enables two-way, secure communication between school and home. The platform pairs student data analytics with communication tools that enable educators to have data-informed conversations and build meaningful relationships with stakeholders. “SchoolStatus can become your district mass communication instrument all the way down to your parent/teacher communication,” our judges said.

Shmoop Heartbeat

Swivl Teams by Swivl Teams by Swivl is a video-based, FERPA and COPPA compliant software platform that provides coaching for schools and districts with asynchronous video observations, opportunities for self-reflection, peer feedback, and rubric evaluations. “This product solves a problem in a safe and secure manner,” said the judges, adding that “being able to get and give feedback in a ‘safe space’ is really nice.”

The Shmoop Heartbeat provides insights into students’ perspective, emotional state, interests, background, and other factors that impact their academic outcomes. The tool guides teachers and administration on how to better approach students, classrooms, schools, or entire districts to improve learning outcomes. “This is a muchneeded tool,’’ the judges said. “Giving already overtasked staff a tool to help and analyze their student’s emotional well-being is invaluable.”

TeacherMade TeacherMade PRO

TutorMe TutorMe is an online learning platform that offers video-based courses to help students navigate challenging material, earn dual credit

TutorMe is an online learning platform that connects students worldwide with more than

UWorld UWorld Learning Tools for AP Courses UWorld Learning Tools for AP Courses provide teachers with time-saving applications of the standards and objectives outlined in AP courses as well as data on student progress. Realistic College Board-level questions and explanations ensure students understand and retain information, while also developing valuable critical-thinking skills. Our judges said, “This AP prep program works with teachers to incorporate both practice questions and exams into daily lessons.”

ViewSonic Corp. ViewSonic ELITE XG2431 Gaming Monitor

TeacherMade lets users create interactive digital worksheets from any PDF or Doc in just a few clicks. Additional features include autograding, multimedia options, customized feedback tools, and integration with Google Classroom, Schoology, or Canvas. Our judges admired the platform, and spotlighted the ability to add multimedia elements as well as the cost savings for paper and ink.

The ViewSonic ELITE XG2431 gaming monitor is a 24-inch display that features a 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and AMD FreeSync Premium technology. The monitor features a frameless design and wide viewing angles, making it ideal for esports environments and curricula. “This monitor would be a great addition to any school’s esports program,” said the judges.


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Vivi Vivi Engineered by educators, Vivi is a wireless presenting platform built exclusively for the classroom. Vivi is designed to be the invisible backbone of the teacher and student learning conversation, enhancing collaboration, control, and creativity. “I like the features and simplicity of the interface,” said our judges. “The management platform makes it very easy for IT to update and track usage as well.”


Brainybot gives instructors the flexibility to use an AI chatbot to deliver on-demand, customized support to every student anytime, anywhere. The tool comes with templates that can be adapted to any professor’s course content and the bot adapts to the communication style and learning needs of each student while offering detailed analytics. The judges noted that it works on demand – providing students help when they need it.

Wacom One by Wacom The One by Wacom pen tablet brings a digital pen to PCs, Macs, and most Chromebooks. The pressuresensitive pen provides a familiar, pen-on-paper feel to digital drawing and writing. It gives teachers and students the ability to easily write, annotate, create, collaborate, study, and teach. “This is a versatile and affordable tablet,” the judges said. “The compatibility with PC, MAC, and Chromebooks is great.”


ClassLink ClassLink Suite ClassLink Suite offers instant access to apps and files with single sign-on, streamlines class rostering, automated account provisioning, and actionable analytics. The judges liked how easy to use the product is, noting that the higher education version reduces the amount of IT support that is needed for student access to their school apps and programs.

Xello Xello

Crestron Crestron Flex

Xello is an online K-12 college, career and future readiness program that helps students to better understand themselves, identify potential career options and plan for the future. By using Xello’s discovery-based model, students acquire real-world skills, knowledge and confidence to prepare both for life after high school and for the workforce. Our judges said, “Having students start out at the elementary level will help guide them through high school graduation.”

Crestron Flex is a portfolio of video conferencing solutions that foster collaborative learning environments. New or existing learning spaces can be outfitted for remote participation or hybrid environments, and the cloud-provisioning service allows IT managers to deploy and manage thousands of devices from one place. Judges noted this makes distance learning management easier on IT departments and also allows end-users to have everything they need to host meetings and deliver instruction.

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Learning To Go Brainybot

Pathway Innovations, Inc. eGlass eGlass is an illuminated transparent writing glass with a built-in camera. Teachers write on the glass with glowing ink while facing the class, and the device flips it all around so that the text reads correctly and students can see the teacher’s face. “eGlass is THE tool for interactive classroom teaching for both in-person and hybrid or concurrent lessons simultaneously,” said the judges.


Redshelf RedShelf eReader & Content Delivery System (CDS) Redshelf specializes in digital textbooks and its cloud-based eReader offers nearly a million titles and is available online or offline. It includes a range of built-in study tools and accessibility features. The distribution software enables users to manage all training and course materials via a single platform. The judges were particularly impressed with the eReader and the content delivery system’s ease of integration with both SIS and LMS systems.

Samsung SamsungElectronics ElectronicsAmerica America 24” 24” Webcam Webcam Monitor Monitor S4S4 ThTh e 24” e 24” Webcam Webcam Monitor Monitor is designed is designed to to suitsuit thethe needs needs of of hybrid hybrid educators educators andand learners learners with a built-in with a built-in webcam,webcam, speakersspeakers and microphone, and a 2.0-megapixel microphone, aFHD 2.0-megapixel camera, and FHD an infrared camera, camera. and anThinfrared e S4 alsocamera. featuresThan e S4 ergonomic also features Height Adjustable an ergonomic StandHeight that pivots, Adjustable tilts, and Stand swivels. Ththat e judges pivots, praised tilts, and the monitor swivels. Th ande judges noted its built praised in features the monitor would and save noted time troubleshooting its built in disconnected features would speakers save time and webcams. troubleshooting disconnected speakers and webcams.

and HDR10 capabilities. The flagship model, the Smart speakers Monitor and M7, HDR10 comes capabilities. in a largerTh 43-inch e size. Thfleagship judges model, were impressed the Smart with Monitor the quality M7, of screen comes and inspeakers a larger 43-inch that come size. with Thethis judges monitor as were well as impressed image quality with the of the quality monitor of screen itself.and speakers that come with this monitor as well as image quality of the monitor itself.

Sharp NEC Display Solutions of America PA804UL The PA804UL is a large-space projector that impressed the judges with its powerful 8,200 lumens of brightness. T&L’s judges also praised the projector for its use of laser technology and sealed LCD cooling system, which makes it a very low-maintenance projector. The device’s ability to project in 3D, as well as on geometric surfaces, also stood out to judges.

Shure MV5C Home Office Microphone The MV5C Home Office Microphone was designed to support the needs of remote learning. The digital microphone provides studioquality audio with a directional response, and its compact design ensures it doesn’t dominate the frame when teaching over video. The judges noted it was “extremely easy to set up,” and praised its headphone integration, the speech enhancement mode for clear audio, and a feature that enables you to hear yourself in your audio feed.

Sonic Foundry/ Mediasite Mediasite Video Platform

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Mediasite is an automated and scalable video platform that offers more efficient video delivery, smaller file sizes, accessibility updates, new integrations with web conferencing systems, and a new player and editor. The judges praised its many features and said it was further enhanced by integrations with the most popular LMS and SIS systems as well as its ability to record analytics.

TutorMe TutorMe TutorMe is an online learning platform that connects students worldwide with qualified tutors on-demand. The platform works with more than 15,000 expert tutors who cover 300 subjects and provide 24/7 academic support. The two-way virtual tutor sessions feature a text editor, code editor, two-way audio/video chat, screen sharing, and a virtual whiteboard. The judges praised the service’s round-the-clock access to live tutors.

ViewSonic Corp. ViewSonic LD135-181 Direct View LED Display The ViewSonic LD135-151 is a 35-inch all-in-one display built for auditoriums and lecture halls. The device features multiple pre-assembled and pre-calibrated panels that can be installed by two people in less than two hours and comes with screen sharing software to collaborate and wirelessly share content. The judges were impressed with the beautiful design and high-end display capabilities as well as its ease of installation and servicing and wireless screen sharing capabilities.


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OVERCOMING DIGITAL DESERTS: THE BIRTH OF BRONX DIGITAL EQUITY COALITION To help overcome the digital desert in the Bronx, a charity organization gave away more than 3000-plus devices and brought community stakeholders together. By Erik Ofgang



efore the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Bronx was known to be home to some of New York City’s largest digital deserts, neighborhoods where many people do not have internet access at home.


As the Bronx Community Foundation reports: • The Bronx has the lowest broadband adoption rates of any borough and the disparities are even more pronounced at the neighborhood level, with 38% of The Bronx not having access to broadband. • Nearly 1 in 5 teens cannot finish their homework because of the digital divide. • Roughly one-third of households with children ages 6-17 and whose

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annual income falls below $30,000 a year do not have a high-speed Internet connection at home. esign and print their own coral pieces. “Then we did a coral wall, and it still is in my classroom,” she said. She added that students continue to find new and amazing ways to utilize 3D printing. These already-significant problems were amplified during the early days of the pandemic. “Students couldn’t learn from home, people couldn’t do remote work,” says Desmon Lewis, co-founder of The Bronx Community Foundation. Desmon Lewis and his brother, Derrick Lewis, launched The Bronx Community Foundation in 2017. The siblings grew up in affordable



housing in the South Bronx and formed the organization as a way to help support the many nonprofits already doing important work in that community by fostering more collaboration and organization between them. The foundation was designed to be flexible to the community’s needs. In the aftermath of the devastating Bronx fire that killed 17 people, the organization set up a page for donations. Back in the Spring of 2020, the organization shifted its focus to COVID relief, as the borough was particularly hard hit by the virus with New York City’s highest rates of hospitalizations and deaths. “We launched something called the Bronx Community Relief Effort,” Desmon Lewis says.




The Bronx Community Relief Effort’s response to COVID included efforts to help facilitate internet access for more students. “We galvanized a group of about 20 organizations from all areas of the community, education institutions, nonprofits, digital equity organizations, health institutions, libraries,” Lewis says. “The Foundation brought all them together under the umbrella of the Bronx Community Relief Effort. And we started hosting these meetings every Wednesday morning, and we would all get on a call and we would share the challenges that we were facing, and most importantly, try to come up with solutions.” These meetings helped community members realize just how significant the challenges posed by digital deserts were and also helped various stakeholders work together to find solutions and provide technology to students who needed it. “We’ve distributed and acquired over 3,000-plus, laptops, Chromebooks and MiFi devices. And then we also paid for internet to keep students learning,” Desmon Lewis says. “We worked with public schools, and local private schools in the Bronx, to really get technology into hands.” Attendance at the weekly meeting grew from representatives of 20 organizations to representatives from more than 60 organizations and the work the group did and continues to do was formalized into the Bronx Digital Equity Coalition.

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OVERCOMING THE DIGITAL DESERT: NEXT STEPS Desmon Lewis says that digital deserts in the Bronx are primarily formed by three factors, lack of availability, lack of affordability, and lack of training to use digital devices. Many efforts were made by schools throughout the pandemic to address the first two problems and get students without access to internet-ready devices. While those problems persist, going forward a major concern of Lewis is making sure the training element is in place. “Getting students comfortable and having learning about these technologies be a part the standard curriculum, and to teach students the benefits of learning these skills and where that can take them – I think that’s still a major gap,” he says. He adds part of overcoming this digital learning gap will be fostering better connections between institutions of higher education and K-12 schools in the Bronx so that younger students know about the college majors and jobs that are available and the skills they need to develop to pursue those careers. The Bronx Community Foundation has a new president and CEO, Dr. Meisha Ross Porter, former New York City Schools Chancellor. “Having led the largest school system in the country, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table to help us hone in on the needs of our students,” Lewis says. “So we’re extremely excited about what that could bring for the community in 2022.”

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TIPS FOR ASYNCHRONOUS TEACHING FROM AN AWARD-WINNING EDUCATOR Susan Whitman recently won The Prelock Online Teaching Award at the University of Vermont for her health class. She shares tips for building an effective asynchronous course. By Erik Ofgang


hen Susan Whitman first agreed to teach an online asynchronous class at the University of Vermont back in 2019, she was worried. A College of Nursing and Health Sciences lecturer at UVM, Whitman’s first experience with asynchronous learning had come as a student back in the 1990s when she’d taken biochemistry “online.” For that course, the professor mailed VHS tapes of dry lectures to students, who would then be tested on the material. The experience was the opposite of interactive or effective. “I learned nothing from this,” says Whitman, a physician assistant and national board-certified health and wellness coach, who also mentors health coaching students at Duke Integrative Medicine and The University of Vermont. She decided that her online asynchronous course, “Intro into Integrative Health” (HLTH101), would be different. She had taken a series of self-paced module courses that dealt with online teaching pedagogy offered by UVM, and then incorporated what she learned into her approach. The result is a class in which students engage with her and the material, in some ways more deeply than in her in-person classes. Whitman, who continues to teach the course, was recently awarded The Prelock Online Teaching Award, a UVM award for superior online asynchronous teaching. Below she shared some of the strategies she employs to connect with students, many of whom she has never talked with synchronously.



Even though Whitman had taught “Intro into Integrative Health” previously in person, she realized that she couldn’t recreate what she’d done before online. “Teaching in person and teaching online are two very different things,” she says. “You can’t just take an in-person class and say, ‘Oh, I’m just going to do this online,’ especially in an asynchronous format. It’s really got to be different.” While it may seem daunting for any instructor, particularly an experienced one to start from scratch with a course, Whitman has learned many principles for online design that helped guide her through the process.


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Whitman was able to build an effective asynchronous course because she focuses on backward course design, she says. This instructional strategy has instructors starting with the learning objectives they want to impart and building assessments and assignments from those learning goals. “For my intro to integrative health class, I want them to think deeply about our healthcare system. I want them to try out and put integrativehealth practices into their own lives,” Whitman says.


INCORPORATE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ASSIGNMENT AND RESPONSES THAT REQUIRE STUDENTS TO CONNECT MATERIAL TO THEIR LIVES To support her learning goals for the course, Whitman assigns a variety of material, including TED talks, meditation apps, scientific journal articles, podcasts, and YouTube videos. “Students really like variation, they don’t want to just listen to a lecture,” she says. She has students respond to the material in various ways, including a weekly journal, and by posting to a discussion board hosted on Yellowdig, an LMS plugin for managing discussions and other student comments. Whitman also encourages students to share their experiences with class material. If the week’s topic included chiropractic care, for instance, she’d ask students, “Have you ever experienced chiropractic care yourself? What was that like for you?” In the weekly journal, students are asked to talk about their self-care practices for the week. Since the class is online, Whitman believes students are more open to sharing their experiences, especially in their journals, which are only read by Whitman and her teaching assistants. This helps them connect with her and the course material more deeply.





To help students get a sense of the instructor’s personality and presence in the class, Whitman posts a five-minute video each week. “This is often me on my phone just sitting there saying, ‘Hey guys, so great to see you this week. These are some of the fun things I saw on the discussion board. This is what we’re going to be talking about this week. This is my dog behind me, and we’re going for a walk today. What is it that you’re doing for self-care today?’” Whitman says. “I found authenticity really helps with that connection. I teach health coaching as well, and in health coaching, we’re all about trying to help people find connections with people. I find that I can connect with my students by being me.”

Initially, Whitman scheduled three online office hour sessions into the course. These sessions were an open invitation for students to come to talk about integrative health with her, but out of the class of 40 students, maybe three met with her, and these meetings were just quick ‘Hellos.’ While it’s important to be available to meet with students online, Whitman is able to foster connections without those meetings actually taking place since the nature of the course involves students opening up and writing personal things. However, even when teaching less inherently personal courses, it is almost always a good idea for instructors to encourage students to connect course material to their lives. Whitman finds doing this in her course helps the students learn, grow, and connect with her and one another, even online. “Something fascinating about this class for me was that I didn’t ever meet them, yet I felt like I knew them,” Whitman says.


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Building connections in an asynchronous course can be difficult, Whitman says. To actively do so, she uses the time she would normally dedicate to class prep and sessions for direct student interactions. “Each week I spend that two hours that I might have spent in class with them, reading their journals, responding to their journals, and really having them feel like they’re heard in this class,” she says. “And I think that connection makes a big difference. I go on to their discussion board and say, ‘Oh, wow, that’s such a beautiful photo of whatever they posted.’” This can be time-consuming although building a strong foundation for the course in the planning stages helps alleviate some time constraints once the semester starts. Plus, the response from students makes it worthwhile, Whitman says.