Fifty of the best ed-tech products for schools


MyLearningPlan is a professional development management and evaluation system that offers fast and easy planning, tracking, and evaluation of all kinds of professional learning in one comprehensive, online system.

“Our district uses MyLearningPlan to organize professional development activities,” said Jennifer Brucker, coordinator of professional development for Pennsylvania’s Methacton School District. “The activities are displayed in an electronic catalog for teachers to enroll in for an in-service day, flex hours, and/or district training. MyLearningPlan then enables an administrator to confirm attendance and send the activity to the state for Act 48 credit to be given. The process is effortless! We also use MyLearningPlan to run district reports to determine where we have spent our federal funds for professional learning. … Overall, MyLearningPlan has changed the way we do business in our district.”

My Big Campus (Lightspeed Systems)

My Big Campus offers a safe, monitored environment for students to blog, hold discussions, and collaborate on group projects online. A standalone version is available for individual teachers or professional networks, while a district-wide version integrates with Lightspeed’s Web Filter to offer cross-district sharing of resources and additional management and reporting features.

“We are using My Big Campus in a variety of ways,” said Sandy Bader, technology training specialist for the Unified School District of De Pere, Wis. “Teachers are using it with their classes to have online discussions. … Teachers are also creating ‘public’ groups as a way of communicating with parents, although the communication at that level is providing information to parents (not two-way). It has allowed teachers to have their own web presence and has given students and teachers a way to communicate online that is safe and controlled.”

NComputing L300 (NComputing Inc.)

The L300 is a virtual desktop client device with a sleek, low-power design that can be mounted on a monitor or secured to a desk. The L300 costs less than other thin- or zero-client options and is a quarter of the cost of a typical desktop PC, NComputing says. With the ability to connect up to 100 users to a single NComputing vSpace server, the product offers a simple, powerful, and inexpensive desktop virtualization solution.

“We use NComputing products to leverage our budget toward a better student-to-workstation ratio,” said Robert Haviland, technology coordinator for the Hickman County Schools in Tennessee. “For a fraction of the cost [of a full PC], we can add seats quickly to our network.”

NetSupport School (NetSupport Inc.)

NetSupport School is a classroom-management solution for Windows machines that gives teachers the ability to instruct, monitor, and interact with their students either individually, as a pre-defined group, or as an entire class. It includes PC monitoring, presentation and annotation tools, a customized testing suite, internet and application control, real-time audio monitoring, desktop security, and print management capabilities. (A corresponding program, NetSupport Assist, can do the same for Mac and Linux-based devices.)

“I use this product every day both to maintain an effective teaching environment when students are spread throughout the lab, and when I’m doing maintenance duties on all the machines when students are not present,” said Jerry Jaco, computer lab teacher and technology coordinator for Holy Angels School in Los Angeles. “From one computer, I can oversee all machines and each machine individually. I can power on and off the lab with one click, login/logout students, execute programs on all machines at once, send and collect documents, administer tests and surveys, and so on. … It is an invaluable tool that I consider the second most important piece of software a computer lab needs after a solid networking OS.”

eSchool News Staff

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