Our readers’ top 40 ed-tech services for 2013-14

Interactive Campus Map (NuCloud)

NuCloud’s Interactive Campus Map platform enables colleges to design and make easy edits to their campus map. Adding a map to a website is as simple as copying and pasting an embed script code—and because your map resides in the cloud, it’s hosted from multiple server locations to provide optimal speed and performance. “The nuCloud interface allows us to easily manage and customize components of our campus map and tour, including text content, photography, video, and audio,” says April Taulbee, webmaster for D’Youville College in New York. “The software produces web, mobile, Section 508 compliant, and Facebook versions of the map, which is a huge benefit to our users.”

Lexia Reading (Lexia Learning)

Lexia Reading advances reading skills for students in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade and helps accelerate learning for at-risk students in grades 4-12. Its scope and sequence incorporates all five of the core reading skills determined essential for reading proficiency: phonemic awareness, phonics and spelling, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.  “I use Lexia when I work one-on-one with students,” says Barbara Kries, Exceptional Student Education teacher for Pinellas County Schools in Florida. “It is a good way to start an academic session, because students can independently log in and work at their own pace. They can work on lessons specifically designed to meet their academic needs.”

Luna Interactive Projection Camera (Learning Resources)

This easy-to-use digital projection camera is also a web cam and photo/video camera; it’s a great tool for helping students create multimedia projects across the curriculum or for whole-class demonstration of manipulatives in action. “I’m using this camera to get a closer look at everything in our learning environment,” says Erin Klein, a teacher in Cranbrook, Mich. “It’s made a world of difference getting to have students see their writing projected on the screen. My second graders are growing so much!”

My Big Campus (Lightspeed Systems)

Part social network, part learning management system, and part content management system, My Big Campus is a solution that safely brings together all the tools students need and makes them easy to access and share. “We are using this product as the foundation of our one-to-one computing implementation, as well as to deliver classroom content in both face-to-face and blended environments,” says Amy Dirlam, technology integration specialist at St. Joseph Public Schools in Michigan. “The user-friendly interface, as well as the helpful customer support, are also major benefits.”


MyLearningPlan, an online professional development management platform, offers fast and easy planning, tracking, and evaluation of all forms of professional learning in one system. “We use the system to generate reports and transcripts for re-licensure, certificate renewal, verification of paraprofessional training, focus on priority learning, and much more,” says Carolyn Good, instructional project specialist for Olathe Public Schools in Kansas. “We just held a district K-5 symposium with five time slots and almost 200 breakout sessions that was attended by 1,000-plus elementary staff. Since we could enter those sessions as an event in MLP, staff were able to plan … sessions to meet their needs and pre-enroll through the MLP District Catalog.”


This is a web-based tool for streamlining the classroom observation process, eliminating paperwork and automatically storing and sorting all collected data. Administrators can create and use their own observation forms, and teachers are engaged with timely feedback to help improve their practice. “[We have] used observe4success to perform classroom walkthroughs and easily provide feedback to teachers using smart phones or iPads. It is so much easier to use than our previous walk-through software,” says Lisa Todd, deputy superintendent at Greenbriar School District in Arkansas. It “has saved principals much time and energy.”

Office 365 for Education (Microsoft)

Office 365 for Education provides students, teachers, and staff with enterprise-grade communication and productivity services, such as free eMail, websites, online document editing and storage, instant messaging, and web conferencing. “We are using [the software] to connect with teachers and administrators across the state for professional development, including a Lync TeachMeet that took place Feb. 28 and had an average of 85 people online at any given time,” says Patti Oakley, instructional technology specialist at Murray State University in Kentucky. “The product not only gives teachers and students free access to Lync, but also to Outlook, SharePoint, and the Office apps. It’s just another way to bring equity to students and schools.”


ParentSquare is an online platform for home-school communication and organization. It’s an intranet, private for each school, that offers news sharing at the school, grade, and class level; school and class directories and calendars; volunteer scheduling; wish lists for needed items; eMail alerts that inform users about messages relevant to them; and optional fundraising services. “ParentSquare has made it easy to keep parents informed of school information. It saves greatly on paper costs by not having to copy multiple flyers to send home,” says Lisa Andresen, a secretary at Los Olivos School in California. “It is very convenient to post to one location and be able to share with one grade, a few grades, or the whole school.”

Remote Proctor (Software Secure)

Remote Proctor allows students to take online exams under secure conditions, ensuring the integrity of online courses. “When students who are failed for cheating come in, they are generally silenced when shown that they used Google to find answers (documented via screen shots), talked to others about the test while they were taking it (documented via full audio), or pulled out notes during the test (documented via full video),” said Suzanne Cummins, a senior lecturer at the University of Arizona. “Most importantly, Software Secure has experienced, affordable reviewers who differentiate rule violations from genuinely suspicious behavior, and who tab events for the professor to review efficiently to determine the level of student misconduct.”

SAFARI Montage

SAFARI Montage is a comprehensive solution for K-12 schools’ digital media distribution needs. It gives educators and administrators a single interface for accessing all visual resources from inside the school district intranet or from home. SAFARI Montage servers also come preloaded with educational video titles from leading publishers, including Schlessinger Media, PBS, The History Channel, National Geographic, Scholastic, Disney Education, BBC, and more. “With SAFARI’s help, Forsyth County Schools migrated 12,000-plus digital assets from the previous LMS to the SAFARI Montage [system] in less than a month,” says Jill Hobson, director of instructional technology. “We have dramatically reduced our spending on textbooks, from about $3 million per year in 2007 to about $500,000 currently—a drop of roughly 85 percent.”

eSchool News Staff

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