50 top ed-tech products, straight from educators

Follett Destiny Library Manager (Follett)

This centralized, browser-based library management system helps users find, share, and access print and digital resources. Connecticut’s New Canaan High School is using the product as a library catalog for print books, websites, eBooks, databases, student book reviews, student ratings, and student-created book trailers. “Having all of these services accessible to students through a single log-in in one portal has been incalculable in terms of streamlining instruction and empowering the library program to focus on higher-order thinking problems instead,” said Michelle Luhtala, library department chair for the district.



GoNoodle offers free “brain breaks” that help channel students’ energy into learning. “I use GoNoodle daily in my classroom to relieve the wiggles, make transitioning more of a learning experience, … and I use it to reward my students at the end of the day for good behavior and hard work,” said Christine Preslar, a first grade teacher for the Marion School District in Arkansas. “There is a paid option for more access as well. I introduced this software to my faculty this year, and we are using it to get our kids out of their seats and moving! It has made a big difference in how they interact and learn in our classrooms.”


Google Apps for Education

This free online software includes eMail, calendars, and productivity tools for collaborative learning any time, anywhere. “Our entire district converted to Google this year, and it has made a very big impact on learning,” said Raymond Jaksa, coordinator for school improvement at the Venus Independent School District in Texas. “Every student, teacher, and staff [member] has Gmail and access to all the Google Apps. The storage and the collaboration have changed [our approach] to project-based learning, and our middle school uses flipped instruction. Our state scores went from the low fifties to 87 percent in one year.”


i-Ready (Curriculum Associates)

i-Ready combines adaptive diagnostics with teacher-led and online instruction for a complete blended learning solution for K-12 reading and math. “The diagnostic establishes a prescription for each individual child, and we are really able to differentiate to the individual learner’s needs,” said Wayne Van Doren, director of elementary math for Florida’s Duval County Schools. “Students are also able to complete instructional lessons at home on their own. The bottom line is that the teachers like it, the students love it, and we are getting increases in real understanding of mathematics.”


IXL Math (IXL Learning)

IXL Math uses dynamic, standards-aligned, adaptive learning exercises to make math practice feel like play. “I use IXL online math practice to replace nearly all paper-based practice and homework in the Adult Basic Education hybrid math class I teach,” said Wendy Hoben, adult basic education teacher for California’s Berkeley Unified School District. “I create guides so that students can find practice at multiple levels to accompany the math topics we are covering in class. This allows differentiated, self-paced practice for a very multi-level class.” She said the program “helps improve their reading skills and their conceptual understanding of math, which is particularly important for this group of students.”


Jupiter iO (Jupiter Ed)

Jupiter iO is an all-in-one gradebook, student information system, learning management system, and data analytics tool. “I use Jupiter Ed as an electronic gradebook, but it has so much more to offer than just keeping track of student grades,” said Dianna Talbott, a teacher at Sweetwater Union High School in California. “I create online quizzes for students to take on their iPads or on a computer. The students love the instant feedback, and I love the ease of entering in the new scores with just a couple of clicks. Also, the eMail feature is a great way for me to send messages to one or many of my students. In addition, I can send messages to parents to keep them informed about upcoming projects. Students can keep track of their assignments, and so can their parents. … This is truly a great product that can benefit all educators!”



Kickboard is an instructional management system that includes tools for school improvement, classroom management, data-driven instruction, and managing special-education data. “We use it to track behaviors, assessments, [and] to create goals for student IEPs,” said Kristina Sarr, director of student support services for the Bronx Lighthouse College Prep Academy in New York. “It is amazing [what] this program can do!”


Learn360 (Infobase Learning)

Learn360 is a collection of more than 102,000 video clips from trusted educational publishers such as National Geographic and the BBC, designed to engage students and enrich their learning. “We are in the process of initiating a one-to-one program for our 27,000 students,” said Bill Hiles, library media specialist for the Shawnee Mission Schools in Kansas. “We will be giving all our students a username and password that will allow them to watch the videos on their devices at home as we begin the process of flipping the classroom. It’s a tremendous educational tool, and we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of the potential it has for changing education.”


eSchool News Staff

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