App of the Week: Kids solve alphabet puzzles, learn phonics

This app is designed to build phonics skills for young learners

app-phonicsName: AlphaTots Alphabet

What is it? This pre-k app is designed to teach your little sprout basic ABC phonics and letters. AlphaTots is a touch interactive game that features puzzles that help build the foundation your toddler needs to learn how to read. By solving puzzles and doing phonics-related activities, your toddler will learn that phonics are fun.

Best for: Ages 5 and younger

Price: $2.99

Requirements: iOS 6.0 or later; Android 2.2 and up


Help your little sprouts learn their ABC alphabet by playing fun touch-based activities, which pronounce the phonics of each letter as they complete each task. Whether your kid is “B-uilding” robots, “D-igging” for treasure or “Z-apping” alien spaceships, they’ll have a blast learning their ABCs and their sounds. It’s easy for your kids to learn if they’re having fun!

• 26 fun and interactive ABC puzzles and activities that help kids learn all 26 letters! Complete with voicing and sounds!
• An engaging ABC sing-along song that helps kids learn and recite their ABCs and commit them to memory.
• Large and colorful letters in games and song that your kids can easily read, in both upper and lower case.
• Safe, worry-free play with a Parent Gate and no third-party ads, so your toddler can stay focused on learning without distractions.





Classroom audio system makes personalized learning ‘magic’

This K-5 STEM instructor uses an innovative technology to facilitate small group projects in a large lab setting

21st century classroomWhen my school unveiled our new 1,600-square-foot STEM lab in October, I was very excited—and just a little overwhelmed.

After all, we combined two existing classrooms to create the space. It’s big! And as the STEM facilitator at Martinez Elementary, it would be my job to make sure everything in the lab was always running smoothly.

To add another twist to the mix, we also had five different stations set up around the lab, each with a small student group working on a unique project. How can you personalize learning in a space that big, when everybody’s working on something different?

I realized very quickly that I was going to lose my voice if I attempted to run the lab like a normal classroom. I needed something to help.

After considering our options, my school purchased the Flexcat, a classroom audio system from Lightspeed Technologies that allows me to flip between six audio “pods” placed throughout the room, listening to and participating in small group discussions through a headset.

(Next page: How Flexcat enhances learning)


TechSmith in Education

See how instructors across the country use TechSmith solutions to enhance learning.  Video in the classroom lets them reach students in new ways, providing more flexibility to teach with their own balance of lessons and activities.  Hear how their students love the interactive approach with flipping, student-guided learning, and more.


To learn more, visit



50 top ed-tech products, straight from educators

eSN’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards highlights readers’ favorite ed-tech products and solutions

rca-productThis past spring, we asked readers to give us their top picks for school hardware, software, websites, and services—and more than 1,300 readers responded online.

In nominating their favorite products, we asked readers to tell us how they’re using these products to improve teaching, learning, or school administration—and to what effect. We then those the 50 best responses, which appear alphabetically by product name.

The results is a list of ed-tech products and services that have proven to be effective, as noted by your colleagues in K-12 schools and districts nationwide.

(Next page: eSN readers’ top 50 products—and 30 Honorable Mentions)