The 2012 Readers' Choice Top 100 Products
Ubermix is a free, Linux-based operating system designed with the needs of education in mind. Built by educators with an eye toward student and teacher empowerment, Ubermix makes student devices as reliable and easy to use as a cellphone, without sacrificing the power and capabilities of a full operating system. Ubermix offers a turnkey, five-minute installation and a 20-second quick recovery mechanism, and includes more than 60 pre-installed free applications.
“The combination of low-cost hardware and reliable, free software has made one-to-one a practical reality for us, enabling us to transform learning and engage our kids with social media tools. It brings most—if not all—of the benefits of tablets to netbooks, without the sacrifices.”
—Jim Klein, director of information services and technology, Saugus Union School District, Santa Clarita, Calif.
The SmartScope handheld digital microscope allows students as young as preschool age to explore science by putting plants, water, and animal organisms under the microscope. Compatible with both PC and Mac, it has a high-quality digital lens and allows students to take still photos and ordinary or time-lapsed videos from the live images they see.
“My teachers ranked the SmartScope as the second most important piece of science equipment in the classroom after the digital camera. I am convinced that every classroom should have one or more of these easily learned gadgets.”
—Robert Williams, early childhood science consultant, Austin (Texas) Independent School District
Stepping Stones delivers blended math programs that include lessons and teachers’ guides on a digital platform along with printed student journals. The program, written by Australian mathematics educators, integrates key research findings in a practical sequence of modules and lessons to provide schools with a step-by-step approach to the new curriculum.
“Stepping Stones is the most thorough, consistent, and developmentally appropriate curriculum for K2. The curriculum was written to support the content and the INTENT of the standards. It is not just ‘aligned,’ it is directly written for the standards.”
—Becky Reister, regional coordinator, Kentucky Center for Mathematics
FOSS 3rd Edition
The Full Option Science System (FOSS) is an integrated program that provides all students with science experiences that are appropriate to students’ cognitive development and prior experiences. It provides a foundation for more advanced understanding of core science ideas organized in thoughtfully designed learning progressions to prepare students for life.
With this software, elementary and middle school students can improve their oral reading fluency and comprehension by listening to and practicing reading passages, record assessments, and view their progress. Teachers can listen to and mark recorded assessments, individualize instruction, and track students’ improvement.
A flexible and comprehensive observation management and reporting system, Reflect Live helps shift from traditional paper forms to a technology-enabled observation process. Reflect Live allows users to schedule classroom observations, collect and organize the observation data, and then store the data on one secure platform.
Providing online curriculum and e-learning solutions for charter, public, and virtual schools, ODYSSEYWARE offers a multimedia-enriched curriculum for grades 3-12. Using interactive and internet-based features, the company offers students a customizable, web-based curriculum accessible from any place at any time. ODYSSEYWARE includes courses in history, geography, math, language arts, science, and electives.
“As a result of our efforts and our partnership with ODYSSEYWARE, we have been able to increase our graduation rate and improve student achievement scores. It has given us another way to meet the needs of our diverse students.”
—Kathy Brom, director, RE-1 Valley School District, Sterling, Colo.
Active Learning and Engagement Strategies
Just ASK Publications & Professional Development
Just ASK offers a comprehensive group of resources for teachers, mentors, and administrators, including books, DVDs, professional development kits, multimedia, and e-books, in formats that facilitate a shared understanding, use of best practices, and a consistency that ensures all stakeholders are using the same language to plan, implement and assess student learning and data to make informed decisions.
“This publication is one of the best to meet the needs of all students. [It] makes a difference in teachers’ ability to implement the Common Core State Standards in an active learning manner.”
—Ronni Reed, educational consultant, Monmouth County (N.J.) Vocational School District
As a reading intervention program, Read 180 is a comprehensive system of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development proven to raise reading achievement for struggling readers in grades 4–12+. Designed for any student reading two or more years below grade level, READ 180 leverages adaptive technology to individualize instruction for students and provide data for differentiation to teachers.
“This is my second full year as a Read 180 teacher and I have been amazed at the success of my students. I’m excited that my district is continuing to allow me the opportunity to use Read 180 to close the achievement gap among our students’ learning.”
—Lucy Dominguez, reading/intervention specialist, Palo Verde Union Elementary, Tulare, Calif.
Intellitools Classroom Suite
Cambium Learning Technologies
Classroom Suite is a software intervention tool developed based upon the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) that combines two educational paradigms: systematic, explicit instruction and flexible creativity tools. Teachers have control over specific learning objectives, allowing differentiated instruction for individuals or groups to help students in grades pre-K5 achieve mastery in reading, writing, and mathematics.
“Because Classroom Suite is accessible, students perform their own work now, giving them independence and the ability to show true progress. And teachers ... are now spending their time being more creative in their teaching because Classroom Suite provides reporting capabilities.”
—Leslie Hawkins, assistive technology specialist, Fulton County (Ga.) School System
School Improvement Network
A professional development tool in the Teacher Effectiveness System, PD 360 helps all students reach college and career readiness. PD 360 provides the largest online library of differentiated training videos for educators, which includes 2,000+ videos and an online professional learning community of nearly 1 million verified educators.
MIND Research Institute
This group of products from nonprofit organization MIND Research Institute engages students’ spatial-temporal (ST) reasoning capabilities to help them understand and solve multi-step math problems. It is available for K5, Fluency and Math+Music modules, or as a Secondary Intervention unit, designed for struggling secondary students or as a complement to any math curriculum.
LanSchool 7.7 is a classroom management program that allows teachers to monitor students’ activity. This version includes the ability to provide Distance Teaching, as students can connect to the cloud network on their own devices, and expanded iOS Teacher Assistant, iOS Student, and Android Student support. It uses less network bandwidth than similar products, and supports PCs, Macs, Linux, and Thin Clients.
“LanSchool gives our teachers the visibility and control they need to properly create a positive learning environment by having the ability to monitor and take control of the student workstations to help eliminate distractions that technology can cause in the classroom.”
—Michael Willingham, director of technology, West Covina (Calif.) Unified School District
Social Studies Learning System
This software is for teaching U.S. history, world history, and civics for grades 6-12 through interactive online teacher and student centers. Teachers can plan instruction; customize lessons, assignments, and tests; create presentations; assess comprehension; and differentiate instruction with ease. The resource library offers primary sources, political cartoons, maps, images, presentation tools, videos, worksheets, and graphic organizers.
“Besides the excellent alignment and correlation to both curricula, the networks program has been a trailblazer for our district in integrating a learning management system and online content into our social studies classrooms.” —Kenny Lee, social studies curriculum coordinator, Westerville (Ohio) City Schools
User Management Resource Administrator
UMRA automates user account management processes. It links to the student account management system, library system, and e-learning products, among others. Accounts can be changed, added or removed from all systems with one entry. Supported applications include Google Apps, itslearning, Moodle, Sharepoint and Blackboard.
“UMRA has automated much of our mundane administrative processes; it’s stable, fast, and offers a huge ROI. Without this product, we would have either been forced to spend 10X the amount on a bloated solution, or hire additional staff.”
—Travis Brown, network administrator, Hutto (Texas) Independent School District
Accelerated Math Enterprise
This high-performance software helps teachers personalize math practice, differentiate instruction, monitor progress, and make data-driven decisions to guide each student to success. Accelerated Math Enterprise creates math assignments tailored to each student’s level, automatically scores all math practice, including assignments and tests, provides ongoing feedback on students’ daily practice, and helps differentiate math instruction, addressing each student’s individual needs.
Content Management System
This content management system allows for the creation and maintenance of web pages. Anyone can create district websites, school websites, teacher websites, and student websites. SharpSchool’s CMS gives users the tools to teach, monitor, and communicate online without knowledge of HTML, programming, or other technical skills.
“WithSharpSchool, every campus in the district has a website, and every teacher has a chance to contribute to it, without having to know HTML code. The management system makes site updating as easy as writing a Word document.”
—Skip Filgo, webmaster, Waco (Texas) Independent School District
This integrated alert system uses voice, SMS text, and email to allow K12 administrators to instantly send out hundreds of thousands of notifications at a time. New features of Power Announcement include the Speak Up! Antibullying Platform, an Automated Report Cards Module, List Management, and a Parent Portal to help schools keep parent information up to date.
The newly enhanced device promotes classroom collaboration by allowing students and teachers to immediately view responses and discuss them during lessons. ActivExpression2 comes with a backlight screen that clearly displays responses and is designed to resemble a smartphone, creating instant familiarity and usability.
“When we practice concepts using ActivInspire, I can design student-centered activities that require my students to think critically. There are so many options within ActivInspire that it is easy for me to keep things new and engaging.”
—Rachel McVeagh, Spanish teacher, Montour School District, McKees Rocks, Pa.
This document camera made for educators includes several features, such as a 1.4 megapixel camera, 48x zoom with 6x optical and 8x digital zooms and SXGA output at 30 fps for high resolution video display. Samsung’s SAMCAM 860 also includes a SD memory card (up to 32GB) and a built-in microphone and external microphone jack. The camera is Mac and PC compatible and can be used with almost any whiteboard.
These tutorials are self-paced, flexible, and individualized so students can work at their own pace using LearnKey’s video training program. LearnKey has several training course bundles specifically for K12 and learning skills, such as computer fundamentals, Adobe, MOS, financial literacy, and CompTIA certification.
StarBoard Link EZ
Paired with an existing computer and projector, the StarBoard Link EZ interactive unit transforms any projected image into a finger-driven touch screen. Link EZ mounts to a whiteboard magnetically for portability between rooms or to store away for added security. With the Link EZ’s adjustable rails, an image area can be scaled up to a 90” diagonal for more working space.
V10LE Thin Client
This compact cloud client is powered by a Via C7 Eden processor and supports fixed and wireless networking, serial, video, sound, and smart card connectivity. The V10LE can be mounted horizontally and vertically on or under a desk, on a wall or behind a display. It also draws between 13 to 15 watts of power in a typical configuration, for lower carbon emissions.
SchoolSpring is a job search website exclusively for educators. The company aggregates school job postings from around the country, allowing teachers to search for jobs by location, category, grade, or type for free, administrators to search for executive level positions, and district employers to recruit for open positions through single or unlimited postings for a small fee. A variety of services facilitates every aspect of district recruiting, including job postings, interview schedules, applicant evaluations, and job offers.
“SchoolSpring allows for a seamless, paperless and highly efficient teacher recruitment strategy for our school districts. Our reach, literally around the world, using SchoolSpring is unmatched.”
—Ned Kirsch, superintendent, Franklin West Supervisory Union, Fairfax, Vt.
A personalized literacy environment, myON Reader engages students at all reading levels by providing the largest integrated library of digital books. More than 2,000 enhanced digital books include reading supports, and are recommended to students based on individual interests and reading level using The Lexile Framework for Reading.
This geovisual analytics software enables education decision makers to explore and analyze school district data by adding a geographic and visual dimension to their student and community information. Users can filter on any student or household characteristic and view the information instantly. Other features include enrollment area analysis, student analysis, scenario tracking, attendance area locator and student/household profiles.
Part of the Personalized Learning Solution, Pinnacle Gradebook offers standards-referenced and standards-based grading, as well as traditional grading capabilities. Once tracked and captured, student information such as grades, attendance, and discipline can be incorporated into the profile for each student. Pinnacle Gradebook provides data visualization for every teacher, with day-to-day functionality to maximize instructional time and foster student growth.
“The Pinnacle Gradebook allows our district to track student progress in achieving proficiency and report levels of competency based on the standards to parents. The system allows teachers to analyze student achievement reflective of classroom assessments and district common assessments.”
—Ellen Hume-Howard, curriculum director, Sanborn Regional School District, Kingston, N.H.
Skills, The Online Autism Solution
C.A.R.D. (Center for Autism and Related Disorders)
A Skills consultant provides in-person initial training/setup and follow-up to ensure that school staff are maximizing the potential in autistic students that both CARD eLearning and Skills can offer them. CARD eLearning provides foundational training in applied behavior analysis (ABA) and autism to teachers and assistants, equipping them with the knowledge they need to begin implementing ABA-based teaching techniques with students with autism and related disorders.
As a learning program, the Renzulli Learning software provides resources that develop students’ critical thinking and reasoning skills, prepare students for state and Common Core State Standards, and ensure they are college ready. Using the Renzulli Profiler, they can ascertain students’ interests, learning, and expression styles, then preview, select, and add appropriate resources to student lessons.
“Completing a portfolio is the child’s first assignment on Renzulli and it allows the site to uniquely compile resources based on learning style and interest. All sites are monitored and approved for children. And teachers can create assignments that are emailed to students. The options are endless.”
—Natalee Mapp, gifted specialist, Loudoun County (Va.) Public Schools
This mobile learning platform was built to work with teachers and students. CDI’s UNOBOOK was made for collaborative learning and, along with e-books and educational apps, students can communicate and get feedback from teachers or work with other students. Dual cameras allow face-to-face interaction; other features include connectivity via USB and HDMI.
Using this device and its software, the Smartpen can transfer notes and audio to a computer and holds 400 or 800 hours of recorded audio. Echo’s Smartpen has a built-in speaker, produces instant audio playback, and its 3.5 mm audio jack fits any set of headphones. Smartpen packages include starter dot paper, two pen caps and ink cartridges, a micro USB cable and Livescribe desktop software.
In addition to the usual clicker features, ResponseCard NXT provides cellphone-style text entry for short answer and essay questions. The highlight of ResponseCard NXT is its self-paced test mode for individual summative assessment that works in conjunction with the newly released TurningKey software.
“The ability to test students with clickers while they work at their own pace has revolutionized our analysis of pre- and post-term testing. Students get immediate feedback and the available reports allow staff to compare responses, disaggregate data, and shape future testing tools.”
—Richard Mayberry, secondary technology coach/teacher,
Lapeer (Mich.) Community Schools
TalentEd Recruit & Hire
A cloud-based tracking and hiring management system specifically designed for K12, TalentEd Recruit & Hire provides a streamlined online K12 recruitment and hiring process, providing an alternative to paper processes. It also has built-in reporting and data analysis that empowers managers with real-time and historical data.
“Our district receives more highly qualified applicants with the online application system than we did in the past. It has saved the district time and money. The increase in highly qualified applicants has not only improved instruction, but also improved our substitute pool and support staff.”
—Karen Elmore, finance director, Anthony (Texas) Independent School District
This online staff training and compliance management system is a comprehensive library of school-focused courses. Matched with a state-of-the-art Compliance Management System, SafeSchools Training is easy to efficiently deliver document training and policy acceptance for every employee in a district.
“We have been able to use SafeSchools to administer all of our required trainings to staff in an easy and effective manner. This was done previously on the first day back for teachers and wasted time on their part to attend trainings. SafeSchools gives us an efficient process of reporting and maintaining records. It’s been great.”
—Susan Lanka, administrative assistant, Sheridan County (Wyo.) School District #1
Synergy Special Education
As it generates and stores student individualized education programs and related forms in one central database, Synergy Special Education provides access to special education student case files and in-process documents to every team member from anywhere with confidentiality. The collaborative environment and customized workflow stream also increases staff efficiency and ensures compliance with state and federal regulations.
“The ParentVUE and StudentVUE web portals of the system provide the transparency and information exchange necessary to truly engage parents and students in the education process. The portals provide parents automated alerts when student performance slips.”
—Brett Kramer, executive director for improvement initiatives, Marana (Ariz.) Unified School District
This core science solution, which offers differentiated online instruction, uniquely combines the expertise of Achieve3000 and National Geographic Learning. By making science accessible to all learners, eScience is designed to help meet STEM objectives to move U.S. students from the middle to the top in science achievement over the next decade. eScience3000 is also designed to fulfill all district requirements for core science programs that meet 21st-century educational needs.
This reading and writing tool uses text-dependent content and formative assessments to foster both learning and differentiated instruction aligned with the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards in reading, writing, and language for grades 6-12. Literary Companion complements students’ reading of a literary text and teachers choose the corresponding Literary Companion title from a library featuring dozens of the most popular books in grades 6-12.
Sylvan Dell Publishing
To build science and math programs, Sylvan Dell offers 76 e-books all with “read to me” or “read to myself” capability, as well as with autoplay and in Spanish. Through pictures, elementary students will be able to digest facts about animals, far away places, earth and space. The books are available for iPad or any flash-enabled device.
“The e-books have moved literacy into the future. The ability to download their e-books [on to iPads] has added to our literacy resources. They go hand in hand with the new Common Core State Standards in math and science.”
—Kristi Meeuwse, teacher, Charleston County (S.C.) Schools
As a student assessment and data management solution, DATAWISE helps educators connect data points to improve student learning. With a customizable dashboard to fit a district’s needs, DATAWISE can test students online, create tests and assessment reports, alert teachers of performance changes and embed videos, webinars, and tutorials.
The Thoughtful Classroom Teacher Effectiveness Framework
Silver Strong & Associates
The framework is a teacher self-assessment guide that helps teachers organize the classroom to enhance learning, establish rules and procedures that clarify expectations, prepare students for new learning, and help to build deep, meaningful relationships between teachers and students, and among students. The process promotes a culture of thinking and learning and motivates students to do their best work and love learning.
“The framework has improved our organization by clearly defining roles for teachers and administrators throughout the evaluation process. It is organized around 10 dimensions of quality teaching and professional practice. We have started to make positive change in student growth as a result.”
—Cindy Weber, superintendent, Durand (Mich.) Area Schools
This reporting tool gives facility managers the power to produce a wide variety of reports showing a building’s energy consumption. Using dynamic and animated color graphs, EnergyReports allows users to compare energy consumption or demand over different periods with simple drop-down menus and calendar control options.
Complete Campus Security Solution Visitor Management Software
Ident-A-Kid’s Complete Campus Security System (CCSS) is a free, visitor-management program that allows administrators to sign in and print name badges for all visitors and to document the length and reason for their visit. A student module records tardy or early dismissal students.
“The CCSS allows us to enter names of people we know should not be signing students out—like non-custodial parents. Interfacing with sex offender registries is a great thing when we know they should not be in our building.”
—Kristi Austin, principal, Darlington County (S.C.) School District
The KENS Math Series
This classroom kit teaches early learners “number sense,” by focusing on three essential skills: subitizing, or the ability to see a set of objects instantly without counting; creating number combinations; and recognizing number magnitude using numbers. Kids’ Education for Number Sense (KENS) includes various teaching tools such as flash cards, wooden number lines and foamies, the KENS Math Teachers Edition, the KENS Math Teacher’s Resource Masters, and a math assessment test.
“The KENS series has improved number sense in our kindergarten and first grade students dramatically. I have kindergarten students rattling off addition problems earlier than ever before and with higher confidence.”
—Sara Fox, kindergarten teacher, Franklin Monroe (Ohio) Local School District
CRS Advanced Technology
This fully automated employee absence management and substitute placement system provides 24/7 internet and telephone access. SubFinder is used to streamline workflow, integrate with human resource and payroll systems, and promote a paperless work environment.
“SubFinder helps me every day to keep our classrooms covered with highly qualified substitute teachers. We depend on this system to keep our district humming along.”
—Nancy Cowley, HR training specialist/Subfinder coordinator, San Marcos (Texas) Consolidated Independent School District
ePals’ LearningSpace 2.0, an online social media management tool, combines the best features of consumer collaboration and social networking platforms, such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, with SchoolSafe technology-enabled safety and privacy controls to manage online social interaction. With interactive group spaces for classes, team projects, school groups and media collections, the web-hosted LearningSpace 2.0 platform enables project-based learning in a new kind of classroom environment—one that meets students in the technology-driven and social-networked world they live in today.
Whizz Education Limited
Math-Whizz is a comprehensive solution for schools that enables teachers to meet the diverse needs of students grades K8. Used by students worldwide, Math-Whizz is works to increase student achievement, build student confidence and help teachers. The program includes animated lessons with immediate feedback and reporting features, and a content bank of over 1200 Common Core aligned exercises. www.whizz.com
“Maths-Whizz has greatly improved our ELL students’ math performance, as it provides each student with individualized tutorial lessons based on their math needs determined by a pre-assessment. The students enjoy learning with the interactive animations.”
—Lorraine Ching, ELL coordinator, Hawaii Public Schools
WYNN Wizard Scanning and Reading Software
The software program includes optical character recognition and the ability to scan printed pages and convert them to electronic text for the visually impaired. Speech synthesis enables scanned text to be read aloud. WYNN Wizard works with word processing documents, Adobe Acrobat PDF files, text files, and on .jpg content.
“WYNN and the Pearl scanners have made a huge difference, giving students even greater levels of independence during research. The looping toolbars help students access the internet ... and they have access to a dictionary with a ‘read aloud’ feature.”
—Anita Shepherd, assistive technology specialist, Carrollton (Texas) Farmers Branch Independent School District
This tablet, which weighs 1.3 pounds and is compatible with Android 4.0 OS, has many features, including a four-point capacitive touch for multi-player gaming, a 1280x800 high dpi HD widescreens, 720p playback and micro-HDMI out for 1080p playback on a TV, dual speakers and an eight-hour battery life. The A2109 offers thousands of apps via Google Play and the Lenovo App Shop, which include apps optimized specifically for Lenovo tablets.
School Software Group
This monitoring system allows teachers to locate curriculum requirements and resources and update lesson plans. Administrators can monitor learning paths by school, grade, or classroom, and view information by standards, teaching objective, or key concept. Students can see the standards they’re expected to master, look at class activities and retrieve the resources they’ll need to complete their work. Parents can also view information from home.
The SAFE System
After listening to teachers’ and administrators’ concerns for an alert system, The SAFE System (Security Alert For Education) is an alert system created to work with Audio Enhancement’s Ultimate IISE. By using the alert button that is built into the transmitter, a teacher wearing the teardrop microphone can discreetly send a signal for help with the press of the function button. The designated first responders will be notified immediately of the emergency by an audible and visual alarm on the monitoring station.
“By going through the process to load the information into the system, our teachers have met together and collaborated on teaching techniques for particular classes. Our teachers have participated in vertical articulation where it didn’t happen or rarely happened in the past.”
—Janet Anthony, assistant principal and curriculum facilitator, Mehlville School District, St. Louis, Mo.
This seminar and webinar software program helps turn brief classroom observations into meaningful opportunities for coaching teachers to higher levels of performance and guiding staff development efforts. Power Walkthrough can be loaded on an iPad/iPhone/iTouch, Android, or Tablet PC and offers three training options for school leaders designed to help gain a practical understanding of the CITW strategies, how they improve student learning, and how to identify their use in the classroom.
“The walkthroughs have made my job as an administrator more productive. By collecting data through the walkthroughs, I can track trends throughout my building and the district.”
—Spike Cook, principal, Millville (N.J.) Public Schools
This classroom management software allows teachers to instruct, monitor, and interact with students individually, as a pre-defined group or as a whole class. NetSupport School includes internet and application monitoring, printer management, real-time presentation tools and a unique Language Lab mode delivering an innovative link between audio and visual monitoring.
“Thanks to NetSupport School, our labs are managed and controlled unlike any other in the district. In fact, the network administrators want to model all the district labs after it. We tried four other management programs, and none of them compare in functionality and usefulness.”
—John Dent, teacher/advisor, Santa Barbara (Calif.) School District
i-Ready Diagnostic & Instruction
This adaptive diagnostic tool links to instruction. Students get targeted online direction, while teachers get recommendations for instantly downloadable and easy-to-use print resources. Combining a growth measure and individualized instruction in a single online product, a cross-grade-level assessment pinpoints needs down to the sub-skill level and gives teachers an action plan.
“i-Ready assessment and instructional programs have been very beneficial in efficiently diagnosing reading problems and helping create an individualized reading program.”
—Meda Beall, assistant superintendent, Choctaw-Nicoma Park (Okla.) School District
This sound panel hardware system can fill a classroom with the intelligible sound of a teacher’s voice and its all-in-one design means no installation and out-of-the-box usability. REDCAT’s microphone and system prevent feedback, while audio exciters and electronic tuning blend to create clear, natural sound that reflects from classroom walls, ceiling, and floor.
“We are using them mainly in the lower grades where class discipline and personal habits/responsibilities are being developed. I believe this new ability to get kids on task quicker and with much less hassle will only help improve student grades and lifetime learning habits; a win-win.”
—Glenn Wehe, technology coordinator, Evergreen (Mont.) School District 50.
Notebook 11 Software
The latest SMART Notebook software offers creative power and flexibility for teachers and students, with new tools and features created to deliver lessons easily, quickly, and with greater impact. Users also have access to more than 50,000 learning resources on the SMART Exchange website, including ready-made lessons and widgets.
A college and career readiness platform, Naviance ties academic achievement to post-secondary goals. The platform offers a variety of solutions that enable students and families to collaborate more effectively with counselors and teachers and allows school administrators to optimize student potential and learning outcomes for a successful college outlook or career.
“Over the past two years, the high schools in Stamford, Conn. have transitioned from a paper-based college application process to having 96 percent of our students successfully submit their applications online, saving $60,000. Naviance has become a household word!”
—Sue Rigano, executive director, Stamford (Conn.) Public Education Foundation
Student Response System
ELMO USA Corp.
The ELMO SRS (Student Response System) aids teachers by recording student responses into the ImageMate Accent for SRS software so that teachers can review student performance and understanding of the material, as well as analyze the results using XLS, CSV, and XML formats. With the optional iRespond software, teachers can perform advanced analysis and grade management using edMastery®, Pinnacle® and GradeQuick®.
“The students love using their ELMO ‘clickers’ to select responses to questions, and teachers can effectively modify and differentiate instruction on the spot, resulting in higher student retention and achievement.”
—Audrey Lambert, assistant superintendent, Savanna School District, Anaheim, Calif.
An internet-based alert and communications system designed specifically for schools, SchoolMessenger provides email and voice notification for a variety of devices. It also allows SMS text messaging, classroom messaging, posting to major social networking sites, translation for 50 languages, web- and phone-based parent access, and various reporting tools.
“SchoolMessenger has helped our district by providing needed communications for upcoming district accreditation. We are able to involve the parents more than ever in this entire process. And parent feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”
—Barbara Burchard, district technology coordinator, Elmore County (Ala.) Public Schools
This districtwide technology education curriculum and assessment tool infuses technology skills into core instruction, promoting core subject area outcomes while also teaching skills for 21st-century success. This approach allows educators to teach and assess technology literacy in an integrated and systematic manner, while generating data for authentic performance-based assessment and reporting purposes.
“We see tremendous positive effects in student discipline, attention, and involvement. It successfully prepares our students to use technology tools to be competitive and learn how to adapt in the future.”
—Mark Williams, director of technology services, Dothan (Ala.) City Schools
The RED (Really Easy Data) Collector device uses an exclusive set of data collection devices and sensors, and students can easily, quickly, and accurately record data for any experiment. The collector can accommodate up to four photogate heads, and can record and study free fall, periods, collisions, and pendulum motion. It includes a long-lasting rechargeable brick battery and charger, quick reference guide, USB drive for storing data, and two photogate heads.
As an online systems data management software solution, Cayen SES integrates the entire SES process between states, districts, and SES providers. Designed specifically to support the reporting requirements of the U.S. Department of Education, the solution features enrollment facilitation, attendance information, and online student learning plans, assessments, and evaluations.
“The software has made it extremely easy for our district to centralize all information and access student records, i.e., attendance, registration forms, percentage factors, staff, activities, and grant information. It is very easy to learn and use.”
—Phyllis Connors, projects coordinator, Waterbury (Conn.) Public Schools
A classroom instruction system designed for mobile devices, Insight 360 guides educators and students into research-backed best practices through a fully integrated system and intuitive devices. By seamlessly integrating instruction and assessment, Insight 360 supports educators’ best practices and accelerates student understanding.
“I couldn’t imagine teaching without it. It allows me to assess my students individually and as a class so I can adjust my class time based on their needs. And in combination with my flipped classroom, I improved my state test scores by 15 percent from the previous year.”
—Martin Palermo, chemistry teacher, William Floyd School District, Mastic Beach, N.Y.
This free web browser combines speed, simplicity, and security, as well as privacy and personalization to be built for the web. Chrome’s capability to sign in to the browser brings the user’s bookmarks, history, and other settings to any computer or mobile device.
“The new internet program has combined all the programs generally saved on the desktop of the computer into one file. It has also eliminated a large amount of computer memory that is usually lost by having them be localized programs.”
—Christopher McCall, chemistry teacher, Huntsville Independent School District, East Huntsville, Texas
As small as a TV remote control, the eBeam Edge turns any flat surface into an interactive teaching tool and can be moved from classroom to classroom. The system combines an interactive stylus with a small receiver that magnetically attaches to any whiteboard in seconds. The two-button stylus interacts with anything on the whiteboard and can be used to write or draw, and as a mouse.
“This system has allowed my students to become more focused on lessons by offering them an interactive experience that includes resources that grab their attention. The participation has resulted in greater enthusiasm for learning, and given me greater enjoyment in teaching.”
—Michelle Farnum, special education teacher, Elk River (Minn.) Area School District
Aiphone IS Series
The IS Series can be used to control many security functions from any location. Functions include identifying visitors, unlocking doors, broadcasting emergencies, programming schedule bells and announcements and forwarding missed calls automatically. It also allows for great internal communication between offices within a building or in a building across town.
“Our students and faculty feel safe. Having direct contact to the Dean of Men (in our main office) has brought us into the next century. We no longer have to run around the building to relay messages. We know we have just scratched the surface with it and continue to look forward to using it.”
—Michael Galbo, assistant headmaster, Seton Hall Preparatory School, West Orange, N.J.
Silverback Learning Solutions
As a 360-degree student learning and management system, Mileposts uses an easy-to-install software program to hold all students, parents, teachers, and administrators accountable for their respective responsibilities. It also creates a culture of collaboration among stakeholders, incorporates all necessary state and federal mandates, and constructs a team of action around struggling students.
“By focusing on each student’s needs and documenting their progress, teachers have been able to provide the instruction and practice each student needs for success. Mileposts consolidates assessment performance results into one location, and tracks interventions, as well as how much that intervention helped each student.”
—Jerry Hutchins, director of testing and data analysis, Blaine County (Idaho) School District
Study Island Online
This curriculum helps K12 students master state-specific, grade-level academic standards in a fun and engaging manner, providing standards-based instructional, practice, assessment, and productivity tools that improve the performance of educators and students via web-based platforms. Study Island’s programs enable educators to track student performance in real time to address individual learning gaps, while allowing administrators to monitor student progress and measure teacher effectiveness.
“Study Island has helped our students make improvements on reading and math statewide tests. The product integrates fun and exciting new methods of learning so students are excited and engaged.”
—Patrick Heath, instructional technology resource teacher, Prince William County (Va.) Schools
TIPS Anonymous Reporting System
Threat Assessment, Incident Management and Prevention Services, or TIPS, is a platform of tools that equips an institution to immediately improve safety and threat assessment/safety team efforts. It also improves incident reporting, incident management, intervention and prevention efforts, and documentation for legal, regulatory, and internal audit obligations.
A global education platform, Glogster EDU allows for the creative expression of knowledge and skills in the classroom and beyond. Glogster empowers educators and students with the technology to create online multimedia posters known as Glogs with text, photos, videos, graphics, sounds, drawings, and data attachments.
“The ability to incorporate video and audio, link to websites, attach files, write informational text, and include appropriate images makes this a powerful tool for the classroom. And not only is this tool great for students, it’s also a truly visually stunning way to be used by teachers to deliver content or lessons easily, and all in one place.”
—Donna Criswell, instructional technology specialist, Sudbury (Mass.) Public Schools
This mobile software program creates a personal learning plan for each student by diagnosing their skill level and then identifying and recommending the best education apps out of 53,000. With eSpark, teachers evaluate the apps for academic rigor and fun. Both teachers and parents watch progress in real time through a dashboard.
“The program tests students individually to determine their greatest needs. The apps and activities vary from skill-building exercises, supporting video/songs and student-recorded videos to proving a learned task.”
—Margaret Gearman, teacher, Chicago Public Schools
Lexia Reading Software
Designed as an essential component of every reading curriculum, Lexia Reading provides explicit, systematic, personalized learning on foundational reading skills, and delivers norm-referenced performance data without interrupting the flow of instruction to administer a test. This technology-based system predicts students’ year-end performance and provides teachers with data-driven action plans to help differentiate instruction.
“This software has significantly improved the reading scores for our K2 students. The students are eager to get on Lexia and perform the reading tasks/games. It has increased the vocabulary of our EL students. The children are so excited when they receive their Lexia certificate for passing a level.”
—Annette Smith, reading specialist, St. Helena (Calif.) Unified School District
This interactive whiteboard transforms static dry-erase boards into interactive whiteboards. The MimioView document camera integrates with MimioTeach using MimioStudio software to capture images and add them to lessons. Using the MimioPad tablet, teachers can control their interactive whiteboard from anywhere in the classroom.
“The MimioTeach continues to transform my teaching. Being able to manipulate my computer from the front of the room for myself and for my students is invaluable. The software that comes with it is extremely easy to use and very useful.”
—Kurt Kohls, school-based technology specialist, Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools
A student-centric, collaborative platform for teachers, administrators, and students, myTrack allows users to create goals and strategies, monitor and measure progress, evaluate the effectiveness of programs and interventions, and support instructional programs to meet students’ goals. myTrack also allows administrators to communicate and implement district-level policies.
GroupCast Automatic Calling
This instant parent contact and web-based service allows school administrators to create and manage parent, staff, and faculty contact lists. Outbound messages can take the form of recorded voice, email, or short text messages, with the ability to create, edit, and report. SchoolReach can be used for school cancellations, emergency notifications, general announcements, absentee notifications, lunch balance notifications, parent polls, and surveys, and bus route changes.
“GroupCast allows our school district the opportunity to reach parents with important information in a moment’s notice. The program has become a staple in our communication process with parents and the community.”
—Steve Willard, superintendent, Belle Fourche (S.D.) School District 9-1
This administrative and data management software tool helps ELL coordinators and teachers capture an array of data specifically related to English Language Learners. It enables reports that enhance communication among ELL and classroom teachers; auto-populates required correspondence to parents in over 20 languages; and automatically captures information in the format that satisfies state and federal officials.
“This web-based tool allows district and school-level staff to effectively manage the federal mandates of ESL programs. ESL teachers can track student language proficiency scores and develop customized student learning plans.”
—Jeff Clance, director of student services, Gordon County (Ga.) Schools
Education Management Systems
This software provides services for the management of K12 school cafeterias. These services get students through the line faster, and can easily identify and track students who are eligible for free or reduced price meals. The system also provides food and supplies inventory management.
“Meals Plus Point of Sale and Student Eligibility software has provided a system to track student purchases, alert cashiers to any issues for students, saved management time through data management, and provided a means for parents to monitor their student history. The support staff is superior and is a major reason I continue to use their software.”
—Linda Miller, food service director, Perkins Public Schools, Sandusky, Ohio
A management tool that automates the process of substitute placement and absence management over the phone and online, Aesop does not require any hardware, software or phone lines at the district. Integrated phone and internet technologies allow all personnel to access the service anytime, anywhere. Aesop also saves data entry time by integrating with many other software applications.
“With Aesop, our attendance clerical support has more time to perform other duties instead of contacting subs on a daily basis. In addition, Frontline Placement Technologies has a wonderful customer support team always willing to assist us in the most difficult and then again the simplest issue we may have.”
—Silvia Melgarejo, personnel clerk, Roosevelt (N.Y.) Union Free School District
Discovery Educator Network
This global community of educators is passionate about teaching with digital media, sharing resources, collaborating, and networking, and connects teachers both online and in-person. Discovery Educator Network members have exclusive access to a wide range of resources, professional development activities, networking opportunities and exclusive Discovery Educator events.
“The Discovery Education Network (DEN) is the finest social networking tool. You can always get a useable suggestion from a fellow DEN member, along with proven, relevant resources and examples of how and where it has already worked in support of teaching and learning.”
—Mark Perlman, technology integration specialist, School District of Philadelphia
In this construction game, students can build virtual worlds, artwork, and architecture. Minecraft involves players creating and destroying various types of blocks in a three-dimensional environment. The player chooses an avatar that can destroy or create blocks, forming fantastic structures, creations, and artwork across the various multiplayer servers in multiple game modes.
“Minecraft has opened up collaborative game-based opportunities for learning and creativity. Students have designed 3D artwork, developed innovative buildings and architecture ... and have developed representations of historical sites and landmarks in their home state.”
—Lucas Gillispie, instructional technology coordinator, Pender County (N.C.) Schools
Emerald Data Solutions
This paperless agenda solution leverages cloud-based technology to give governing bodies electronic solutions for processing virtually any type of governance document, including agenda items, supporting documents, policies, and procedures, alleviating the task of assembling, printing, distributing, and revising board packets. The BoardDocs Pro annual fee includes an eAgenda solution, on-site training, and calendar integration.
“This paperless solution to our school boad meetings has saved countless hours, paper, and smoney, in reducing the amount of paperwork needed. And it has made our district more transparent to our stakeholders, thereby increasing relationships with media, parents, and students.”
—Joni Fitzgerald, administrative assistant, Duchesne County (Utah) School District
Specifically designed for students and teachers, SchoolTube is a free K12 video platform. Students can create their own videos for projects, homework, and events and share them with others, while teachers can moderate their progress and spark engagement.
“SchoolTube.com has transformed the way I teach and my students learn. The unique moderation process is safe and easy to publish our video work. The services have also helped my students obtain internships, college admission to selective universities, and collegiate scholarships.”
—Don Goble, technology instructor, Ladue School District, St. Louis, Mo.
This web-based product is designed to increase reading and writing for middle and high school students. Research-based and aligned to the Common Core State Standards, StudySync engages students in reading and writing through an extensive digital library of hundreds of texts, TV-quality video lessons, and a proprietary online writing and anonymous peer review tool.
“StudySync has impacted our students positively through its ability to engage students in interconnected, interdisciplinary, interrelated assessments. We are able to score students on common rubrics, have students in turn score and comment on one another through the same, and engage in writing across the curriculum.”
—Ryan Gilbert, lead English instructor, Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, Bellefontaine, Ohio
Parent Broadcast Notification Service
One Call Now
A communication tool, the Parent Broadcast service allows schools to quickly communicate with parents, teachers, staff, and communities through voice, SMS text or email notifications. The system includes 30 pre-recorded messages professionally translated into 11 languages, while typed messages instantly translate into one of 52 languages. Administrators can send unlimited messages anytime from any phone or from the company’s website.
“It saves on paper notices that go in backpacks and get missed. It has really changed how we operate in a number of areas, and better, frequent communication with parents is just a win-win situation.”
—Cheryl Leonard, principal, Maine Regional School Unit #34, Old Town, Maine
Educators can share apps, audio, and video on their iPad with a classroom by using a Wipad. The two devices connect together and a receiver on a television or projector picks up the connection. The Wipad does not require network connections or an ID to operate and allows teachers to walk around the classroom.
“The Wipad Pro has allowed us to project our iPads and educational applications in our classrooms without slowing down our network or putting it at risk. Administrators can also use it, since it is mobile and easy to set up.”
—David Vignery, technology director, Harrisonville (Mo.) R-9 School District
This integrated student assessment, data management, and teacher effectiveness platform supports the information needs of today’s teachers, school system leaders, students, and parents. Performance Matters gives teachers and administrators real-time access to student performance data to assess student learning and make efficient instructional decisions.
Tumble Book Library
This is an online collection of TumbleBooks, which are animated, talking picture books that teach young pupils the joy of reading in a child-friendly format. TumbleBooks are created by adding animation, sound, music, and narration to existing picture books to produce an electronic picture book which a student can read, or be read to.
“The collection offered a summer reading program that allowed all students in the district to have access to online books, videos, and audio books. This allowed the district to continue to promote literacy at all grade levels.”
—Kathy Nichols, coordinator of instructional media, Grand Prairie (Texas) Independent School District
SEAS (Special Education Automation Software)
Computer Automation Systems
As a web-based management system comprised of several modules, SEAS allows districts of all sizes to manage their special-needs programs while cutting down on paperwork. With SEAS, administrators can digitally demonstrate accountability with timeline compliance, Medicaid billing, IEP forms, and assessment report management.
SideKick Lesson Planner
With SideKick, teachers can create detailed lesson plans, align them to state standards, submit lesson plans to their administrator for review, and share their lesson plans with other teachers. Administrators can review lesson plans, give feedback, and generate standards-based reports. Teachers and administrators can also decrease the time it takes to create and review lesson plans so they can focus more time on students.
“For an administrator, the lesson planner offers the tracking of standards taught by each teacher and the lesson checking is done quickly and effectively. Our teachers and administrators are now more effective, efficient, and accessible.”
—Tyra Haight, principal, Catoosa (Okla.) Public Schools
This integrated suite of cloud-based tools can centralize, communicate, and align strategic and operational plans, leader evaluations, board policies, administrative regulations, meeting agendas for any meeting, and important communications and documents. eBOARD will reinforce effective governance and continuous improvement in organizations by aligning the work of the board and system with its strategic plans, policies, meeting agendas, assessments, and leadership evaluations.
“The tools propelled our district to align the local school improvement plans with the district strategic plan. Publishing our improvement plans allowed for easier stakeholder communication of district and school initiatives and progress on our performance objectives.”
—Sandra Watson, director of elementary school improvement and professional learning, Fayette County (Ga.) Public Schools
Dogo Media, Inc.
This website of fun and inspiring current events and news worldwide is written for, and in some cases by, children. With thousands of news articles and new original content added daily, it is the leading online source of current events for students, teachers, and schools.
Microsoft’s Kinect gaming device turns students’ whole body and attention into learning fun. Students can use their arms as the hands on a clock to form the correct time, or play a game where they read “red” on the screen then vigorously pop all the red balloons. Students can even collaborate on projects using avatars.
“The impact Kinect has for special education, PE, ELL, and ELA has only begun to be revealed. Nominating a product that turns students on to learning is a no brainer. Students are engaged and ‘gaming’ while learning.”
—Helen Gooch, instructional tech coordinator, Clarksville-Montgomery County (Tenn.) Schools
This wireless, location-aware, programmable barcode scanner for smartphones and mobile devices became a worldwide phenomenon from the start. For education, the Scanalyzer App can help take attendance by scanning IDs, can pinpoint and record details of anything that takes place on a school campus, aid in library and asset management and can make clerical work more efficient.
Adobe/Microsoft Office Specialist Certifications
Such certifications for students allow them to become experts in commonly used software programs and increase their technology experience prior to college and careers. In education, earning an Adobe Certified Credential or Microsoft Office specialist certification promotes success in the classroom for students and instructors, builds individual distinction, and prepares students for an increasingly competitive workforce.
“The classroom license for curriculum, practice exams, and certification tests have enabled us to offer the opportunity to any student enrolled in our courses. Also, the instructor can proctor the testing session at his or her convenience, reducing the cost of having to hire a testing proctor.”
—Patti Bonezzi, district IT specialist, Okaloosa County (Fla.) School District
This safe student email solution offers online tools like shared calendars, assignment drop boxes, discussion boards, blogs, digital lockers, online document editing, and collaborative, safe SMS texting and filtered YouTube access. Gaggle.net also offers virus-free, online file storage accessible from home and school, and improved communication between teachers and students.
“Students collaborate on projects using the digital lockers and can instantly turn in assignments to teachers, who can grade them via the ‘Mark it up’ feature and turn it back to students. Students and teachers are more engaged and are excited about using Gaggle.”
—Gretchen Robinson, instructional technology facilitator, Onslow County (N.C.) School System
This compilation of school safety programs includes training courses, written plans, programs and procedures, checklists, inspections, and other tools. Suite programs can be customized to include tools and content provided by individual school districts, and includes the management system needed to implement, manage, and sustain a district’s safety program without burdening administration or staff.
“EmployeeSafeSuite has been a tremendous asset to staff safety training in our district. The staff enjoys completing the courses at their own pace, being able to print certificates, and obtaining knowledge that makes them and their students safer.”
—Suzette Tidrick, director of programs, East Guernsey Local Schools, Old Washington, Ohio
My Big Campus
This safe, collaborative, social learning platform includes blogs, group messaging, assignments, and chat, among other capabilities. On My Big Campus, teachers and students can manage assignments, files, photos, and resources, have private conversations and connect with others based on interests.
“Teachers are using this free product to create discussions with their students, to deliver paperless assignments, as an assessment tool, for blog posts, and for uploading and sharing videos. This is the best instructional tool our district has adopted in a very long time.”
—Jana Reese, director of instructional technology, Muscogee County (Ga.) School District
This volunteer management system tracks and manages high school volunteer activity. It can be accessed by students, parents, teachers, and school staff. Detailed reports can be run by class, club, team, or total high school population. By automating previously manual processes, X2VOL can free up an administrator’s time by 10 to 20 hours per month.
“The X2VOL product has given the learners at New Tech High a program that helps keep up with their community service hours. It then allows them to print out their volunteer work to turn in to colleges to which they are applying.”
—Micah Pillmore, counselor, Coppell (Texas) Independent School District
Student Management Suite
This management suite allows teachers, administrators and parents to follow students’ progress and use past data for ongoing analysis. Teachers can enter and grade assignments from anywhere and manage attendance, grading, scheduling, demographics and discipline from one central location.
This adaptive math instruction is combined with engaging, game-based collaboration for grades 3-5. The Wowzers Math learning content, which includes assessments, textbooks, grade books, and manipulatives, is delivered through the cloud.
“The program has greatly improved our student buy-in, motivation, and success in math by providing a rich game-based environment that is based on the core standards and real-life math situations. The teacher dashboard allows for modifications, curriculum control, and assessment of data.”
—Ann Francis, special education teacher, Dallas County R-1 School District, Buffalo, Mo.
Wireless Access Points
The Enterasys wireless solution optimizes distribution of the processing load between access points and wireless controllers to deliver exceptional performance while remaining easy to manage. The solutions-oriented architecture is able to determine how to forward traffic for the highest performance and reliability for each application, resulting in a WLAN infrastructure that can easily be leveraged to deploy VoWLAN and new high-performance solutions such as HD video.
“The technology has allowed us to enable BYOD for students and staff while ensuring the integrity of our network. BYOD has enhanced our students’ competitiveness and enhances our curriculum.”
—Philip Hicks, supervisor of infrastructure and operations, Thames Valley District School Board, Ontario