The 2011 Readers' Choice Top 100 Products
Computer Automation Systems, Inc. pricing varies
SEAS (Special Education Automation Software) is a Web-based assistive technology designed by special education teachers. SEAS is made up of several modules that allow districts to manage their forms management, timeline compliance and special needs programs, including IEP management.
“SEAS has been a great asset to our special education teachers because it provides an organized method of developing IEPs and saves valuable time.”
Rita Windham, superintendent, Enterprise (Miss.) School District
NewsCurrents and Read to Know
Knowledge Unlimited, $209 per site for NewsCurrents; $75 per site for Read to Know
NewsCurrents is a discussion-based weekly current events program for grades 3 through 12 that helps students understand the world around them while enforcing critical-thinking skills and vocabulary. Read to Know is an online news magazine written on a fifth- to eighth-grade reading level. www.newscurrents.com
“We are excited to bring the online application of current events to our middle school classrooms as we prepare for Common Core State Standards and civics education.” Wendy Hodgson, curriculum coordinator, Collier County (Fla.) Public Schools
PublicSchoolWORKS, starting at $3,000
PublicSchoolWORKS combines Web-based administrative tools, content and support to implement and maintain a district’s staff and student health, safety compliance and behavior management plans. EmployeeSafe Suite software is a safety program that facilitates timely and consistent administration of safety training, compliance task management and accident management for school personnel.
“PublicSchoolWORKS transformed our staff training process overnight. The product saves our district an immeasurable amount of time and resources and provides better training than we could provide on our own.” Steffanie Frost, human resources manager, Yamhill Carlton (Ore.) School District
Frontline Placement Technologies, pricing varies
Aesop is an automated substitute teacher placement and absence management system that caters to districts of all sizes. It features automated absence approvals, employee-absence balance tracking, skill matching to ensure the best substitute is in the classroom, and the ability to create custom reports quickly.
“Aesop has reduced the time it takes to arrange for substitutes, increased the percentage fill rate from the low 80s to the upper 90s, improved payroll accuracy, and reduced the payroll process from approximately 3.5 days to a half-day to complete.” Jeffrey Shropshire, substitute coordinator, Auburn (Wash.) School District
Qtopia is an online learning platform that offers thousands of ready-to-use activities, motivating games, avatar features, online homework access with automatic grading, in-classroom review modes and a customizable learning experience. Content areas include English, math, science and social studies. www.qtopia.com
Aspen SIS Follet Software Company, pricing varies
The Aspen Student Information System is a district-level tool that includes customizable pages, reports and procedures to simplify the management of vast amounts of student data. Districts can publish reports such as student schedules, academic progress reports and report cards to a secure family portal.
“Aspen’s student and staff information management system is exceptional and customizable to our district’s needs. We also utilize the professional development module to ensure that we are addressing all staff needs.” Jean Kenney, assistant superintendent, Walpole (Mass.) Public Schools
Tabula Digita, $5-$25 per student
DimensionU, a video-game-based learning resource, helps K12 students improve their math and literacy skills, collaborate with classmates or students from around the world, and form online study groups. www.dimensionu.com
K12 Online Curriculum
K12 Inc, contact K12 for pricing
K12’s online curriculum reaches thousands of students through full-time online public schools and individual courses. K12 uses individualized learning approaches, rich content, teacher engagement and education research. www.k12.com/educators
Education Management Systems, pricing varies
Meals Plus provides software and services for the management of K12 cafeterias. The software makes it easy for schools to track meal purchases, payments and eligibility for free and reduced-price lunches. www.mealsplus.com
“Meals Plus’ electronic point of sale has eliminated confusion, saved time and improved sales. Meals Plus is very easy to navigate, which has been a blessing, since most of my staff was not comfortable using computers and some don’t even have one at home.” Cindy Jones, food service director, New Philadelphia City (Ohio) Schools
EduSoft Assessment Management System
Riverside Publishing, contact Riverside Publishing for pricing
EduSoft Assessment Management System gives educators instant access to test results and analysis. Schools have access to benchmark assessments aligned to district standards and Web-based or traditional answer sheets for formative tests. www.riverpub.com/products/edusoft
"The EduSoft platform provides a large item bank that we use in conjunction with released test items, textbook items and district-specific items." Liz Frischhertz, chief officer for accountability and assessment, East Baton Rouge Parish (La.) School System
College Admissions Data Hyper-Handbook
Wintergreen Orchard House, $199
The College Admissions Data Hyper-Handbook provides research on colleges and universities that schools can use to help guide and inform students. The CD-ROM includes college admissions data and full descriptions of 1,700 accredited four-year colleges. http://store.wintergreenstore.com/497hhc6.html
Children’s Progress Academic Assessment
Children's Progress, contact Children's Progress for pricing
Aligned to individual state standards and the Common Core State Standards, the Children’s Progress Academic Assessment helps teachers monitor early reading and math skills in pre-K through third grade. CPAA identifies areas of instruction that need to be differentiated for children based on their achievement. www.childrensprogress.com
Silverback Learning Solutions, pricing varies
Mileposts is a cloud-based student management system that allows teachers and administrators to organize, access and utilize student data. It also provides intervention management aligned with national Response to Intervention guidelines. www.silverbacklearning.com/Products/Mileposts/
“Mileposts has really helped me monitor and respond in a timely manner to student achievement issues.” Jeff Rast, principal, Camas County (Idaho) School District
Virtual Internship Series
I Support Learning, school and district licenses available
Through the Virtual Internship Series, students are “interns” at a video game programming company. While they interact with virtual supervisors, cell phones, email, and “the boss,” they simultaneously work through various levels of certifications. www.isupportlearning.com/virtual-internship/
eStar Response to Intervention
eSped, $3 per student
The eStar Response to Intervention (RTI) application provides teachers and administrators with a well-organized solution to ensure that each student is evaluated thoroughly, as mandated by NCLB. The four-level RTI application offers documentation, problem solving and the referral process for special education.
“eStar is a comprehensive product that is legally compliant and provides for customization at the district level. With eStar, we are able to produce documents that not only meet legal requirements but also provide crucial information regarding our students to all stakeholders in an organized, easy-to-read format.” Judy Moon, director of special education, Crowley (Texas) Independent School District.
Course Planner Module
Career Cruising, $1,500 per site
Course Planner Module is software that helps counselors and students keep track of what the students need to graduate in four years, including pathway suggestions and course descriptions. Students take ownership of their education because they can see the impact on future possibilities as they plan their courses.
“Course Planner dovetails beautifully with our data management software and is extraordinarily user-friendly for school staff, parents and students. From an administrator’s viewpoint, I have appreciated the ease of use for registration, and many features, including elective matching, have made my job more efficient.” Bonnie Johnston, assistant principal of curriculum and instruction, Buncombe County (N.C.) Schools
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. www.ccssvm.com
Scenario Learning, $5 per full-time employee annually
SafeSchools is an online safety training and tracking system specifically designed for school employees. Over 200 courses cover safety issues in topics including information technology, emergency management, special education, transportation and more. A compliance management system provides monitoring and tracking of employee training to administrators. www.safeschools.com
“SafeSchools online training and professional development has made it possible to have 100 percent of our teachers up-to-date with the changes in the law.” Joan Chamberlin, assistant superintendent, Garfield Heights City (Ohio) Schools
Contact School Loop for pricing
School Loop is an online learning management system for the physical classroom. It includes content and document management, teacher Web sites and support for multimedia content. School Loop Plus, the premium version, includes dropbox sharing, listservs, student trackers, email notifications and a complete gradebook. This product would help students and teachers stay on track on snow days. www.schoolloop.com
“School Loop is the basis for our online school days this year. It has enabled us to push our technology literacy to a higher level.” Rachael Costello, librarian, Pentucket Regional (Mass.) School District
Teach Town: Basics
Teach Town, pricing varies
TeachTown: Basics combines research-based computer lessons with offline activities for students who are developmentally 2 to 7 years old. The automatic data tracking and reporting system allows teachers to give students more individual attention and addresses early learning standards and IEP goals. http://web.teachtown.com/products/teachtown-basics-classroom
OnTRAC Interactive Achievement, pricing varies
Online Teacher Resource and Assessment Community (onTRAC) is a Web-based instructional improvement system that allows educators to create benchmarks and formative assessments from a bank of test items that are standards-aligned and receive reports instantly.
“onTRAC also facilitates collaboration as teachers share individually created items and assessments with each other. After a year of use, our district increased two percentage points on the state test in both mathematics and reading.” Ben Williams, associate director of testing and remediation, Roanoke County (Va.) Public Schools
Scholastic, contact Scholastic for pricing
Scholastic’s Read 180 is a reading intervention program for students in grades 3 through 12, as well as special education and ELL students. It enables differentiated instruction through adaptive and instructional software technology; printed literature; direct instruction in reading, writing and vocabulary skills; and professional development. Read 180 also provides tools for administrators by collecting and organizing districtwide student performance data through the Scholastic Achievement Manager application.
Benetech, free for students with certain disabilities
Bookshare is an online library of ebooks for people with visual impairments, physical disabilities or learning disabilities. Bookshare members can download books, textbooks and newspapers to read using adaptive technology, including text-to-speech software or Braille access devices. www.bookshare.org
“Bookshare has leveled the playing field for students with reading disabilities. All students can now take part in discussions and for the first time for most, feel positive about themselves and their school experience.” Randy Pine, IEP teacher, District 27Q (N.Y.)
Naviance, contact Naviance for pricing
Naviance helps school districts use data to promote, measure and improve college and career readiness. Serving more than 300,000 educators and 4 million students across nearly 5,400 schools in 84 countries, Naviance provides student-centric tools for course, career, college and success planning. Established in 2002, Naviance’s mission is to help every student graduate from high school prepared for success in post-secondary education and the twenty-first century workplace. www.naviance.com/succeed
Learning Enhancement Corporation, $25-$89 per student
Learning Enhancement Corporation’s BrainWare Safari incorporates neuroscience and video-game technology into a software program for users age 6 and up. BrainWare Safari strengthens 41 different cognitive skills crucial to learning, including auditory processing, attention, memory and thinking. www.mybrainware.com
“BrainWare Safari is on the cutting edge of preparing students to be Information Age thinkers by using exercises that develop their ability to recognize patterns, solve problems and think more effectively.” Denise Kish, principal, Harbor Beach Community (Mich.) Schools
Emerald Data Solutions, starting at $2,700 annually
Emerald Data Solutions’ BoardDocs is an online governance and document management program designed to help school boards organize and store information from meetings and make it available online to the public or school community. It is available in a Pro or a more affordable LT version and is compatible with the Apple iPad. www.boarddocs.com
Maximus, pricing varies
Maximus’ Tienet provides three district management applications, available individually or as a package. The Instructional Management System is a one-stop solution for curriculum development, instruction and assessments that are aligned with state and federal standards. The Response to Intervention System allows educators to quickly identify underperforming students and respond with individualized, research-based intervention strategies. The Special Education Case Management application documents all special education activities. www.maximus.com/services/consulting/pre-k-12
“Tienet allows us to conduct all state reporting for special education and our service capture for Medicaid billing in a single system. It has also allowed us to flow information from information systems used by our individual districts.” Laurie Jefsen, administrator for compliance and technical assistance, Kalamazoo (Mich.) Regional Education Service Agency
DOGOnews is a free online newspaper and Web guide for elementary and middle school students that provides short articles about current events with photos, videos, a dictionary for challenging words, and maps for geographical context. Teachers can create a custom online newspaper for their students by choosing articles and Web sites based on content area. www.dogonews.com
Time to Know, pricing varies
Time to Know’s Digital Teaching Platform is an interactive, personalized curriculum for 1:1 classrooms. This product enhances student learning through engaging and adaptive content focused on discovery and inquiry-based learning, collaborative class discussions and multimedia activities. Frequent feedback during class enables the teacher to track each child’s progress. www.timetoknow.com
“Time to Know has increased the level of engagement in my fourth-grade math classes. The visuals that are provided for group discussions are excellent for all students, especially English language learners. Students love the animation and feedback given during their practice time.” Brenda Jobe, teacher, Grand Prairie (Texas) Independent School District
Tandem for Schools
Intand, $599 to $999 per school annually
Tandem for Schools provides a central online calendar for all district events, accessible by students, staff, parents and community members. Calendar updates automatically notify stakeholders via email, text messages, calendar subscriptions or RSS feeds. Other tools include directions through Google Maps, privacy and permissions settings and a new facilities rental feature to organize the use of school facilities by outside groups. www.intand.com
SAS Curriculum Pathways provides interactive resources aligned with Common Core standards in English, math, science, social studies and Spanish for students in grades 6 to 12. It features more than 600 Web lessons, 70 audio tutorials and 200 interactive tools. www.sascurriculumpathways.com
Graduate Follow-up and Senior Exit Surveys
LifeTrack Services, starting at $3.50 per senior
LifeTrack Services provides graduate follow-up surveys and senior exit surveys to allow schools to analyze curricula and programs from the perspective of graduates. Districts also have the ability to stay in touch with graduates for life with the 1-800-REUNION program. www.lifetrack-services.com
“Graduate follow-up surveys have influenced our educational practices through the data and feedback they provide.” Dick Kloppel, principal, Great Falls (Mont.) Public Schools
Turning Technologies, pricing varies
Turning Technologies offers TurningPoint AnyWhere software, a student response system geared to meet the curriculum needs of every class. Teachers can poll students in any application, including PowerPoint, whiteboard software, Web browsers, ExamView and more. The reporting tool allows educators to quickly track and assess individual student results.
My Learning Plan, $3,000 set-up fee plus $15 per user annually
OASYS is a Web-based observation and appraisal management system that offers district leaders quick and easy scheduling, managing and reporting of all elements of the evaluation process for teachers, principals, administrators and noninstructional staff. OASYS is compatible with the iPad, iPod, iPhone and Android. www.mylearningplan.com/Content/Home/oasys.html
“Our administrators have found the Web-based evaluation system to be extremely user-friendly. It provides the necessary documentation to reflect the quality of teaching we expect in our classrooms.” Andrew Szczepaniak, director of professional development, Gilbert (Ariz.) Public Schools
BrighterLogix, pricing varies
SideKick is a Web-based lesson-plan program from developer BrighterLogix. Teachers use the product to create detailed lesson plans, align them to state standards, color code by any criteria and submit them to administrators for review. It also includes an interactive calendar, search functions and summary reporting tools. www.brighterlogix.com/SideKick
Edmodo, the free, secure social learning network designed for education, has added a suite of new features to enable students to collaborate in the classroom and to enable teachers to customize the classroom experience online. These include “badges,” which provide incentives for students and recognition of their achievement, a quiz builder to aid in student assessment, updated iPhone and Android apps with new features, and a new, streamlined user interface. www.edmodo.com
“My lessons have taken on a new dimension in presentation with the social media tools that Edmodo offers. Students are also able to extend their learning and interaction beyond school.” Robert Miller, teacher, Volusia County (Fla.) Schools
Comprehensive Narrative Writing Guide
Empowering Writers, $75
Empowering Writers’ Comprehensive Narrative Writing Guide provides the foundation for teaching a comprehensive narrative writing curriculum. The manual includes detailed lesson plans, revision exercises, writing prompts, literature connections and personal experience lessons within each skill area. www.empoweringwriters.com/prod_details/narrative-writing-packages/compre...
CRS Advanced Technology, pricing varies
SubFinder is a fully automated employee-absence-management and substitute-placement system for school districts. The program is designed to integrate with existing programs, streamline human resource and payroll systems, and improve the efficiency of absence reporting for employees, substitute placement for administrators, and schedule management for substitutes. www.crsadvancedtechnology.com/products/subfinder
Lexia, contact Lexia for pricing
Lexia Reading is a technology-based system that helps students of all ages improve reading achievement. The software includes differentiated practice, embedded assessment and targeted instruction in five key areas, including phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. www.lexialearning.com/products/index.html
Blackboard Connect 5
Blackboard,pricing varies by student count
Blackboard has updated its mass notification system based on its messaging infrastructure, with the intention of providing more targeted and relevant communication. It includes an enhanced Web interface, a smartphone application, and a Connect Access Portal, which provides customized messaging, access to previously received messages, and content feed subscriptions.
iCreate to Educate, contact iCreate to Educate for pricing
Stop-Action-Movies (SAM) Animation, developed by Tufts University, is a user-friendly application that allows users to capture still images from a webcam that can be played back in movie form like a digital flip book. SAM Animation was designed specifically for students and teachers. www.icreatetoeducate.com/products?category=Software
“SAM Animation has provided a tool for children to explore, not just to display, their own thinking. It also makes the thinking process visible to me, as students pull together their projects.” Karl Muench, teacher, McAuliffe Regional (Mass.) Charter School
SchoolTube is a free online video hosting and sharing resource exclusively for K12 students, teachers and school communities. Students can explore areas such as academic subjects, sports, news and current events, and teachers can integrate relevant videos into classroom curricula. Administrators can also use the site to communicate school news and events with parents and the community. www.schooltube.com
SunGard K-12, pricing varies
SunGard K-12’s eSchoolPLUS is a Web-based student information system that enables districts to track student data, increase efficiency and increase student communication. eSchoolPLUS includes a Teacher Access Center for managing the classroom and a Home Access Center for parents to monitor student progress.
“This product has allowed great flexibility in attendance, mark reporting and scheduling. We have also seen parent participation increase using the parent portal for students.” Lawrence Murphy, CTO, Schenectady City (N.Y.) School District
School Software Group, $1,000 set-up fee, $1,000 annual subscription fee and $2 per student
BuildYourOwnCurriculum is a customizable Web-based curriculum management tool designed by educators. Students and parents can view standards that students are expected to master, class activities and resources, and teachers can easily update lesson plans to align with state standards.
Free for individuals, starting at $39 per class
eBackpack allows teachers and students to safely store files online in the cloud. eBackpack also enables teachers to set up classes so they can easily share files with a specific set of users, and it provides a drop box for students to submit homework. eBackpack is compatible with iPad. www.ebackpack.com
“Thanks to eBackpack, we have been able to provide access to online storage for all students. This means students can complete work from anywhere, even if they are out sick.” Amy Sencer, teacher, Cranston (R.I.) School District
EVIR and V2J
Zonar Systems, pricing varies
Zonar Systems’ EVIR inspection system ensures accurate reporting of pre- and post-trip vehicle inspections of buses, which are required by state and federal law. V2J is a GPS system that allows transportation departments to efficiently manage activities, including travel stops, speeds, routes and onboard events. www.zonarsystems.com/products/evir/
WordQ + SpeakQ
goQ Software, $199
WordQ + SpeakQ is an assistive technology that integrates word prediction, spoken feedback and speech recognition. This writing tool can be trained to recognize the way a student says particular words and will help the student improve vocabulary over time. www.goqsoftware.com
“WordQ has made a dramatic difference in student reading and writing output, as well as confidence and independence levels.” Christina Schindler, special education teacher specialist, Queen Anne’s County (Md.) Board of Education
eBeam Edge Whiteboard
Luidia, starting at $899
Luidia’s eBeam Edge Whiteboard turns any content written in dry erase marker into a permanent digital file. This product allows educators to share information and preserve great ideas. It is compatible with existing whiteboard equipment.
“eBeam Edge Whiteboard gives teachers the ability to develop richer multimedia lessons and to save and share materials for continued learning after class or for students who might have missed a day.” Jared Prolo, technology facilitator, San Mateo Foster City (Calif.) School District
Electronic Student Emergency Cards
K12 Alerts, pricing varies
K12 Alerts’ Electronic Student Emergency Cards system helps districts keep student emergency information up-to-date in case of a crisis. Parents can update their child’s information instantly by connecting to that child’s Electronic Student Emergency Card on any computer, smartphone, iPad or tablet. www.k12alerts.com
TalentEd Recruit & Hire
Netchemia, starting at $750 per year
TalentEd Recruit & Hire, formerly SchoolRecruiter, is a Web-based applicant tracking and hiring management system that allows districts to sift through job applications, schedule interviews, provide hire recommendations, and manage career fairs online. www.netchemia.com/schoolrecruiter
ActivBoard 500 Pro
Promethean, starting at $4,999
Promethean’s ActivBoard 500 Pro is an interactive display system available as an 87- or 95-inch widescreen board and features Windows 7, an intuitive pen and touch capability. Multiple users can collaborate on a single task, and the intuitive pen allows users to write and draw across the surface to increase engagement. www.prometheanworld.com/server.php?show=nav.21892
Crime Reports, pricing varies
Crime Reports’ TipSoft Alerts is an informational text-messaging and email notification service that helps police and schools communicate with the public about events in the area, including crime, fugitives, Amber Alerts and emergencies. Alerts can be embedded on district Web sites and posted to Facebook or Twitter.
Flip Boom Cartoon
Toon Boom Animation, starting at $39.99
Flip Boom Cartoon is user-friendly animation software that helps children develop motor and logical skills while stimulating creativity, self-expression and imagination. It is compatible with the iPod, iPhone and iPad. www.toonboom.com/products/flipboomcartoon/
“I am a visual arts teacher in elementary school, and my students can develop and produce some cartoons autonomously. Flip Boom Cartoon allows my students to use a computer as a tool, l ike a brush or charcoal.” Carriere Paul, art teacher, Montreal (Quebec)
Espresso Education, $1,595 per site
Espresso Elementary is a cross-curricular, multimedia learning Web site with engaging videos for pre-K to fifth-grade students. Content areas include math, science, art, history and current events. Each subscription includes an online professional development course. www.espressoeducation.com
Academic Integrity Suite
Digital Proctor, pricing varies based on number of students
Digital Proctor’s Academic Integrity Suite includes keystroke pattern recognition software, a plagiarism tool that checks if students are “Googling” questions and copying and pasting answers, and a collusion tool that catches students collaborating when they are supposed to be working alone.
IntelliVOL, contact IntelliVOL for pricing
IntelliVOL’s x2VOL provides a simple way for high school administrators to track and manage student community service activity. X2VOL is Web-based and provides users with customized tracking and reporting. www.intellivol.com
“This program not only allows us to document hours served and reflection opportunities, but it also serves as a recruitment tool for additional service opportunities.” Tabitha Branum, director of strategic initiatives, Coppell (Texas) Independent School District
Mimio Classroom Suite
Dymo/Mimio ITT, pricing varies
The Mimio Classroom Suite is comprised of innovative tools for 21st-century classrooms. MimioTeach is a device that can be placed on an existing whiteboard and which then allows educators to access everything onto a computer from the whiteboard. MimioVote is a student response system, and MimioCapture is an ink recording system that saves notes on an ordinary whiteboard.
“We could not afford to purchase an interactive whiteboard for every classroom, but Mimio provided a viable solution because it is so portable and teachers can share it.” Barbara Marin, assistant superintendent, Hempfield Area (Pa.) School District
V-Soft Visitor Management
Raptor Technologies, pricing varies
The V-soft Visitor Management System is Web-based and provides an effective and affordable way to help schools keep unwanted visitors out while tracking those they allow in. V-soft screens a visitor’s driver’s license for registered sex offenders, domestic dispute offenders or other trespassers. www.raptorware.com/vsoft.html
EduTone, free 30 day-trial programs
EduTone Gateway is identity management technology that allows educators to access applications and information with a single sign-on portal for all users. This simplifies logins across an array of products for students, teachers and administrators.
STI, free with purchase of InformationNOW
InFocus is a free reporting tool within STI’s student information system, InformationNOW. InFocus allows districts to spot trends and analyze data, such as dropout rates or discipline infractions. www.sti-k12.com/publicsis1.asp
“Members of our administrative team can build dashboards and drill-downs on any data in our SIS. When they share these views with our other staff, they only see data relevant to their level of permissions in the SIS.” Brad Hagg, director of technology, Tippecanoe Valley (Ind.) School Corporation
School Improvement Network, $3,000 per site
PD 360 is a Web-based, on-demand professional learning solution. The product includes nearly 1,000 video segments presenting real classroom examples of research-based teaching techniques, strategies and insights from respected researchers on a wide variety of topics. It also provides follow-up, tracking and reflection tools, as well as an online community.
“PD 360 professional development has transformed our campus into an environment of ‘on-demand learning’ for our staff.” Lizzy Kloiber, director of secondary education, Celina (Texas) ISD
Pitsco Education, pricing varies
Pitsco Education’s STEM programs, formerly known as Synergistic Learning Systems, offer engaging, real-world activities that teach students skills such as problem solving and critical thinking. Students also gain exposure to careers in science and technology.
Capstone Digital, starts at $6,500 per school annually
Capstone Digital’s program provides students with “Netflix-style” computer-based reading opportunities tailored to their interests, and gives administrators tools to track, monitor and report on student growth in reading ability. Students choose from hundreds of digital books on a computer—which they can access at school, from home or at the library—and myOn Reader provides assistance such as read-aloud support and word highlighting. www.capstonepub.com
BookheadEd Learning, $175 per teacher annually
StudySync is a Web-based media center that features literary texts, lesson plans and videos that capture college-level students as they collaborate to construct meaning from a literary text. Teachers can customize lessons and writing prompts to help students build critical-thinking skills and reading confidence. www.studysync.com
“StudySync is the most ideal tool imaginable for inculcating ‘authentic literacy’ in students. With StudySync, it is easy for teachers to make close analysis and discussion of a multiplicity of texts a daily feature of their lessons.” Brad Shurmantine, assistant principal, Napa Valley (Calif.) Unified School District
MIND Research, pricing varies
ST Math is a group of products from nonprofit organization MIND Research that engage students’ spatial-temporal (ST) reasoning capabilities to help them understand and solve multistep math problems. It is available in K-5, Fluency and Math+Music modules, or as a Secondary Intervention unit, designed for struggling secondary students or as a complement to any math curriculum.
Sublime Learning, pricing varies
Sublime Learning’s eTeachables are three- to five-minute professional development videos that focus on fully integrating technology and differentiating instruction. Teachers can search the Professional Learning Portal by grade, learning category, or standard and can find hundreds of K8 lessons and tutorials. www.sublimelearning.com/eteachables
Extron Electronics, $1,995
Extron’s PoleVault System is an audiovisual infrastructure product designed specifically for K12 classrooms that use ceiling-mounted projectors. It includes complete audio/video switching, audio amplification, optional HDMI input and all other components besides a projector, sources and screen necessary to build a complete classroom audiovisual system.
“With over 350 installations of the PoleVault, we have found that the simplicity of the controls makes the system easy for instructional staff to learn to use multimedia tools in daily instruction.” Mike Jamerson, director of technology, Bartholomew Consolidated (Ind.) School Corporation
CompassLearning, contact CompassLearning for pricing
Odyssey is the flagship of CompassLearning’s K12 software-based curriculum. Odyssey enables differentiated instruction, Response to Intervention, formative assessment, credit recovery, development of 21st-century skills and more. www.extron.com/product/product.aspx?id=mlpolevault&subtype=222
Contact Diigo for pricing
Diigo is a social bookmarking service that allows users to collect, organize, sync and access information, such as bookmarks, notes and photos. Diigo’s Web Highlighter for iPad enables users to annotate Web pages. www.diigo.com
The Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization that offers a library of 2,600 video tutorials and 207 practice exercises covering a range of topics such as physics, finance and history. It offers a self-paced learning tool, a dynamic help-system, and a custom profile to measure progress. The video tutorials can be used as a supplement to classroom learning in K12 schools. www.khanacademy.org
ClassLink, $9 per student for first year, $5 per student each subsequent year
ClassLink’s LaunchPad program provides a personalized cloud desktop and a central point of access for all software applications from any device, in school or at home. Teachers can use a calendar feature to plan classes, and interactivity tools allow them to collaborate with students via chat, to send files, or to take control of screens. www.classlink.com/launchpad/
“LaunchPad has made it possible for students and staff to access their applications and files from home, extending their access and increasing their productivity.” Dan Marmion, CTO, Buffalo (N.Y.) Public Schools
MicroMain Corporation, pricing varies
MicroMain’s Facilligence is a Web-based computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) that helps districts simplify maintenance operations, work-order management, preventive maintenance scheduling and more. It provides quick access to work-order information for maintenance workers and administrators. www.micromain.com/software-and-services/cmms-eam-software/facilligence-s...
Contact Atomic Learning for pricing
Atomic Learning is an online professional development resource that features tutorials on topics such as 21st-century learning, technology skills and assistive technology. Atomic Learning offers subscription packages of content. www.atomiclearning.com
“We use the Atomic Learning assessment tool to identify staff skills, and we use the prescribed online training for enhancing skill levels and integration strategies.” Robbin Carll, technology coordinator, Livonia (N.Y.) Central School District
Measuring Up MyQuest
Peoples Education, pricing varies by state
K12 print and online publisher Peoples Education’s Measuring Up MyQuest is a student-driven, skill-building practice for English language arts or math. The program, formerly known as Practice Path, automatically adjusts to provide each student with content appropriate to his or her skill mastery level, meeting the needs of every subgroup within the classroom.
Disney’s Planet Challenge is a free, annual, project-based environmental competition for elementary and middle school students that also provides lessons and materials for integrating the program into a science curriculum. Students identify an environmental issue in their local community and design, manage and document a solution from start to finish. A variety of prizes are awarded, including the grand prize of a trip to Disneyland for the winning teacher and class. disney.go.com/planetchallenge
A+ Classroom Audio System
Panasonic, pricing varies
Panasonic offers a number of components as part of its A+ Classroom Audio system to meet different classroom needs, including a lanyard-worn or handheld wireless microphone, 20-, 30- or 50-watt amplifiers, an infrared receiver and ceiling-mounted speakers. A new security alert system adds a classroom surveillance camera and enables teachers to press an emergency alert button on the microphone to notify authorities.
Shmoop Learning Guides
Shmoop, Shmoop Teacher’s Editions are $7 per topic
Shmoop’s online learning guides offer 12 content areas, including the newly added biology and mythology sections, and over 10,000 titles written by master teachers and top university graduate students. Shmoop’s digital curriculum and test preparation section features fun, rigorous learning and teaching materials. www.shmoop.com
“The literature guides provided by Shmoop are hands-down the best available to students on the Web. They’re informative, witty, engaging and—most importantly—extremely helpful.” Sara Behrens, teacher, Ysleta (Texas) Independent School District
AMX, contact AMX for pricing
AMX’s SchoolView product combines hardware and software on a single platform to connect and control systems and devices across a campus. It enables teachers to control a variety of classroom audio and video sources from a single touchscreen, and allows administrators to manage a school or entire district’s devices from a central location, including energy-saving settings as well as surveillance cameras, school bells, public address systems and emergency alert systems. www.simplifyyourcampus.com
Summit Interactive, contact Summit Interactive for pricing
Summit Interactive’s Ascend Math is an individualized Web-based curriculum that identifies students’ math skill gaps and uses interactive activities and practices to get students up to grade level. It is aligned with state standards and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. www.ascendmath.com
“The impact Ascend has had on our school is tremendous. Teachers can tell which students are using Ascend Math because of their improved abilities and skills in the classroom.” Gil-Rey Madrid, principal, Fort Stockton (Texas) Independent School District
Integrated Demographics and Enrollment Analysis for Schools (IDEAS)
DecisionInsite, pricing varies
DecisionInsite’s enrollment impact expertise, coupled with the DecisionInsite system, provides school districts with the information and tools to plan for future enrollment, develop more realistic budgets, examine facility needs and explore, analyze and plan for boundary changes. The DI system integrates enrollment forecasts and comprehensive student and community demographic information.
“DecisionInsite has helped our district identify key decision points to change attendance boundaries; and have readily available data to reinforce applications for state and federal grants.” Paul Reed, deputy superintendent, Newport-Mesa (Calif.) Unified School
GlobalScholar, pricing varies
The Pinnacle Suite software product from GlobalScholar is available as a locally hosted or cloud-based solution and includes a variety of modules to help school districts track and manage data, as well as improve instruction and manage professional development. These include GlobalScholar’s Pinnacle Student Information System, gradebook, curriculum and assessment program, data analytics tools and more. www.globalscholar.com
User Management Resource Administrator
Tools4Ever, contact Tools4Ever for pricing
Tools4Ever’s User Management Resource Administrator software is an identity and access solution for school districts. The UMRA can synchronize with student information systems, live@edu, Google apps and more. It can also be used for password synchronization for single sign-on. www.tools4ever.com
National Transcript Center
Pearson Data Solutions, contact Pearson for pricing
Pearson’s National Transcript Center is a secure, Web-based application that instantly transfers electronic student transcripts. NTC members can send transcripts electronically to any academic institution, employer or scholarship organization.
Headsprout Reading Comprehension
DYMO/Mimio, pricing varies
Headsprout Reading Comprehension is a research-based, online program that addresses the key areas of inferential comprehension, literal comprehension, main idea and vocabulary from context. This interactive and engaging program offers a personalized learning environment to each user. www.headsprout.com
“This program, along with our staff’s hard work, made a huge difference in our state test scores. The number of students that were proficient or advanced in reading on our state test went up 10 percentage points.” Chad High, principal, Metro Nashville (Tenn.) Public Schools
eScholar Complete Data Warehouse for PK-12
eScholar, contact eScholar for pricing
The eScholar Complete Data Warehouse for PK-12 is a longitudinal data warehouse solution that enables state and local education agencies to gather, integrate and manage key education-related data from a wide variety of operational systems and data sources, such as student and faculty demographics, courses, assessments, facilities and finance. www.escholar.com/products/Complete-Data-Warehouse/index.php
ePals, pricing varies
ePals’ In2Books is an e-mentoring program for students in grades 3 to 5. In2Books matches students with adult pen pals, who read the same books and exchange teacher-monitored, online letters about questions and concerns from the text.
“Many of my students are English language learners, and In2books has helped them grow in their use and understanding of the English language.” Brenda Keller, teacher, Newhall (Calif.) School District
Arcademic Skill Builders
Arcademics, $5 per student
Arcademic Skill Builders features Web-based educational video games to help kids learn basic math, language arts, vocabulary and thinking skills in a secure setting. These games provide engaging and focused repetition practice that can increase student achievement. www.arcademicskillbuilders.com
Classroom Share Sites
Photo and video sharing site Shutterfly has created Classroom Share Sites to help parents stay connected to their child’s classroom. These free, easy-to-make private sites allow teachers to share photos of classroom projects and field trips, simplify volunteer sign-ups, centralize parent-teacher communication, and create custom year-end photo books.
TenMarks, contact TenMarks for pricing
TenMarks Math is an interactive Web-based program that offers a personalized curriculum for every student. The curriculum, aligned to Common Core standards, is available for math levels from second grade through algebra 2. Reports and assessments give teachers insight into student learning. www.tenmarks.com
Democrasoft’s Collaborize Classroom is a free online collaborative education platform for students and teachers. It is designed to encourage critical thinking and discussion inside and outside of the classroom. Teachers have access to student participation reports, which makes grading easy.
“Teachers at my school are finally able to facilitate dynamic discussions using this education platform. The question types add structure and variety to the discussions, which keep students interested.” Caitlin Tucker, English teacher, Windsor (Calif.) Unified School District
Ubuntu is a free, open-source operating system that is managed and funded by Canonical. Ubuntu offers thousands of free apps and is compatible with existing PC files, printers, cameras and MP3 players. Ubuntu allows users to create documents or presentations, check email, download apps, surf the Web and more. www.ubuntu.com
Wireless Management Suite
Enterasys Secure Networks, pricing varies
Enterasys Wireless solutions provide flexibility and control over the entire edge of the network to enable an easily managed, cost-effective and secure wireless infrastructure. Utilizing unique, role-based policy architecture, it provides an intuitive way to authenticate and manage users and devices at every access point across the network.
“The Enterasys product provides our district with a robust and secure wireless environment. SInce implementation, we have found the system to be easily managed as we provide district-wide wireless access to all of our user groups.” Pat Armanino, network manager, San Mateo Foster City (Calif.) School District
Castle Learning Online
Castle Software, Inc., contact Castle Software for pricing
Castle Learning Online, a supplement to classroom instruction, offers review assignments, practice sessions and benchmark testing. It saves teachers time with automatic grading, streamlined assignments and instant progress reports. Core content areas for grades 3 through 12 are aligned to state standards. www.castlelearning.com
Cambium Learning Technologies-Kurzweil Educational Systems, contact Kurzweil Educational Systems for pricing
Kurzweil 3000 is an assistive technology solution that addresses language and literacy. The software, which can read text aloud to students from digital or print formats, provides visual and auditory accessibility supports. www.kurzweiledu.com
“Since students are able to easily use Kurzweil 3000 autonomously and at their own ability, special education students achieve a level of independence not previously experienced.” Cindy Bania-Carter, assistant superintendent, Pinellas County (Fla.) Schools
Motorola Droid 3 and Motorola Xoom tablets
Verizon Wireless, Droid 3, $199 with Verizon plan; Xoom, $499
The Motorola Droid 3 smartphone includes a full keyboard, 3G capabilities and the Android 2.3 operating system. The Motorola Xoom tablet comes with the Android 3.1 operating system, a 10.1-inch HD widescreen display, dual-core processor and up to 64GB storage. www.verizonwireless.com
Wyse Technology, $329
Wyse provides a variety of thin-client and zero-client computing solutions, including both hardware and software. Wyse Xenith is a zero client built specifically for Citrix as an alternative to the traditional PC environment. It turns on in less than five seconds and is able to handle rich media, which reduces overload on the server and the network. www.wyse.com/products/hardware/zeroclients/Xenith/index.asp
“As we continue to update our computer infrastructure across the district, we will be turning to Wyse Xenith to replace PCs.” Steve Bradley, network administrator, Rocklin (Calif.) Unified School District
Contact e2020 for pricing
E2020 provides online core and elective courses aligned to state standards for grades 6 to 12. Each course is delivered through teacher-led videos that offer individualized Web-based instruction to schools for traditional classrooms, blended learning and virtual programs. www.education2020.com
Connected Classrooms Training Program
Connected Classrooms, contact Connected Classrooms for pricing
Connected Classrooms offers customizable, cost-effective online professional development and technology training. Educators can learn how to transform traditional content into Web-enhanced, blended or distance learning courses. www.connectedclassrooms.org
Meru System Director 5
Meru Networks, pricing varies
Meru System Director 5 is a virtual wireless operating system that allows thousands of devices and applications to access network resources simultaneously. It is ideal for schools with “bring your own device” (BYOD) programs.
“The Meru System Director allows us to offer 1:1 technology initiatives—creating mobile, engaging learning environments for over 1,500 students.” Chris Carey, director of technology, Bellarmine (Calif.) College Preparatory
School Alert System, starts at 99 cents per student
SchoolBrains’ School Alert System can integrate into their student information system or be packaged separately and used with other systems. It enables administrators to send e-mail, voice or text messages of important announcements to thousands of students, parents and staff members instantly via a single Web-based interface. SchoolBrains provides sophisticated SIS data management and assessment solutions for K12 school districts. It's available by module and customizable to fit the varying needs of each school district. www.schoolbrains.com