Best Upgraded Software

12/12/2013 6:00:00 PM
AceReader Elite

An enhanced version of AceReader Pro, AceReader Elite offers over 800 tests, drills, and games to assess and improve students’ reading skills. Judges have recommended it to schools before, and they say that the new features are beneficial. One judge pointed out that using “technology to improve fluency” in a very comprehensive product makes AceReader Elite unique.


Achieve3000 offers a variety of differentiated instruction solutions from literacy to science for elementary school to adult learners. Judges said it was “perfect for differentiated instruction in any classroom,” thanks to its wide variety of topics, pre-developed questions, and activities. Another judge cited the new, interactive bonus lessons as particularly helpful for dependent reading comprehension.

CTB/McGraw -Hill

CTB/McGraw-Hill’s Acuity assessment solution is designed to support both interim and formative assessment programs with instructional resources, reporting, and customization. Judges liked the use of graphics and rubrics and its coverage of the Common Core standards. One judge cited the data integration and range of grade levels as standout features.

Barracuda Message Archiver
Barracuda Networks

The Barracuda Message Archiver appliance centrally indexes and stores all sent and received emails for quick search and retrieval in a secure environment that offers role-based access for administrators and auditors. Judges found it extremely easy to set up and use, citing the support documents as very helpful. One judge said that it “helps ease email archiving, content filtering, and searching, which are essential for the business aspects of a school.”

Camtasia Studio

Camtasia Studio enables teachers to create professional videos, record on-screen activity, customize and edit content, and share those videos across devices. Compared to similar products, one judge found it “more efficient, easier to use, and feature-filled.” Judges raved over the “powerful selection of tools and options,” and liked using the quizzes as a way to engage students.

ClassLink LaunchPad
Class Link

ClassLink’s Launchpad offers a personalized, cloud-based, virtual desktop solution that gives school staff and students access to their school network files from any device. Judges called it a great solution for schools using BYOD programs. They also found the management of documents and programs to be very user friendly.

Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Diagnostic & Instruction
Curriculum Associates

Built for the Common Core, Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready Diagnostic & Instruction offers an adaptive diagnostic program that provides both teacher-led and individualized online instruction for a complete blended learning solution. One judge saw it as “an effective tool for supporting teachers in providing quality instruction” and said it could provide remediation for students who might not be successful in a traditional school setting. The judge noted that the “vast amount of reporting data is easily viewed and digested,” and appreciated the multiple support resources, such as student handouts and graphic organizers.

Discovery Education Streaming Plus
Discovery Education

Discovery Education Streaming Plus offers access to over 200,000 standards-aligned digital resources that support multiple learning styles. Judges believe that the game and rewards–based approaches will engage students. They appreciated the ability to monitor whether “students are learning or merely rushing through the challenges to earn rewards.”

EdgeWave iPrism Web Security

iPrism from EdgeWave offers a Web security solution that includes multilayered protection from threats such as malware, botnets, viruses, spyware, circumvention tools, anonymous browsing, IM, P2P, inappropriate content, and Web applications. Judges thought it was easy to use, and had high praise for the comprehensive tech support. One judge added that the reporting features and ability to “drill down into particulars” made this a great solution for schools.

CyberBully Hotline

The CyberBully Hotline from SchoolReach is a comprehensive, anonymous, bullying reporting solution that gives schools a dedicated, local hotline number to route messages directly to school officials, in addition to online reporting and archiving messages. Judges appreciated that it is available for multiple grades and found it easy to use. One judge added that the reporting and analytic features are “great for districts.”

DreamBox Learning Math
DreamBox Learning Inc.

DreamBox Learning Math is an adaptive, online math enrichment program for grades K-5 and judges called it “very engaging for students.” One judge found the program “highly usable from a teacher’s standpoint,” and said that it was easy to identify how students are doing based on the data collected.

Espresso Elementary
Espresso Education

Espresso Elementary, an online teaching and learning resource, helps students connect their classroom learning with real-world experience through video clips and interactive activities. Judges appreciated the “robust amount” of CCSS-aligned instructional media, calling it a “welcome resource to support differentiated instruction and remediation.” They found the site easy to navigate and said the “at-home access” was key for engaging parents.


The Gaggle iPad app offers teachers access to a learning platform designed for blended learning environments, and it provides a safe and controlled solution for student mobile devices. Judges loved the added features for classroom instruction and Web 3.0 tools. They also liked that the app continues to be updated with features as requested by educators.

Kaseya IT Systems Management solution, version 6.3: Remote Management and Network Discovery capabilities

The Kaseya remote management software version 6.3 release offers improved performance, usability, and functionality for IT professionals. Judges said it would be very effective for network managers, while remaining transparent for end users. They found the video instructions easy to follow, and they appreciated the wide range of available features.

LanSchool 7.7
Stoneware, Inc.

The LanSchool classroom management solution now offers classroom management over the cloud, distance teaching over the Internet, and expanded iOS capabilities, among other features. Judges called it a “quality product that would be very effective in a classroom with devices.” One judge mentioned that “teachers can see screens clearly, and can intervene quickly when students are off task,” even from their iPads.

Maple 17 Academic

With Maple 17 Academic, teachers can demonstrate and explore concepts using Clickable Math techniques. They also have access to hundreds of tools designed for teaching and learning math. It’s the “strongman of advanced visualization and mathematics tools,” according to one of our judges, who rated the new features as “timely, contemporary, and high-leverage.” The judge found it easy to use and called it an “indispensible tool” for teaching advanced math.

My Big Campus
Lightspeed Systems

My Big Campus is a learning management system that offers a safe and engaging online environment for the classroom. Judges thought that its “features go deeper” than similar products, citing the collaboration tools and “Pinterest-like bundles” as helpful features. Additionally, the tabbing and sidebar functions received top marks.

Kurzweil 3000-firefly
Kurzweil Educational Systems

This app lets students access and read digital files from the Kurzweil 3000-firefly Universal Library, which features over 2,000 classic literature documents and books. One judge said that her special education department purchases iPads just to use this app! Judges also found it useful for adaptive technology initiatives.

myON Reader
Capstone Digital

myON reader personalizes reading for students by recommending books based on their interests and reading levels. One judge said “the potential is limitless,” and loved the access across all mobile devices. The judge added that the tool “could easily be adopted as a response to intervention,” or even as a way to help students gain “reading success, independence, and autonomy of choice and voice” as they search for the next book to read.

Net Support School
Net Support Inc.

Net Support School is a classroom training software solution that lets teachers instruct and monitor students, as well as interact with students individually or in a group. Judges raved over the mobile and Chromebook support in the latest upgrade. They found it to be a great classroom management solution overall, especially where 1:1 support is needed.


observe4success is a Web-based tool that helps administrators maintain effective instructional practice and classroom culture within the district through rubrics, reporting tools, and more. Judges noted that it was simple to access and create forms. One judge called it an “outstanding way” of collecting data to improve teacher effectiveness.


Designed specifically for schools, SchoolMessenger is a notification system that delivers personalized voice messages to students’ parents in a variety of formats. Judges said that it “meets the diverse communication needs” and added that it makes “ongoing communication” very accessible. One judge remarked that it was easy to navigate and quickly communicate to a wide audience.


Schoology is an LMS and social network for K-12 schools and higher education that allows users to create, manage, and share academic content. Judges said it was “ideal for classroom use” in terms of communication and distributing materials. One judge added that it’s similar to Facebook and other online communities, providing for “almost seamless navigation.”


The SchoolReach notification system lets school administrators send schedule change notices, weather advisories, lunch balance notifications, emergency alerts, and other important communications through voice, text, email, and social media. Judges rated it a “great product” that enables “intelligent tracking, leading to a reduction in false positives.” They particularly liked the parent app with its push technology “that just makes sense these days.”

Reading A-Z
Learning A-Z

Part of the Learning A-Z family, the Reading A-Z solution features thousands of leveled readers, lesson plans, worksheets, and assessments to teach guided reading. Judges said it was easy to find material, and liked the built-in interactive tools, such as projectables that can be used with or without an interactive whiteboard. One judge raved over the “assortment of books and supporting materials,” and said it would be “perfect for the elementary school classroom.”

Shmoop University, Inc.
Shmoop University, Inc.

Shmoop University offers a variety of online instructional resources designed to support students in a range of content areas, concepts, and standards. Particularly noteworthy, according to one judge, are the newly redesigned Mythology section, the essay lab, and the test prep and college practice exams. The judge appreciated the “volume and scope of practice exams” as useful resources to support students through the testing process.

BookheadEd Learning

StudySync is a cross-curriculum, Common Core solution for grades 2-12 that includes core texts, video, and media designed to improve reading, writing, listening, and critical thinking skills. Judges liked the ability to search for readings by CCSS, grade level, Lexile level, and content area. One judge found it extremely easy to use and praised its peer review function.


The SnagIt screen capture and editing tool lets users capture, edit, and share anything on their screens. Judges loved the simplicity, stating that it “does what it sets out to do,” and adding that students and teachers alike will find it easy to use. For teachers in search of more advanced options, judges recommend the tutorials and live tech support.

The All New ePals

ePals is a social network that’s optimized for K-12 education and features a community of collaborative classrooms across different cultures and languages. Judges called it a “best in field product” and found the new and updated features very helpful for teachers. Judges agreed that the new ePals does a great job of turning a “complex mess” into a “doable solution” that’s easy to use.

TenMarks Math
TenMarks Education

TenMarks is a personalized online math program for K-12 students that offers instruction and practice resources. Judges pointed out that the update aligns TenMarks with the CCSS and noted the availability of “countless new questions for students.” One judge lauded the built-in “intelligent analysis of student mistakes” on assessments, stating that teachers would find it easy to access.

Together Counts
Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and Discovery Education

Discovery Education’s Together Counts program helps students learn the importance of leading an active, healthy lifestyle through the use of resources for the classroom, community, and home. Judges liked that resources for all three audiences are “brought together under one ‘roof’.” One judge saw the emphasis on community involvement as a unique feature.


TreeRing is an online resource that lets students create personalized yearbooks, filled with their photos and memories. Judges liked the “easy-to-use, point-and-click” interface. One judge added that TreeRing leverages students’ use of the Internet and social media in creating “what used to be only a print resource.”

Vernier Video Physics for iOS
Vernier Software & Technology

The Video Physics iOS app allows students to take a video of any object in motion and analyze the motion graphically to scale. One judge called it a “creative and sound way to apply and analyze real-world physics scenarios.” The judge said that the combination of visual tracking and graphs can meet a variety of learners’ needs.

webNetwork 6.1
Stoneware, Inc.

webNetwork enables IT administrators to easily implement a “unified cloud” solution by delivering files, applications, and reports through a single user ID and password on any device. Judges said that the ability to have all applications in one system is a necessity, and they thought that webNetwork was an effective solution. One judge added that the ability for administrators to “easily create and maintain similar profiles” offers a way to “push out” critical tools for different groups of users.


Pearson’s WriteToLearn is an online literacy tool that assesses students’ writing skills and gives them targeted instruction and grammar feedback. Judges found the tool easy to navigate. Key features, according to one judge, are the guidance and timely feedback as students develop essays and summarize text.

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