As schools get ready for the 2021-22 school year, Tech & Learning's new Awards of Excellence program, “The Best Tools for Back to School” is designed to help our readers find the most impressive products and solutions that will support their work in any learning environment. Eligible products included hardware, software, curriculum, and more, all divided by grade levels to make it easier for readers to find the solutions they need.
“As we head into another uncertain year in education, technology will continue to be one of the key drivers for innovation,” says Tech & Learning Group Publisher Christine Weiser. “Our judges chose the winning products recognized here for their versatility, compatibility, value, and ability to help schools solve challenges and support continuous instruction. Congratulations to all of our winners.”
Best Secondary Tools for Back to School (Grades 6-12)
7 Mindsets offers a research-based SEL solution that helps create and sustain positive school cultures rooted in healthy relationships. The complete web-based curriculum has 19 ready-to-teach courses that work with both in-person and virtual learning schedules. The courses include video, discussion prompts, projects, and reflective journaling activities. "This product solves school districts' challenges of supporting both students and teachers with SEL programs," our judges said.
ABC-CLIO's History and Government Suite and American Mosaic Suite
ABC-CLIO’s History and Government Suite lets student researchers explore the key events, defining moments, and unique individual contributions that have shaped our world. With hundreds of Topic Centers, each providing a comprehensive library and inquiry-based curriculum, students can explore every historical era. It includes: American History; American Government; World History: The Modern Era; and World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. Our judges called it "very comprehensive and relevant."
The TravelMate Spin B3 convertible Windows laptop is a convertible Windows notebook that includes an HD touchscreen, full HD webcam and Intel Wi-Fi 6, as well as the latest Intel Celeron or Pentium processors. The device features military-grade MIL-STD 810H compliant durability, a spill-resistant keyboard with mechanically anchored keys, a moisture-resistant touchpad, and Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass. The judges said, "It has a solid, reassuring, robust feel."
AllHere’s adaptive chatbot automates personalized, two-way text messaging to provide 24/7 support so that educators can focus on meaningful interactions. AllHere’s platform combines AI with evidence-based strategies on how to partner with families so that they can more effectively support attendance and learning. "We particularly liked the ‘Nudge’ feature and the ‘Ask Me Anything’ feature that proactively addresses key goals around student attendance, enrollment, and engagement," said our judges.
The AVerCharge X18iS is an 18-device UV-sanitizing charging cart that is lab-tested to kill up to 99.99% of germs and viruses within 5 minutes. Safety features immediately stop UV sanitization if the door is opened or tampered with, while LED lights indicate sanitization status. "This is a very good solution. We like the idea of sanitizing versatility as well as the cable management and smart charging," said our judges.
The VB130 is an all-in-one distance learning collaboration tool that combines 4K video with clear built-in audio to give remote students an in-class experience. It features AI, combining SmartFrame technology with voice tracking, to keep the teacher in camera view while focusing on their voice. The judges said, "This is very good for smaller classrooms. The AI features make it very flexible and the light is a good feature as well."
The BenQ InstaShow WDC20E is an affordable wireless presentation system. Educators can share their screen to the classroom's interactive displays or projectors at the touch of a button. It streams 4K video and 16-bit stereo audio, with up to 32 participants or input sources at a time. The judges said, "We really like that it needs no network configuration and is compatible with a variety of systems that are currently in use."
BenQ RE Series interactive displays bring immersive engagement opportunities, affordability, and an antibacterial touchscreen to the classroom. The UHD displays come equipped with BenQ's EZ Write software, featuring cloud-based tools that allow users to collaborate and InstaShare, a license-free wireless collaboration and presentation system. "These are full-featured and multi-functional displays," said the judges, who especially liked the anti-microbial coating.
The ProColor Interactive Display's touch-driven 4K UHD screen can function as an interactive whiteboard, Android PC, and collaboration tool for everyone in the class including those learning from home. Other key features include: 20 single-point touch or 10 dual-touch and gestures to work simultaneously with Touch 360° interactivity; MimioStudio classroom software, MimioConnect blended learning platform, and OKTOPUS software with GameZones. "These are very full-featured boards. We like the versatility and ability to connect with students from anywhere," the judges said.
MimioConnect Blended Learning Platform combines lesson building and instructional tools to help teachers create an active learning environment. It is a turnkey solution that can be integrated with existing class technology including iPads, Chromebooks, interactive projectors, and touch displays.Teachers and students can access MimioConnect from anywhere at any time, allowing in-class, remote, and hybrid learning. Our judges said, "The features and versatility make it a very good tool for teachers and students."
Robo 3D printers brings 3D printing to classroom and school makerspaces with standards-aligned activities, lessons, and Design Challenges via MyStemKits.com. Each Robo 3D printer is Wi-Fi and hotspot enabled for Chromebooks and iPads, including cloud printing. The judges noted, "This is a good solution for educators who want to integrate 3D printing into their curriculum but aren't sure how. The solution packages the supplies, support, PD, and technology to make the users and students comfortable and successful."
Boxlight-EOS has developed training solutions that enable technology integration, increased efficiency and effectiveness, and improved outcomes for teachers and students. Their research-based programs are focused on using the hardware and software platforms available to the teacher. Training can be facilitated in-person, virtual, or a combination of both. Our judges liked the solution overall, especially the free options, flexibility in delivery, and customization of training.
Fast ForWord is an adaptive, personalized program that helps struggling K-12 readers achieve their full potential as learners. Fast ForWord's 3-in-1 approach simultaneously develops reading, cognitive, and social-emotional skills. "The Fast ForWord product is a robust tool for students and teachers to improve reading achievement quickly," said our judges. "We particularly liked the continuous multilevel progress-monitoring feature for teachers to easily track response to intervention progress."
Built on 30+ years of research in cognitive science and AI, MATHia mirrors a human coach, analyzing thousands of data points to provide a personalized 1-on-1 experience for every student. MATHia asks students to show their work, and adjusts to the methods they are using to give hints and feedback. "The MathIA program from Carnegie Learning is powerful!" said the judges.
ClassPad.net is a web-based mathematics resource that gives creators of digital papers the freedom to show or hide content for instructional purposes and customize their workspaces to create enhanced activities and quizzes. The software also offers a math-based text editor that provides a rich assortment of mathematical templates for algebra, geometry, pre-calc and calculus, and statistics. The judges especially appreciated the pre-populated workspaces.
CatchOn is an expansive data analytics tool that provides district leaders a window into the efficacy of their technology investments, initiatives, integrations, and professional development. The judges said, "This is very valuable for tech directors looking at ROI and engagement for digital tools. It gives real-time analytic information on student app/website use and allows for accurate planning and budgeting of resources and PD."
Poptential is a family of free social studies courses that infuse lessons with pop culture-rich media to engage learners. Courses are standards-based, developed by social studies teachers, and include history, civics, economics, and personal finance. The courses offer a sensible curriculum that teaches students how to think critically. The judges noted, "It easily engages students and can be readily integrated into whatever teaching platform or LMS teachers use."
Collage is part of the Clear Touch software suite and is especially useful for show-and-tell, student presentations, and cooperative teaching. Collage has wide-ranging compatibility, a full note-taking toolset, and the ability to share multiple devices. It also works seamlessly with nearly all of today’s most popular devices. Our judges said, "Up to 9 devices can share simultaneously and wirelessly to the ClearTouch panel. The software is incredibly robust."
The Clear Touch Huddle Camera is designed for hybrid and remote learning environments. With a 4K camera and integrated audio, it helps transform any interactive panel or computing device into a blended learning environment. The 120-degree, wide-angle camera ensures every student can be seen simultaneously on-screen. "This is a versatile camera. The noise cancelling and ability to pick up voices from 25 feet away is very important," said the judges.
The 6000K+ Interactive Touch Panel by Clear Touch simplifies remote, in-person, and hybrid learning. The device allows for 20 points of simultaneous touch, comes equipped with a built-in subwoofer and sound bar, and is available in three different sized screens. Our judges said, "The new 6000K+ Interactive Panel by ClearTouch is amazing! Everything is built-in and the software compatibility and opportunities are endless."
ContentKeeper Cloud provides the cross-platform cloud filtering intelligence required to ensure a safe and secure digital and virtual learning environment. Key benefits include web filtering across all platforms, including iOS, PC, MAC, Android, Chromebook, BYOD, and IoT devices; real-time monitoring alerts; detailed insights for policy compliance and student safety requirements; and flexible deployment options. Our judges liked all of the features of ContentKeeper Cloud.
The CTL NL81 has a large 14” FHD anti-glare panel, HD camera, HDMI ports, and USB-C quick charge capabilities. It is equipped with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and offers up to 12 hours of battery life and an Intel Gemini Lake R N4020 processor. The judges said, "This is a very good Chromebook for someone who needs more business-class power. The touch screen and durability features make this a very good value."
NEO is an LMS for use by schools and universities, known for its intuitive user interface, extensive feature set, and strong return on investment. It offers a centralized environment for creating classes, organizing learning material, assigning and submitting homework, taking assessments, collaborating with classmates, and analyzing results. "This is a full-featured LMS with everything a teacher and student needs," said our judges.
Deledao offers real-time AI web protection with Filter Zoom Bombing and Google Meet Bombing, filter streaming YouTube videos as they play, AI-detection of signs of cyberbullying/self-harm, and student online data privacy. It blocks ads and third-party trackers, and anonymizes Google searches. "The Deledao Filter looks very promising," said our judges.
Discovery Education’s K-12 platform connects educators to standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, intuitive quiz and activity creation tools, and professional learning resources. New content and relevant resources are added monthly, and through partnerships with Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, Brightspace, and Clever, integrating it into existing IT architecture is easy. "Now working with Google and Microsoft Teams and Clever is a big plus," said TL judges.
Edgenuity Courseware offers schools access to more than 400 courses—including core curriculum, AP, honors, and CTE—that can be completed for initial credit or concept and credit recovery. These flexible, online courses align to state standards, Common Core, and the NGSS. "Edgenuity allows for a multitude of options, from a full online course needed to just specific skills, so it gives flexibility in how you can use it," said our judges.
Edmentum Courseware digital curriculum is built to help students develop real-world skills, identify their passions, and cultivate perseverance. Courseware is aligned to state and national standards with more than 500 courses covering elective, CTE, world language, and AP subjects. It offers course progressions leading to industry-recognized credentials for three different career paths. Our judges said, "Whether based on mastery of skills, learning interests, or access to advanced course offering, this is a one-stop shop for school districts."
EdOptions Academy pairs research-based online curriculum with state-certified online teachers to provide a student-centered kindergarten through career virtual learning experience. With 500+ courses ranging from elementary subjects to AP and CTE options, EOA is equipped to expand options and increase access to learning for all students. "The EdOptions Academy course materials are cleanly designed, easy to navigate, and use, with high-quality media content. Information is clearly presented, and with the combination of text and media elements, courses are engaging and grade-appropriate."
BuildYourOwnCurriculum (BYOC) is a curriculum and instruction solution aligned with state and national standards so districts can analyze curriculum and address issues raised in standards-based assessments. Resources are centralized so teachers can search and replicate courses, units, or lessons from more than 200 districts. The judges said, "This product enables teachers to collaborate, update, and share within content areas as well as vertical alignment."
Cardonex is a master scheduling and staff planning platform that enables schools and districts to quickly build master schedules and staffing plans accurately. It integrates with existing SIS solutions automatically so schools can produce a balanced master schedule and staffing plan immediately. Said the judges: "The data analytics provides building and district administration insights into curriculum, budgeting, and teacher performance."
eGlass allows teachers to write on the board without turning their backs, increasing student engagement and allowing students to see the teacher’s facial expressions, gestures, and gaze alongside their writing. Our judges were impressed and noted, "eGlass is THE tool for interactive classroom teaching for both in-person and hybrid or concurrent lessons simultaneously! The software that reverses the teacher's handwriting so that the teacher can see what they write correctly is outstanding, and the ability to add graphics and multimedia to your lessons in real-time is amazing."
Epson America, Inc.: Epson BrightLink® Interactive Laser Displays
Epson BrightLink Interactive Laser Displays feature 3LCD laser technology and images up to 120 inches. The fully integrated interactive displays also work with existing whiteboards. Teachers can ideate, annotate, capture, and share ideas in real time locally or with remote participants. "Laser projection is long lasting and low maintenance," our judges said. "The sharing features and management for IT are good additions."
FileWave's platform consists of unified endpoint management, mobile device management, enterprise mobility management, and ITAM solutions, and is built to empower IT teams throughout the entire device lifecycle process. FileWave’s all-in-one, scalable software, (cloud and on-premise supported) supports both client (desktop/laptop) and mobile devices across multiple systems. "This is a comprehensive and versatile system, especially for districts with large technology deployments," noted our judges.
WhiteBox Learning is a web-based, NGSS-aligned STEM learning solution that brings real-world engineering design to middle and high school students. With 12 applications using CAD-inspired engineering software, students design and analyze a 3D model, learning through simulations and unlimited design iterations. Our judges said, "Students will embrace the design competition and love the chance to see their designs quickly with simple CAD tools."
Science2Go is a digital learning solution that offers a new approach to laboratory education for middle and high school students. It allows them to engage in science and engineering practices in any learning environment without requiring access to supplies or equipment. Students learn how to synthesize facts and connect the data to the real world. Our judges noted, "Science2Go contains solid, interesting science information."
Flocabulary helps students build literacy, vocabulary, and reading comprehension skills through interactive videos, activities, and lessons. Throughout the 700+ K-12 standards-aligned lessons, Flocabulary showcases a diverse range of cultures, develops social and emotional skills, and increases exposure to Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary. "Great product that engages students through music and videos that are culturally relevant and spark engagement. It also ties to state standards and is easily integrated with classroom lessons," said our judges.
Gale In Context: For Educators is a lesson-planning tool that enables educators to find and personalize digital learning content, plan activities for remote or in-person environments, and build an equitable and culturally responsive classroom. It includes custom lesson plans and tools as well as shareable, curriculum-aligned resources. "This tool provides educators rich resources to curate and develop personalized digital content for teaching," said our judges.
Coaching Studio provides the virtual space for ongoing personalized professional learning. Educators can share resources, engage in discussions, and reflect on their learning at any time, in one centralized location. Private coaching space is available as is a library of on-demand videos to model lessons. "Districts can customize the learning based on needs of the district as well as monitor progression through the modules," said the judges.
MATH 180’s Student Software is a complete online digital experience aimed to give age-appropriate content to those striving students who are one or two grade levels below. The adaptive student software allows students to receive targeted instruction and to move at their own pace, with gradually released scaffolds and a support ecosystem. Students consistently encounter math through videos, print, audio recordings, animations, games, and interactive tools on the student software and whiteboard. Students can respond, reflect, and access language resources, such as the interactive bilingual mathematics glossary, at their own pace. Every written mathematical instruction in the student software has an accompanying audio recording that can be played aloud multiple times by students with low English-literacy levels. "This is a great product to supplement in class instruction as well as a programming solution for summer school," said the judges.
Writable is a digital writing platform that helps teachers scaffold and motivate students to become purposeful, proficient writers. With more than 600 customizable assignments, including essays, short responses, student models, state-level benchmark assessments, and more, Writable helps schools assess and monitor writing growth. “It supports not only middle and high school students, but also the younger grades."
The HUE HD Pro multipurpose USB classroom camera can view a full A4 or U.S. letter sheet and project it to a whiteboard via PC and projector. The camera features Full HD 1080p image and video resolution, a noise canceling mic, manual focus lens, and LED lights. "This is a very good basic document camera that will address the needs of most educators," the judges noted.
IBM SkillsBuild for Students provides free online learning and badges for the technological and professional skills required to be successful. It provides overviews of technologies from A.I. to Z-series mainframes as well as tips on writing a resume or working in a diverse workplace. "This is an excellent, free learning resource," our judges said. "The content and curriculum design are very good."
eduCLIMBER is an interactive data management and visualization system that helps to strengthen multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) implementations. Educators can identify student needs and determine intervention effectiveness. Features include: student profiles, virtual behavior walls, interactive reports to track student progress, data aggregations, custom equity dashboards to monitor key programs and initiatives, and more. "This MTSS solution focuses on the whole child approach. With its real time date, it monitors growth and supports SEB," said our judges.
FastBridge is a research-based universal screening and progress-monitoring system for reading, math, and social-emotional behavior (SEB). The system includes intervention recommendations and built-in coaching. Our judges said, "This product supports social and emotional learning in schools. Its one-stop shop evaluates and provides interventions that can easily be integrated into classroom and small-group instruction."
Incident IQ is a service management system that offers a full suite of support tools to assist school districts with all the responsibilities and tasks associated with asset management, help ticketing, and facilities management. "This asset management, help desk, and facilities management system provides districts with a streamlined process for inventory and work orders," said our judges.
The IPEVO V4K PRO Ultra HD USB document camera incorporates AI-based voice enhancement, and with its flexible multi-joint build, is able to capture images from various different angles and heights while taking up minimal space due to its small footprint. Our judges said, "Since it is 4k, it has good enough resolution to do 300 DPI for OCR processing. And it works with ScanTaylor, Microsoft Lens, Nuance OmniPage, and BookSorber."
IXL is a personalized learning platform with a curriculum of more than 8,500 skills covering five subjects, fully aligned to state standards and over 40 popular textbook series. Its adaptive assessment tool, the Real-Time Diagnostic, evaluates students across every concept in the math and language arts curriculum to provide an accurate portrait of knowledge levels. "With its math, ELA, social studies, and science assessments, IXL continues to be a leader for standards-based curriculum and assessments,” said our judges.
Kahoot! makes it easy for anyone to create, share, and play learning games that can be played in person or virtually, using any device with an internet connection. With more than 100 million learning games, learners can discover content on any subject, including Kahoots created by educators and brands such as Disney, Angry Birds, and National Geographic. "A quick pace, suspenseful music, and instant scoreboards keep competition lively and learners engaged," our judges noted.
Kajeet was built for education and with the safety of students in mind. Sentinel provides administrators with complete visibility and management of data usage on all connected devices as well as educator-specified mobile policy controls, content blocking, and website filtering. "Kajeet Sentinel and the hotspot solution overall are excellent," our judges said.
The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is a multisensory reading resource to support students who struggle with reading deficits in grades 3-12. It complements teachers’ evidence-based reading instruction to improve core reading skills, enhance engagement, and instill independence. Accountability data gives teachers insight into reading behaviors, while professional learning tools provide teachers with research and best practices. "This solution ensures that all students have access to books," said our judges.
EasyTech is a comprehensive building-level and district solution for K-12, which develops students’ digital, computer science, and STEM skills for asynchronous instruction in both traditional and online classroom environments. The curriculum offers hands-on practice and gamified content that culminate in real-world projects. "This product brings digital literacy to school districts as they implement STEAM and STEM programs in their schools. Classroom teachers and students benefit from assistive technology and interdisciplinary lessons."
Learning Explorer is a learning object repository and curriculum management platform for preK-12 teachers. Its database contains more than 4 million curated educational videos, images, teacher-reviewed resources, and district-procured content from publishers including Discovery Education, McGraw Hill, Newsela, and others. "This one-stop shopping product provides teachers with a platform to curate district digital content, web resources, OER resources, and standards to develop lessons and units. It is easy to navigate, share, download, and push out to students," said the judges.
Lexia PowerUp Literacy is an adaptive blended learning program that accelerates literacy gains for struggling and non-proficient readers in grades 6-12. The program identifies skill gaps and provides instruction in three areas: word study, grammar, and comprehension. By blending online student-driven instruction with offline teacher-delivered lessons, the program simultaneously addresses gaps in fundamental literacy skills while building higher-order analytical skills. The judges called it "impactful."
MackinVIA is a free digital content management system that provides students and educators with access to ebooks, read-alongs, audiobooks, databases, and videos. With one login, users can view and manage all the school's digital resources on any device, anywhere, any time. "The library of free titles is great, as well as the huge selection of paid titles. The other tools that they have make it a complete package for in-person or distance learning," said our judges.
ManagedMethods provides a centralized command center for managing Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 cybersecurity and student safety risks. The platform uses deep API integrations to monitor for these risks 24/7/365, and provides automated controls to prevent data security breaches, account takeovers, and cyber attacks. "IT teams are notoriously understaffed and not fully trained in cybersecurity,” our judges said. “Any tools that help are of great value."
The MAXCases Explorer 4 Work-In Case with Pocket is an always-on protective case that doubles as a carrying bag, such as an added “hinge strap,” non-scratch bezel hooks, and stay-put elastic straps with gel microbeads. Available in 11” and 14” sizes to accommodate most standard-sized Chromebooks, MacBooks, and laptops. "This is an excellent protective Work-in Case," said our judges. "We appreciate the detail in design for not only protection, but also cooling and quality components."
MobileMind offers a cloud-based, asynchronous learning platform designed to help teachers integrate technology into the classroom. With two offerings, MobileMind for Google and MobileMind HQ, the professional learning hub allows districts to consolidate all PD initiatives, from Google Workspace for Education to other technology, compliance, and curriculum. The judges said, "This professional development tool not only supports teachers using Google apps in their classrooms, but also provides a professional learning hub that district and school leaders can use throughout the school year."
Move This World is a provider of social-emotional learning multimedia experiences for preK-12 students, educators, and families. Designed for implementation that is both impactful and simple, the MTW platform allows educators and families to incorporate SEL into their students’ schedules every day, without planning or prep. The extensive multimedia library provides a robust and engaging daily curriculum. "This SEL solution uses short evidence-based videos that introduce a common language and methods for expressing emotion. It can be implemented as part of a classroom lesson throughout the year with age-appropriate concepts and no additional preparation by teachers," said the judges.
Nearpod creates opportunities for teacher-driven, student-centered learning. Teachers can upload their existing content and make it interactive using Nearpod’s 20+ formative assessment and rich-media features so that all learning is active and collaborative. Educators can also tap Nearpod’s library of more than 15,000 standards-aligned lessons, videos, and activities. The judges said, "Nearpod as an online platform for schools has been invaluable. With its interactive content and resources, teachers can customize lessons and activities that are personalized and student-centered."
NetSupport Inc. classroom.cloud
NetSupport's classroom.cloud is a cloud-based classroom management and teaching tool that can be used across platforms, devices, and locations. With everything accessible in one intuitive click, it does not require swapping between multiple solutions. Teachers can monitor students’ screens in real time, manage web/application usage, and survey student understanding. The judges called it a "powerful tool" and especially appreciated its real-time monitoring of student web searches.
NoRedInk helps students become better writers with its online, adaptive writing curriculum that includes diagnostic tools, skills practice, and instructional resources. It offers learners personalized exercises, differentiated practice, and step-by-step guidance as they draft and revise essays. The judges especially loved the student tracking ability and the cumulative vs. individual class mastery options.
ParentSquare is a school-home communication platform that unifies district-, school-, and classroom-level communications to families, meeting needs from large districts to single-site schools. Districts and schools can engage all families, regardless of language or socioeconomic barriers. "Its interactive data dashboard provides districts with valuable information regarding school communication," said our judges.
Pixton is a web app that gives teachers and students a unique way to create stories, demonstrate learning, and enhance writing assignments through digital comics. Users can explore topics in math, science, social studies, history, English, art, or any other subject. "Pixton is a wonderful tool to get students writing as well as making their writing come alive with characters," said our judges. "It covers substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition in the SAMR model, which is very important."
Naviance by PowerSchool is a college, career, and life readiness platform that provides strengths and career assessments, customized surveys, career and college profiles, and course-planning capability. It allows for personalized messaging from schools and a secure and transparent way for students to navigate their pathway planning. For educators, Naviance provides case management and in-depth analytics. "Naviance's ability to simplify the college application process for students and their families is invaluable," said the judges.
Project Pals is a web-based platform to manage collaborative learning, including project-based and inquiry-based learning, for students working in class or remotely. The platform supports collaborative problem-solving and project management methodologies that are increasingly valuable in modern workplaces. "This would be a great addition to PBL campuses to keep projects organized and have real time collaboration," said our judges.
Promethean’s ActivPanel is an interactive display designed for modern classrooms. Its unified menu is always accessible, allowing teachers to move between content and resources without disrupting the lesson flow. TOur judges said, "Promethean ActivPanel offers teacher control through classflow, easy management through their panel management software, and the OS makes it easy to switch through applications seamlessly. Having these panels on carts helps ensure that learning can take place anytime and anywhere."
Star Assessments are a suite of assessments for reading, math, and early literacy, available to educators in both English and Spanish. Star’s computer-adaptive tests (CATs) mean that each student’s experience is unique because questions start at grade level and get more difficult as students answer correctly, or less difficult if they answer incorrectly. By eliminating unnecessary questions in this way, Star assesses individual student growth and performance in fewer items and less time than non-adaptive assessments. The judges called it a "great resource."
Accelerated Reader is an independent reading practice program that helps K-12 students become confident readers. Supporting more than 220,000 fiction and nonfiction books and articles at a wide range of levels, Accelerated Reader gives students extensive choice in what they read—and keeps them engaged in independent reading practice as they work toward personalized goals. "The designed quizzes and activities demand meaningful reflection and challenge kids to develop their reading skills. Terrific reports and interface, and the built-in tours, online instructional videos, and lively user community make for a supportive, intuitive experience," said our judges.
VR Expeditions 2.0 is a virtual reality field trips tool. Using the app, teachers can take students on virtual field trips to various locations, while engaging the students with history, arts, culture, science, and geography. Said the judges: "The VR Expeditions from RobotLab is a great way to continue VR Expeditions in your classroom and really enhance all sorts of lessons!"
Screencast-O-Matic is a screen capture, video-editing, and video-hosting platform. The end-to-end solution provides educational institutions convenient tools to share information and streamline learning and development. Teachers, students, districts, and universities can record, edit, and share videos to enhance and improve learning. "Screencast-O-Matic has a very user-friendly platform that allows users to create, edit, share, and manage your videos. It is also priced very well for education," said the judges.
Touchless Trade-in is a tech-enabled drive-through process for schools to refresh digital learning devices. The process enables students, parents, and administrators to maintain COVID-19 social distancing recommendations, while also enabling schools to move forward with plans to collect used devices and distribute new ones. "Second Life Mac has created a non-touch device trade-in system that is really needed during the pandemic," the judges noted.
Securly Classroom is a cloud-based classroom management tool designed to deliver a user-friendly experience across devices and is ideal for both 1:1 and BYOD programs. It integrates with a variety of roster sources including Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology, Classlink, and Clever. Said the judges: "This powerful program allows teachers to be able to manage their students when online in their classroom."
Shure’s MV5C Home Office Microphone provides studio-quality audio for video and online classes. It’s ideal for teachers who need to talk all day with minimal distraction and students attending classes in which participation and engagement are important. "This new office Microphone by Shure is perfect for remote teaching and extremely easy to set up," said our judges, who particularly loved the headphone integration and the user's ability to hear themselves in the audio feed.
Engage combines Snapplify’s collaborative elearning products into one platform -- giving schools access to their own 24-hour-access digital content library and allowing institutions to purchase curriculum-aligned textbooks and share teacher-created, multimedia resource materials with students. The platform offers a free tier designed to lower barriers to entry. The judges said, "The power of the tool is it allows teachers to add different media to reinforce the text they are assigning to the students."
TCI's science and social studies programs and resources offer an interactive curriculum that is comprehensive and promotes blended learning methods. Included are ready-to-teach lessons, rich media, lesson games, interactive activities, and more. "TCI has put a complete blended learning platform together to teach students K-8 in science and K-12 in social studies," said our judges. "The program gives teachers a flexible approach and guides them through powerful lessons."
TeacherMade lets users create interactive digital worksheets from any PDF or DOCX in a few clicks. TeacherMade is also a markup tool to transform content and auto-score it. Upload PDFs and overlay any of 12 auto-graded question interaction zones. Then transform by adding audio, hyperlinks, video, and more. Our judges said, "This is a time saver for teachers and allows them to put together powerful online lessons with just a few clicks. The free version works great, and the priced-right pro version gives teachers more control, more features, and helps them stay organized."
OTIS for educators is an online professional learning platform that offers courses on how to effectively integrate technology into instruction. The on-demand PD library and calendar of live sessions provide easy access to hundreds of courses, with topics on STEM, SEL, literacy, ENL/ELL, and more. OTIS is a Google for Education Partner, Microsoft Training Partner, and ISTE standards-aligned. "With its numerous courses, accreditations and certification options, OTIS provides educators with anytime, anywhere learning," our judges noted.
TutorMe is an online platform that provides high-quality academic support to all students, regardless of location, time of day, or financial resources. Students are connected within seconds to tutors who are available to help with more than 300 subjects, and all sessions are recorded to review material at any time. Our judges said, "This program also partners with teachers regarding student progress to support what is going on in the classroom."
The Learning Tools for AP Courses provide teachers with practical applications of standards and objectives outlined in AP courses and data on progress and mastery. College Board-level questions and research-based methods for providing explanatory feedback help students understand and retain information while also developing critical-thinking skills. "This is a wonderful tool to provide immediate feedback to students and allow teachers to facilitate lessons to keep students on track," said the judges.
Vector Solutions’ (formerly SafeSchools) Student Safety & Wellness Courses are web-based video lessons that support student safety in person and online. The lessons cover essential safety, wellness, and SEL topics such bullying, cyberbullying, suicide awareness, alcohol, vaping, and drug prevention. The judges liked the program and saw it being used for both whole-class instruction and for students who are struggling with behavior issues.
The enhanced Vernier Graphical Analysis Pro app lets educators and students insert, view, and sync a video to sensor data for analysis, and it features the ability to perform live experiments and share data in real time. It includes videos with sample experiments synced with data and instructions that cover common topics in biology, chemistry, physics, and middle school science. Said the judges: "The interface looks very easy to use and the product is priced right."
The IFP52 series of interactive displays feature advanced audio capabilities and a user-centric design to enhance classroom and learning experiences. With sizes from 65 to 86 inches, this series comes with a multimedia sound bar built into the display and front-facing USB-C inputs for easy connectivity to other devices. The judges said it has "all the bells and whistles" and especially liked many of the new features.
In the Vivacity Tech Student Repair Academy program students learn the basics of repairing a Chromebook and how to provide tech support and customer service, all while repairing their school’s edtech. "The student repair academy that Vivacity has put together is a wonderful product to get students involved in the repair process. There is no better way to learn than hands-on. This would be a great addition to any district," said our judges.
Vocabulary.com exposes learners to an array of words, question types, real-world examples, and activities to develop literacy skills. Its content integrates with any curriculum, allowing teachers to create literacy-building activities. Learning is gamified with The Vocabulary Bowl—an academic competition across North America to master words. "The dashboard is wonderful for letting teachers watch their students grow through the program," said our judges."
The One by Wacom pen tablet offers a portable design for small desk spaces and flexible classroom arrangements. The tablet works with PC, Mac, and most Chromebooks, and the pressure-sensitive and battery-free pen brings a familiar, pen-on-paper feel to drawing and writing. "The One by Wacom is a wonderful tool to allow teachers and students to annotate on their device with a natural feel," said the judges. "This is also very important when teaching virtual students."
Xello is an online college, career and future readiness program that helps students achieve a deeper understanding of themselves, explore pathways, and plan for the future. Using a discovery-based model, students build knowledge, real-world skills, and individual confidence to prepare for post-secondary academics and careers. Our judges noted, "Xello is a curriculum that delivers high-quality career readiness."