Top 3 EdTech Applications at SXSWedu 2015

Last week’s SXSWedu Playground and sponsored lounges allowed visitors to explore new ways of updating the classroom for a more modern and technologically oriented approach to learning. This included various panels and booths to address how ideas and products can enrich a student’s education. Here are the top three edtech applications, ranked according to how much students would interact with the product both in the classroom and at home.

  • 1. Kahoot
  • 2. 3Doodler
  • 3. Tinkercad

Kahoot is a game-based classroom response system where teachers create a quiz for the students to interact with to test their knowledge in a fun way. Kahoot is web-based, and all students need is either a mobile device or tablet and a game PIN to participate in the quiz. It is very user friendly and engages students on typical content, but in a new way. Students compete against each other for the number-one spot via a points system based on both speed and accuracy, with statistics enabling teachers to see the distribution of students’ answers to assess the effectiveness of the question and the overall understanding of the class.

I have used Kahoot in my AP Statistics class as a review for an upcoming test, and it was incredibly easy to use. My peers and I were instantly engaged in the game. There was an extreme amount of yelling because of the competition between my peers and me and when the results were revealed, whether good or bad. My teacher tries very hard to have us review in new ways, but Kahoot was by far one of my favorite ways we’ve reviewed for a test.

3Doodler, a 3D printing pen, uses plastic to create different shapes and images that cool and harden instantly. This device allows kids to experience design and creation without needing any special software, computer, or even knowledge of computer science. Children can now have the tools of digital and physical imaging at their fingertips. The educational possibilities of 3Doodler will appeal to a large body of students and could be used in a range of different educational disciplines. In addition, the 3Doodler could be used by educators and parents to encourage young girls to engage with STEM subjects, which would help eliminate the gender gap in the education system.

3Doodler seems like magic to me. Even when using a template, to be able to create an image from my mind and just building it out of thin air as if I were writing or drawing is magical. Once you get past the shock factor of the incredible design, the applications for the classroom just explode in your mind for several different subjects. It is another hands-on

Tinkercad is a browser-based platform for design and modeling. With Tinkercad, children can design and create anything they imagine. Tinkercad uses virtual depictions of shapes as the main building blocks for children to create with. Shapes can then be grouped into new models that are more and more detailed and intricate. Another feature of Tinkercad allows kids to create vector shapes and form them into 3D creations from their 2D designs.

Tinkercad is a program that allows kids to explore design and modeling on their own; by sitting at the computer and exploring, children have a personal connection to their designs and the skills they are learning. Tinkercad seems like something you could spend hours on, watching your ideas come to life in front of you.

Rowan Elizabeth attends Stephen F. Austin High School in Austin Texas.