Edtech’s 2018 In/Out List

Stacey Roshan

Stacey Roshan is Upper School technology coordinator and Maths teacher at Bullis School. She has a keen interest in discovering innovative tools to engage students and personalise instruction. She has spent a lot of time working to flip the Mathematics classroom in an effort to shift the culture to a more participatory learning space. Her work on the flipped classroom has been featured in major newspapers such as USA Today, CNN, and The Washington Post, and television on PBS Newshour.

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Images credit: Sutori, Flipgrid, Pear Deck, EDpuzzle, Adobe Spark, Pages and Grammarly. Images credit: Sutori, Flipgrid, Pear Deck, EDpuzzle, Adobe Spark, Pages and Grammarly.

Since I was a teenager, I have always looked forward to the In/Out List published in the Washington Post right before the start of each new year. So, as Innovate My School discusses the ‘Hottest EdTech Trends’ this month, I thought I’d have a little fun and put my own spin on the idea.

So, here goes the 2018 In/Out List - edtech style:

My goal here is to highlight technology that will allow teachers to make assignments more student-centered and interactive. In addition to giving a brief description of each tool, I am including a variety of links to blog posts I've written which showcase the larger learning goal achieved when weaved into the curriculum. At the end of the day, effective edtech integration is all about the shifts in learning made possible by taking advantage of the new technology available. So as you read the below In/Out list, I hope you will keep focused on the learning outcomes rather than the cool-factor of some of the tools themselves. Because when we approach our problems or pain-points in this way, I think we can truly transform student learning.

1. Sutori

Sutori is an interactive tool to help students tell a story in a linear, visually-appealing format. Some of my favourite use cases are having students document their study progress or progression through a major project, create a timeline of events, logging milestones, and portfolio / reflect on personal growth in a class.

2. Flipgrid

Flipgrid is a video discussion platform. Ignite discussion by allowing students to contribute to a virtual, asynchronous discussion via video response using Flipgrid. Much of the brilliance of Flipgrid lies in how easy it is to use. As the teacher, there are no student accounts to set up. For the student, they can record with a computer or a phone. Also, there is no sign-in required, no uploading or downloading of files; students simply press a green plus sign and start talking to the camera. Just open it up and let your imagination soar with the possibilities.

3. Pear Deck

Pear Deck allows students to interact and engage with presentation slides. Teachers can reimagine the traditional classroom lecture and allow each student to engage with the presentation. Pear Deck brings lessons to life, with formative assessments and interactive questions that give you real-time insight into how each student is responding.

Using Pear Deck’s Google Slides Add-on (available in the Chrome Web Store), teachers can add a variety of question types directly into their slideshow. Using responses to these questions and by embedding small temperature checks throughout the lesson, teachers can allow students to drive the focus of class for the day. Pear Deck is all about moving the focus of a presentation from the teacher to the student.

4. EDpuzzle

EDpuzzle allows students to interact with videos you, as the teacher, assign. The goal is to increase student engagement and allow the teacher to monitor participation, as well as help students best understand and retain material presented in the assigned video. Using text stops, teachers can add clarifying captions; using multiple-choice quiz markers, teachers can check for understandings and students can receive instant feedback; and embedding free response quiz questions, teachers can ask questions that require students to demonstrate deeper connections.

5. Adobe Spark, Pages

For those instances where a well-designed web page would be the perfect display for a class project, but you don’t want to waste time teaching students the ins and outs of website design, Adobe Spark’s Pages is the perfect tool. It allows students to create beautiful web pages, in minutes, with no prior knowledge required. Plus, students can sign in with a Google account (which is a major bonus if your school has G Suite for Education). Students are able to add elements such as text, video and photo galleries, as well as being able publish their final Adobe Spark Page to the world with the click of a button.

6. Grammarly

Grammarly not only checks for grammar and spelling mistakes, with a premium version, students are provided content-specific suggestions. Grammarly is a wonderful tool to strengthen students’ proofreading skills and make the editing process more of an ingrained habit with all written work. Personally, I have found that Grammarly’s display of suggested improvements encourages me to learn from mistakes. Moreover, Grammarly provides suggested edits to enhance my writing with stronger vocabulary choices and less repetitive phrasing.

What about you?

Do you have a favorite edtech tool that you’d like to share? If so, chime in down in the comments section. Make sure that you not only tell which tool you love, but also share how it has transformed the learning for your students.

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