Getting kids to write, edit and publish their own books is a great way to not only get them writing but to instill a lifelong love of the printed word. Student Treasures goes beyond the stapled booklet of class poems, essays or short stories. The Student Treasures Publishing Kit can help turn a classroom of ideas into actual hardbound books with color illustrations. It’s all free if you can get 80 students to participate and the organization can help pay for the actual books. Just sign-up.
TabPilot has the answer to kids using their tablets to scour the Web for sports results, Facebook updates and worse (much worse). The company’s FocalPoint browser allows teachers to only allow certain Web sites to be loaded onto the classroom slates. Just enter the sites for the day’s lessons on TabPilot’s online control panel and only those online destinations are available for the tablets. The software can be tried out for free.
If you need a slew of nonfiction passages for students to read, absorb and get tested on, Newsela can deliver appropriate reading material and assessments. The service has reading material in a variety of categories, from law to science, and is currently undergoing beta testing. You can use it for free.
Instant access to student data is the name of the game with SunGard K-12 Education’s eSchoolPLUS 3.0. The Student Information System has been built around the software’s Teacher Access Center, which includes a new grade book for entering results and retrieving grades. The program fits into the PLUS 360 suite of school applications.
It’s one of the worst kept secrets at school but AppShed is one of the fastest and best ways to create customized programs for schools. The good news is that the service is converting its tools to open source, which can reduce the cost and complexity of deploying these apps.
It’s the rare school that can afford a planetarium or even a rudimentary astronomical observatory, but there can be one inside every school iPad. That’s because Vito Technology’s Star Walk can put more than 200,000 celestial objects and a wide variety of facts about them on the slate’s screen. In addition to integrating an image from the pad’s camera, Star Walk has an eye-friendly night mode for actual star gazing evenings out. It can even help align a telescope to find objects and see them close up. It costs $3.
Need some lessons on everything from the shapes to the water cycle. Share My Lesson has a huge library of free content and 250,000 members. There are lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and flash cards. Everything’s been reviewed by actual teachers and aligned to the latest Common Core standards for English and math.
Using Microsoft’s Lync technology, Crestron has built a videoconferencing system that puts the emphasis on collaboration. Crestron RL lets you instantly set up a video chat, work with documents online or even share your desktop with other screens. The company has a full line of hardware to build an interactive room around, from microphones to touch-screens to large displays.
The people at Think Through Math have been busy upgrading the online math instruction and testing service for summer school classes. In addition to the ability to fill in an answer, the service has updated the learning coach and added more than a dozen new elementary algebra lessons.
The latest document camera is eInstruction’s ShareView 2, which not only delivers stills and videos but allows teachers to continue to use the company’s WorkSpace software and its thousands of only lesson materials. The big step forward is the tablet-friendly WorkSpace Connect app so that teachers can control what is shown and annotate it. There are free apps for Android and iPads.