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Learn by Doing

Pk12_slide_2 (1)Why practice on kids at risk of becoming disciplinary problems when Kognito’s simulations of classroom activities can prepare you for dealing with it in real life. There are versions for elementary, middle and high school that use 3-D animation with suggested dialogue to show how to correctly deal with typical classroom situations.

OK, Class Settle Down

Administrator-dashboardAsk any teacher -- old or new -- and they're likely to say that the worst aspect of education is the time wasted with an unfocused class. Recess and gym classes everyday can help but Activate seeks to focus students with a mind-body course. Activate includes both cognitive mental and physical exercises that are aimed at focusing student attention when it’s needed. All students take NIH assessments before and after the exercises, with the results reported to teachers, administrators and parents via the Activate dashboard. It costs $150 per seat up to 99 students or $125 for 200- to 300-students and the company offers discounts for larger schools

Manage Tablets like a Pro

TabPilot-Horiz-250-gray-bgThe sixth generation of TabPilot’s Mobile Deviced Mangement (MDM) software takes controlling a variety of tablets to a new level. Available for Androids and iPads, the MDM has been designed to help manage a district’s worth of devices allowing administrators to do everything from push, license and configure apps to systems to setting online access policy and inventory all items. Teachers can not only lock student screens, send alerts and force them to a site or app, but view what kids are doing on their systems.

AV Scheduler

CrestronIf you use Crestron software to control and connect the school’s AV gear, it can now be scheduled so there’s no fighting over the videoconferencing set up. The Crestron software not only shows what’s available but lets you schedule events directly with everything from Microsoft Exchange to Google Calendar to IBM Notes or with Crestron’s TSW-732 or 752 touch screen tablets.


Freebee Friday: Messenger Rebirth

Bloomz pictureUsing Class Messenger and are out of luck because it’s shut down? Bloomz has created a way to continue using your class and parent lists so every message gets through. The directions and access to a free account are on a special Bloomz page for those making the transition. In fact, the Bloomz app adds things like the ability to push out photos and videos as well as translate the notes into other languages.

Tag IT

Tag_search2With the number of mobile devices at schools only expected to rise in the coming years, how do you keep track of all of them so you know what’s available and what isn’t. Hayes Software’s TIPWeb-IT can help track everything from a class’s worth of Chromebooks to every stationary projector with either a barcode or wireless RFID tag. In other words, every item not only shows up on a register but is trackable. The cradle to grave accounting provides information on every item until it is retired or removed from the system.

Big Data Gets Schooled

BigData_2267x1146_whiteThere’s nothing worse than giving children a battery of tests and then not knowing what the results mean for the students, school and its teachers. That’s where applying the lessons of big data analytics come in. Used to predict what we buy and where we want to travel, the technology can help in schools as well.

Based on a deep dive into the data, teachers and administrators can not only spot those who are leading or lagging, but find school- or district-wide trends. The latest additions predict educational outcomes, both good and bad.

More than mere trend-mongering, data mining at schools can be a valuable tool in identifying students who are at risk or spotting places that need new resources. A server filled with test results, grades and demographic information is meaningless unless you can lift out what’s important and act on what it is telling you.

In a very real sense, the trends are all there waiting to be spotted. All you have to do is have the right software to see both the forest and the trees.

Guide K12

Quick 12Composed of four parts, Guide K12 is an all-in-one analytic package that can help districts to visualize the raw data with graphs, charts and especially maps. To start, Explorer is for quick trend spotting and trying to see how the numbers – such as test scores or student demographics – relate to each other and are changing over time. By contrast, GK12’s Planner package can create hypothetical what-if scenarios at school and the program’s Adviser can deliver reports that administrators can use and distribute to staff, state officials and parents. Finally, GK12’s SchoolSearch is a window on your district that the community and parents can use to see what’s going on at the area’s schools.

Panorama Education

PanoramaBig data is at the heart of Panorama Education with the goal of making every bit of student information count toward their future. Behind the scenes, Panorama churns through reams of test and activity results to create comparisons among students within a school, district or against national averages. The program is pwoerful enough to not only use your district’s current information but it produces good looking informative reports that are personalized for each recipient for everything from state officials to parents.

                            Renaissance Learnalytics

Renaissance aIf your district uses Renaissance math and literacy programs, there’s already a big data engine at work behind the scenes. Called Learnalytics, the database securely stores the results of problems and quizzes and analyzes them for student-by-student and class changes as well as big picture trends. Behind the scenes, the Learnalytics program also tracks what each child likes to do academically, how they learn and can even suggest new books for individual students that would not only fit right into their educational goals but ones they just might enjoy to read.

SAS Enterprise Analytics for Education

SasThis company’s software helps just about every manufacturer and retailer deliver the right mix of goods on time to customers, and it can help to create a data-driven school. SAS software can provide a unique view of every student based on the totality of what he or she does. In addition to always having the right data at your fingertips, the SAS software slices and dices your district’s data and let you decide how its presented without the need for programmers. The SAS school analytical software is secure, can work with Office and the results can be distributed to mobile devices. 


It’s in the Cards

Scholarchip carA plain old school ID card can identify students and teachers, but not much more. With the digitally-aware ScholarChip card, every student is not only identified but can provide access to a variety of school services. In addition to automatically doing attendance and accounting, the ScholarChip can be set up for field trips, school supplies and even school lunch payments, It can even anonymously identify those whose meal is subsidized.


String Along Schools

TwineAs its name implies, Twine can be the string that binds a school together into an educational community. In addition to the expected (attendance, grades and schedules), Twine can handle lesson plans and assessments. If you want to, it can be where reminders and messages are kept and sent. Based on Edsby’s technology, the key is that every user, from students to teachers to administrators, can have different permissions and access to data.

Freebee Friday: Toward the Enlightened Classroom

Classdojo empathyThe ClassDojo app is more than a way for teachers and students to effectively communicate by sending out text, photos and videos. The Android and iOS apps can also be a tool for tolerance and emotional growth at school. The Empathy and Perseverance sections have cool animated videos as well as activities. The section were created with help from Stanford and Harvard Universities and can make the classroom a more equitable place.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tools are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.