5 EdTech Product Features That Make Teaching Easier

Learn about key features for teachers, and products that have them

July 12, 2013
Erin Wilkey Oh Executive Editor, Education Content and Distribution
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES Technology Integration, Tools

We love digital technologies that provide engaging, relevant, and deep learning experiences for students. Even better when the tools are designed with teachers in mind. Check out our top five favorite product features and a shortlist of representative apps, games, and websites that make your job easier.

1. Teacher Dashboard. Helps you individualize instruction, monitor student activity, assess progress, and more.
Articulation Station -- Create up to six student profiles to keep track of individual activity as well as shareable progress data. You can also insert notes on each student's profile or play session.
Reflex: Math Fact Fluency -- From the robust dashboard, create different classes, add kids, and track whole class and individual student progress. -- This data-driven platform lets you monitor learning and gives you the freedom to adjust kids' programs as they see fit. 

2. Multi-user Capabilities. Allows multiple students to save progress on the same device.
Dragonbox+ Algebra -- Up to four students can customize avatars and save their progress on the same device.
Kidblog -- Set up a class blog or individual student blogs for an unlimited number of students. For free!
Lifeboat to Mars -- This free online game supports unlimited students, as kids save their progress simply by creating a PBS Kids Go! account.

3. Privacy/Sharing Controls. Gives you or your students the ability to choose how broad or narrow the audience will be.
Animoto Videos -- A step up in terms of privacy when compared to other similar tools, Animoto accounts are not searchable, and videos are kept private within the app and website.
Edmodo -- This fantastic social network for schools has the look of Facebook, but also has controls in place to protect privacy and promote positive interactions among students and between students and teachers.
Edublogs -- Choose from a range of options for privacy and sharing.

4. Supporting Community. Provides a network of users for guidance and/or sharing.
Gamestar Mechanic -- An online community for teachers helps you learn to teach through games with tutorials, materials, and lesson plans aligned to both game design and Common Core subjects.
Minecraft: Pocket Edition -- Minecraft has a thriving online community for inspiration, guidance, and sharing.
VoiceThread -- If they choose, kids can open their projects to comments from classmates or to all VoiceThread members, creating a community experience with voice.

5. Learning Extensions. Includes helpful ideas and materials for in- and out-of-school use.
BrainPop -- Along with a large collection of free lesson plans, check out BrainPop's free educational space, where you can share and access resources, connect with other teachers, and participate in webinars and other professional development.
Shakespeare in Bits: Macbeth iPad Edition -- This fantastic multi-media learning tool contains a complete teaching plan for "Macbeth."
Mission US: Flight to Freedom -- Rich, teacher resources include extensive lesson plans and supplemental teaching materials for educators. 

What products or product features make teaching easier for you?