Things move fast in the edtech world, and we hear all the time from teachers how hard it can be to keep up. This is why we've created the EdTech Eleven, our monthly list of noteworthy tools generating buzz in the edtech world. While these aren't recommendations or ratings (you have to check out our Top Picks for that), what you'll find on the EdTech Eleven is a quick and current list of trending tools you might want to check out.
August 2017 Updates
What left the list? Bitmoji, Everything, Google Earth, Rewordify
What's new? Amazon Inspire, CoSpaces Edu, Flipgrid, Kahoot!
Apps that help people create beautiful, web-first designs are on the rise. From Canva to Sway and now Adobe Spark, consumers and educators have lots of options. Spark, however, stands out due to sheer versatility. It combines the functionality of former Adobe apps Slate, Post, and Voice, offering students and teachers lots of options to create visual presentations and stories.
Emerging from a year-long private beta into public beta, Amazon Inspire aims to be the one-stop-shop for educational resources like worksheets and lesson plans whether they’re teacher or publisher-created or OER. Since Inspire is still in beta it’s missing some key features like user uploading and sharing of resources; however, there’s already thousands of browsable resources.
In edtech right now, there's nothing more novel -- or generating more buzz -- than Breakout EDU. It brings the popular puzzle-room phenomenon to classrooms through purchasable physical kits or a DIY guide to building your own. What has really set them apart thus far, though, is their vibrant community of educators sharing stories and collaborating on new scenarios.
Snap (formerly Snapchat) has changed the social media game with playful, fast video creation and sharing. Apple is the latest major player to issue a response with its Clips app, which allows users to capture, edit, and trick out short videos much like you'd see in a snap. Given Clips' ability to layer video with text and graphics, we can see students using it to whip up videos that showcase learning or teachers using it to experiment instructionally.
CoSpaces caught our eye on the ISTE show floor. It was one of a handful of edtech products looking to ride the wave of interest in VR and AR. However, what sets CoSpaces apart is its focus on creation and not just consumption of VR experiences. They’ve also just launched a teacher-friendly version with a two month free trial. If you’re already teaching coding, this could be a way to amp up the engagement in the 2017-2018 school year.
We’ve seen interest growing in Flipgrid, a super slick video response tool that lets teachers create class pages, post discussion topics, and elicit video responses from students. Flipgrid’s tagline — “Use video the way your students do” —is clear in the tool’s design which makes formative assessment kinda like FaceTiming. Given it’s available a ton of platforms and integrates with most major LMSs, we can see this tool really taking off.
If there was ever any doubt Kahoot! is one of the kings of edtech, they’ve been laid to rest. Not only has Kahoot! reached the 50 million active user mark, they’ve just received $10 million more in funding and were the sole K-12-focused company selected to the Disney Accelerator program alongside major brands like Brit + Co and Epic Games. Does this mean they’ve got their sights set on growing beyond K-12? Well, it looks like they already have.
Last year, Microsoft stepped in and turned MinecraftEDU into Minecraft: Education Edition, adding teacher-friendly features. The latest addition to the platform -- Code Builder -- follows the lead of a popular mod called ComputerCraft. Code Builder allows students to learn computational thinking and coding inside of Minecraft. This feature integrates Scratch, Tynker, and Microsoft's MakeCode, making it a great extension opportunity if students are already using those apps.
For those looking to put a new spin on PowerPoint-style presentations, Prezi has been the go-to tool. It turned traditional 2D decks into 3D spaces, allowing presenters to relate information spatially. Prezi Next is their first major revision, introducing more control of presentations: Presenters now can freely move through the presentation (versus following a set path) and can get data from users. While they've targeted the corporate market, there's still potential for teachers here.
Video rules the web, and, for students, it's increasingly how they consume and communicate. Recap hopes to capitalize on this, offering a means for students to record video reflections on teacher prompts that help document and assess learning. Teachers then can share these reflections with other students, educators, or parents to facilitate dialogue and build connections.
In edtech, some tools just click, and Seesaw is one of those. They've seen a meteoric rise over the past year, thanks in large part to filling a real need for teachers: helping students share work and progress with parents. It seems like each month Seesaw adds new functionality that cements its position as the portfolio tool of choice.