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.
November 2017 Updates
What left the list? Adobe Spark, CoSpaces, Microsoft Teams, Snapchat
What's new? BreakoutEDU, myHomework Student Planner, Quizlet, Workbench
Few tools generate teacher excitement like Breakout EDU, so there was little doubt about Breakout finding its way back on this list with the release of Breakout EDU Digital. This product offers digital versions of the physical Breakout puzzles, which educators can use to create and share custom games. It’s a big step for the company and brings it into competition with quizzing apps -- although perhaps Breakout is in a league of its own.
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 on a ton of platforms and integrates with most major LMSes, we can see this tool really taking off.
We’ve had our eyes on Goosechase for some time now, but with the launch of an education-friendly edition, it's finally made this list. The pitch for Goosechase is simple: It’s a smartphone-enabled scavenger hunt where players submit photo, video, or text evidence of their finds. While the learning game library is tiny right now, educators can adapt what’s there or create new games.
Scratch, the long-running creative coding platform, is one of the most beloved tools in edtech. One thing it’s been missing, though, is a fully fleshed-out teacher dashboard. Itch hopes to change that. It aims to be a safer and more easily managed learning environment for Scratch. Inside Itch, teachers and schools can manage and assign video lessons, students can work on and share Scratch projects, and teachers can monitor progress. Take note, though, that Itch, unlike Scratch, is a paid service.
This is Kahoot’s third time making the EdTech Eleven. Why? Because there are few developers as adept at adding new features and generating buzz. Their latest development is Kahoot! Studio, a new game discovery experience (to supplement the existing one) featuring higher-quality games developed by the Kahoot team as well as select partners like National Geographic and Kahoot-approved teachers. While all this is still free, it seems the pieces are being put in place for premium content.
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, so it's a great extension opportunity if students are already using those apps.
We reviewed myHomework Student Planner earlier this year, and at that time it seemed like a tool on the rise. Well, it’s officially arrived; check any app store and you’ll see myHomework Student Planner high in the rankings. Why? We suspect it’s because myHomework carves out a unique space in edtech as an accessible tool for students -- especially those in high school and college -- to wrangle their work deadlines.
Quizlet’s back on the list this month thanks to a trio of significant updates to the popular quizzing platform. The first is a full design refresh that, among other things, makes it clear when creating study sets that Quizlet is a flash card tool above all else. The second change is a brand-new diagram question type that can help students prepare for labeling tests in science classes and beyond. The last new addition is Quizlet’s Verified Creators program, which, like Kahoot, features custom-created content from such partners as Everfi and the Jane Goodall Institute.
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.
IBM has quietly launched Teacher Advisor, a free search engine for classroom materials (including lessons and teaching strategies) for K-5 math teachers. In some ways it’s similar to Amazon’s Inspire efforts, but what distinguishes Teacher Advisor is its integration of Watson, which promises a better search experience. Of course, it’s all about the content, and Teacher Advisor leans on EngageNY, Share My Lesson, and Student Achievement Partners (among others) for trusted resources.
Project-based learning (PBL) is tough. To do it right, it needs time, space, and buy-in. Workbench is trying to help with this, offering a “comprehensive” PBL platform that integrates with LMSes, SISes, and Google Classroom, as well as allows teachers across a school or district to assign and manage projects and to share them with other teachers. These projects benefit from content partnerships with providers like Makey Makey and Dremel and are aligned to standards. The big question on our minds is how Workbench handles another tricky aspect of PBL: assessment.