Common Sense

TOP PICKS | 20 TOOLS

Best EdTech of 2018

The editorial staff at Common Sense Education evaluated and rated approximately 180 tools for learning potential in 2018, and all we can say is it was a great year for edtech. Some years it's hard to select the most engaging and supportive tools for students, teachers, and schools. But this year, we had no trouble narrowing down our top picks to the 20 best apps, games, and websites.

What you'll find on this list are tools that get students to develop a true love of writing, engage in authentic scientific practices, collaborate across the globe, and make incredibly artistic and technical creations. You'll even find a couple of tools just for the teacher. As you look down the list and notice how many 5-star tools we rated this year, you'll begin to see how thoughtful design that empowers students and uplifts teachers really makes a win-win for all.

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Top Picks

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Khan Academy Kids

Creative, smart mix of pre-K to K activities is a breath of fresh air

Bottom line: It's tough to stand out in the crowded early learning space, but this collection does just that, offering a one-stop shop for creative learning of foundational skills.

Makers Empire

Stellar 3D design hub promotes innovation, collaboration, and creation

Bottom line: This is a great design and creation tool that teachers and students can use to be innovative and share ideas with a vibrant community of makers.

Magnus Kingdom of Chess

Gentle chess puzzle game ideal for young newbies

Bottom line: For kids who are new to chess but want to learn how to play, this fun intro to the game provides a well-done tutorial combined with a light overarching storyline.

Evo by Ozobot

Versatile mini robot tailor-made for teaching coding

Bottom line: Evo encourages students to be creative, emphasizing that coding is a tool in your pocket, not the end game.

Cozmo

A little robot with big personality brings code to life

Bottom line: From Cozmo's engaging personality to endless programming possibilities, this little robot will capture your heart and spark imagination.

Discovery Tour by Assassin's Creed: Ancient Egypt

Popular game's education mode offers stunning view of ancient world

Bottom line: This game is an absorbing experience that offers students a unique, living and breathing view of ancient Egyptian art, life, and culture.

Loom

Create, present, and assess with free, effortless screencasting

Bottom line: This intuitive tool is excellent for recording and responding to screencasts of any length.

Writable

Stellar program scaffolds the writing process with peer review and feedback

Bottom line: Research-based pedagogy and a highly scaffolded process make this tool highly desirable for teaching writing and peer review.

ZoteroBib

Fewer clicks and less clutter equal a new go-to site for citing sources

Bottom line: An intuitive site that takes the stress out of citing sources, but students will still need instruction to tweak auto-generated citations.

UL Xplorlabs

Safety engineering site blends in-class experiments with online sims

Bottom line: Middle school students get to design and test solutions to actual safety problems.

Bear

Write, edit, and sync content on the go with flexible note-taking tool

Bottom line: For an app that doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, it's surprisingly versatile and useful for many types of writing and note-taking.

CanFigureIt Geometry

Flex your deductive reasoning muscles with geometric proofs

Bottom line: A really good way for math students to learn about proofs and explore them from a number of angles.

Construct 3

Ideal 2D game builder supports students to create, innovate

Bottom line: Limitless game options, reasonable cost, and extensive support make this programming environment perfect for an educational setting.

Grasshopper: Learn to Code

First-class free app for learning to code with JavaScript

Bottom line: This app will no doubt help individual, motivated learners see how coding works using real code.

Digital Civics Toolkit

Superb, timely civics lessons focus on social media and student voice

Bottom line: For teachers looking to make civics relevant to students, there's nothing else out there as extensive or relevant.

Google Applied Digital Skills

Practical PBL lessons teach critical computer skills

Bottom line: Thorough digital literacy curriculum offers mix-and-match options to fit any classroom.

HoloLAB Champions

Immerse students in a fantastic VR chemistry lab

Bottom line: Students can safely experiment, play, fail, succeed, and learn in this engrossing virtual chemistry lab.

Please Knock on My Door

Effective and affecting game about dealing with depression

Bottom line: A slow-paced SEL game for helping students understand the nuances of managing mental health.

Snapseed

Extremely powerful photo editor will equally delight pros, amateurs

Bottom line: It successfully walks the fine line of photo-editing features, offering satisfying experiences for those making quick edits and those crafting perfect images.

Florence

Incredibly relatable story about navigating adult love and life

Bottom line: This heartwarming game helps kids empathize with the highs and lows of romantic relationships.

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