Tag Archives: web tools

#ISTE18 EdTech Start Ups: The Ones to Watch

One of the gems of the ISTE Annual Conference is the EdTech Start Up Pavilion. This year many of the companies in this group were literacy based with free tools teachers can access now. Here are five of my favorites:


Go Go Brain is an interactive online platform that strengthens seven critical meta-cognition skills: 1. Listening, 2. Following Directions, 3. Self-Control, 4. Focus and Attention, 6. Working Memory, and 7. Visual-Spatial Reasoning. The website offers games for young people to play to build these skills and flex their brain muscles. As I was playing the games, I thought that this might be great for adults too. For the 2018-2019 school year, GoGo Brain is offering complimentary memberships where parents and teachers can enroll for free by visiting the website and use the code: GoGo2018.

Mind Right offers personalized, live coaching over text message for teens who want to talk, judgment free. The company was started by two women who met at Stanford’s joint MBA/MA in Education program. Inspired by personal and familial histories with trauma, Ashley Edwards and Alina Liao have been working to reduce the stigma around mental health in communities of color and ensure every child has access to mental health support.  With the growing amount of mental health and anxiety that young people may be feeling today and maybe unable or afraid to talk, Mind Right offers young people guidance from a team of coaches that can help navigate the challenges we face every day – both positive and negative.

826 Digital is a new website for educators with writing curriculum tools including activities, lesson, and student writing. This is a creative writing platforms with Sparks, or flexible and focused skill building activities, as well as ready to use, topic based lesson plans and mini units to help teach process and revision. Some examples include Rewriting the Zombie Apocalypse and Teach a pirate how to eat a peanut and butter jelly sandwich. All of the lessons and projects are Common Core aligned. There are resources to teach persuasive, expository, narrative, poetry, and STEM writing. I cannot wait to use some of these writing prompts with my middle school students.

For media literacy, Weird Enough Productions is launching their own comic based media literacy curriculum. With an eye on representation, their mission is to “combat media misrepresentation through original content and media literacy education.” Subscribe on their website now to get early access to their media literacy curriculum.


I am so excited for Words Liive, a 21st Century education technology that has developed the Culturally Responsive Pedagogy needed to meet the instructional demands for today’s classrooms. Today’s youth needs to see themselves in their education to aspire to perform in school. They’ve created a patented platform that integrates song lyrics into students’ reading assignments. Founded in 2013 by artist and educator, Sage Salvo, Words Liive is a music-based literacy program that helps teachers and students connect classic canon with contemporary popular music today. Words Liive integrates song lyrics into students’ reading assignments via “Real-Time” and On-demand Culturally Responsive digital platform. Currently in Beta form, you can preview the texts, find lesson plans, and utilize the available assessments. Check it out!



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Spring Cleaning & Digital Curation Tools to Help Consolidate

Spring is in the air, the daffodils and magnolia trees are in full bloom. The weather is getting nicer and it is time to put away the winter clothes. Spring cleaning has begun and it is not only time to clean at home, but in our classrooms as well.

There is a fashion rule when it comes to cleaning out one’s closet:  “If you haven’t worn it in six months then it is time to donate it.”  That same rule can apply in our classrooms, if you haven’t used it in the last six months then it is time to recycle it.

As our desks, file cabinets, and closets become overgrown with handouts, worksheets, outdated tests and quizzes, it is time to face the truth . . .

It’s time to start cleaning out, downsizing, and assessing the relevant materials that you use in your classroom.  What you no longer use, what is now outdated or obsolete, you can let go of.

It’s hard, I know.

But it is time to make new space in your classroom.  Get rid of the papers.  Keep your materials in the clouds.

Here are some digital curation tools to help you keep track of your favorite and most used materials:

LiveBinders are virtual three-ring binders to consolidate your webpages, images, word and .pdf files. You can collaborate with others and even import your Delicious Bookmarks into a binder. Check out the variety of teacher created binders that others have created.  There is even a LiveBinders4teachers wiki for teachers to share and collaborate.

Delicious and Diigo are two web tools to help you catalogue and share your favorite web resources.  Diigo allows you to add annotations and in-page highlights where Delicious does not.  These two bookmarking tools specifically allow you to curate web pages.

Where Delicious and Diigo are for you to catalogue web information you select, Scoop.it is like a Google Alert and content curation web tool rolled into one.  Based on a topic you choose, Scoop.it will look all over the web to find information regarding your topic and email you daily with the “scoop.”  You do need to get an invite in order to start Scoop.it so, the first thing you need to do is to get an invitation to begin curating your favorite topics.

One of my favorite curation tools at the moment, as mentioned in a previous post, is Symbaloo.  Symbaloo offers a web curation with a visually engaging layout that is unique to other digital curation tools.  What looks more like Scrabble game board, each tile is a link to the “personal learning environment” or webmix you create.  For a link to a Symbaloo I created of top Web 2.0 tools for teachers click here.

The most popular curation tool at the moment is Pinterest, an online “pin board.”  You also need an invite to join pinterest but that is easy.  Pinterest is visually driven so you are pinning images, instead of  links like with Symbaloo, Delicious and Diigo.  Teachers can use Pinterest to find ideas for classroom arrangement, organization, and classroom decorating. It’s also a great way to find new ideas for teaching literacy, math, science, classroom management ideas, and lots more.

There are so many digital curation tools out there and it is a matter of finding the ones that work best for you and meet your classroom needs.

Happy Spring Cleaning, Consolidating and Curating:-)

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