As aspects of pre-pandemic life slowly emerge from nearly two years of masking, testing, and social distancing, educators are once again gathering at edtech conferences to experience the latest and greatest solutions, digital tools, and professional learning opportunities.
Here’s a sampling of new digital tools and announcements from edtech solution providers.
Avantis Education, producer of ClassVR, demonstrated its AR and VR content along with its ClassVR Premium Headset, designed for classrooms and available in sets of 8 or 30. ClassVR, the company’s solution, is a full turnkey VR and AR offering for classrooms, teachers, and education. ClassVR offers a web-based management portal and uses existing IT infrastructure for wi-fi and connectivity. The aim is to make it easier for teachers to integrate VR and AR resources into their existing instruction by equipping teachers with the tools they need to be able to teach within that environment. Educators also can explore Avanti’s World, an educational VR experience split into two lands with learning zones and scenes for students to explore independently.
Curriculum Associates, pulling from i-Ready diagnostics data, released reports on what’s happening with unfinished learning related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Research shows fewer students are starting the year prepared for math and ELA, fewer are on target to learn to read, and there are more gaps in phonics, and sophisticated math skill comprehension. Curriculum Associates plans to continue partnering with schools, districts, and educators to provide deep insight and understanding to help educators save time and understand where students are in terms of unfinished learning in math and reading.
Discovery Education launched Sandbox AR, a new, no-cost, Augmented Reality app. The app empowers students and teachers to create, share, and even inhabit virtual environments. Within Sandbox AR, users can create virtual worlds and populate them with some of the hundreds of unique objects from history, the built world, science and nature, and more. For those new to AR, the app includes many pre-built sandboxes exploring diverse subjects such as ancient Egypt, space exploration, and more, with additional sandboxes coming soon. Discovery Education is also making available several free, pre-built lessons educators can use with the app to familiarize themselves with integrating AR into classroom instruction. Sandbox AR is available for download here.
DocuPhase demonstrated how its automation platform can help schools digitally transform their district with back-office automation. Automation can accelerate school administration to help districts save time, cut costs, and better serve their communities.
ELMO demonstrated the ELMO Ecosystem of Classroom Solutions. The ELMO Board allows educators to capture ideas and enable student engagement while sharing digital resources. ELMO’s document cameras offer various ways to help students visualize objects and see in detail. Wireless solutions give educators the freedom to connect, capture, and collaborate.
Galaxy Next Generation introduced G2 LINK, a classroom audio system that enhances teacher communication and student engagement in the classroom and throughout the school community. The system features a multi-input amplifier, a teacher microphone with programmable buttons, and can support 2, 4 or 8 speaker arrays. Teachers can access the front office, enable daily communications campus-wide, or initiative an emergency alert from the touch of a button.
Identity Automation, a digital identity and security platform for education, announced the launch of RapidIdentity SafeID, which helps protect K-12 and higher education institutions against ransomware attacks. This new platform feature automatically alerts IT when compromised credentials are detected by checking school user credentials against data in SpyCloud’s proprietary repository, the world’s largest databased of breached data.
Intel demonstrated the Intel Unite Solution, intended to help educators promote immersive learning, engage students 1:1, and reach them more meaningfully. The solution supports more immersive classrooms, problem solving, and collaboration. The Intel Unite Solution lets educators create and manage a more secure content sharing and collaboration platform. Educators can wirelessly connect displays and mixed technology environments to share and collaborate seamlessly, from nearly anywhere.
itopia Labs solves the challenges schools face for delivering high-tech education without breaking the bank. With itopia Labs, educators can provide anytime, anywhere, any device access to software applications that students commonly use for Career Technical Education (CTE) and various certification programs. Software labs can be set up in minutes without expensive computers or IT support at a predictable cost that fits any district budget. And, itopia Labs is designed to deliver a great application user experience, even when students are accessing high-resolution video editing and 3D rendering apps remotely.
Kajeet, a provider of IoT connectivity, software and hardware solutions that deliver safe, reliable and controlled internet connectivity to nearly 3,000 customers, announced the launch of its 2022 Homework Gap Grant Program. This funding opportunity will allow K-12 schools and districts, colleges and universities, and public libraries to connect students to safe, reliable internet outside of the classroom.
Kami demonstrated its all-in-one digital learning platform. Teachers can turn static documents into rich learning resources, enhance learning and drive student engagement, and promote student choice. Using Kami, teachers can create assignments with their LMS, share class-wide, and offer feedback in real time.
Kiddom, an all-in-one education platform for high-quality digital curriculum, has expanded its partnership with Kendall Hunt Publishing. Kendall Hunt will offer a customized version of OpenSciEd’s high-quality middle school science instructional materials in a dynamic format through Kiddom’s comprehensive digital curriculum platform. Kiddom’s modular unit design allows teachers to easily center lessons around OpenSciEd’s phenomena. In addition, Kiddom’s full suite of interactive question types makes it easy for students to demonstrate understanding in multiple ways.
Kincaid IT Storage+, an all-in-one cloud management suite that supports Google Workspace, demonstrated tools available within KIT Central intended to help technology administrators manage their organizations’ storage with user-friendly dashboards, reporting and options to eliminate excess storage usage. The company is launching a free Google Workspace Add-on developed to help users easily generate custom files while enhancing organization. The new Add-on – known as KIT Merge – premiered within the Google Workplace Marketplace in January 2022.
Logitech announced the launch of the Logitech Pen, the newest K-12 stylus designed for touch screen Chromebooks that supports Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) standards and is Works With Chromebook certified. Research shows that when it comes to students retaining what they learn, the act of physically annotating during lessons makes a significant difference.
Nearpod demonstrated Nearpod Math, a K-8 supplemental math program featuring 5,000 new standards-aligned lessons, videos, and practice activities; virtual manipulatives; and enhanced course navigation and reporting.
The North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) and STEM Punks are collaborating to develop an innovative comprehensive Global STEM Learning Marketplace to support students around the world to develop the STEM skills needed to grow and thrive. STEM Punks is well-recognized for its in-school and out-of-school STEM activities for students in Australia and elsewhere, covering a wide spectrum of career development pathways including such areas such as energy, transportation, IoT, and health technology. NASEF provides similar pathways for learning and career development by connecting play and learning through the experiential lens of gaming and esports. Esports are booming, and students in Vietnam are excited to not just play the games, but to pursue related careers. To support this thirst for competition and education in Vietnam, Esports Heroes Inc LLC has just become a NASEF affiliate. NASEF will provide free tournaments, programs, curriculum, and expertise to help scholastic esports grow and thrive in Vietnam. As esports continues to grow as a hobby, professional pursuit, and industry, creating an atmosphere of inclusion is vital at all levels and for all ages. To that end, NASEF and the gameHERs are partnering to jointly develop impactful content and programming for girls in the high school esports space. And, from GenerationEsports, a new Gaming Concepts course is available digitally and in print for adoption in 2022. A distinguishing feature of the curriculum is the “Mental Health Moments” which are woven through lessons on technical and career aspects of the world of video gaming.
Promethean has awarded 11 schools across the US with a Promethean ActivPanel package worth more than $6,000 after a panel evaluated video submissions from the Promethean Classroom Stories competition. Educators and administrators nationwide shared their inspiring stories that demonstrated the innovative approaches to education and how they pivoted pedagogies over the last year to create positive learning experiences for their students. The winning submissions highlighted both the challenges and opportunities educators and school administrators encountered during the 2020-2021 school year.
Renaissance displayed its literacy solutions. Accelerated Reader offers independent learning practice to accelerate growth for all learners, while myON is a personalized digital library at every student’s fingertips. The tools are part of an overall approach designed to help students become competent and confident lifelong readers.
Samsung has partnered with Florida IT services firm HAVRION on an automated health and safety alert solution that pairs internet of things (IoT) sensor and building management systems with Samsung’s MagicINFO digital signage content management system (CMS). The integrated solution creates an automated conduit between your buildings’ systems and sensors and the Samsung software platform. Based on conditions and rules preset in the software, a notification from the HAVRION system dynamically triggers predetermined on-screen content.
Shaper, the human-involved robotics company focused on making precision woodworking easy and accessible, showcased Shaper Origin, the easy-to-use handheld CNC router for educators. With more schools adopting digital fabrication tools in the classroom, the Shaper Origin brings digital precision to the craft of woodworking. Shaper has recognized the needs of educators to learn more about digital fabrication tools for the classroom and has recently introduced the new free Shaper Classroom Guide to provide teachers an educational companion to the Shaper Origin and help instructors teach digital design skills, creative thinking and problem solving to their students. Also unveiled at FETC was the new Shaper Labs digital design tool that offers thousands of ready-to-use designs that can be customized and used with the Shaper Origin or other digital design products, without any CAD experience.
Sphero offered live demonstrations of its newest robot for early learners, Sphero indi, as well as presentations on Sphero BOLT with Computer Science Foundations curriculum, littleBits, and more info on the second year of the annual Sphero Global Challenge robotics competition for kids PK–12.
Tech Reformers is releasing TR | AppStream, a managed AWS AppStream 2.0 service. K-12 school districts can now offer virtually any application to students on Chromebooks and any device, even with low bandwidth. Enabling all students to access high-end applications, TR | AppStream gives any time, anywhere access to, for example, Adobe Creative Cloud, Autodesk Inventor & Revit, and engineering and computer science applications from Project Lead the Way (PLTW). In sum, virtually any application that schools need students to access at home or in school, TR | AppStream makes it possible on any device. As a managed service, it’s no extra work for IT.
VEX Robotics released three new classroom solutions as part of their larger continuum: VEX GO is an affordable construction system that teaches the fundamentals of STEM through fun, hands-on activities that help young students perceive coding and engineering in a fun and positive way; VEX 123 is a programmable robot that teaches real programming without a computer through the use of the VEX Coder and physical cards; and VEX Workcell is a construction system designed for Career and Technical Education that acts as a premier, introducing students to manufacturing concepts through the use of a 5-axis robotic arm, conveyors and sensors and VEXcode software. VEX also launched new CS and hardware platforms and incorporated new AI sensor cameras into its solutions to provide an enhanced experience for both teachers and students.
Wacom displayed its products that boost collaboration and interaction, creating a classroom feel – even when teachers and students are not in one. The products are designed to work seamlessly with existing IT infrastructure. Pen tablets are a proven and affordable teaching aid and are great to use as digital whiteboards. The digital pen allows teachers to enhance lectures and maintain eye contact with students while working remotely. Plus, students can use them to submit work digitally. Smartpads pair with any paper and can project onto a PC or mobile device in real-time. Whether in the classroom or teaching remotely, they make it easy for teachers to present materials and for students to take notes – and keep it all digital. Teachers can use pen displays to present lessons, illustrate learnings, take notes, and answer questions. When it comes to students, the pen makes the switch to digital working easy and intuitive.
zSpace, Inc. announced the latest evolution of its evidence-based, AR/VR learning solutions–zSpace Learning Station Inspire and Inspire Pro. The glasses-free AR/VR solution allows users to interact with three-dimensional content without a headset or goggles. With high-capacity performance, eSports and model and simulation programs are supported.