The EdTech List

2016-06-14 13.03.47Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever said to yourself:

  • I’d love to integrate more edtech into my classroom, but I just don’t know where to start.
  • I’d love to find some tech to take my classroom to the next level, but the number of choices is overwhelming.
  • I’d love to start a makerspace like The Innovation Lab, school garden, or explore entrepreneurship with students, but I don’t know where to start?

Have no fear, The Edtech List is here!

Deciding what to put in your makerspace or the right edtech to integrate into your classroom to transform learning can be overwhelming. Let me do the heavy lifting for you! In Fair Haven Innovates, I spend a lot of time trying to find the right tools and tech to improve our learning and productivity. Needless to say, I have tried a lot of stuff. I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of the best edtech out there to help educators find the technology they’ve been looking for!

Below is the list of edtech I love. Check it out!

In Our Innovation Lab and Edcorps

Software

Audacity – an excellent, open-source audio recording and editing program. We use it to make our Podcasts. Free.

Camtasia – This video editing software is easy enough for elementary school students to use, yet still produces a top quality video. If you find Lightworks to be too much, you won’t be disappointed with Camtasia. Worth the price.

Fotojet – We use to use Canva for our graphic design needs. Fotojet is way better and currently free for educators and students for the year! Beyond being a elegant graphic design program, it also offers easy collage making and photo editing. Free for the year.

Lightworks – If you are looking for some serious power and professional features, Lightworks is for you. The only difference between free and pro is the 720p limit. Free.

MCEdit – MCEdit is a saved game editor for Minecraft. It allows you to import, export, and modify a saved Minecraft world in a bunch of useful ways. Must have if you’re teaching with Minecraft. Stick to 1.0. Version 2.0 isn’t as good, yet. Free.

Scratch – Scratch is a free programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations. The best way to get kids started with coding. Combine MakeyMakeys and Scratch for some awesome projects. Free.

App Inventor – App Inventor uses the same block-based coding language as Scratch to make apps for android devices. You can even test them live on the device before your eyes. Really cool. Free.

ScratchX – Play with Experimental Extensions for Scratch. With Experimental Extensions, you can create Scratch projects that connect with external hardware (such as electronic devices and robotics) and online resources. Free.

Minecraft Education Edition– The brand new version of Minecraft made with the classroom in mind. Cloud login, the camera + portfolio feature, and custom NPCs has everyone excited. Most of the Minecraft programs listed on here don’t work with Education Edition yet. Worth the price.

iForge – iForge is still pretty new to me. iForge provides a drag and drop interface for students to mod Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi. I’ve only tried it on my own, not with students, but I’m really pumped to find an alternative to the Minecraft modding program I was formerly using. Free.

Inkscape – Your free Adobe Illustrator alternative. Just as powerful. Just as awesome. Free.

Gimp – Your free Adobe Photoshop alternative. Just as powerful. Just as awesome. Free.

Fusion 360 – Autodesk has made all their software free for educators. Fusion 360 is the future of 3D design. Update: Autodesk has created a browser version of Fusion 360 meant to be more kid friendly. I’m waiting for it to drop before I introduce students to Fusion 360 this year.

TinkerCad – Autodesk’s free, entry-level 3D Design program. Allows you to export 3D objects for Minecraft. Works great when teamed with Fusion 360. This is the place to start kids with 3D Design. Use the beta! Free.

VLC Media Player – This video player will play anything! I’ve never met a video file that wouldn’t work in VLC. Free.

Unity – Free for schools, Unity is used by the pros to make games like Pokemon Go! It looks intimidating, but thanks to the built in tutorials and plethora of YouTube guides, Unity is way easier than it looks. It can be used fifth grade and up, but you’ll need decent computing power. Free.

Sublime Text – When it’s time to do some real coding, I love to use Sublime Text to write and test it. Free.

Mineways – Third-party Minecraft program that allows you to export the game world for 3D Printing. Free.

Skanect – If you have a 360 Kinect and a computer with a CUDA enabled graphics card, you can build your own 3D scanner using Skanect. You have to see it to believe it. Amazing! Free.

Overviewer – A third-party Minecraft program that turns Minecraft Maps into Google Maps. You can then use Python code to plot points on the map. Here is a tutorial I wrote for it. Free.

Codecademy – Still the best way to sit down and learn real code. Their tutorials and presentations are phenomenal. Free.

City Skylines – A modern take on the old SimCity like city builders. A great game that simulates real-world problems that my kids try to solve. Worth the money.

JSFiddle – A neat, easy way to build and test websites and browser based games. Free.

Minecraft NoteBlock Studio – A Music Editor that lets you play and create Music in Minecraft using Note Blocks. Free.

Blogger – Sure it’s nice to use for blogging, but the real power lies in using it as a way to push out student made podcasts and videos to the world. Free.

Simplify3d – This 3D slicer may be the best $150 I’ve ever spent in Fair Haven Innovates. Our prints have never looked better. Much better than the best free options (Cura, Print Studio).

iExplorer – I use it to move Minecraft: Pocket Edition games from the iPad to the computer and vice versa. Free.

123D Make – 123D Make lets you turn 3D models into 2D build plans with animated assembly instructions. Make really shines if you have a laser cutter in your space. Free.

Offworld Trading Company – Entrepreneurial education is hard to find in most schools, but will be an important part of our kids’ future. Offworld Trading Company is a video game that puts you in control of a company on Mars attempting to turn a profit. You battle other players, not with weapons, but with your knowledge of markets and economic principles. An AAA title that teaches tons of entrepreneurial skills and is fun to play! Worth the money.

If This Then That (IFTTT) – An amazing site that lets you chain together your favorite programs with conditional statements so they can interact with each other. Free.

Cayenne – Cayenne is an Internet of Things project builder. I’ve been really impressed with how it works and how easy it is to manage multiple Raspberr Pis. Cayenne is a super powerful platform to start teaching students about the IoT and how to analyze data.

Flipgrid – Talk about taking the edtech world by storm. Flipgrid is killing it right now. I’m using it in every class for students to reflect on their learning and communicate with other classes about what jobs have to be done in our businesses. Might be my favorite edtech in the last few years.

Nepris – In the process of running our businesses, my kids have a lot of questions. This year I’ll be learning on Nepris to help connect my students with industry experts. Really cool service.

Real World Scholars – While they do provide teachers with online stores to sell student-made products, Real World Scholars isn’t just software. They are a charity helping bring entrepreneurship to the classroom. I wanted to make sure they got a shout out on here.

Sketchup – The first creation sold by Google and spun into its own company, Sketchup has released a browser version of their popular sketching program. Killer!

Hardware

MakeyMakey – A MakeyMakey will turn anything that conducts electricity into a button. You can then code this button to do pretty much anything. A must have! Worth the price.

Raspberry Pi – A credit card sized computer. The Pi is a great tool for teaching kids coding and physical computing. All the rage in the UK, it’s finally made its way to America. Minecraft Pi, Sonic Pi, and Scratch are amazing programs. Worth the price.

The Extraordinaires – A fun, tech-free way to teach Design Thinking basics. We start teaching our kids about Design Thinking using this card game. Worth the price.

Dremel Rotary Tools and Accessories – When we are turning parts into arts, we need something powerful to cut and shape our parts and that we can use indoors. Dremel is perfect. I was really excited to see how far Dremel has come. I have all the basic shop tools Don’t forget the clamps, flex shaft, and the drill press. Update: loved this package so much I bought a second one this year!

Hurion H610PRO Graphics Tablet – I had never heard of speed painting until last year. A group of talented students loved to screencast themselves painting. It was painful to watch them do it with a mouse, so I grabbed a few tablets this year!

Apple Repair Stuff – The ability to take apart and repair iPhone and iPads is a neat, valuable skill I’m trying to teach student. For that I use a heat gun, suction cup pliers, and a repair kit.

Video Studio Kit – I bought this almost four years ago when I started Bengal Buzz, a student run news show, at my old high school. I was stoked to see it was still on Amazon. For the price, you can’t beat this kit. It’s not top of the line quality, but it’s damn good and the price can’t be beat.

Play-Doh – Play-Doh is great for MakeyMakey projects, but here’s an even cooler use: we use Play-Doh to make molds. We then fill the molds with hot glue. The dried glue pops right out an the Play-Doh is still good to use. Great for quick prototyping.

Arduino Uno Wifi – Everyones favorite micro controller now with integrated WiFi!

Lilly Pad Arduino – One of my goals this year is to start dabbling in e-textiles. No better place to start than with the Lilly Pad. Don’t forget the conductive thread.

SKIL Power Screwdriver and Cutter – I wanted students to start using more power tools. This Skil drill is the middle school version of a real drill. As a bonus it comes with a circular saw-ish cutting attachment that helps kids cut through cardboard and other light materials much faster and with more precision. Watching kids cut cardboard with scissors was getting painful. Happy I found this cool tool.

Polar Printer – Polar 3D recently dropped V2 of their 3D printer. I couldn’t be more impressed. You can print from the cloud AND from Google Classroom! One of the most innovative 3d printing companies out there. Love it! They say they haven’t found a filament the new version couldn’t print so I picked up some Ninja Flex to experiment with this year.

Makerbot Replicator+ – Before I got to Fair Haven, they had bought a Replicator 2x and it was an absolute nightmare. After running into my new best friends from Makerbot at ISTE, they stepped up big time and replaced my dysfunctional Replicator 2x with a Replicator+. Machine has been solid so far.

Dremel Moto Saw – Precision cutting became a thing last year, as students making skills got better. I picked up this Moto Saw to help them cut better, faster.

Storage/Furniture

Storage is the most often overlooked part of a makerspace. Our mantra: Furniture is storage. Storage is furniture. Everything must move. Here is what we have purchased so far to support our Fair Haven Innovates program:

72′ 8 Drawer Tool Chest – Really happy with the look and quality of this piece. We went for a big work space combined with a tool chest for this piece because we wanted our Glowforge and 3D printers in one spot. We store the supplies for them in the cabinet and have room for other stuff, too.

Rolling Tool Chest – We store our tools in this tool chest. Big enough to hold a lot, small enough for a middle schooler to move.

22 Bin Storage Rack – We love the different sized containers and how easy this rack can move. We store everything from screws, to Play-Doh, to our tablets, to microphones on this thing. The bins are secure when at rest, but easy for our kids to pull out.

Service Cart – This light weight service cart is where we store our art making equipment. We have stuff for jewelry, sculptures, and more. Easy for the kids to move.

Kore Stools – Kids need to move. Wiggling, fidgeting, and the like help students concentrate. Additionally, stools are much easier to move and don’t take up a lot of space. The problem is, active seating is ridiculously expensive. Kore Stools were a nice combination of price and quality. Teen sized is perfect for middle school students.

KI Grazie Cafe Stools – We wanted to create second and third spaces in our makerspace. We purchased some cafe stools from KI so students could work on top of the book cases in the library in small groups. Awesome quality.

In FH Grows

This year will be the first full year for FH Grows. In FH Grows, 7th graders learn to be stewards of the environment while leveraging technology to help our gardens grow. We sell dried herbs online and produce in our student-run farmers market. When we’re not working in the gardens, we are trying to solve the food problems of our future. Here’s what has been working well so far:

Solexx Greenhouse – We bought one for Garden Oasis Deluxe for each school. Overall, we’ve been very happy with price vs. performance. The plants seem happy to!

Sun Blaze Grow Lights – One of our green houses doesn’t get enough light. We hang one of these every eight feet.

Raspberry Pi Weather Station – While not for sale, we will be setting this bad boy up this year to improve our ability to improve data literacy. I just wanted to let you know we have one 🙂

The Grove – The Grove was a experimental aquaponics system that a parent won in a raffle a donated to our program. Excited to get this thing up and running. It doesn’t seem to be in production any longer.

Lasko Fan – Fans improve a greenhouse’s circulation, prevents hot spots, and strengthens plants. Your greenhouse should have a fan.

In The Classroom

uBlock Origin – A Chrome Extension that blocks most ads on the internet. Better than Ad Block

Beeline Reader – Great for the struggling reader. It gradients lines for easy reading and also allows for the user to turn on Open Dyslexic, a font that is easier to read for people with Dyslexia.

Share to Google Classroom – This extension does three things. 1) Allows you to push a website to students computers, meaning that you don’t have to write a URL on the board or in Classroom anymore. You can actually make it popup on their screen. 2) Students can push their work or a website to you to the teacher. 3) You can turn anything you find on the web into an assignment or announcement in classroom. A must have if you use Google Classroom. You have to see it to  believe it!

Black Menu for Google – Chrome Extension that gives you a super quick way to access GAFEs without having to stop what you’re doing.

Chrome – Extensions and GAFE integration make it the best browser around.

Colorzilla – The Dropper and Gradient Generator are great, time-saving Chrome extensions for helping match colors and create graphics.

Dropbox – Still the best Cloud storage out there.

Edulastic – My favorite place for next generation assessments that mimic PARCC.

Explain Everything – If you want to make a screencast using the iPad, Explain Everything is the best out there and my favorite app on the planet. Kids love this one. Great for elementary school through high school.

Google Apps for Education – No explanation necessary. Just don’t forget about the lesser known “GAFEs” like Sites, Books, Voice, Scholar, and Blogger.

Hover Free – A must for Redditors or those who browse websites with a lot of links to pictures. Instead of clicking on a link to see a picture, just hover over the link and it will automatically load! Pro Tip: use the arrow keys on your computer to scroll though pictures in an album.

Newsela – Newsela is the place to go for Current Events. What makes Newsela extra special is they align current events to Common Core, complete with anchor questions. Newsela even allows you to increase or decrease the reading level.

Pear Deck – I like using Pear Deck to make direct instruction more fun. It lives in Drive and is a great way to to gather quick formative assessments.

Periscope – Periscope turns anyone into a live streamer. I don’t know where it fits into edu yet, but I aim to find out.

Piktochart, Infrogr.am – I used infographics to satisfy the short research paper component of Common Core. Most use Piktochart and Inforgr.am to make them and Visual.ly for inspiration. This video on LATCH helps them understand how to present research.

Poll Everywhere – PE is a text-message based polling program. I used it for my Do Now, Closure, and a lot more.

Mercury Reader – A chrome extension that will cleanup an article and make it fit for print or to share with kids. Removes all the distracting side bars and videos.

Read&Write For Google – Annotations, voice/text, dictionaries and so many more useful features! Great way to simulate PARCC like accommodations. The best part is the ability to add voice feedback to Google Docs. The best way to leave voice comments for students. Check their site, Read & Write is free for teachers!

Save to Drive – I use this Chrome extension to save a copy of a website or article directly to Google Drive.

Schoology – Hands down the best learning management system out there. I can’t live without it.

Screencastify – Screencastify shines as the best way to make screencasts when using the Chromebook.

Tab Scissors and Tab Glue – Sister Chrome Extensions that make it easy to split a tab in Chrome and work on two things, side-by-side, at the same time. No more wasting time re-sizing windows side-by-side.

Hudl – For you coaches. Video feedback is important to athletic success. This is a great app for coaches to record, slowdown, and annotate an athlete’s performance. Formerly called Ubersense.

EDPuzzle – A nice option for teachers using the flipped classroom. Has a lot of nice features that can help hold students accountable for watching assigned videos.

ViewPure – Take a YouTube URL and plug it into ViewPure and it spits out a new URL that eliminates the comments, sidebar, and other things teachers don’t like about YouTube. A must use for if you teach little ones.

Google Cast – With Cast students can share their screen directly to the teacher’s projector-connected device with out the need for wires. Cast eliminates the headache of having to swap device to show student work to the class.