Cool Tool | Revision Assistant

CREDIT TurnitinHere’s a brand-new formative writing tool giving students immediate, actionable feedback on all aspects of student writing. Turnitin Revision Assistant (for use in grades 6-12 and in developmental writing in higher education) extends teachers’ reach by giving students immediate formative feedback during the writing process. “Writing is the one subject critical to academic and career success yet is almost entirely unsupported by existing educational technology,” says Turnitin CEO Chris Caren. “Of the hundreds of reading and math applications to support instruction, very few provide meaningful feedback on writing beyond grammar and spell-checking,” he says. The tool gives students holistic, specific feedback on their writing in a way that encourages them to value iteration. As they write with it, they can request a ‘Signal Check’. This provides them a visualization of how they are performing on writing traits such as focus, use of evidence, or organization, among many others. Actionable comments appear in the margins and are tied to sentences highlighted in the text. Positive and constructive comments help students to continue revising. Students can revise and get feedback as many times as they would like before sharing their work with their teacher. In a pilot, one teacher reported receiving the best essays she got all year. In this same 2015 study with 18 middle and high schools, 164 educators and 3,439 students:

  • Ninety-four percent of pilot students revised their work at least once when writing with the tool; middle school students revised, on average, ten times, while high school students revised six times.
  • Middle schoolers doubled the length of their essays across revisions when using the system, while high school papers increased by 70 percent.

Turnitin Revision Assistant is currently being used in school districts across the country, including Irvine USD, Corona- Norco USD, Washoe County, San Dieguito USD and Covina-Valley USD. It’s available on a per-student, annual subscription basis. Check it out for yourself.


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Cool Tool | TCI Econ Alive! The Power to Choose

CREDIT Econ Alive TCITwenty-five years ago, a group of teachers formed K-12 publisher TCI, based on the principle that the more students are actively engaged, the more they will learn. TCI’s latest offering is Econ Alive! The Power to Choose – a comprehensive, semester-long economics curriculum that demystifies economics for high school seniors. It’s made up of concise, standards-based text with activities that help students grasp complex concepts through understandable, real-world situations. Using this in-depth, online curriculum, students embark on collaborative projects, writing assignments, critical-thinking challenges and problem-solving group work. Teachers and students access a wealth of coordinated resources – easy-to-implement presentations, clear standards-based content, interactive student notebooks, formative and summative assessments, and more. Throughout the program, students experience the key principles of economics. They analyze news headlines to determine how events will cause demand or supply curves to shift. Acting as members of the Federal Reserve, students analyze economic data to set monetary policy. They also experience what it’s like to run a company, as they form businesses, create business plans and compete for investor funding. Econ Alive! makes learning fun while giving students a unique advantage as they prepare for college and career. Learn more.

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EdChat Interactive | Personalized Learning, Digital Narratives

CREDIT Edchat InteractiveThis week tune in to EdChat Interactive and enjoy an excellent show with two stars. First up, the enlightening Sherry Crofut, a veteran edtech specialist, discusses how to implement customized, personalized learning in your classroom and in your school. Then, effective communicator Jeff Bradbury of TeacherCast fame leads you through the magic of spinning accomplishments and dreams into compelling stories that help you achieve your purposes and goals in a powerful way. Sherry is on January 20; catch Jeff on the 21st. Also, check out what else is going on in this provocative, productive and entertaining online professional learning series brought to you by the terrific edtech trio of Tom Whitby, Steve Anderson and Mitch Weisburgh (EdTech Digest is a proud partner).

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Cool Tool | Twig Science Videos

CREDIT Twig Science VideosNow this is science done right. As an educator, you can truly bring science to life with more than 600 real-world, engaging science videos. These three-minute videos combine rigorous research with concise scripts and utterly stunning visuals. The result is an inspiring introduction or complement to classroom teaching. These videos have so much potential to amp up student interest with colorful footage, inventive illustrations, and intriguing, easy-to-follow story lines. Yes, the videos enhance interest — but more importantly,  understanding. These content-rich videos are organized by topic, so they’re easy to access. Each one is designed to align with science content you’re presenting, making it easy to work into your lesson plan. Each one offers supporting learning materials and quizzes that further develop and assess student comprehension. Choose from hundreds of videos across key science subject areas including Biology, Chemistry
, Earth Science
, and Physics. Learn more.

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Cool Tool | SpringBoard Digital

CREDIT SpringBoard DigitalHere’s a College and Career Readiness English Language Arts and Mathematics curriculum that is comprehensive, highly interactive, and accessible on any device: desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, and interactive whiteboard- 24/7. SpringBoard Digital is student centered, making instruction come alive through innovative technology. Teachers use the Digital Toolbox to plan and personalize lessons, pinpoint Common Core standards, track student progress and communicate with students. Teachers are empowered to differentiate and manage instruction easily with editable lesson plans, pacing calendars, and curriculum maps. Students have customizable features, too. In addition to resources like definitions and glossary of terms, students can mark up their electronic books, add sticky notes, post questions, reactions or comments. They can annotate, highlight, add markers, “draw”, and upload photos and videos. Students are provided with a variety of learning strategies that support collaboration and best practices. In mathematics, they have access to digital tools, virtual manipulatives, and visual models. Students and teachers connect through a student’s personal notebook where teachers can respond, motivate and suggest helpful resources in a private, personal way. All this interactivity helps teachers encourage their students to dig deeper and learn more with the high-rigor SpringBoard curriculum. Worth a good look.

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