Monday, November 4, 2013

EdSurge Summit 2013 Review

On Saturday, November 2, I attended the EdSurge Summit with Middle School teachers Ryan Hopper, Sally Jaeger, and Jain Pak. The EdSurge Summit Conference was a showcase for 30 vendors and their newest Ed Tech wares.

Several new products were completely amazing and one was, I have to admit, kind of creepy!

This is a list of the vendors broken into categories, which makes it easy for one to check out these new Ed Tech tools:

I found an interesting trend of products designed for tracking and collecting student and teacher data while providing a service. This includes flashcard review for students, classroom feedback for teachers, patterns in attendance, proficiency in math – if you can think of it there was something out there!
I will highlight five products that impressed me the most:  Zaption, LearnBop, Knowmia, Lumosity, and Globaloria. Some, but not all, require a nominal, annual fee.

This is a site that allows you to make video clips literally interactive! You can transform a video from YouTube, Vimeo, your personal library with embedded questions, comment sections, multiple choice and multiple answer to share a few features. It turns the passive act of watching a video into active learning that helps students focus on the most important parts of the content. It also records your students’ answers for your review AND it works with Moodle! Great for a flipped assignment at any level.

This is a math site for students in grades 5-9. It was created by math experts to “uncover knowledge gaps” while tracking your students’ progress. The tracking allows the teacher to hone in to specific areas of need for each student in the class. The part that I thought would be useful is that it collects learning data for teachers to use and be able to perhaps better assess curriculum effectiveness. (There is an elementary math service as well called Motion Math but I don’t know much about it.)

This is another great flipping the classroom, video tool that some folks have used already but it allows a teacher to make a video, and include (or not) a face recording to make it a bit more personalized. They also have over 19,000 teacher made videos in a searchable library. A cool feature is that it also provides teacher data in that it records student use: how many times did they watch the video, and for how long.

Many folks already know of this one but it is a host of scientific “games” that increases cognitive function. No, seriously! I am smarter already! Some of them even focus on avoiding distractions and improving focus.

This product uses laptops to teach students in grades 6-12 how to code and design educational games. We heard from a history teacher who uses it to teach his content and reinforce student learning. Students must learn and show mastery of the content to be able to design a rich game. Thankfully, Globaloria also provides teacher support.

Now for the creepy one (my opinion only!): 
ObserverNet -
As far as I understood it, ObserverNet installs a 360-degree camera into the ceiling of your classroom. Teachers may record a class and then upload the media to a panel of expert educators who provide feedback on content and classroom management. The idea of feedback is awesome but the whole camera in the ceiling of the classroom just seemed over the top to me.

Creepiness of ObserverNet aside, I left EdSurge Summit Conference overflowing with information and excited about how many new things are out there. However, as I shared with my colleagues, if you just take away one or two things to try out in your curriculum that is a successful conference.

by Kali Baird
Earth Science Teacher
Middle School Science Leader Teacher
Middle School Technology Coordinator

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