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Fifty of the best ed-tech products for colleges and schools

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Here are our readers’ top picks for educational technology products and services in 2012-13.

Here are the results of our 2012-13 Readers’ Choice Awards, which recognize the educational technology products and services that have had the greatest impact in our readers’ schools.

This past spring, we asked readers to give us their top picks for school hardware, software, websites, and services. Nearly 1,300 readers responded.

In nominating their favorite ed-tech products, we asked readers to tell us how they’re using these products to improve teaching, learning, or school administration—and to what effect. We then chose the 50 best responses, which appear alphabetically by product name and grouped into two categories: K-12 and higher education.

The result is a list of educational technology products and services that have proven to be effective, as noted by our readers—your colleagues—in schools and colleges nationwide.

We hope you’ll find this information useful as you consider how technology can help transform education in your own schools. And watch for our call for nominations for the 2013-14 Readers’ Choice Awards in print and online early next year.

Click here to access a PDF of the full report from Page 2.

Higher-education winners

Aplia (Cengage)

Aplia is a learning solution designed to increase student effort and engagement. It includes online homework assignments that professors can assign to students; assignments can include problem sets, news analyses, tutorials, and—for economics—interactive market experiments. Assignments are automatically graded and provide students with detailed explanations for every question, and all of Aplia’s courses use multimedia to pique students’ interest.

Ed Lyell, professor and interim chair of the School of Business at Adams State College in Colorado, has used Aplia for economics and business communication. “It moved my student achievement from low Cs to documented 80-percent plus on average,” he said, adding that the program is “easier to use then any others that I have tried.”

Canvas (Instructure)

Canvas is a simple but powerful learning management system that is offered as either an open-source version that schools manage themselves or a cloud-based model hosted by the company. The software includes predictive analytics that indicate how at risk students are of failing or dropping a course. Clicking on a student’s name will take instructors to a page where they can see more detailed reports based on that student’s grades, class participation, assignment completion, and outcomes (whether he or she has mastered the content).

“My college adopted Canvas recently as we started our online programs,” said Linda Passamaneck, director of online education for Wright Career College in Kansas. “The system has a wide open interface … that allow[s] for easy integration with student information systems and third-party tools. On the faculty and student user end, I will say—after working with almost all of the various learning management systems for over 15 years—that Canvas has been the easiest system for all end-users to learn, requiring very little training for faculty and course developers. … Faculty report that they love the ability to quickly and easily record personal feedback messages to students, which they say has increase communications and responsiveness from students and improved communication between students and faculty. … All of these tools are already integrated, easy to use, and don’t require the large price tags or significant investment of IT staff to support and make the system usable as other low-cost LMS options do.”

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