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Best-in-Category Winners for 2018

Posted by on February 18, 2019

During the last month, Ask a Tech Teacher readers voted on which tech tools had the greatest impact on their teaching. For this Best in Category award, we asked them to look for the ones that made them say Wow and rush to share with colleagues everywhere.

Then we looked for the following qualities:

  • how dependable is it
  • how versatile is it for time-strapped teachers
  • does it differentiate for the varied needs of students and teacher
  • do educators like it (fairly subjective, but there you have it)
  • how did it work when exposed to your students
  • was it easy to use and intuitive to learn
  • did it fulfill promises and expectations
  • has it become a beloved tool in your classes or a failed experiment

Here are the 2018 Best-in-Category and Honorable Mentions for the following Categories:

Winners: Please grab your award from this page.


Advice

This was so close. The four nominees are all popular, that was clear from voting:

Winner: FreeTech4Teachers

Honorable Mention:  Alice Keeler

Assessment

The one I thought would win, didn’t, which shows me how things are changing in classrooms.

Winner: Google Forms

Honorable Mention: Nearpod

Classroom Management

When I first posted the poll, I hadn’t included the name that ultimately won. But it got so many write-ins that I took the unusual step of adding it and it became the runaway favorite.

Winner: Class Dojo

Honorable Mention: Remind

Coding/Programming

The two winners are perennial favorites during December’s Hour of Code and are many teachers go-to resource to teach coding:

Winner: Code.org

Honorable Mention: Scratch

Digital Notetaking

The winner is not the most robust of notetaking tools but it is flexible and does everything most people need. That it won tells me a lot about how people choose their notetaking tool. I use it constantly.

Winner:  Google Keep

Honorable Mention: Notability

Digital Storytelling Tool

These two are excellent choices. Teachers and students couldn’t do better than using either of these for digital storytelling.

Winner: Adobe Spark

Honorable Mention: Storyboard That!

Keyboarding 

There are so many online keyboarding options but the two that won–well, one is an iconic leader in the category and the other is a bit of a newcomer that’s doing a great job. Neither choice surprises me:

Winner:  Type to Learn

Honorable Mention: Type Dojo

Learning Management System

Here again, the winners didn’t surprise me. One is a crowd favorite and the other is probably the most robust, versatile, and all-inclusive LMS around:

Winner: Google Classroom

Honorable Mention: Canvas

Lesson Planning

Lesson planning is no longer about templates. The winners in this category are stand-outs in providing and linking valuable resources to make lesson planning faster and easier for teachers:

Winner: Peardeck 

Honorable Mention: CK-12

Math Tool

Developers are doing an amazing job building apps to support math. These are two of the best–no surprise they won:

Winner: Geogebra

Honorable Mention: EquatIO

Reading

This one may surprise you. One is a long-time category leader but the other is one I wasn’t familiar with until readers pointed it out to me. And then they all voted for it!

Winner: ReadWriteThink

Honorable Mention:  CommonLit

SEL

This was a new category, added because of the burgeoning interest by educators in Social Emotional Learning.  All nominees were wonderful but two stood out:

Winner: Empatico

Honorable Mention:  Kiddom

Special Needs

There is such a need for tools in this category and the two winners do a great job of filling an important need:

Winner: News2You

Honorable Mention: Open Dyslexic

Video Creation Tools

This is probably one of several fast-growing categories in education. The two winners are both great choices:

Winner:  WeVideo

Honorable Mention:  YouTube Live

Virtual Classes

I have tried an endless number of virtual teaching tools–all of those nominated. You can’t go wrong with the two winners:

Winner:  Google Hangouts

Honorable Mention:  Zoom

Writing

Both of these are excellent choices for your school writing program:

Winner: Grammarly

Honorable Mention: Quill

***

Hearty congratulations to all of our winners!


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today and TeachHUB, and author of the tech thriller, Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

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