Innovation Spotlight: April 2013


As the district continues planning for major classroom-level technology investments scheduled to roll out next year, we continue to keep our eyes peeled for the most promising or exciting new innovations in blended learning and data management technologies that could maximize the impact for engaging student learning and tracking progress that this opportunity will offer.

Last month we looked at some of the best ideas coming out of SXSWedu this year.  This month we checked out both the Education Innovation Summit in Scottsdale, AZ and the Sandbox Summit in Cambridge, MA to see what other programs might Duval County teachers and administrators want to learn more about for better meeting the needs of their students in a high-tech classroom environment.

Below are a few that really stood out as worth watching:



Smart Sparrow: Smart Sparrow allows teachers, schools or districts to design their own adaptive learning mini-lessons on any topic they want, complete with integrated real-time feedback and assessments. Adaptive learning means the lessons and feedback will automatically adjust based on student responses to match content provided with student needs and abilities -such as providing more review of a topic or moving on to more advanced material. Their website provides some demo courses to see how an adaptive mini-lesson would work, but their platform would allow teachers to create their own lessons about anything through a user-friendly interface with little to no special technical knowledge required. It's free to try, but prices would vary depending on the scale of adoption for full use.


ClassDojo: ClassDojo is a free behavior management, monitoring and support program for teachers. The program is designed to make it easy for teachers to track both positive and negative behavior displays (small and large) by students as they happen and encourages positive behaviors by allowing teachers to award students positive "feedback points" for specific behaviors, learning habits and accomplishments.  It's designed to help capture all of those of big and little day-to-day issues and accomplishments that are happening all the time in classrooms, and track them in a way that teachers and students can both see exactly what learning and behavior habits they are getting better at and what still needs improvement. The scorecards give students goals to aim for in improving behavior and learning habits. Even better (or worse, depending on who you are maybe), ClassDojo's real-time reports and analytics can also be shared directly with parents anytime at the push of a button.


Goalbook: Goalbook is an individualized education program (IEP) planning and management app that allows teachers and teams to easily develop, monitor, modify and share student goals, progress and updates with each other. Teachers developing an IEP can select from a comprehensive bank of Common Core aligned, measurable IEP goals connected to suggested instructional strategies. Authorized members of the IEP team can enter progress updates or notes for the whole group from their own computer, so teams can share updated information throughout the day as a student is working with different teachers. Goalbook is free to try and pricing varies depending on scale of adoption.


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