Four Things To Consider When Developing EdTech Curriculum

Major world events frequently act as a trigger and catalyst to rapid innovation. As we experienced with Covid-19, schools and families have seen a surge in the adoption of different educational technologies. These include video conferencing tools, online learning platforms, and classroom management tools, etc. We’ve also increasingly seen innovative and effective teaching and learning activities created by educators for EdTech curriculum. 

Here at BSD Education, when we design our curriculum for our learning platform, we consider Student Engagement, Flexibility, Student Agency, and Simplicity when we design the content and activities across our content library.

Let’s explore each of these areas: 

Student engagement 

One of the most significant concerns with online learning is the level of student engagement. We know that when students are engaged, they are more likely to take away something from that time you spent together in class that day. To overcome issues of student engagement, just like designing any other products or services, we have our end-users in mind, and that’s our teachers and students. We ask ourselves, “What do they want to know about?”, “What can we share with them?” I firmly believe that engagement and enthusiasm are infectious in the classroom. If the teacher is engaged with the content and can connect and see the topic’s relevance on a broader scale beyond the classroom, students will be more likely to participate, lean in, and see how it connects to and impacts their lives. 

Flexibility

A flexible curriculum to allow for unexpected situations is another factor to be considered. Sometimes, classroom discussions may also lead to incredible learning opportunities. When we develop our curriculum at BSD, we allow room for teachers to design their lessons with our activities. We present bite-sized content to enable teachers to design their flow. The way they design their curriculum depends on the needs of their students. For example, in our TechFuture offering, resources for discussions, hands-on activities, and topical content are presented separately to allow our teachers to create a learning experience that suits them. In addition, education technologies and tools have allowed for more flexibility in course delivery.

Student agency

Closely linked with student engagement and flexibility in the curriculum is student agency. Through education technologies, we as educators can set up classroom activities to encourage student agency by offering pathways of exploration and learning new skills and topics. When designing the EdTech curriculum, we leverage the ease of information sharing capabilities and access to knowledge through learning systems. Our task as teachers is to become a facilitator of learning and exploration to create room for student choice and ownership in their learning journeys.

Simplicity

Curriculum resources should never be overly complicated. We set straightforward learning goals to help our teachers achieve their objectives regardless of topic, project, and activity as they develop the curriculum. Simplicity brings ease of use (better user experience) for teachers to focus more on the students rather than figuring out the tech or the content.

We have discussed some technical factors to curriculum development, but there are many other factors in consideration. The diversity of your students’ needs should always come first when designing and implementing a curriculum. The best approach is to try it out! Utilize education technologies to support your curriculum little by little, and always know you can reach out to your community to discuss all the creative possibilities!

Curriculum Design: Three Practical Ideas to Implement Today

As an educator, I have used several forms of curriculum design, from traditional textbooks, government-mandated curriculum. I have even used non-curricular approaches with un-schooling my children. However, educators can tell you, the way the curriculum is written is often used differently in classrooms. This is especially true for rigid and traditional curriculum. Educators need to craft their nuance into the curriculum and modify it to fit local needs. For example, while teaching middle school science in rural Texas, we used a science textbook that gave examples of rainforest ecosystems.

My students hadn’t seen a rainforest, but they knew the ecosystems in their backyards, farms, and ranches. So, naturally, I adapted and used examples that students could relate to instead of the textbook examples. This made the rainforest examples more relatable once we looked at them with our local ecosystems having been learned first.

At BSD Education, it is my role to oversee our curriculum development process and define a vision for our curriculum. After years of being a Learning Experience Designer, here are three practical ideas that you can use for developing a curriculum:

  1. Decide on a pedagogical foundation.
  2. Use learning standards or a learning framework.
  3. Design for flexible learning environments.

Decide on a pedagogical foundation

An often overlooked aspect of curriculum design is pedagogy. At BSD Education, we design our curriculum on three pillars of pedagogy: Constructionism, Project-Based Learning, and the Pedagogy of Play.

The pedagogical approach that you use will depend on the values that your curriculum is trying to convey. It includes the styles of learning that you want to immerse your students into, and the age of the students. Try exploring some different pedagogical approaches to see what might best suit your needs.

Use learning standards or a learning framework.

Every teaching subject will have a set of guidelines, frameworks, or standards that outline the actual learning material and objectives. For example, at BSD Education, we lean on the ISTE Standards for Students and the CSTA standards for computer science.

Pre-existing frameworks or sets of standards are vetted through a rigorous process, making them a great starting point. When adopted by governments, schools, and other education providers, it gives them greater credibility and reliability.

Design for flexible learning environments

In recent times we have learned just how important flexibility in the curriculum is, whether it’s teaching online, face-to-face, or in a blended environment. Designing the curriculum with this in mind allows for maximum flexibility that can benefit both students and teachers. At BSD Education, we create our curriculum and platform so that lesson delivery can happen virtually, face-to-face, or even self-paced.

Designing for this type of flexibility can be difficult, which is why we also include educator and student feedback as a part of our design process. Then, we take the feedback and explore ways to improve and make our curriculum more flexible and valuable while maintaining consistency to the standards and alignment to our pedagogical foundations.


Bonus: How to Design a Culturally Relevant Curriculum

Programming Languages Explained: Python vs. JavaScript / CSS / HTML

The differences, similarities, and why any form of tech education is important.

You’ve likely seen Python mentioned among other traditional programming languages, including JavaScript (JS) and CSS/HTML. In fact, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and Python all fall in the top three languages that developers use in their careers, according to the annual Stack Overflow survey (2021). 

With Python’s increasing exposure, it’s important to understand how it relates to the other programming languages available, how it’s different, and provide perspective on where it fits in the classroom with your students. Let’s get started by first providing a quick overview of exactly what Python, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript are so you have a basic understanding.

Programing Languages

What is Python?

First released in 1991, Python is a general-purpose programming language that can be used in a range of applications, including data science, software development, and automation. According to Python.org, Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. 

The programming language has been notably used to create Netflix’s recommendation algorithm and software that controls self-driving cars, according to an article by Coursera. The Python interpreter and standard library are freely available in source or binary form for all major platforms from the Python Web site.

A fun fact about Python, creator Guido van Rossum came up with the name while reading published scripts from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”.

What is HTML?

Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) is a coding language used to build websites. Specifically, HTML’s job is to label and organize content such as headings, paragraphs, lists and images, so that the web browser (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, etc.) knows how the page should look.

What is CSS?

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a coding language that pairs with HTML. It works by defining a series of rules for how the HTML should look (colors, spacing, etc). CSS is helpful for establishing the layout and personality of a website.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript (JS) can be combined with HTML/CSS to bring websites to life. JavaScript is a versatile programming language that can be used for animation, dynamic apps, interactive games and more.

The Importance of Understanding a “Stack”

While JavaScript has been the most commonly used programming language for the past nine years, it’s important to mention that professional programmers are often fluent in several languages that make up what is called a “stack”.

A stack is a set of languages or frameworks that work together to accomplish common computing tasks. For example, HTML/CSS and JavaScript make up what is called a “front-end stack” because these languages are used to create what you see while on a website. Python, PHP, and SQL make up the “back-end stack” and are used to handle website databases and control how websites function with hosts and servers.

Differences and Similarities Between Programming Languages

When the question comes up, “which is better, Python or JavaScript?”, it really depends on what kind of computing tasks you might be interested in doing. Front-end developers (HTML/CSS and Javascript) spend more time working on the design, layout and the function of websites, while back-end developers (Python, PHP, and SQL) are concerned with security, networks and databases. No matter which language interests you the most, as a professional programmer you will need to study and learn the accompanying languages that make up your chosen stack.

When the question comes up, “which is better, Python or JavaScript?”, it really depends on what kind of computing tasks you might be interested in doing.

Why BSD Uses JS and HTML/CSS

At BSD Education, we feel strongly that any type of coding and digital skills instruction is vital to a student’s education and future in navigating our digital world. We have chosen the front-end stack as a part of our digital skills curriculum because it satisfies a range of interests, including design, layout, functionality, UI/UX, gaming, AI and VR. By learning three languages together to develop more interests, and ultimately more skills, students are provided a more complete learning experience that learning one language can’t match. This broad range of skills stretches beyond the keyboard and includes key computational thinking and critical thinking skills vital to learning in any other core subject.

In addition, when we think about the most powerful technologies that we use everyday, most of them operate in the web browser, which is what HTML/CSS and JavaScript are used for. Every website and web application that you have ever used were made using this front-end stack. 

If students are interested in becoming computer scientists, they may need to learn Java, Python, JavaScript, or other languages depending on the accreditation program. For example, Java has been the language of choice for the Advanced Placement college equivalent course that is available in many High Schools in the U.S. Many commonly used frameworks for Computer Science do not even list a specific programming language, but instead provide a map for concepts that are found in most languages, like algorithms, variables, control structures and modularity. Both the British IGCSE and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) publish curricular guidelines and standards that focus on computer science concepts instead of specific languages. 

What Fits for Your Classroom?

Ultimately when it comes to the Python versus JavaScript and HTML/CSS showdown, it really depends on what you want to do with your knowledge of programming and what goals you have as a developer. 

Whether you have no experience or are ready to take your tech education to the next level, BSD provides the support and intuitive platform to help you teach these front-end stack digital skills. In a matter of minutes using BSD, students will begin building their first website, create a mobile app, or even a fun game they can play with friends. BSD makes it possible for any teacher of any subject to incorporate coding and digital skills into their curriculum so students are future ready.

Contact us today so we can address your unique needs and develop a partnership that will help your students reach further and have an experience that will equip them with the skills they will need for tomorrow, no matter what career path they choose. 

Bring Technology Into Your Subject in Five Ways

Last year saw a heavy reliance on technology to provide education and continuity to the classroom experience. But, as life gradually returns to normalcy, you might wonder how technology fits into your school structure as schools return to in-person. In short? Schools are getting back to normal but technology isn’t going anywhere. Bringing technology in your subject area doesn’t mean that you need to be an expert in coding or designing websites as a side hustle. Instead, it’s about innovative thinking and putting yourself in your student’s shoes.

A few more questions for you:

How are your students already using technology to understand the world they live in?
How can you, as an educator, provide the context digitally?
What are some strategies to bring more technology into your subject area to engage students?

We’re here to help! We’ve asked our Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Nickey Khemchandani, to share some of his favorite ideas to engage students with technology. Read on to see what he said!

Pick something your students don’t like.

For example, if students are disinterested in writing another five-paragraph essay, turn those essays into a classroom blog! They can share this not just with family/friends but in college portfolios and job applications, students can share. They’re building something that they can represent themselves with using a computer, but they’re also more engaged with homework.

Find an easy win that can be interactive.

Another great way of bringing technology in your subject is with math. Let’s say you’re teaching probability to your students – building a dice game online adds a layer of fun to the lesson while also teaching them critical mathematics and technology skills.

Look for a student who’s already an evangelist with technology.

You do not have to bear the burden of carrying all of the technology weight into your classroom. Usually, your students are already pushing for it. Find an evangelist in your classroom and have them bring technology into their assignments. For example, using technology to build a website instead of writing a paper will inform how to start implementing more tech across your subject.

Talk about social media in your classroom.

Your students are already involved and having conversations about it, so you should too! They’re using platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram, and how they potentially create social media posts around your subject areas will give you insight into their understanding of the subject. One of the best ways to interact with social media is to have them build a campaign, just like you see with Coca-Cola or Netflix, to get them to create a movement around your subject topic.

Build online portfolios

One of the best things a student can do in your subject is to represent your subject with technology. If they start taking pieces of the topic, they learn and add them into a shareable portfolio. So you can have essentially a handbook of all of the issues they’ve engaged with and can now share as notes for future students taking that class or (depending on the topics/skills) they can add to an online portfolio that prepares them for collegiate and professional futures.

Technology in the Classroom: Best Questions to Ask Before Integration



There are so many developments in technology becoming a factor in how schools develop their curriculum. So it can be difficult to discern which technologies to implement, and how effective they will be.

We’ve collected questions from our customers that are key when deciding whether or not to integrate technology into your school.

Will this help all students think and learn more deeply?

This is a great question! Not just because education is how students develop crucial critical thinking skills. But also that it helps teachers differentiate instruction to help every student access that thinking as opposed to only some.

What student outcomes are you working towards?

You might ask this when you’re considering if an EdTech tool can and should be integrated into lessons. Ask yourself if that technology is going to help your students achieve specific curricular goals.

Is there ongoing support for this technology in the classroom?

Technology is constantly evolving so we highly recommend that any tool you’re utilizing is set up for ongoing support. No one wants to be struggling to learn a new update with no help!

How do you already use technology in the classroom?

This question depends on how you use technology with your students right now. The right EdTech tool has the potential to be a game-changer in digital skills learning. Consider how this technology will coexist alongside what you’re already using and how it will improve student learning outcomes.

How will this tech empower students to control their own learning?

At BSD, we’ve designed our online platform to follow an experiential learning cycle that encourages them to explore, learn and create. Students can apply the digital skills of coding, programming, and web development (among others), to what they are learning in the classroom and what they are interested in.

Is this a toy or a tool?

By definition, education technology should always be considered a tool of learning, not something to digitally entertain them. So when asking this question, also consider how this technology integrates learning and real-world application. Is it based on a pedagogical foundation? How will you be able to teach your students with this technology? Is this preparing students to be future-ready? If the answer to any of these is no, then it’s likely that this platform should not be an EdTech tool for schools to consider.

Is this the best technology to prepare my students for the modern world?

Ah! This is one of the most important questions because the reality is that your students are experiencing the modern world. Students have already been introduced to technology and one day soon, they will be in jobs that likely don’t even exist yet. That means that they need tech tools that provide them with more digital skills learning.

What are some of the deciding factors for you when choosing an EdTech tool for your school? We’d like to hear from you. Send us a message at info@bsd.education or leave a comment below!

6 Tech Practices to Improve Student Experience

We’ve had no end to the fantastic technology helping us along as the education landscape changes. However, as engagement and learning experiences have shifted, so have the ways we interact. Here are six tech practices in my classrooms that have improved the student experience this past year.

1. Be available outside of class (reasonably, of course)

If one of my students is showing interest outside of class, I want to meet them with the same level of zeal. So I check our online class chat as prep, which shows the students that go the extra mile that I’m there to work with them even when I don’t see them. And for the students that need a boost, I can review their work and get back to them before the next class, setting them up for better success for when we meet next.

2. Make specific tech practices meaningful through comments on work

Excellent job, and Keep it up are nice and all, but bookend the critical stuff when it comes to the student experience. When I call out specific aspects of a student’s project, I demonstrate that I can tell their work apart from their peers. When I make suggestions that inspire and guide, students are given a greater sense of direction. Commenting on a live document, referencing that individual line of code, or linking to additional resources, helps me integrate this practice with technology and goes beyond the traditional red marker on paper. 

3. Email reminders

The occasional email to students can go a long way in improving the student experience and helping them succeed in class. For example, I have an in-person class that will occasionally meet online during snow days. After some absences and class link confusion, I decided a quick email might do the trick, and like magic, they now all show up.

4. Encourage, but don’t enforce, varying types of virtual participation

I’ve had virtual classrooms with students ranging from Kindergarten to 12th grade, and the variety in types and amount of interaction has been just as wide. Your school requirements notwithstanding, I aim to be approachable regarding things like “cameras on” and verbal participation. Virtual hand-raise or Zoom chat might not just be easier for you to manage, but the preferred way to speak up from the student. But if an AFK turns into an MIA, I’ll call them out on it. There’s a balance of comfort and accountability that’s important to maintain.

5. Share screen collaboration

This year, some of my most successful periods have been when students share their screen, which I suppose is the new “standing in front of the class.” The level of individual engagement and class collaboration exceeds expectations when my students share what they’ve been working on. It’s even better when we do a bit of “bug hunting” and solve the coding mistake in a student’s project. I’ve had the same results when projecting student work for all to see in an in-person or hybrid class.

6. Virtual backgrounds and other goofiness

Sometimes the right background, emoji, or filter sets the mood just right, especially on a Friday. Your mileage may vary, but you know your kids best, so consider bringing some fun to a virtual class when needed. Just ensure them that you’re here live and not a cat.

Since online space has become an educational platform, we must utilize its strengths to work for both teachers and students for continued success. So, if you have class tips and tech practices that improve the student experience, let’s keep the conversation going! Contact BSD here. We would love to hear from you.

6 Ways Machine Learning Will Evolve Classrooms in 2021

As a technologist, I spend a lot of time with my ear on the ground for the latest happenings around the EdTech Industry.

One of the trends I’ve seen in 2021, is the use of Machine Learning being implemented in EdTech tools and teaching practices.

This is an interesting development because, by definition, machine learning uses artificial intelligence to improve upon itself. When utilized by educators in the classroom, it opens up a number of opportunities for schools to optimize their curriculum and teaching strategy with detailed insights.

In this article, I’ve identified six interesting developments and challenges from my research that may help to guide educators through 2021.

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1. Predict when students will struggle with a type of concept

Are you about to start teaching a topic focused on critical thinking?
 
Will a particular student struggle based on previous critical thinking based topics? – These are the type of answers Machine Learning can provide to teachers.
 
Using historical assessment data, many EdTech companies are able to predict when a student may need more help.

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2. Which technique works best for a student

The term personalized learning has been around now for over 10 years but we are finally going to see this implemented this year.

To help us get there, Machine Learning is using various information points to identify a student’s learning style, as you can see in the diagram below.

A large task for educators will be to consider tagging individual learning modules. This will allow algorithms to better understand what modules worked better for which student using relationships between the tags.

It should be noted that GDPR’s maturity and accessibility have played a big part in allowing access to relevant student data and will continue to do so.

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3. Teachers building their own learning models

Machine Learning relies on its training data to learn how to navigate data.
 
To date, EdTech companies are training their own Machine Learning systems. This year we will start to see learning models provided by teachers.
 
Instead of using preset and student data, teachers will start providing their own data to Machine Learning. This will allow these tools to become effective teaching assistants in a sense.

[/kc_column_text][crum_single_image image_size=”full” align=”aligncenter” _id=”253930″ image_source=”media_library” image=”13579″ caption=”Teachable Machine is a great project that can be the start of how each of us will train our own Machines”][kc_column_text _id=”402340″]

4. Automated testing of curriculum

Curriculum designers are often looking to run test groups to improve their curriculum designs. With the aid of Machine Learning, data can be used to enhance areas such as curriculum flow. Does your lesson have the right amount of reinforcement? The system can even recommend quizzes where student engagement could increase.

A method commonly used by many EdTech organizations is the A/B test, which samples the curriculum with two groups and measures the effectiveness.

With Machine Learning and the added benefit of digital learning, we will also be able to measure student impact on assessment, engagement rates, the effectiveness of reinforcement techniques, and more.

In addition, the speed at which Machine Learning can analyze data is far greater than what we can achieve without its help. This will be a great step in the direction of truly personalized learning.

[/kc_column_text][crum_single_image image_size=”full” align=”aligncenter” _id=”361520″ image_source=”media_library” image=”13620″ caption=”Machine Learning can easily conduct A/B testing used to determine a winning solution”][kc_column_text _id=”92973″]

“We help thousands of teachers at BSD Education with our ready-made digital curriculum and projects” – Nickey Khemchandani

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5. Body language detection and Audio analysis on video calls for behavioural health

Remote learning is now common practice. Teachers are facing the difficult task of identifying engagement or interest via the student body language on a video call.

It was not uncommon to hear the sound of disengagement or stress in student voices when teaching online. One of the areas Machine Learning was able to step in and help was to highlight “stress” indicators in students’ voices in a lesson.

Years ago, I read an amazing research paper by Ishan Behoora and Conrad Tucker from Carnegie Mellon University [https://bit.ly/3npEB1S] explaining how Machine Learning can classify the emotional state of designers in real-time. This got me keeping tabs on this space for how it can be utilized in Education.

As video calls become a norm in education, expect to see real-time detection of student engagement and attention tracking coming soon.

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The following is from a sample class we conducted with a technology partner. The voice of a pre-teen [below 13] was analyzed to identify stress levels. (Voices of pre-teens are easier to analyze since often their voice patterns sound similar and there are fewer similarities to an adult voice).

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6. Assisted grading of non-binary assessments

We have all seen multiple-choice questions being graded using machines. They work great and have been an incredible help for teachers.

With Machine Learning tools used in popular plugins such as Grammarly or the Hemingway Editor, it was only a matter of time before essay writing was also supported.

Research papers are already sharing promising developments and improvements in this space with the inclusion of Machine Learning.

[/kc_column_text][crum_single_image image_size=”full” align=”aligncenter” _id=”152890″ image_source=”media_library” image=”13587″ caption=”The Hemingway Editor is one of my favourite tools when creating a curriculum. http://www.hemingwayapp.com/”][kc_column_text _id=”417369″]

“Machine Learning tools need to be accessible by students as well. These tools can help students solve problems while they are encountering them. This is one of the goals technology aims to serve in Education.”
– Nickey Khemchandani

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At BSD Education, supporting educators/teachers is at the core of who and what we stand for.

With so much to look forward to as technology develops in education, it will be critical for the education community to support teachers throughout these transitions.

We are excited to hear how more schools incorporate machine learning in 2021.

Three Key Elements To Facilitate Successful Maker Learning (or Any Educational Intervention)

We have written about maker spaces and maker learning in past issues and why we feel it can be an important part of the curriculum. After helping many schools worldwide develop and facilitate maker spaces, our Vice President of Education and maker space expert, Mark Barnett, shares his 3 key elements for successful maker learning.

After starting my own maker space in 2013, a mobile maker space in 2015, and helping dozens of schools worldwide design, use and teach in maker spaces, I have learned quite a bit about what works, what doesn’t, and why. Schools have made great strides in adding maker spaces to their curricula with a growing interest in maker learning. Some of these schools have done a remarkable job, and others have been left wondering what the hype is all about.

I see that maker learning is just one of many education interventions that a school can facilitate. Other education interventions include social-emotional learning, project-based learning, or even curricular products for math and literature.

To implement any of these strategies or interventions successfully, there are usually 3 main factors contributing to the success or failure of implementation. Each of these factors requires thorough commitment, and even if only one area lacks commitment, the whole intervention is likely to fail. 


Here are the 3 key elements of commitment required for maker learning (or any educational intervention):

  1. Commitment to the tool or technology
  2. Commitment to the pedagogy that supports the use of the tool or technology
  3. Institutional commitment to the success of the tools, technology and pedagogy


Commitment to the tool or technology

For the case of maker learning, this means that the school must commit to tools, technologies, and materials that support maker learning. Commitment in this element looks like this:

  • Acquiring the tools and technologies needed in a makerspace
  • Providing the proper use and training of the tools and technologies
  • Ongoing support and maintenance of the tools and technologies
  • Continued training and development of staff using the tools and technologies


Commitment to the pedagogy

Most educational interventions have an accompanying pedagogy that is best suited to support the intervention. For example, maker learning has its own pedagogy that includes tinkering, play, design thinking, and constructionism. Commitment to the pedagogy looks like this:

  • Providing training, support and professional development to teachers
  • Creating work-groups or cohorts of teachers who can spread the pedagogy and help pass along knowledge and training to other staff
  • Sending staff to conferences to attend and present shared knowledge on best practices and strategies
  • Provide access to educational research in the field of the pedagogy to stay current with the evolving understandings and to learn from others


Institutional Commitment

This final element is the most important one and, from my experience, the one element that makes or breaks the success of a maker learning program (or any intervention)

  • Creating a core team of champions who are charged with the success of implementation and are accountable for success
  • A strong team of leadership who truly believes that the intervention has merit and is dedicated to the hard work required to see the success
  • Financial commitment to all of the above mentioned points 

It really is a simple formula to follow, and it is easy to implement once you have thought through each key element. Typically when I work with new schools, we discuss all 3 key elements before deciding to do any work together to ensure that the school is prepared to commit to all 3 areas before any work is done.

Use these 3 keys to help guide you on the successful implementation of any educational intervention. If you want more information or have specific questions about maker learning and maker spaces, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or by email.

EdTech Tools Educators Should Try This School Year

Undoubtedly, the learning and development of digital skills is a big focus in Education this next decade. At BSD Education, we’re working to prepare students for a technology-driven future as an EdTech tool.

We aim to help them be consumers of technology and media and have the tools and skills to become innovators or creators. 

One of the best ways to slowly start bringing Technology into your classrooms is using fun EdTech tools that will help you or your students boost learning or teaching experiences. Check out the top 10 we thought you should try this year!

1. Formative

Formative is a great web-based app that allows you to give assignments to students and provide personalized and real-time feedback. You can use ready-made “formatives” or create your own to share with your students. You can then view student progress and answers in real-time and assess their learning and progress as they go.

To sum it up: an easy-to-use tool that simplifies assessment in your classroom.

2. Equity Maps

Equity Maps is a great iPad EdTech tool that enhances collaboration, helps you keep track of which of your students participate in class discussion and how much they are experiencing.

All you have to do is tap your students’ icons as they engage in the discussion. In the end, you’ll get summary analytics of how often each class member participated and how many were active participants. The instant feedback helps participants reflect and enables you to ensure that your classroom discussions are equitable and inclusive.

To sum it up: a tool to encourage honest dialogue and broader collaboration in your classroom.

3. Geoguessr

Geoguessr is a fun game that develops students’ global awareness, problem-solving, and research skills. The game starts by dropping the player into a random location on Google Street view. The player then has to figure out where they have been lowered to the closest possible point. Finally, students have to think about different types of information within the map that they can use to solve a problem, use initiative, and demonstrate perseverance.

To sum it up: an excellent EdTech tool that can be used as a class filler to develop a range of skills.

4. ProWritingAid

ProWritingAid does what it says on the tin – it’s a tool that helps your students improve their writing assignments, but not just with spelling and grammar. This tool looks at everything from sentence variety to the use of cliché!

All you need to do is write directly on ProWritingAid or upload a document, and you’ll get a summary report giving the strengths and weaknesses of the piece. You can then discuss this with your students.

To sum it up: a handy tool to help you give in-depth and personalized feedback on your students’ writing.

5. Creaza

Creaza is a tool that can be used to create presentations, mind maps, cartoons, and videos. Students can collaborate on their projects in real-time.

6. Thunkable


Mobile Apps have been a rage for over a decade now,
and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Thunkable is a free and easy-to-use online tool for building mobile apps using a simple drag and drop code builder. As you create, you can test the app in real-time on an iOS or Android device and tweak it as you go. In addition, less experienced students can choose to “remix” an existing app instead of starting from scratch.

6. Roblox


Creating games is a great way to learn a wide range of real-world
digital skills, like storytelling, art, design, programming, maths, etc. Roblox is an online platform for creating and playing multiplayer online games. As a teacher, you can take your students on a journey of creating their favorite online games. They can learn to develop games using Roblox Studio, test them with their peers, and publish them online for users to play on a computer, mobile device, or even Xbox. They can also choose to publish the game for free on the Roblox platform or charge them “Robux ”, the digital currency of Roblox. To support teachers, Roblox publishes resources like how to start guides and lessons.

7. Thinglink


Boost your classroom engagement by creating visual and interactive resources for your students. Thinglink makes it very easy for you to augment
images, videos, and online tours with extra information using simple-to-use hyperlinks. Create an educational treasure hunt for students or mix it up and let them create visual learning journeys for their peers.

8. MindMeister


Mind maps are a tried and tested method for people to take notes or brainstorm ideas effectively. MindMeister is an excellent
EdTech tool that takes this further by making mind mapping a collaborative exercise. Students can collaborate with peers in real-time in the classroom while a teacher explains concepts or works virtually from home when creating a group project.

9. Smiling Mind


Students (and all of us) can face a series of social and emotional challenges. To help them cope with these,
they must be aware of their mental well-being and learn practical ways to be mindful. Smiling Mind is a free, not-for-profit app that encourages mindfulness and better mental being in schools. It is specifically built for students and teachers and breaks down activities for 7-9, 10-12, 13-15, 16-18, and adults. In addition, it comes with Professional Development training for teachers, classroom resources, and student workshops. 

10. Bonus – BSD Online


Of course, we would love it if you tried our online learning platform,
BSD Online. Through scaffolded guided exercises, BSD Online makes the teaching and learning of digital skills and coding easy, fun, and engaging. We suggest our Hour of Code Project – Life Under Water if you’re wondering where to start.

We’d love to learn what other apps or EdTech tools you’d like to try this year!! Feel free to share by tweeting us at @Educationbsd or tagging us on Instagram at @BSDEducation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Engage Your Students in Reading and Writing in the month of April

How can I engage my students?

Internationally, people celebrate and recognize the power of books. Reading holds creativity and information from the past and future, allowing people to share ideas and learn new things. But how does this effectively fit into educational technology? With tools like Kindles and iPads, students have access to thousands of books that they can take anywhere with them – an entire library on the go! In addition, the use of technology increases the reading experience by allowing students to explore further with a simple search.

How does technology fit into this?

The rapid development of technology has enabled us to provide more scaffolding in the classroom, such as better personalized learning (platforms and apps that recommend books according to learner reading ability) and gamified learning experiences (achieve a badge for completing a book).

Technology can also provide new ways for students to discover interests they have never considered before.

Consider trying these activities with your class:

  • Challenge students to keep a reading blog to share and reflect on a book of their choice.
  • Encourage students to practice giving constructive feedback and recommendations by keeping an unplugged reading review forum on your class bulletin. Teachers can suggest books and post them on the board. This will encourage students to post their ratings when they have read the book!
  • Have students collaborate by choosing chapter from a book and to create their own version by making a video.

If you’ve tried these activities with your students or have a question, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Please send us an email at info@bsd.education, and our team will get back to you ASAP!