Bringing SXSWedu Back to the Classroom: S'Cool Tools from Austin

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How's an educator supposed to pick from the plethora of edtech tools, especially at a bustling conference like SXSWedu? We've got deets on some of the promising tools we've seen here in Austin, specifically after visiting the Launch EDU competition (congrats to big winner Zaption!) and wandering through the maker-themed Playground.

Don't see your favorites on the list? Write about them in our comments section.

For the general public...

Free! Make your classroom international--without leaving the school’s walls. PenPal Schools matches classes (including students in Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Qatar) to complete assignments on language, current events and culture and share it with their partners from around the world.

Free! Are your students starting to plan for summer study in Madrid or Costa Rica? They can study up on Spanish first at a personalized level with Language Zen, which selects vocabulary based on how much it’s actually used in the real world, including music with the vocab and courses about getting around in a foreign country and telling time.

Freemium! If you want to create engaging presentations for your students beyond PowerPoint slides, PearDeck might be the tool for you. You can create interactive slides that ask your students to draw, complete multiple choice, identify an aspect of the slide through Draggables, and more.

License: High school students often find it overwhelming to see themselves as successful, valuable employees, but recognizing their own strengths is an important part of seeing their futures. By offering a Talent Finder Curriculum to students, Shinebright works to empower them with a sense of confidence in their abilities. Contact Shinebright for pricing information.

For the coders...

Free! Don’t wait around for your school to start a coding club--create your own! CoderDojo is an open source organization that supports the creation of volunteer-led coding clubs for young people from age 6 to 18. Their site includes a database of clubs already in existence around the world, so take a look to see where you can send your kiddos. And by the way--CoderDojo has partnered with Codestarter, which can help get your kids laptops for free if they lack the devices. Free coding class AND devices? We like the sound of that.

Freemium! “Write code. Catch bananas. Save the world.” How about all three at once? With CodeMonkey, your students (age 13 and older, or younger with a parent’s permission) learn lines of Coffeescript code by helping a banana catch monkeys. Play up to level 30 for free, or check out subscription options for your classroom.

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