Product Index
Teacher Needs
In Summit Reflections, educators review tools that they have seen at an EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit. Summit Reflections can only be completed onsite at the event; reviewers are incentivized to leave reviews.
Desktop Administrator, School Type: Middle School, High School, College Prep School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would love to put all my lessons on here to make them accessible to any student with a device anywhere. I would use it to keep students on task in class as well as use it to keep kids at home caught up with instruction. I would also like to use it to collaborate with other teachers.

Strengths: I love how it's really organized and you are able to share lessons with other teachers. I think it helps teachers stay on top of their lessons. It solves the problem of disengaged students who are missing instruction.

Suggestions for Improvement: Make the lessons teachers make accessible in a bank for other teachers.

Have a wiki format for kids to collaborate and share what they are learning.

Verdict: It makes learning more engaging and more accessible.

Kate, Reading Specialist. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: This would make sharing planning across the grade levels as well as keeping the interactive components much easier. I like the ability to simply move over, adjust, and redo plans.

Strengths: Solves the ability to interface with administration and teammates.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to be able to move the content into student resources easily or create a powerpoint of class objectives. Easy access in the classroom would be nice as we need school wifi.

Verdict: This product makes planning so much easier than simply writing it all out. Adjustments and additional information can easily be added.

Computer Teacher, School Type: Middle School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this program for my students by building their vocabulary skills and reading comprehension for my curriculum.

Strengths: I found this program to be very help with building comprehension skills and reading skills.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would add vocabulary

I would add rewards/points system

I would add parent portal

Verdict: Its an engaging activity for students to learn and build their science skills for class.

David, Teacher. School Type: High School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: Alchemy Learning’s Smart Binder is an excellent tool for Teachers that are working to flip their classroom. I intend on using it this year when I work with a colleague to flip instruction for one of our units. This software has a tired pricing structure that makes it so that I pay for only what I want to use and I’m super grateful for that pricing structure.

The Smart Binder allows me to upload a file (video, text, image, etc.), include guiding text and a formative assessment question so that I can measure student understandings and misconceptions while they are still at home watching a video of the lesson.

Strengths: It provides an excellent platform for flipped instruction and allows the teacher to deliver content while also getting feedback from students as formative assessments.

Suggestions for Improvement: One thing that I couldn’t find on their website is a free trial option of the paid accounts. I would really like to see how different they were before hopping on to the higher tiers but even now I’d be willing to pay for the collaborator account.

Verdict: I would definitely recommend this for schools that have teachers looking to flip their instruction or even develop intervention and supplemental curriculum that students can use on their own time. I also heard a teacher’s idea at the conference about using the Smart Binder to develop sub lessons so that students can still get to hear from you when you aren’t their to help in person.

Christina, Science teacher. School Type: High School, BYOD Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: This seems like a great tool to use in flipping the classroom or using during BYOD. It would allow me to upload a video as well as a worksheet or questions that the students could answer.

Plus it would allow me to see how they are doing, and what concepts they are struggling with.

Strengths: This seems like a great tool to use in flipping the classroom or using during BYOD. It would allow me to upload a video as well as a worksheet or questions that the students could answer.

Plus it would allow me to see how they are doing, and what concepts they are struggling with.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be nice if there was a way to export a list of student scores a spreadsheet so that you could print it out and transfer the scores to your grade book. Having to go student by student and write down grades seems to be time consuming,

Verdict: This seems like a great tool to use in flipping the classroom or using during BYOD. It would allow me to upload a video as well as a worksheet or questions that the students could answer.

Plus it would allow me to see how they are doing, and what concepts they are struggling with.

David, Teacher. School Type: High School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I have been thinking about flipping my classroom instruction and it seems like Alchemy Smartbinder will work great as an organizational tool for content delivery outside of the classroom. I would use this so that I could add questions to youtube videos that I find and also that I upload myself.

Strengths: The tiered pricing is perfect. It really makes it so that teachers can easily use the software to do the basics or pay for the next level of service that they would actually use. The ease of content organization works great.

Suggestions for Improvement: Based on my limited experience with the product, I cannot think of something I would change.

Verdict: If many teachers are intending on using digital resources for instruction, Alchemy Smartbinder will work well as a content delivery system for those teachers. It will definitely be worth the investment by the administration. The price seems right for the data and content management system that you get.

English Teacher, School Type: High School, Low Income Population, College Prep School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: To store all of my materials. With unlimited storage space, I could combine my dropbox, googledocs, school shared drive, and other places where my work is stored.

Strengths: 1. Unlimited space to save materials. That is awesome!

2. The realtime access to the materials while in the classroom is a nice feature.

3. PARCC assessments are already built in.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Incorporate Promethean Board technology into the program.

2. Incorporate Ponder into the program.

3. Perhaps incorporate links to texts and curriculum already being at the school or in the county.

Verdict: My biggest concern is one that I addressed with the representative; is it possible to include my Promethean Flipcharts into the Alchemy site? I use the Promethean board everyday in my classroom and a great deal of my material is in flipcharts.

lisa, Reading Specialist. School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High ELL Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would add this to my daily powerpoints. This software would allow me to ask questions to the class and do formative assessment on the spot!

Strengths: visually appealing. It allows students to look at the text and answer questions on the same screen. It is a great way to lead a formative assessment in the classroom daily. The data is also very useful.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to allow the students to answer the questions from an Ipad or smartphone and then having the results of their answers immediately. We could discuss the answers as a group and therefore becoming a critical discussion.

Verdict: I have already contacted my administration to look into this product.

MS Latin Teacher; School Archivist, School Type: Middle School, College Prep School, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: Sounds like a better version of the curriculum management system we currently have (Moodle). It seems like it might be less cumbersome and offer better interactive features for students.

Strengths: Involves less tedium and frustration for teachers; offers more flexibility for content that would engage students.

Suggestions for Improvement: Can't tell at this point

Verdict: I would need to investigate it more thoroughly, but from what I have seen, it would provide a less frustrating experience for teachers to load and manage content, track performance, and incorporate engaging material for students.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: This is a great alternative to class collaborating and communicating. Studdents can see tools and resources uploaded by their teachers and respond to quizzes.

Strengths: Provides good information, flexibility and options for instruction for teachers. Can be used for organization of material, monitoring progress of students, or collaboration.

Suggestions for Improvement: The premium options sound like better options but don't know pricing, were not demonstrated for us.

Verdict: More responsive than edmodo, more feedback, more options.

Florence, Classroom Teacher/ Webmaster/ Gt Facilitator. School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: To organize lesson materials and provide a platform for students to work independently through assignments.

Strengths: This is an easy way to organize multiple resources firr one lesson, and to save them aligned to cc standards.

Suggestions for Improvement: ? I would have to play around with it more.

It would be nice if the free version allowed a class landing page where students could view and access multiple assignments.

Verdict: This polls resources from anywhere and you can share lessons! I like how easy it is to upload.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this to create, present, and share interactive, multimedia lessons.

Strengths: It seems like an easy interface, and I like how it connects to specific standards and provides feedback on student performance.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would make more of the collaboration tools free for teachers, add a content database, and make it easy to share publicly in addition to locally.

Verdict: I would recommend it for its potential, but it seems like it will get a lot better when more people use it.

Physics/math teacher, School Type: High School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: For classroom instruction.

Strengths: Great application for digital learning.

Suggestions for Improvement: Can it be monitored by parents too.

Verdict: It useful to see where the students are.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I'd love to use this as a computer lab activity, particularly for working on a research task for writing. I would have students research topics and use the binder activities to then write an expository writing piece. I could also see this as a review activity for social studies or science topics. As an extension activity for students that are finished early to explore a topic more in depth might be useful too.

Strengths: Capturing data on student performance on web-based activities. Assembling web resources in one place easily. Ability to collaborate with other teachers to create the lessons.

Suggestions for Improvement: I haven't had enough experience with the product to have many suggestions. The only thing I could say is if they had pre-created lessons aligned with Common Core that would be a time-saver. As I understand it I'd be creating the lesson and that would take time to set up.

Verdict: R- it would be very useful and engaging for students. It could support efforts for differentiated instruction with students.
A-We would need to purchase more computers and/or devices for students to use in order to fully implement the tool. To use it effectively we would have to have one device per student so that we can accurately collect performance data.

Christopher, Teacher. School Type: High School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I currently use a flipped classroom system and would like to continue to do so for students in my remediation sections. I use Sophia and would like to use alchemy as a way to develop more options for content for my students.

Strengths: Gives great information to teachers about the student learning happening. I really like the features that provide students to say whether they completely understand what is going on or if they are confused.

Suggestions for Improvement: I wish Alchemy had predetermined questions built in so those don't have to all be entirely teacher driven. This is the reason why I like using Sophia's flipped model, all the questions are pre developed. I also think there should be a better system for student to know their progress with this system. Maybe a points system.

Verdict: The one thing I wish that Alchemy provided is a better option for students monitoring their success. While there are helpful tools that provide the teacher, I didn't hear about students having the option to monitor their progress. I would recommend the idea of using a flipped model because I think it provides student great options for remediation. Students have the opportunity to rewind videos so that they can refresh information they may have missed.

Stacie, Tech Coordinator. School Type: High School, College Prep School, 1:1 Devices, Blended Learning

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: We're looking at Alchemy Learning as a possible alternative to Moodle.

Strengths: VERY easy to use. The interface is lovely and straightforward. I think we would have a very easy time teaching the ins and outs of this site to even our least techsavvy teachers. Moodle is clunky and hard to navigate the ease of use with this site is a major plus.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would definitely add a gradebook feature. I think teachers would really like using this site and would love to be able to keep working with it when grading (and not having to switch to a spreadsheet or outside site like EnGrade). If you are allowing teachers to assess using this site a gradebook feature would be ideal so that those assessment grades carried over automatically.

Verdict: I'm on the fence with this product, but most of my reasons against using it are less about the product and more about the transition to the product. The interface is beautiful and the site seems to be able to do mostly everything we can do with Moodle BUT the transition from Moodle to Alchemy seems very daunting--unless most of it could be carried over automatically, "selling" this product to teachers would be hard for us if they had to recreate their course pages and reupload content.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: This could be a better solution to a sharing resources and setting up an online course than some other programs that we currently use. Cost may be a factor depending on what exactly the direction the use of this program tilts towards.

Strengths: I like the collaborative aspect, how the lessons can be connected with the Common Core easily, and how students can track their progress.

Suggestions for Improvement: Sharing lessons and searching lessons, but apparently they are on that and it's coming.

Verdict: I would really want to play around with the program more and weigh whether the cost is worth abandoning already free resources that might not do things as well as this program.

Technology Integration Teacher and Liaison., School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I would use this as an alternative to Edmodo. I would use it to create and assign activities for students.

Strengths: It was a free site. It was extremely easy to use. I liked that students could provide feedback as they progress through the lesson. The premium version also allowed the teachers to track student progress and feedback.

Suggestions for Improvement: Not at this time.

Verdict: I really liked the interface. I thought that it appeared to be very easy to use and I liked that students were able to provide feedback as they progress through a lesson.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: To create classroom activities for my classes.

Strengths: It does well in giving the teachers the independence of creating their own classroom reference.

Suggestions for Improvement: Maybe they can put in some refrences for teachers to use in creating or flipping their classrooms.

Verdict: Teachers are creative people. And through this program, teachers can create interesting activities to suit each students' learning ways. In this program, teachers have their own way or style of creating their lessons or activities.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: Create interactive lessons to engage students in critical thinking.

Provide opportunities for collaboration among teachers.

Strengths: Collaboration

Customize students learning

Suggestions for Improvement: Not visually appealing

Verdict: I would use it if it was available for lower grades.

Teacher, School Type: High School, BYOD Devices

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: To organize my lessons and resources on line.

Strengths: Videos, storage

Links for on line white board lessons. Show me lessons.

Coordinating resources

Suggestions for Improvement: Cost per student

Verdict: It is more robust than google docs for education.

Teacher, School Type: High School, Low Income Population

full starfull starno starno starno star Wouldn't Advocate

Usage: Given time, I'd make it my lesson organizer. It can hold classes, units of study, and activities, including some interactive.

Strengths: storage

organization

a place for kids to centralize their classroom experience if we go to 1for1 devices

Suggestions for Improvement: proven track record

more/better interactive components for teachers to customize

Verdict: pro:great way to pull digital content together in one place with unlimited storage

con: It is a time-suck. What if I spend a gazillion hours setting it up & it's discontinued?

Teacher, School Type: High School, Low Income Population, College Prep School

full starno starno starno starno star Wouldn't Advocate

Usage: This product allows you to provide digital content to students.

Strengths: The user interface was lovely and the ability to edit content was nice.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would strongly consider using this product if it were free. The user interface is much better than something like Blackboard (which my district has for us) but again, I'm not going to pay for it. Aggregate data is not very useful to me at all, so I would rather make my own content on Google Apps for Education, Blackboard, or another LMS service in order to get the functionality I need, for free.

Verdict: There are other products that are free, or other products that our district pays for that offer the types of services Alchemy offers, but they offer them for free.

Teacher, School Type: High School

full starno starno starno starno star Wouldn't Advocate

Usage: An online platform for class materials, with social networking features. Students are able to view materials and assess themselves on their understanding

Strengths: Provides access to materials while ALSO checking for student understanding. Effective at providing aggregate class data as formative assessment for the class on average.

Suggestions for Improvement: Individual student data is not available free of charge, which would be necessary to truly help each individual student.

Verdict: I would not recommend it because it is easily replaceable by other free products, and the student data aspect is not free.

Darrell, Computer Technology / Intervention Developer. School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to develop complete lessons with assessments.
It would be a classroom online.

Strengths: It integrates all of the standards along with assessments and grades at one time.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Add science, computer, music standards to the database. (Cross curricula)
2. Add translator for ELL (Inclusion is required)
3. Font size change ability for visually impaired. (IDEA 2004

Verdict: Students that need review, at home sick, missed the class due to tardiness, or suspended.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product to build curriculum and to see student data on test and quizzes. I think it would be a great way to plan future instruction.

Strengths: It helps educators to see individual student strengths and weakness.

Suggestions for Improvement: Add a way to see class data and see indivual names on missed problems.

Verdict: I would tell them that it has many features that can help with data driven curriculum.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Digital classroom and learning environment.

Strengths: Amount that can be done and capabilities. User friendly. Free version to demo.

Suggestions for Improvement: Collaborative capabilities between teachers mostly thru feedback. Links between lessons and modifications. Sharing between teachers outside district or state.

Verdict: Possible caoabilities and all in one resource.

Staff Development, School Type: Middle School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Lesson sharing across the school and across the district

Strengths: Collaboration
Technology based
Connecting ideas across the county

Suggestions for Improvement: Monitoring what resources are uploaded

Verdict: Collaboration across the district, connecting mater teachers who create lessons with each other.

Team Leader, School Type: High School, BYOD Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: By introducing a new topic by having students view a video about the new topic. Then when students come to class they would participate in an actitivity to use what they learned from the video.

Strengths: It gives students a chance to be more involved in their learning and maybe doing some investigation about the video topic before going to their next class.

Suggestions for Improvement: More affordable for schools

Verdict: There is a free version but purchasing other versions you get more items you can use to help you make learning more engaging and having students take more responsibility in their learning.

First grade teacher, School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: A great management tool that I can use to build, store and retrieve lessons.

Strengths: You can do so much with this program. I would love to collaborate with my team on our lessons. I also develop and store my lesson here.

Suggestions for Improvement: The site looks a little be confusing, After looking throughout the website, I may be able to better find my way.

Verdict: A great tool for teachers and students, where teachers can use different modes of technology for students to learn about a topic. I can also collaborate and exchange with teachers of the same grade.

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