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.
Ann-Marie, Teacher. School Type: High School
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would assign parts of the books to my students for reading instead of classroom excerpts, this way we can lessen our paper footprint and integrate more differentiated reading practices. This would possibly help my classroom management as I currently have such a wide range of student abilities and such a large number of special education students who would benefit greatly from the levels readings.

Strengths: The web based access is always a plus, as are the highlighting tools and note-taking tools. The current library contains a number of titles used by our English department and I (history) will check out the social studies offerings will my students this fall. I like the ability to level the readings based on student, or that the student has his/her own ability to change the reading level. There is also a feature to keep the reading level set so that students can stretch themselves. Quizzes and notes can be inserted which are always helpful features.

Suggestions for Improvement: Daniel and I talked about how I would use this product in my classroom, even on a daily basis. I would need to do so with 1-3 page excerpts, not full-length books as I cannot sacrifice content for literacy skills all the time. There is also an issue of net connectivity, which I can usually solve by the students in my classroom using their own devices. More social studies titles will be coming, first for US, then World History. I think that once these small issues are taken care of, this product will definitely be one to be reckoned with.

Verdict: I like the fact that the books are targeting English and social studies as I feel that these two subjects complement each other in developing and reinforcing skills needed for success in common core. The willingness of Daniel to incorporate advice from teachers to advance educational use and expand book listings is beneficial from a customer service standpoint. The current library holds a number of books that our students read in English and a couple of books that I actually use in excerpt form for my own students (I plan to try out Plato's Allegory of the Cave in the fall).

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population
Apr 15, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Allows you to adapt a book to fit any reading level. I would use this to differentiate and give students the same content.

Strengths: Adapts the same text to a variety of reading levels. Eliminates the problem of planning lessons for different texts. Makes sure each students learning is personalized.

Suggestions for Improvement: Provide texts for younger students. Increase number of texts available. Make adaptable to younger students.

Verdict: This allows you to truly personalize student learning by meeting each student where they are at in terms of reading ability.

Director Stem Education, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, College Prep School
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: We use Scholastic Reading Counts at the elementary, middle school , and high school. This year we had to dismantle our library at the high school because we needed the rooms for classrooms. Students are now realizing how important this program was to them as far as keeping them up on reading. Teachers have tried to make up for the slack by incorporating more reading into their classes. However, we run into the problem of the different reading levels. In the past, we have purchased sets of "No Fear Shakespeare." However, I see Books that Grow as an alternative.

Strengths: Electronically available. Don't have to worry about a physical book. Two students with entirely different exiles can read the same book and understand the content. Because of this, you could ask students to read a book that would ordinarily be difficult for them to read and understand at home.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1.There are not a lot of selections in science. I would definitely like to see more because students get tripped up a lot on the vocabulary in science.
2. Because we could consider using this program to replace Reading Counts at the high school level, I would like to see a built in assessment so that there would be a way to know if students understood it in the end.
3. I really cannot think of a 3rd one at this time.

Verdict: I would recommend it but with some hesitancy. The library is very limited now, I would Currently we use the SRI, three times of year to check students exile growth so we have a way to check for student growth. We also have the technology to make this feasible in the classroom when reading as a whole class. I like the idea that a student who is a struggling can read some of the classics at a level they might understand.

Stacee, Ela Teacher. School Type: High School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this program for any reading assignments where I know the original text is too difficult for some readers. I love that the product allows you to differentiate texts for students. There are multiple levels of complexity, which I love as well, because students do learn differently and at different levels.

Strengths: The differentiated levels of text is the best part of this program. I love that the texts can be adjusted for various levels so students can grasp the same content and have a shared discussion.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like more annotation abilities for the texts, like notes that are actually visible on the screen (not just little clickable symbols that represent notes). I would also like to see more books and documents available eventually, even though the amount available now is pretty impressive (particularly the primary source documents).

Verdict: I would recommend this product because of the vast differences in reading levels for all my students. I like that the instructors can monitor the progress of students in real-time.

Aurora, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: It doesn't target my grade level

Strengths: Leveled books. Non fiction. Current topics. Books an be Assigned by teacher. Diverse books topics.

Suggestions for Improvement: Continue to grow library.
Add background images, maps, video, real footage of speeches.

It's an exciting product. I'm hoping it can grow.

Verdict: I would push for this product to be available for all grade levels, not just older grades. I also would like some automatic placement assesments. I like the fact that books are available in different reading levels. Books are culturally relevant, they just need to add more titles. More Latino, Asian, strong female characters.

Dennis, Teacher. School Type: High School, College Prep School
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: have students engage in the reading following the unit

Strengths: -caters to the reading levels of the students. teachers can also see how each students is performing which will be very helpful.

Suggestions for Improvement: -I would add the assessment aspect of the reading so students can see if they're comprehending the reading.
-Add video aspect to the reading to supplement their understanding
-Add the "share" button to the program so students can share their progress

Verdict: I like how the program caters to the reading levels of students and allows teachers to see how each kid is doing.

Educator, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: My students with moderate to severe disabilities require a product/tool that is more accommodating to their levels of learning.

Strengths: This product seems like a very useful tool to supplement English/Language Arts instruction. It is a good hands-on resource for students to use as well as teachers. It seems to serve as an additional resource for students when they have limited access to subject matter books and reference materials.

Suggestions for Improvement: One improvement may be to align it with the subject matter contents covered during the year. Another suggestion that may improve the product is to make it more user-friendly for students who have physical limitations. Also, it may be more useful for lower elementary students if the selections and/or icons on each page are limited to just a couple or few pertinent ones.

Verdict: i would maybe recommend it for some of our upper grade general education students. However, i would advise against it for the students in Special Day Classes.

Assistant Principal, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Apr 15, 2014

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I would not use this product as it is designed because of the grade level span. I am a K-2 administrator and the effort that would be required to find books that could be changed to a reading level of our students would require significant amount of time.

Strengths: Provides individual students with books instead of reading to the class.
Changes reading level to provide differentiated instruction.
Allows all students to participate in the lesson.

Suggestions for Improvement: Provide books at K-2 level.

Verdict: I would recommend it to colleagues who teach grades 3-8.
It can be used on any device in any location.
You can change the reading levels of the books.
All students could have the same book when downloaded on devices.

Teacher, School Type: High School, 1:1 Devices
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: Books that Grow could be used to adjust diction to make it easier for students.

Strengths: Changing the text makes stories easier to comprehend. Students with different reading abilities can contribute to class discussion.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. I'm sorry, but I would not use this product as it does not fit well within an honors course.
2. This would be beneficial to remedial courses.
3. You were very nice.

Verdict: This is a great tool for modifications because it changes the diction, however, I personally am not comfortable editing content to this degree. The author's voice could get lost in the "translation" and students may misinterpret text due to the adjustments.

AnnMarie, 2nd Grade Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School, College Prep School
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starno starno starno star Wouldn't Advocate

Usage: As a 2nd grade teacher, i would not use this tool because it doesn't have resources for lower grade levels (k-3).

Strengths: The product allows teachers to easily differentiate text for students. As a teacher, I spend lots of time looking for resources on not only the right topic but at the right levels. This would save me a lot of time. In addition, this tool has a lot of interesting text options. As a teacher, I gain a lot of student buy in by providing my students choice. This would allow them easily to choose what they would like to read.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. make it available for k-3 students
2. add more book options (maybe based on teacher and student request)
3. if they add a k-3 option, provide a read aloud section

Verdict: If I was a middle school or high school teacher, I would definitely want to use it. Also, this tool is difficult if not impossible to use if your school isn't 1-1 with technology.

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