Product Index
Educational Operations
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.
Jesse, Educator. School Type: High School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices, BYOD Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this tool for several goals. First, I will be able to teach my English Learner students not only content but skill set. The easy translation element between me, the student, and parents will provide a median to over come the language barrier. Second, me and the parent can work together as they can re-emphasis the lesson and help with study habits. Most non-English parents do not engage in their students work because they do not understand what is being asked. However, they can contribute (from previous knowledge) after getting the subject matter topic or instructions. Lastly, I will be able to scaffold lessons by uploading images and video as part of my SDAIE strategy.

Strengths: - Parental buy in. Parents participate in the student’s progress with access to their
- Direct translate into 150+ languages.
- Push. No need for parent/student sign up. Living Tree draws from school accounts. Regardless of phone number, both parties will receive web post, email, and text
- Parent(s) have a centralized access to multiple students across the different levels of grade schools
- State reporting of parental engagement
- Parents see posts/work of their student
- Living Tree sends automatic attendance and grade alerts
- Phone feature (currently principals only) will deliver instant message on behavior, missing assignments, praise, etc.
- Post messages and photos. This gets parents curious and may have the opportunity for engagement.
- Video link from Youtube, vimeo, and soon personal video
- Summer 2017 will feature a receipt of any file viewing

Suggestions for Improvement: Three things to improve is teacher access to parent notification. Currently only the principal have this option. It will take more time to convey thoughts over to a third party. Second, is to speed up the receipt feature. This is needed as students and parents at times will not take responsibility for negative actions.

Verdict: I will inform administrators that a common obstacle teachers have is bridging instruction to students and keeping students on task. Juggling 35 different learning styles, disabilities, and needs is unrealistic and sad. This is because there will be those students who fall to the wayside. This tool helps as parents have a buy in and responsibility towards the achievement of learning as well. In addition, classroom management distracts everyone. The ease of instant notification of student behavior and academic progress can be remedied with a quick entry.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, 1:1 Devices, Blended Learning

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product to share my classroom with parents. I would post upcoming project due dates. i would also post pictures on a weekly basis so show parents what their child did in my class that week.

Strengths: The translating feature i find very helpful for my population of students that i work with.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1) i love the whole idea but i feel it would be a bit time consuming.
2) im not use if there can be multiple owners of this product. i belong to a team of 4 teachers and it would be nice if we could all belong to the same "page" so that our parents would not need to go to multiple places to check on their child. Parents would only need to go to one place for their child's teachers.

Verdict: This product would allow for parent involvement. Parents can be involved in their child's classroom without having to set foot in the classroom. For a science teacher i can post classroom supplies that i need whether they are for labs or just everyday use i can post and have parents donate these items. With this product parents will be brought in to the classroom on their own time and are able to keep up with their child's schooling. Not to mention this product can translate for the parents.

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

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to communicate with student's parents to communicate what is going on in my classroom. When? Asking for volunteers for a certain function such as workdays in caring for school garden. It would very benefical.

Strengths: It would involve parents even more with the teacher and the whole school. The communication would be even more evident.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would improve it by:
1. Making it more consumer friendly (for people that are not familiar with set up
2. Making the videos simpler
3. There is no other changes I would make.

Verdict: One of my recommendations would be so that I could ask parents and staff to volunteer for a certain function.Stressing the importance of attending the certain event. Asking for parents to make sure a certain homework be completed.

Pedro, Director of Instructional Technology. School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, Project Based School, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Instant communication between teachers, parents and students.

Strengths: I really like and appreciate the clean and appealing platform. The calendar option is great, something that is of importance for my school site to improve on.

Suggestions for Improvement: Lower prices: a small school as mine has a tight budget and we continually work to improve teacher salary, class offerings and investing money in the arts and specialties.

Verdict: We need a better system for communicating to all entities of the school. I really like the calendaring option, especially for volunteer opportunities and/or scheduling conferences.

Maria Margarita, 2. School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this to send some permision form to home.

Strengths: Is a great tool to send home any information about an activity or some fundraising.

Suggestions for Improvement: I think it is a good idea and a great tool.
Communication is mor easy and clear.
Fast communication with parents and the teacher have the opportunity to get a report for the activity more faster.

Verdict: It make more easy parents communication. Also is a friendly form to fill out and gives report for the clasroom activity.

Crystal, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product to communicate with my parents about upcoming tests, events, and general information. I really loved that parents had the option to see all information from special classes and for all their children. The translate feature is a great tool for English Language Learners and their parents.

Strengths: The translate feature is really great. It will help teachers and our school in general communicate better.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great if the call feature was available for teachers, especially given the fact that it can translate. It might also be helpful for there to be a separate section for homework and upcoming events (this might already be there but wasn't a feature I got to explore). I'm also curious about the process of implementing this to parents and schools so it effectively for all users.

Verdict: I would recommend this tool because our current program does not offer the same things this program has. We currently use Blackboard and I am blow away at the what this program can do in comparison. I think it would help us communicate better with our English Language Learners and their parents. It would also help to provide insight into our classrooms for the day.

Technology Support Technician, School Type: Elementary School, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: Definitely suggest it to be used in the school. I think its important to have one place where someone can do a lot and not have to go from website to website.

Strengths: I think its great that it allows the SIS to be imported. Also, it is important that parents can have immediate communication from the school/teacher.

Suggestions for Improvement: From a Technology Standpoint, I'm not sure that I would change much. I believe that the product would work great for a teacher who likes to communicate with other social media apps, since its very similar in how it works. I also think that parents would like it because of that aspect.

Verdict: I think its great to have one place where communication can be done for educators and parents.

ITS, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: As an instructional technology specialist for ManorISD I would love to see a campus in our district adopt Living Tree for community and parent engadgement.

Strengths: The paper announments that go home are hardly ever read.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1-Ability to post to Twitter on approved posts.
2-Have a default page for others to view that hides private information. A public Page
3-Student Rating

Verdict: Building and maintaining websites is very difficult for our Teachers. LivibgTree would make it easier for our Teachers to keep ongoin communication with parents and community and save a ton of paper.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I use it to alert the parents of any pertinent information that did not go home physically in their communication folder. I can also include links and photos. It can serve as a reminder and substitute the use of an email.

Strengths: Last minute notification and convenient photo sharing.

Suggestions for Improvement: I think it needs to be more visually organized for some users to better navigate. Possible photo album saved area so easier to go back to -- search function? Permanent links or information that could be kept within the page.

Verdict: Mixed reviews amongst families and teachers who use the product. Those who have multiple roles in the school (both a parent and a teacher/admin/staff) have it a bit more difficult to navigate through the alerts. There isn't a save feature to maintain each class page and previous year's info does not get saved.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School, BYOD Devices

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: Teaching math I really does not fit with what I am teaching or how I teach.

Strengths: I do love how they set up the user interface and the idea is great to include so many languages.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would expand the collaborative part of the product. I would love to see it try to put more math. I also feel that my learning style will clash to how the material is presented.

Verdict: I would recommend to my colleagues but I would not use it personally.

EC Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population

full starfull starno starno starno star Wouldn't Advocate

Usage: There are several other similar services. Although, this one appears to have more features. The parents of my students have not really participated in these types of services previously.

Strengths: This product seems like it would make communicating with parents extremely easy. It might eliminate the need for newletters and would allow for interaction between parent and teacher.

Suggestions for Improvement: This seems like this product would be beneficial except for low income populations who may not have access to technology. Is there an option to print that weeks information or calendar to send to parents? The parents of my students don't really have a lot of interest in interacting using a program like this.

Verdict: There are several services similar to this one. Our parent involvment is limited at times.

Steven, Technology Applications Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starno starno starno star Wouldn't Advocate

Usage: The main aspect of this program that I love is the translation feature. Everything else that this program can do we already do through our website and mobile app.

Strengths: The program looks really easy to use. Navigation is simple, and it works on all platforms.

Suggestions for Improvement: I feel like alot of the images and the looks of the program are out of date. I would like to see some of these updated to a new look. This is one of the many things that makes me take a back seat on this program.

Verdict: Again alot of the stuff that this app does we already have a program that does the same thing. I would love to see something like this offered for free, but would doubt the company would exist if they don't make money.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would love for this to be my main form of communication with the parents. This seems like a very user friendly interface and something parents could easily use. I would use it as a reminder for various events, sharing class projects and activities and parent conference sign ups. It would be a one stop shopping.

Strengths: I think it has all the different components that a teacher needs in one. I think this would be easier for parents to go to one website instead of a class website, a sign up website, the school website, etc. Parents would visit more often and be more informed about what is going on at their child's school.

Suggestions for Improvement: Permission to post pictures due to parents not knowing some restrictions.
At this time I don't know anymore of things I would change.

Verdict: Parents are able to get a little or a lot of information from this. It is easy to use and is an effective way to distribute class and school information.

Tech Coach, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this to communicate with other classes and parents to show off what is going on in my class as well as activities happening on my campus.

Strengths: LivingTree is a great product. I work with a school that is using it and the parents and staff really like it as a way to communicate what is happening at the campus. It really solves the problem of all campus communications.

Suggestions for Improvement: Add a scheduling tool.
Other than that this tool has wverything we need!

Verdict: Great way to stay in touch with the parent community, send out reminders, talk up activities and show off what is going on at the school.

Teacher, School Type: High School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to communicate with students and parents. Parent engagement is really important to me and my school. It would allow a new avenue for communication.

Strengths: It seems easy to connect families and students in a way many people can use. The translation aspect is very useful.

Suggestions for Improvement: Giving individuals the opportunity to text back from their phone without going into the app.

Verdict: It can connect an entire school which is always positive for administration. Parent engagement supports student academic growth.

Instructional Coach, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: As a communication and collaboration piece between school and community.

Strengths: Free teacher accounts, looks like facebook, teacher control, great calendar capabilities,
use it for sign ups, translates into many languages, administrators can send out messages to all groups or just specific groups. Only $2 per student and it's based in Austin.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Use pre-approval notifications
2. provide pd for faculty and parents

Verdict: Great way to communicate and collaborate with school and community.

Rocio, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to connect with my students, parents, and colleagues.

Strengths: Love that it gives parents the access to view all information for all of their children within the district. Looks similar to facebook which families are used to.

Suggestions for Improvement: The name is not the best. I feel it should be school or education related.

Verdict: It is a one stop shop for teachers to connect with students and parents. It is also a one stop shop for parents to connect with ALL of their children's teachers.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to communicate with my parents.

Strengths: It makes it very easy to share photos of students with parents. It also is great for scheduling parent/teacher conferences and other meetings. It is great for volunteer requests.

Suggestions for Improvement: I think it is a great product, and I can't see any changes I would make thus far.

Verdict: It is a great tool to help with parent/teacher/school communication. It is great for community building.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: As an EL coordinator, I would use this as a way to communicate to parents in the program.

Strengths: I like that it provides communication in many different languages for parents to talk to teachers.

Suggestions for Improvement: I think it needs an easier way to import student information since most districts would not take on this program as a whole.

Verdict: I think the school needs more ways to communicate with parents and get support in many languages.

Rhonda, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Communication with parents and community and colleges

Strengths: Looks like facebook and user friendly

Suggestions for Improvement: I think it is great and should be free for low income families.

Verdict: Security frequent up dates and security checks

Rhonda, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Communication with parents and community and colleges

Strengths: Looks like facebook and user friendly

Suggestions for Improvement: I think it is great and should be free for low income families.

Verdict: Security frequent up dates and security checks

Teacher, School Type: Middle School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to create a communication plarform for parents, administrators and teachers. also to post pictures and all activities taking place in the classroom

Strengths: ir would allow me to contact parents in a very effective way. it also would built a community based on this social platform. This is a great platform for communication

Suggestions for Improvement: make it more user friendly. make it easier for parents to post their own information and messages.besides that it's great

Verdict: the cost. I would hope that it it affordable. there are lots of new product out there and the competition is present. keep the cost low.

Amy, Technology. School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would like to use this product as a secure social media. Students and parents alike do some amazing and celebratory work each day and it deserves to be shared out, but it is important to protect our students and their privacy.

Strengths: Sharing out with the parents and community as well as the whole school.

Suggestions for Improvement: Not sure. I would like for it to be used more widely. It's hard for just one campus in a district to support an endeavor.

Verdict: It's a great celebratory tool as well as a way to get parental involvement.

Clerical, School Type: Middle School, BYOD Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: This would be great for daily updates. It could also be used for classroom newsletters. This would be great for school-wide service projects.

Strengths: It is easy to use. I appreciated that it can be used to go out to only parents. I also liked the idea that it can go out to out to only students. I think that this will improve communication in the classroom.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would change nothing. I think this product was great the way it was.

Verdict: The translation feature
The ease to opperate

Educator, School Type: Other

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product to communicate with parents about everything that is happening in the classroom with their child. Working with students of many cultures presents language barriers . The language translation aspect of this product will help two way communication a great deal.

Strengths: Language Translation

Suggestions for Improvement: add a count down timer to reminders; add place for desktop wallpaper.. add inbox to back things up.

Verdict: It would create an atmosphere of constant communication with the parents.

Olivia, Bilingual teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would love to communicate with parents better, instead of sending and wasting paper to run copies, because the newsletters do not always get to parents.

Strengths: This is an excellent tool to stay in touch with teachers, as parents, and with parents, as teachers.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Parents not following respectful norms
2. Language barriers
3. Technology savvys

Verdict: I like the program that teachers can communicate with parents, and vise versa. It is important to stay in the loop.

Student, School Type: Higher Education

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: "It takes a village to raise a child", so I would hope that teachers could use this in conjunction with other students and parents to improve discourse in their school communities.

Strengths: It really helps unite the communitieis

Suggestions for Improvement: 1) More email integration for attachments, etc
2) Allow for integration with google docs
3) More privacy upfront

Verdict: It's an all or nothing effect -- all families need to be on it so that nobody gets left out.

Prek teacher, School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population, College Prep School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: This is a great communication tool for parents

Strengths: This is a simple tool for teachers to remain organized and stay on task with everything they have to plan.

Suggestions for Improvement: I wish that this app would have a different tool that would provide more accurate translations as google translate is often not authentic.

Verdict: I would recommend it because it makes communication and planning very easy

LaKisha, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product to enhance classroom activities.

Strengths: This product allows parents to become a part of their students learning environment by extending school to home connection.

Suggestions for Improvement: I'm not sure what to change until I use the product. But getting everything organized initially may be overwhelming.

Verdict: This product is a great way to extend learning and involve families.

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

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I could use this for connecting parents in my classroom and for sending reminders.

Strengths: 1. It is translated in 100 languages
2. Connects parents
3. has privacy agreement

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. The translation didn't work during demo!
2. Free
3. Translate site in different languages (instead of having to click translate)

Verdict: n/a

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