Product Index
Curriculum Products
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.
Paraeducator, School Type: High School, High ELL Population
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I have had remarkable success with low reading level students being able to find and summarize currents events articles for ALL of their classes. Students are able to find articles quickly, which is important in a short class time, and understand an article easily. The adjustable reading level (lexile score) is incredibly helpful for differentiated learners. My entire class can read the same article and keep up with each other. The ability to log in with google in a single click means they can actually use it without frustrating log in processes. I've encouraged my entire school to use it to help our mission to increase school wide literacy.

Strengths: The best strengths are the log in with google prevents frustrating log in problems for students. The formatting of the articles and it's simplicity prevents confusion when looking for content. It provides a very easy way for students to search articles without distraction and confusion. I love the ability to download quiz data as an excel spreadsheet. That makes the workflow of using it simple, and doesn't add extra steps when grading. This is really the most unique innovative new idea that I've seen for classroom tech.

Suggestions for Improvement: Please don't change too much. This is currently the best model for online classroom tech. This needs to be the standard model for how new classroom products are designed. Other products need to be more like newsela!

Verdict: The main problem with an administrator request on the teachers is that it will require teachers to add to and adjust their curriculum when they already don't have enough time for themselves. Using newsela would reduce the amount of extra work required for this request. That would help ease the friction that is inevitable when teachers are asked to do something new. School wide literacy is an important thing and newsela could make that easy to achieve.

Special Education Teacher, School Type: Middle School, High School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I've been able to use this product to help students quickly find relevant current events articles for all of their classes. Specifically, our students are needing a source to find news articles to practice summaries as part of a campaign to increase school wide literacy. I've been able to share newsela to all teachers in all subjects as a source for their students.

Strengths: This product has several features that make it one of the best models for a classroom tech product that I've ever seen. It is simple to use and look at which is important because students can get confused and distracted by internet searches. It uses google log in credentials, which is important because students don't often have access to their own email accounts, and can't be trusted to remember their password. It's easy for teachers to use, and solves the problem of preventing an increase in workload with teachers are faced with school wide admin requests (such as school wide literacy). And you can save student quiz data as a useful spreadsheet to put into any gradebook software.

Suggestions for Improvement: PLEASE DON'T CHANGE ANYTHING...except for very minor tweaks. This product really needs to be the standard for which other classroom tech is based on.

Verdict: This is one of the only products that provides something new and innovative that I've never seen before. It actually solves a real problem that students have had with searching the internet for news articles. I have students using this product that are able to finish their work for the first time this year. They haven't been able to search, find, and summarize news articles before without it.

David, Director Of Technology. School Type: Middle School, 1:1 Devices
Sep 13, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to accommodate our population of students with learning disabilities, who often read at a much lower level than their grade.

Strengths: I really like the ability for both the teacher and the student to scale up or scale down the level of detail in the articles. It creates a sense of ownership for the reading. The metrics are excellent and very particular about important aspects of reading.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would add the ability to input individualized answers. I only saw multiple choice options for quizzes. Short essay or single sentence answers would go a long way in helping gauge students' understanding. Some variability in the price options would also be helpful. There is a limited free version and a paid version. Perhaps a lite version that is a halfway point between the free and full versions for lower-income schools. I would like to see some options for ELL, as well. The ability to translate or offer multiple language options.

Verdict: I would recommend we use this tool in order to allow an entire classroom to access the same material at different levels, in this way everyone will have some level of comprehension and students will not be discouraged by their reading abilities.

Ed Tech, School Type: Elementary School
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Based on product demo: I will use this for 5th/6th grade students reading technology news articles as a current event assignment. I can assign a variety of articles for students to read, adjust the reading level as needed, and quiz students on the content.

Strengths: Levels NF news content to student level. NF is a CC focus, so this is a great way to get high-interest/relevant information to students and to assess understanding. Instead of "telling" students why tech ethics is important, or having them read an article they might struggle with, I can have them read a current event article that demonstrates real world implications.

Suggestions for Improvement: When trying to check out articles without being signed in, I got bumped out. Frustrating. WHen I tried to check out a quiz while signed in, the answers showed. I personally like to quiz myself as a student would.

Verdict: Variety of content sources, including AP, Tribune, and McClatchy. Not sure I'd use Scientific American. Doesn't really matter though, because I can pick the articles. Rewrites the article (by a live person) versus changing the vocabulary. Quizzes available on many articles (not sure what %). It's FREE! Subscription version is expensive.

Dept Chair, School Type: High School
May 7, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this to teach students more about current world events that happen daily. I feel that the students would benefit with their reading comprehension, and in their FSA tests (on their ELA concepts,) to showcase how real world informational text is displayed, (text features, etc.) Would also help with argumentative writing of essays based on real world text.

Strengths: I love the fact that you can use the highlighting feature of the article for future tests, and the individual data on each student can drive assessment for future lesson plans, activities and projects in general.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great to see the assessment tools being more readily available, and not have to search for them when you are assessing a student. That part of this software is confusing to me, and I am not sure how proficient I would be with this aspect of the product.

Verdict: Administrators love to hear how technology tools can benefit students by providing opportunities to do better in a test environment. Test scores immediately impact the school grade, and this affects all students, staff, and faculty for funding. Therefore, this program is excellent for this reason.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: This is an excellent way to provide high interest, low vocabulary access for learning disabled and English language learner students, to track student achievement, to provide higher level text options for students who are above grade level. This is an excellent tool for differentiation in a classroom, and to provide the same content at different levels for whole class conversation on the subjects.

Strengths: Well organized, useful across a variety of classroom situations, excellent differentiated learning tool

Suggestions for Improvement: Canadian Content, ability to search according to News Source name

Verdict: Ease of use, multitude of ways this could be used in any classroom, connection to real current world events, supporting learning disabled, ESL and gifted students, excellent tool for differentiation, clear, organized student achievement tracking, compatibility with Excel for printing out reports/ record keeping, visually appealing, students can access it form home, ability to have 'conversations' with students to get them to go deeper with the text, quality non-fiction texts

Sep 13, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this program to give real time intervention to students. This would allow for me to see where students are struggling. My students will be able to see their progress and show their parents. I will be able to differentiate instruction for all of my students.

Strengths: I really enjoyed looking at the way the data is presented and students wiil be able to read it easily. I also like that students will be able to set their goals an direct their own learning. Many students would benefit from seeing how the standards are connected to the test.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great for the app to provide more items for free. I have such a low number of students. ' It would be great to provide information in Spanish for parents. It would also be great to have built in assessments for English Learners.

Verdict: I would recommended because it is a good tool to differentiate and align it with the common core. Many students will know instantly what content they are struggling with. It would be easy to reteach during a conference.

Cassandra, 8th Ela/Dept. Head. School Type: Middle School, Low Income Population, College Prep School
May 7, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would designate one specific day for newsela. This is non-fiction text and aligns with our standards as well as prepares for the Florida State Assessment.

It brings current events and allows students to use their own devices when necessary.

Strengths: The four question quiz is attainable for the student. They are not turned off as to how many questions that they have to work on. I also like as a language arts teacher that I am able to review one written questions so that writing is incorporated in their learning on a daily basis.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Providing home access for every student.
2. Being able to copy and paste my own articles and have them available for other teachers to use/share
3. It sending me related articles based on what I have used so far.

Verdict: The broad range of articles can appeal to any student's interest. I also like that there are text sets that match to any topic or any novel that I am teaching. I will be going back and using the text set for "The Book Thief" as soon as I return.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School
May 7, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I use this program for test preparation, current events lessons, and to tie into current curriculum.

Strengths: This program allows students to work on their level. It also provides them with the answers they've missed so that they can go back into the text and see what they did wrong. Many students who are new to the country appreciate the Spanish feature as well.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would be sure to let schools know about elementary Newsela. I worked with the program for over a year and did not know about it. After the Paris attacks, I did not use it for a while, because even though I could block the content of those articles, the images and headlines were still visible by my young elementary students. Now I know that this won't be an issue thanks to the elementary Newsela.

Verdict: Newsela is aligned with the standards and the current assessments being used. It allows students to read on their lexile level and adjusts accordingly.

Reading Teacher, School Type: High School
May 7, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I use this product with my lowest readers. They are able to choose articles that interest them and challenge themselves with a comprehension quiz. These students use Newela while other students use another product so that they are not teased and can do work at the same time as the other students.

Strengths: This product gives assessments which helps the teacher know if the student understands the material. It also solves the problem of having interesting online reading material, especially nonfiction, that is on each student's reading level.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like an option that I could choose to send an email when the student has completed an assessment. I am currently using it with very low readers and autistic readers in high school once a week so I would not be inundated with emails.

Verdict: I would recommend this product because it provides reading material on all levels as well as assessments.

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