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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.
Kim, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I am so excited! I would use Pearltrees to archive articles for my personal and professional interests, share articles and assignments with my students, and to share with parents articles of interest regarding current educational trends and parenting. I would share with colleagues and my PLN, as well.

Strengths: This product saves articles for future reading, sharing, and sorting. It is easy to organize, and has begun thinking of the special needs of educators.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would allow for easy classroom membership (we can all see and share), annotating for collaboration for classrooms and/or colleagues, saving previous versions to see process of archiving, and if possible hook up with a company that can provide these articles in different lexiles.

Verdict: Teachers work very hard to find great, non-fiction, primary source materials that match our needs by GL and topic areas. This is a great way to not only archive and assign, but to store for future use the next school year and to share with other campuses!

Teacher, School Type: High School
Nov 22, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Edthena allows you to record the lesson plan and leave feedback for the teacher

Strengths: The interface is phenominal!!! Easy to use and easy to understand. The ability to store and organize webpages and content is fantastic! The ability to share and collaborate is brilliant. I'm just thinking of the ability to share and collaborate with colleagues. Also, the idea that this could be used as a digital portfolio for students is something I think would benefit them long term.

Suggestions for Improvement: Other than being greedy and saying give me a terabyte for free, there aren't really any improvements I can suggest right now.

Verdict: So far the best product I've had a chance to see!!!

Laura, Media Specialist. School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, BYOD Devices
Feb 28, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I often have teachers ask me for a tool that they can use to share resources with their students. I can see using this in static way to share multiple resources, or in an interactive way to assess learning.

Strengths: Ease of use and Google integration.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Add audio annotations 2. Add the ability to organize classes 3. Add collaboration abilities

Verdict: It is integrated with Google Drive and can contain web items, multimedia, and personal docs.

1st Grade Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School, 1:1 Devices, Blended Learning
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: In my classroom I would use Pearltrees as a way to keep my resources organized. It was descried to be as a combination of Drop Box and Pinterest. I could use it to collect ideas and resources into one place. My students would also be able to access the resrouces that I organize in a file for them.

Strengths: This product really allows for me to keep organized with all of my websites and resources. It helps me keep everything in one place and keeps it easy to find. I would also be able to use this to differentiate instruction between my students. I could create different folders for each of my small groups and the students could have access to the folders to help them both at home and in school.

Suggestions for Improvement: One thing that I would change is to make it a free program. As a teacher I constantly am spending money that I earn and putting it back into my classroom. It would be nice to find a product that supports teachers without a price to pay. Another thing I would change to make this product work better for me is to give me suggestions of other people using the product to follow. The third thing I would change is to have more icons available.

Verdict: I would recommend this because it is an easy way to keep organized. Its easy for websites to be bookmarked but it can become confusing if you forget where you bookmarked it and what it is. Using Pearltrees you can keep them in a folder. The resources and website pages are stored in this folder and it can be viewed by anyone you invite to see it. Pearltrees would help me keep organized. You could also use it as a tool for parents to go on and see resources that you suggest for them to help their students at home.

Response from Pearltrees: Pearltrees is free and also offers premium plans with additional features (we also support teachers with discounts for groups) In the future we will also have premium plans specifically for education as well.

Pearltrees does provide suggestions for content related to whatever you have in your account. We also have a "find friends" feature that will allow you to quickly identify anyone you already know that is using Pearltrees.

Pearltrees does not provide icons. Users create their own icons for each collection. In effect this means there's an infinite number of possible icons available to users to customize their collections

3rd Grade Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School, College Prep School, 1:1 Devices
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this to keep a professional portfolio. I would keep all of my lesson plans and units on this, along with student samples and pictures. I would also keep pictures of my classroom on here, including bulletin board pictures. I would additionally use this to for my students to submit work and view each other's work.

On a personal note, I would use this for wedding planning to stay organized and collaborate with my family. I would save favorite pictures, checklists, etc on it.

Strengths: This product solves the problem of having everything in one place in an organized manner. This product promotes and allows for collaboration. It solves the problem of having pictures, documents, etc in one share-able place. This product does a great job with organization. i love how you can have folders and sub-folders for everything. It is also visually appealing.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Make it free. I don't like how for upgrades you have to pay.
2. Allow some folders to be hidden or private. Similar to Pinterest, we can have three FREE hidden folders.
3. Allow for feedback to be given-- So when students upload things, I would love for other students and myself to give them feedback directly on the document/ pictures.

Verdict: I would recommend it because it is all public and allows educators and students to share their work, ideas, and pictures. It promotes collaboration and my students and other teachers will be able to see other's work and samples. I have learned so much from collaboration and this really promotes it. I like how people can also see visuals/ pictures. I love the organization and albums. It is easy to follow.

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 exactly like Pinterest, but there are differences to the product that can't be beat! I love that everything is right there in front of me on a "light table" interface. The presenter mentioned using it today at the summit to store information (like cards, apps, etc.) and I loved that idea. I didn't get around to doing that, but now that I'm looking at all the paperwork I brought back, I wish I had done it so I could have the information digitally.

Strengths: This product solves the issue of having paper and files everywhere. As a teacher, I practically collect paper. I hate it though, because I feel like I always forget things. This would be a great graphical representation of everything I would want to see on a light table. When the presenter called it that, I really liked the imagery that presented in my head. I feel like my students would appreciate the fact that it was easy to view and use.

Suggestions for Improvement: The only improvement I can think of would be something to do with data collection. Perhaps if there was a teacher feature where students could follow certain boards based on their classes/content. Or if there was a way to present the content or something?

Verdict: I would recommend this for teachers, students, administrators, anyone who wanted to organize a cork-board/pin-board/bookmark page that was more than just that. I loved that any content could be added, links, pictures, files, etc. The interface seemed user-friendly and looked decent from what I could tell.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, College Prep School
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use Pearltrees as resources for my students. It will be a great tool for early finishers, struggling students and English Language Learners. For example, I would post various materials for my advanced learners to utilize when they have completed their classwork. This would be a great resource for visual and auditory learners. I would use this application to help stuggling ELL students develop their vocabulary through visuals.

Strengths: This product can help organize students into groups and would be beneficial during small groups or center time. This will help cut down preparation time when everything is in the touch of studnets' fingertips.

Suggestions for Improvement: I wish this product includes more privacy for their free membership. I would love to include lesson plans and personal materials without it being shared amonst users. Students would also benefit from a forum about specific topics. One more thing that could be improved is allowing students to upload and share their own personal interest.

Verdict: I would recommend this tool because it's not just for classroom usage but it could also be a school wide communication tool. Often times in our busy day, communitcation gets lost in translation so I think this would be a great way to have the school involved and informed.

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

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product to collect student work samples, create a group training tool, present evidence of informal assessment for parent conferences and IEPs.

Strengths: It serves as a great visual organizational tool to present to parents and share with fellow educators and administrators. It seems like a good way to save and share student work samples, especially with students with disabilities who don't always have pencil-paper worksheets to collect as data.

Suggestions for Improvement: Maybe it would benefit the entire school population if more student-accessibility was embedded. It was a product more useful for educators and not so for students to use as a resource. It would be beneficial to have a way to connect with families also so that they can upload the progress students are making at home also. Another suggestions is for the free version to be naturally upgraded with an option to purchase parts of the product when the user is ready.

Verdict: It is a great way for both general education and special education teachers to share ideas, student work samples, and resources on instructional strategies. It is also very easy to use.

Lisa, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product as a way to introduce first graders to research and expository writing.

Strengths: This product saves a lot of time by organizing pictures, articles and videos together by topic or subject areas. It creates a safe and structured way for students to find information within groups,partners or individually. It provides a safe place to store and view videos and pictures without unwanted and unsecured content appearing.

Suggestions for Improvement: This product should be offered free to teachers, this product should have a a user friendly way for teachers to share information with students for at home use as well as in class use. This product should have a list of topics or subjects on pages already set up so that teachers and students can find instant related materials to use in an investigation or research theme.

Verdict: I would recommend creating a thematic page for students to research information within a given topic or subject area.

Instructional Tech Tosa, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices, BYOD Devices
Apr 25, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: Create and curate content libraries that I could embed in my classroom website. I could use it for student in the classroom, parent links, colleague articles. From a professional development perspective, as a way to share resources around the district.

Strengths: It is very visually appealing, love the format. The ability to embed mini-collections on my site, and or sent out mini-collections to different subgroups, and or classes, or colleague groups.

Suggestions for Improvement: Is it easy for students to create a share content to teacher? I'd love to have students have the ability to do the content creation and then share with peers. Not much to improve, but very simple, clean interface. Love it.

Verdict: Love the visual piece. I've used Symbaloo in the past, but this is visually much more appealing and dynamic.

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