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.
Teacher Ela, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: This app would compensate for the lack of a dedicated vocabulary enrichment program while capitalizing on students' love of texting. I could use it for bell work and also during writing assignments.

Strengths: Anything that encourages students to move beyond "text-speak" is highly desirable to ELA teachers. The fact that this capitalizes on an activity that students WANT to do anyway is absolutely brilliant. And the fact that it allows students to opt to make changes or not makes it more likely that they will absorb the vocabulary even if they choose not to use it.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great to have some way of being sure that students were actually texting on-task. A means of compiling how often students incorporated the suggested vocabulary would also help me justify the use to my administrators. Those are really the only two changes I would make.

Verdict: As I noted, we lack a dedicated vocabulary enrichment program and, with middle school students, we already have a population of dedicated texters. This application speaks to both those issues.

Debra, Ela Teacher. School Type: High School, Higher Education, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, College Prep School, BYOD Devices
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: this is a great tool for our students in learning new words - particularly academic language as they use it in their daily lives.

Strengths: Just the ability of students to make use of and learn more sophisticated vocabulary as it applies to their daily lives makes this a valuable product. Students won't use something they cannot use as part of their regular routine. This accommodates that use.

Suggestions for Improvement: Could it potentially be tied back to me to show me how often a student uses the words that are supplied to them by the system? This works for texting - what about other social media? I use social media for some communications with my students so this type of application would be helpful for their responses. Can new words be added to your database if something isn't in there yet?

Verdict: It is an easier access for our students than a thesaurus and far more applicable because they can use it in their daily lives. This gives them incentive to use it.

General Ed Teacher, School Type: Elementary School
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I'd use this product to help my students improve their vocabulary.

Strengths: This product allows students to always be practicing vocabulary development.

Suggestions for Improvement: I'd love to see a word or google doc extension to help students in their writing.

I'd love more examples of lessons so that teachers could then use the product in the classroom.

Opening this up beyond iPhone would allow more people to use the product (android, computer based, etc.)

Verdict: It's intuitive in its use, because students are texting all the time anyway. Students would buy in because the product can help them sound and become smarter.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would love to incorporate this program to support my ELL students when writing. Vocabulary development is very important and I think this might bridge the gap a bit to help students learn new vocabulary for words they often use.

Strengths: I like how it finds substitutions for words kids would normally text.

I like that it will hopefully broaden student's vocabulary.

I like that it seems pretty easy to use.

Suggestions for Improvement: Right now, this program can only be used while texting. I wish you could incorporate it into Google Classroom so when kids are working on written responses, they have access to different vocabulary words. This would improve their vocabulary and writing skills.

I would like to see Chromebook access.

I hope it is free or at least there might be scholarships available.

Verdict: I would love to incorporate this program to support my ELL students when writing. Vocabulary development is very important and I think this might bridge the gap a bit to help students learn new vocabulary for words they often use.

Music/Behavioral Therapist, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, 1:1 Devices, Blended Learning
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use it while texting to expand and diversify ways to say one thing.

Strengths: I appreciate how this tool delivers synonymous ways to communicate something, while staying in context of the intended meaning. It solves communication disabilities when discerning the most effective way or word(s) to express a certain thought.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would improve this product by expanding its use for inside the classroom aside from just text messages in the phone. Having this application applied to written works could improve writing ease and also educate writers on diverse ways to communicate and express a thought.

Verdict: I would advocate for it because it serves as an active thesaurus to find synonymous ways for people to communicate their thoughts when deriving ways to say something.

ian, Teacher. School Type: High School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use it as a supplement to vocab enrichment. It is used on cell phones so students could use it for extra credit or in a more structured approach.

Strengths: This is a wonderful approach to improving vocabulary. It could be used to improve content-specific vocab or everyday use.

Suggestions for Improvement: Would like some type of assessment or review. Would like possibility of a second translation of adjectives in certain contexts. (into a foreign language).
Would like target words.

Verdict: It makes vocabulary growth very accessible. It provides a study tool that students can use without thinking.

Michael, Tosa. School Type: Middle School, High School
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: As a way to promote the use of more complex vocabulary in everyday conversations.

Strengths: Easy to install and access. Simple to use. Effective.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Increase the number of words that are offered as synonyms.

2. Provide a way to ensure that the word is being used appropriately.

3. Create a way to collect the new words student have used so they can access them and their definitions later.

Verdict: Students are already used to texting interfaces, and this app ties seamlessly into that means of communication. It is lightweight, and easily accessible to Android an iOS users.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: At this stage it is too high level for my younger students. I will recommend to my 6th grade teacher friends though!

Strengths: I love the vocabulary growth and the options that were offered. The kids as they are texting would do well to add some of these synonyms to their vocabulary bank.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would love it if you came up with something like this for our younger primary students. Maybe not texting, but an ipad program that they could email to each other? They do learn about digital emailing and they practice.

Verdict: Too high for my group I'd ask the upper grade to support it on their issues.

Megan, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starno starno starno star Wouldn't Advocate

Usage: Will students want to use this outside of school? When they text they want to go fast. I'm not sure they would take the time to scroll through the words to find substitutes. Also, it seems as if both students would need to use the program; otherwise, the receiver would wonder why there are strange words. If a student is very interested in vocabulary, I think he/she would like it and find it fun, but I think the average middle and high school student wouldn't find the time trade off worth it.

Strengths: If this product was available for computer devices, I believe it could help students in their writing. Vocabulary development is very important and having a bank of words to use would be fun for the students to scroll through and pick new words.

Suggestions for Improvement: Availability on more devices other than just phones and tablets.

Dictionary feature? Just in case you forget what a word means.

Are the words categorized? For instance, in the lesson plan, can you type in something like "restaurant related words"?

Verdict: Everyone needs to have their own device. The majority of schools do NOT want cell phones being used in the classroom.

Also, who would regulate the texts being distributed? It's hard to see what the students are typing if they are on their own personal device.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this so that I or my students can help them write and speak better and expand their vocabulary and expose them to academic language. It is good adjective practice as well.

Strengths: This product provides students with words that are academic and better than what they normal speak and saves students the time of asking me to look for a dictionary to find a better way to say a word like fun. It also is cool since it has students texting and typing which they love. This will great engage students and improve their vocabularies.

Suggestions for Improvement: Make it more accessible to younger students

Make it available to other devices that don't run on IOS

Make it free

Verdict: It is very cool in that it gives students automatically various high-level academic language words that are on tests that they can use instead of the words they are currently using and typing that are basic and dull. This well help to expand their oral, reading, and written vocabularies and make their writing more creative, impressive, and interesting.

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