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.
Angel, Bilingual teacher. School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I think it is a great tool to improve the writing on kids that usually don't like too much because it require an effort sometimes to hard for students.
I will use during small instruction on centers to practice writing and to promote technology skills. Then, they can share their creations with their families.

Strengths: It is a tool that aligns to Common Core.
It improves writing and reading skills. The process of book creation provides a way to develop students' creativity and cooperation. It is an excellent way to promote literacy acquisition and the format really motivates students. They are proud of their product and they want to read it to other people, so they are developing reading and writing skills. It also promotes entrepreneurship.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great to have some kind of guiding writing to start with for small children, specially the one that have problems to focus on one idea. Modeling by giving clues on what to write about, or how to express an idea will improve the first results encouraging them to better writing.

Verdict: It is a tool that helps students' writing and enable them to publish self-created digital books. It teaches children in primary grades to read by writing their own digital books. The process of book creation provides a way to develop their creativity, independence, cooperation and their interest in writing. Then, their books can be shared with friends and family. It is an excellent way to promote literacy acquisition and the format really motivates students. They are proud of their product and they want to read it to other people, so they are developing reading and writing skills. Another aspect that needs to be mentioned is that this app promotes the entrepreneur spirit and interpersonal skills.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I do writer's workshop in my class and it is a perfect program to have. It looks a lot more exciting than asking my first graders or any students to write with pencil and paper. I think it will motivate my students to write more. I am not tech savvy but this program looks simple enough for me to use right the way as soon as I sign up and fees sound reasonable.

Strengths: I like the fact that everything is in the cloud and I don't have to deal with reading their handwriting or loose pages. I also line the fact that other viewers get to view each other' books and "like" the book.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to have a comment box so I can make suggestions to my students on every page.

It would be great if I can download a generic letter in Chinese & English explaining how this works and how this can come alive if each family contributes x amour if money.

Provide guidelines or sample books for different genres of writing. For example, have an example of a personal narratives, informational writing, research writing and "how to" so students have some guidelines.

Verdict: I would recommend this tool because it enhances what we are already doing and the great thing is parents get to see their kids' work whenever they want. Teachers don't have to deal with massive paper work.

Gennie, Transitional Kindergarten Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: This product seems like a great way to get my students excited about writing. With my particular population (4 and 5 year olds) I think I will have my students make stories on paper and use this product to save and share their work. I will have to use my own ipad because my classroom doesn't have 1:1 tech, but I don't think that would stop me from using it (It's THAT exciting!)

Strengths: There are so many features that I am excited about! The keyboard says the letter sounds as children press the letters! The option to add photos. The option to record the child's voice! The different fields for the children to type and for the teacher to "translate." :)

Suggestions for Improvement: This is really difficult for me because I am so excited about this product. He said that it is free for the rest of the year, but I would love it to be free forever (or at least two years...) :) Other than that, I honestly cannot think of other things I would change. It's THAT good!

Verdict: This product seems to really align with the goals of common core writing. It is user friendly and helps teach as the children use it (how great is the keyboard that says the letter-sound as the children press it?!?!?!) I think that this is how I will get my hesitant writers excited to write!

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this program to allow students to show what they are learning in the classroom. I would select a lesson that I taught during the week such as a science lesson and have students create a book about the science lesson.

Strengths: This product is a great way for students to publish a book that have difficulties with reading, writing and spelling. I especially, like that a teacher can easily edit student work and the student can have it read back to them. I also like that parents can have access to their child's work. Then its great that it can be publishes and shared so others can read their stories. This will motivate students to want to write more.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great if the students can have their own work read back to them and not just the teachers editing. That way they can hear what their work sounds like before deciding to submit to the teacher for editing. This will help students catch more of their mistakes before deciding they are complete.

Verdict: I would advocate for it because this gives students an easy and helpful way to become authors. It has many helpful tools to help the low performing students to also become proud publishers of a book they created.

Lucy, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product to enhance the writing skills of my Kindergarten students. Just recently they wrote a 3-sentence report on a favorite animal, which they then illustrated. Eventually the published their report in a Word document. This report would translate very well into one of these books!

Strengths: This product is no only visually appealing but it also puts publishing into the hands of young children almost effortlessly. I love that its keyboard has a phonics button so the kids can hear the sounds of the letters as they type them. I imagine the kids being highly engaged because they get to write about topics that they are interested in.

Suggestions for Improvement: First, I would provide some sort of filtering capability in the library so that people (students and adults) can filter books by the age of authors, language, etc. Second, in the future I would allow the students to edit the pictures they use in the books, e.g., dialog bubbles.

Verdict: I would recommend the product based on its ease-of-use and its level of engagement capability. This product enables children to be authors and puts them in touch with other authors their own age.

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

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this to review letters, sounds, writing, almost everything for language arts.

Strengths: I love that you as the teacher/parent have the ability to go in and type the correct spelling under the student's story. I really love the fact that the students can hear the sounds as they type and that these books can be printed up for the students to keep.

Suggestions for Improvement: I couldn't hear the sound, but hope that the letter sounds are correct. I also cannot wait for the ability to choose pictures from google for the students to use because right now they can just take pictures of things they want to write about. But, this isn't possible when they are at a desktop or don't have a picture of their topic.

Maybe give the students the ability to draw their picture as well? (Maybe this feature is already there and I missed this part of the presentation.)

Verdict: I love that this program allows students to create their own books. I also love that there's the ability to hear the sounds and have the letters read to the students as they are typing. This is just another way for review for all my students.

Lorayne, TSA for Technology. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use WriteReader with elementary students to develop writing skills and reading. I can see the potential for collaborative work between students to improve their skills.

Strengths: WriteReader puts students in the driver's seat while they create authentic books. Students can use their own pictures or import pictures from a Google search. Students can also add up to 60 seconds of audio on each page of their book. Teachers or parents can then give feedback to the student directly on the page the student created. The books can be emailed or printed out, as well as exist in an online bookshelf where students can get peer feedback.

Suggestions for Improvement: One way to improve WriteReader would be to add other languages such as Spanish. Many EL students could better access WriteReader benefits if they could use it in their home language.

Verdict: I would recommend teachers using WriteReader in classrooms to develop and support reading and writing skills. Using this platform will address Common Core standards for authentic writing.

Teacher, School Type: High School

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would choose a lesson per week, alternating the content ( Math, Science, History) and have the students write a simple book on what they learned. I would also have the students create fictional work. I would print the books so the students will begin to see themselves as writers.

Strengths: It will allow struggling or beginning writers to practice their writing in a fun and unique way. Students can also get a printed copy of the book they created to share with family and friends. It will instill pride in their work.

Suggestions for Improvement: I wish the text that they are writing would be able to be read back to them so that they may hear how their writing sounds. This will allow them to make self corrections before submitting it to get corrected.

Verdict: I would recommend this product so that our students will begin to see their work in a creative form that they can share with others.

Librarian, School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product for students to create final writing projects.

Strengths: This product is great for students to create their own books. It resolves the problem of having to produce written work suitable for publishing because the teacher can edit the work before it's printed or showcased. Great for pre- emergent readers/writers.

Suggestions for Improvement: I'd like to see more options for coloring the book and adding original artwork, some more advanced tools for older students, and standard aligned lesson plan suggestions.

Verdict: I 'd recommend this as a low tech integration of technology into student assignments. There is an option to print and it allows for easy interaction for even the youngest student.

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

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would like my students to publish books on different research projects that they do in the classroom or at home for homework.

Strengths: It works nicely for teacher feedback before they print. We can communicate with positive feedback. It looks very teacher/student friendly.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like it to be free for every year since we have to pay to print it out ourselves.

I'm not too sure how teachers monitor the kids progress.

Do they have access to this program at home?

Verdict: It is a great way to create a report that is fun and engaging for students. Teachers can print it out right away. Students have access to their classmates projects too to learn form each other.

Teaher, School Type: High School, Project Based School, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Students will be able to create their own story and i will be able to help them giving them clues. this is help them with their fluency, reading and even speaking skills.

Strengths: I think students will have fun using this. They will also learn how to write and speak because they will be able to listen to themselves. THey can be very creative.

Suggestions for Improvement: I think this is just great. All students will enjoy using it and it will make everything more interesting for them. it will definetelly help all my students.

Verdict: I think this is a fun and interesting way for students to practice their writing skills which is an important thing to do in all levels.

1st Grade teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School, Blended Learning

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Create books with my students during our writing block

Strengths: Allows students to create books while learning sounds/spelling. Promotes creativity.

Suggestions for Improvement: Create easier way to log in for students. Google log in/ picture password etc. automatically change common misspelled words. Allow students to draw directly on the book from the website. (no camera required)

Verdict: Students get to create their own books, share it with classmates or general public.

Melissa, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this to supplement the Core Ready writing curriculum that our district is implementing this year. It would allow a format for students to publish their work. I would also use it when we do our animal kingdom unit and students are expected to collaboratively and independently research specific animals. This would be a wonderful format for publishing their findings, and also allowing them to see that they truly are and truly can be authors.

Strengths: I really like that this gives teachers and students the tools and formats to create books. it is much easier than creating a book as a word document, or the like. It has great potential.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to see this product remain free, rather than free for a limited time. I would not pay for this product. While it does add ease of use for teachers and students through the use of an app or templates to create your own book, it doesn't offer a product that is more appealing than software and tools that I already have at my disposal (i.e., Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Apple Pages, Adobe software, etc.).

Verdict: This program gives teachers the tools to help students see that they truly are authors. It also allows students to create a physical keepsake copy of their book. This would be a fantastic supplement to a classroom library, and also for Open House displays. As a teacher, I could also create books for students that are in their zone of proximal development or primary language, while still targeting specific areas of student interest.

Megan, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I teach fourth and fifth grade students. They love to do creative writing but sometimes are daunted by physically writing things down. They have varied skill levels at MS Word and it's hard to import pictures and keep the formatting intact. This would allow them to make projects for their own personal use (journals) or school projects. I also have an English-language learner who would benefit from the editing feature.

My first- through third- grade students would like this too, but they would need more help because they aren't as computer savvy.

Strengths: Ability easily see student's work and mark corrections without messy paperwork.

Interface appears easy for students. Type and insert picture. No tricky formatting, saving...

Repeat value is high - students can make new ones for different subjects

Suggestions for Improvement: All book formats are the same - would like to see customized features - more layouts for picture only, words only, timelines, graphs or charts...

Books look somewhat juvenile. I think older students (even in junior high) would like it if it looked more sophisticated.

Would like to see ability to publish a better looking final product rather than just computer paper.

Verdict: It's free.
Doesn't require a e-mail address for the student.
Privacy - only our class can see our work.
Ability to print a copy to showcase at school or at home.
Motivate reluctant writers.

Nancy, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: This is a great writing tool. I would use it in a variety of ways from whole group instruction to differentiation. I have quite a few kids this year who really need creative, stimulating learning tools and this seems to fit. For example I have one ADHD child who loves Minecraft. He would absolutely go wild being able to write a book about this awesome game.

It appears easy to get the parents involved with this product. It seems easy to implement, and very motivating for the students.

Strengths: The appearance and professionalism is great and the kids will really enjoy it. The parents can help when an assignment is at home thus making them co-teachers and more involved in their child's education.

It is also going to give me another tool for differentiation, which I desperately need this year.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to see the teacher be able to put in the password so I could make them consistent with other passwords the children use.

I would like to see a setting where other students could go in and edit another child's work thus helping me teach editing skills.

I am concerned about exporting this onto my blog or via email. I would like to be able to share this easily with colleague, etc. especially when there is sound involved.

Verdict: It fits differentiation, PBL, and Daily Five beautifully!

Teacher/; Tech support, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use it for students to publish their own writing and supplement our writing workshop program. Anything where the students can print up their work and show is a plus.

Strengths: I think I stated the pluses already. It would be interesting to see if the books can all be put together in one spot. Meaning the teacher had access for the student work without going into each device. I can't remember if that is a possibility where it has a teacher dash board.

Suggestions for Improvement: Needs a teacher dashboard where teachers can access all student books together. It would also be interesting to see if they could upload to a class site so that the books can be accessible to all, and not just have to print them up first. It would be nice to have the books be able to share with other students so that the students could work collaboratively together on separate devices. Kind of like a Google Doc that allows multiple editors.

Verdict: This is a great avenue for students to publish their writing for free. I like that it is free and the teachers can print up from their own printers. I like that students could put their writing in actual print and add their own pictures to the story or personal narrative.

Helena, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product as a way for students to show their understanding of a topic at the end of a unit. It would be a great way to share what they know with their families and the other students. Writing a book and adding pictures gives them ownership over their learning.

Strengths: It gives students ownership of their own work and allows them to share their understanding in a fun and creative way. It blends online learning and technology with physical hands on learning in a very creative way.

Suggestions for Improvement: There should be a talk to text feature that allows students to hear the words in the app or website while they are reading. This currently a feature for teachers, but not for students.

Verdict: It is a great way for students who struggle with reading and writing to share what they know and give them a boost of confidence. They will also get to see ho to read and write correctly, but still be able to see their own words.

General Ed Teacher, School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I'd use this product to allow students to create their own stories and books online.

Strengths: This product expands student interest in reading by having students create their own stories. The way they can publish their own stories and see how many people have read it and "liked" it will encourage them to keep creating.

Suggestions for Improvement: Video tutorials for students would be helpful to cut down on teacher time spent explaining how to use the product.

It'd be nice to have a feature where it explains to students what kind of writing they are doing, rather than being so open ended. This would also allow teachers to track CC standards.

A collaborative feature might increase student buy-in, where they could share a story and work on it together.

Verdict: It engages students by allowing them to create a visually polished piece of writing, which they might not be able to do offline.

shane, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product to help students practice story creation, fluency, and grammar skills.

Strengths: I love that this program allows students to upload images that they've created. I was also impressed that students can read their stories and it records their voice. Furthermore, i think its very beneficial for students to see corrective teacher feedback.

Suggestions for Improvement: I think a spell or grammar check feature while the students are typing would be beneficial for students. This may also help students develop self monitoring skills.

Verdict: This service allows students to create illustrations and use illustrations from the web. This gives students a further sense of ownership and it is one key piece I have seen missing in other story creation products.

Lauren, Technology Integration Coach. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would love to use this program to allow my students to publish their work in books that can be shared.

Strengths: Free!! I love that it gives students a chance to publish their work. This creates more buy in for kids and allows them to really get passionate about their projects. I also like how it allows the teacher to add text to the pages as well.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like a really simple version with fewer buttons for the primary kids to use. I would also like to see the ability to go back if you make a mistake.

Verdict: I like that is works on all platforms and does not currently have a cost for students and teachers to use it.

RSP, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product with my students to create and publish books.

Strengths: The ability to have students use inventive spelling to create a product is great with the ability to give them feedback later on their work.

Suggestions for Improvement: IT is difficult to give feedback when one has not used the product. I like that the price is free at this time and that even when there is a fee it seems that the cost will be affordable for my district.

Verdict: This is a great product for helping students with writing and reading.

Shaina, Computer Teacher. School Type: Elementary School

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: This product is quite similar to StoryBird and that is what I use with my students. StoryBIrd is a visual story telling tool where students create their own stories.

Strengths: This product does give students a platform to create their own digital stories and feel a sense of ownership of their learning.

Suggestions for Improvement: This tool is very similar to StoryBird--a free, online visual story telling tool where students can create their own stories based upon images they have selected. If this product can do something different to make it stand out from StoryBird then perhaps it would be more interesting to use.

Verdict: This product is similar to StoryBird which is a free visual story telling product where students can create their own stories.

Mentee, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Low Income Population, Project Based School, College Prep School, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I would use it to encourage young readers to create original content and thus learn reading and storytelling

Strengths: - encourages creativity
- empowers young readers
- helps them sound out words
- gives them product to take home
- encourages pride and ownership in learning

Suggestions for Improvement: - seems like could only effectively be done once or twice, not multiple times in a school setting
- could get boring over time
- might not appeal to everyone / topics don't seem super cool

Verdict: I think it's effective as a tool to teach reading; I strongly believe in creative exercises and encouraging kids to imagine

Digital Learning Coach, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I would use it for student writing. Writing books, reports in book form.

Strengths: The ability for teachers to write what the student wrote as a correction is a good tool for students. I outcomes are visually pleasing and the ability to share globally what they have created is a powerful tool!

Suggestions for Improvement: Expand to upper grades for short stories or colaborative novel would be cool. Integrate into Google Drive would be neat as well. And translation for ELL students would be nice!

Verdict: It is limited in age range. The concept is good but limited to primary grades.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I would use this so students are able to create their own digital books based on their interests.

Strengths: I think it motivates students to want to write about what they are interested in and because it is a web app they are able to go on other sites to he their writing.

Suggestions for Improvement: How can students share and publish their writing, is there an easy way to print the digital book for students to have a hard copy to share with their family.

Verdict: I think this would be a good way to motivate students to want to write more me include graphics in their stories.

Helene, Technology Coordinator. School Type: Elementary School, Project Based School, Blended Learning

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: Create drawings as prompts and write stories about them.

Strengths: I like the read aloud feature and also how students can publish their work to share. It also incorporates using media that they create and photographs.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would have a built in drawing feature so that it would be easier for 1st graders to use. I would have different template layouts for varied designs. I would connect to the Seesaw ap for easier communication with parents.

Verdict: This might not work for every grade level. It looks like a good program for grades 1, 2, 3.

Lynda, Teacher. School Type: Middle School, Project Based School

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: Because it's too low level

Strengths: I don't like that it's too low level for my population of students. I teach gifted 7-8 grade students.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would make it for higher level students and I would probably recommend it for the special education program at our school in order to meet the needs of that population. Those levels are better for this product. I like that online library and critical thinking for those students.

Verdict: I teach middle school and it's for k-3

Technology Integration Specialist, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School

full starfull starno starno starno star Wouldn't Advocate

Usage: I prefer another tool that is similar.

Strengths: WriteReader produces clean, simple digital books that can be printed out and enjoyed as hard copies.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1) More creative options. Offering more opportunities to customize the visual features of the book may be more exciting for young learners.
2) Common Core alignment. More information about how this program aligns to CCSS would be helpful.
3) Cost. What is the cost? What does this product offer that a free alternative does not?

Verdict: My district already promotes a similar tool.

Technology Integration Specialist, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population

full starfull starno starno starno star Wouldn't Advocate

Usage: Too stripped down/basic.

Strengths: This solves the program of paper, glue, and scissors. It helps students learn correct spelling. I like the intention, but I think there are better products out there.

Suggestions for Improvement: I like the intention of the app, but here are some suggestions:
1) Make the app free.
2) Allow more formatting options for older students.
3) Allow more template choices.

Verdict: We already promote other book-making apps and programs that are student-friendly with more features.

Resource Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, College Prep School

full starno starno starno starno star Wouldn't Advocate

Usage: I teach reading (American English). When I tried the Ap set on Phonics, the sounds were not produced the way they are taught, and it would confuse my students. For example the long a vowel sound (spelled "ay" as in day, may) was pronounced short a, and the y sound. Those sounds were wrong and (in American English) are taught together. Also "y" alone makes several sounds based on it's position in a word. "Y. As in yes and also short and long i and also long e. For alphabet recognition, this Ap is fine.

Strengths: Alphabet recognition is fine. Visually appealing.

Suggestions for Improvement: I demonstrated the flaw to the representative. Designing a multi lingual product is an ambitious undertaking. I teach reading to Special Needs students and ELL. I can't use this Ap if I want to enforce the learning of phonemes while my students write.

Verdict: It teaches American English phonemes incorrectly. I gave a lengthy explanation (example I experienced) on the previous page.

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