Tag Archives: Webapp

The Fusion of Learning Management and Educational Apps


Chalkable is an exciting web based service transforming the way educators and administrators manage information. The front-end for this K-12 service allows you to manage grading, attendance and discipline online within their platform. They have an integrated app store within their platform, which allows educators to search for the best educational apps across the web. The store catalog apps by category, such as History, Math, Science, and more.


Chalkable’s unique single sign-on system allows for the seamless integration of your school’s Student Information System (SIS) and includes tools such as analytics, news feed, calendar and messaging system that can be used with students, teachers, administrators and parents. They offer an open-ended free trial for up to five teachers and guarantee you will love their service.


Chalkable was recently selected as a finalist for the 2013 SIIA CODiE Awards in the Best K-12 Course or Learning Management Solution. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Evan Kontras, Chalkable’s Vice-President for business development to learn more about their service and the company’s vision. I was impressed at Chalkable’s intuitive user interface and tight integration of the app store and admin tasks. These are distinctive features that make up a truly transparent experience for teachers and administrators. Please watch the interview video below.

The service is $10 a year per student, and this includes setup and integration for your school. This is a reasonable service fee considering you will get half of that money back into your apps purchasing budget. This is a winning formula for any school looking to transform student information management by signing up for this service.

To learn more about Chalkable and sign-up for a free trial please visit http://chalkable.com/

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Quixey | The Search Engine for Apps


The evolution of app searching, cataloging and curation is here. There are hundreds of app review sites, software stores and many other places on the internet where you can search for apps and software applications. The problem is that while many sites promise fast search and app indexing most fail miserably at satisfying the needs of busy connected educators. The ones looking for educational apps, software and tools without having to spend too much time browsing a site.

That is where Quixey comes in as an intelligent search engine that allows you to search for Mobile Apps, Desktop Applications, Browser Add-Ons, Extensions and Webapps. The best thing about this search engine is the ability to narrow down searches by mobile device type whether it be Android, Blackberry, iPad, iPhone or Windows Phone. The Desktop applications search category looks for the usual suspects in Mac and Windows, while the Browser Category search for Add-On’s and Extensions for all major browsers. Targeted searches for webapps look for both native and Salesforce webapps and that is a bonus. Search results are broken down by free and paid apps and clicking the thumbnails for search returns open an expanded detail view with a download link for the selected application. To learn more about Quixey head over to their website to give it a try, http://www.quixey.com

I have made a short video to demonstrate how to use this amazing web tool. Please “Like” this video and hit “Subscribe” on my YouTube channel to receive links of new videos.

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PowToon | The Next Presenter on Stage


There are many great apps, software and online solutions you can use to make presentations and demo videos. The main problem will all of them is they have a steep learning curve. Well, I am here to tell you that is all about to change. Powtoon is a next generation online service that allows anybody to create awesome presentations that can be shown in presentation mode or as a video.


They have simplified the presentation storyboarding process. You can build a presentation in minutes by using a series of drag-n-drop toon-objects that include; text holders, images, character, props, markers, transitions and backgrounds. There are no dizzying effects like in Prezi or complicated menus like those found in GoAnimate and other web tools. The PowToon scientists as they call themselves initially thought of this concept as a way for businesses to put together marketing presentations, promotional and training videos.


The one thing they did not count on was the ingenious minds of connected educators. We all know who they are they are always looking for creative ways to engage their students. In order to satisfy educators requests they decided to release an educator version. PowToon4Edu allows any educator to create an unlimited amount of presentations online.

The service is not free, but it is reasonably priced at $6.25 mo. or $75.00 per year. What you get is a bundle of 5 PowToon Styles one can use to create an unlimited amount of presentations, videos up to 25 minutes in length and the ability to export 15 presentations a month. These presentations can be uploaded to YouTube, embed into an LMS, Blog or school website. One also gain the ability to share presentations on all major social networks which is a standard feature of the service.


This week I sat down with Daniel Zaturansky, Co-Founder of PowToon to talk about the company’s vision for education. During our interview, we talked about PowToon features and how does it compares to other products. Please watch the videos below for our interview and a PowToon4edu demo.

After working with PowToon for couple of months now I found it very intuitive and with many appealing animation styles. They definitely put some time thinking about the layout and features for the service. The only thing missing in my opinion is the ability to import YouTube clips into your presentation and to be able to record your voice while putting the presentation together. During our conversation Daniel told me these are all features we might see in future releases of the service. PowToon has partnership agreements with Edmodo and the Discovery Channel Educator Network both of which are great additions for educators looking to expand their presence beyond the classroom.



Cutting Edge Texting… Now on Android

remind 101 just announced the release of their Android App. remind101 is the fastest, safest and easiest way for connected educators to communicate with their students through private and secure text messages.  In today’s mobile classroom environment, our students show up to the classroom with devices in hand, and it is essential for educators to have a safe and efficient way to communicate with them. This release makes it easier for students, parents and educators to use this awesome tool regardless of platform or device.

The service allows educators to broadcast messages to both students and parents in a convenient and easy to use platform. Like a Swiss Army knife, remind101 manage to incorporate many aspects of effective communication in a simple and tightly integrated app.

This means remind101 is now available as a FREE download on both Google Play and iTunes. The app features, class management for up to 10 classes, unlimited students or parent’s text messaging, message scheduling, users text history and many others. Watch my interview with Brett Kopf, Co-Founder of remind 101 and the accompanying demo of remind 101 to learn more about this great resource for connected educators. You can download the Android app by visiting the Google Play store now.

As always please leave your comments or questions below and Subscribe to my YouTube channel and news feed.

remind101 | Bret Kopf


How It Works

via: remind101 on Vimeo.

Claco .: United We Teach… Together We Learn!

A month ago I wrote a post about ClassConnect a cloud based service that allow teachers to build, organize, store and share lessons with other educators. I promised to bring you some updates and I am pleased to announce that ClassConnect has left the Imagine K-12 incubator and its now Claco.

The premise remains the same, to help educators work collaboratively with other professionals from around the world. I have been BETA testing it, and I love what they have done since we talked and how it has developed. The new version of the service allows storage, and easy access, to any website, video, files and more from a single location. There is also an option to align resources with the newly introduced Common Core curriculum.

Besides the ability to store any resources, one might need for a class they have added a social component that allows sharing content on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. One can also add notes to binders, create folders within them, drag & drop resources and even add embed code for multimedia content (think PBS, Khan Academy, YouTube, ect…) that plays from the binder with no ads. This last one is a great idea for Flipped Classroom, Project Based Learning or Professional Development with other educators. Claco is also behind the #UnitedWeTeach movement on Twitter, so be sure to follow their hashtag.

The service is Free, and will always remain Free according to Eric Simons, Claco’s CEO and Founder. To learn more about Claco or to request a BETA invite please visit http://www.claco.com/ or show them some love on Twitter @TeamClaco Don’t forget to like this on Facebook and continue to share, learn and collaborate with others.

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Managing The Cloud with Hapara

The vast amount of information managed by our schools today is incredible. What if there is a way for us to manage all that information in one place. Google has done a pretty good job in developing and launching a unique suite of applications that work very well in enterprise environments. The problem is that, in an education environment, it requires a dedicated IT team to run. The other issue is that the system configuration is not a user friendly experience.

That is where Hapara, a New Zealand based company comes in. They have over twenty years of experience in the deployment and implementation of cloud based solutions at all levels in education. They have developed a very cool and innovative way to merge the best aspects of Google Apps for the enterprise into an easy to use platform for education. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the company’s founder Jan Zawadzki to talk about the company and their visionary ideas.

Their flagship product is the Teacher Dashboard, a Google Apps for Education add-on that brings the various Google Apps under one system. Their product then goes a step further and tightly integrates Blogger, Google Docs, Gmail, Picasa and many of others. Jan demonstrated to me their product capabilities and showed me real world examples of how it is being used in an educational setting. The biggest advantage here being there is no hardware installation involved, and the whole system is cloud based. To learn more about Hapara and what they have to offer please visit their website at http://hapara.com/.

Jan Zawadzki, Founder, CEO – Hapara 

Hapara Teacher Dashboard

Mastering Math through Foundational Skills

DigitWhiz is an online webapp for kid’s ages 8+ that teach math foundational skills using Multiplication, Division, Integer Operations, Like Terms and Solving Equations. The brainchild of Kasey Brown a math teacher who as a child struggled to learn her multiplication tables. Kasey’s early experiences would lead her to become a programmer analyst for Hewlett Packard. After leaving corporate America, she became a math teacher to pursue her passion in helping children struggling with math foundational skills.

In early 2009, she met Elliot Feinberg a Web Developer with degrees in both Math and Physics. Together they formed DigitWhiz and in this new enterprise they both share the same passion and commitment to help young kids master the skills necessary to be successful in High School and beyond.

DigitWhiz is currently an open BETA, being used in 22 states and three countries abroad. The service is Flash based, but I recently had a chance to sit down with Kasey during a Google+ Hangout and learned they are modifying their code to launch their first mobile app coded for iOS devices. DigitWhiz is free right now, and Kasey told me when the platform matures they will monetize it through subscriptions plans and premium features at very reasonable prices. To learn more about DigitWhiz, please visit their website at http://digitwhiz.com/ and don’t forget to watch my interview with her, plus the DigitWhiz demo below.
Kasey Brown, DigitWhiz, Co-Founder

DigitWhiz: Where Everyone Masters Math!

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Back to School: The Best F/OSS Essentials

There is no shortage of commercial applications, apps and webapps to help us do our jobs. The problem here is that our budgets continue to shrink, and there are great alternatives to the high costs of commercial applications. That is the reason why I am always on the hunt for software alternatives. I will share with you some of the best Free and Open Source Software solutions connected educators can use today. This Bundlenut contains desktop applications and webapps you can install or run from your browser. I have also made a video with a quick look at the applications, type of license, operating system, Pro’s and Con’s of using them.

Learning through Games: The Next Generation

There are several trends taking education by storm, but one of the most prolific today seems to be the use of games in the classroom. What if you could take the best aspects of gaming and fuse them together with language arts and math. That is exactly what the team behind BrainNook has done with their interactive virtual world. BrainNook allows children in grades first through fifth to learn all of the common core state standards skills while playing in real time with their friends. The service is available as a webapp and they are currently working on the development of mobile application for both Android and iOS.

BrainNook is currently being used in over 130 countries around the world, and their tournament feature allow kids to compete with one another regardless of their location. The teacher console allows you to set assignments based on individualized performance, grade levels and content appropriate for the student’s grade. They have also incorporated the highest levels of Internet safety for both teachers and students within their platform. Teachers can monitor student interaction with other students, review chat messages and block friend requests from players outside the classroom. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Abhijeet Vijayakar, founder of BrainNook in a Google+ hangout and we talked about his background, BrainNook’s vision for the future and where his product fits into the educational market today.

Abhijeet Vijayakar, BrainNook Founder Interview

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Connected Educator Swiss Army Knife

remind101 is the fastest, safest and easiest way for connected educators to communicate with their students through private and secure text messages. In today’s mobile classroom environment, our students show up to the classroom with devices in hand, and it is essential for educators to have a safe and efficient way to communicate with them.

This service allows educators to broadcast messages to both students and parents in a convenient and easy to use platform. Like a Swiss Army knife, remind101 manage to incorporate many aspects of effective communication in a simple and tightly integrated app. The brainchild of Chicago brothers, Brett and David Kopf they got the idea for the app while attending college as a solution to a common problem for students; how to manage the flow of information between them and their teachers.

The Kopf brothers have since moved to San Francisco where after being accepted into the Imagine K-12 Instructional Technology incubator they have continued to tweak and develop remind 101. Their app is currently being used by over 200,000 users across Canada and the United States.

remind101 is available on iTunes as a free download; it includes features such as, class management for up to 10 classes, unlimited students or parent’s text messaging, message scheduling, users text history and many others. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Brett for a short Google+ hangout, so be sure to watch it, and the accompanying demo to learn more about this great resource for connected educators.

Brett Kopf, remind101 Co-Founder Interview


How It Works

Remind101 from remind101 on Vimeo.