In a recent evaluation of three leading digital teaching tools, Veracity’s experienced educators (“Guardians”) rigorously assessed and highlighted key product functionalities to assist educators in their product evaluation processes. How did these popular teaching tech tools – used to engage students and create interactive lessons online or in the classroom – compare in ease of use, accessibility, teaching and learning, data security, and technical integrity?
We’ve anonymized the product names in this article, but educators can request full detailed reports (revealing product names and scoring criteria) at no cost.
“Solution A” Overall Rating – 4.1
Solution A is a comprehensive learning engagement tool with features to assess students across asynchronous, synchronous, and blended learning environments. Content creators can develop their own materials by using the product’s easy-to-navigate web interface or by installing add-ons for Google Slides or PowerPoint 365. The product provides an extensive repository of ready-to-use resources including complete lessons, videos, and interactive activities that can be duplicated and edited by instructors to store and use in their own libraries. The availability of options such as 3D models, virtual field trips, and simulations makes the product a unique and valuable instructional resource. Additional premium content is available for an additional cost. Students interact with the content by logging into a web interface with a unique session code, or alternatively, an iOS or Android app can be installed and used on a mobile device. If there is an established integration with a Learning Management System (LMS), instructors can embed a Solution A lesson or activity into the LMS and either assign it asynchronously or conduct a live session from within the LMS’s interface. The product’s 14 different Activity types and 13 different Content options allow for an instructor to formatively assess students as part of a designed lesson. The solution contains a Quick Launch feature allowing for more extemporaneous situations in which formative assessment may become appropriate during live instruction. Quick Launch allows the instructor to adapt the lesson to students’ needs. As students interact with the presentation and submit their responses, the instructor can control which responses appear to the participating group, if any. The student responses are available to the instructor and stored in the Reports section of the instructor’s library. Administrators have access to a dashboard to control the school and/or district settings, including the ability to initiate Zoom meetings, enable Google Image Search, create and manage user accounts, view usage data, and view post-session reports of student responses. While the product itself does not provide a robust online assessment component capable of grading student work and analyzing performance, the LMS integration can perform those functions. The product’s intuitive interface and logical layout of workflow controls results in a gradual learning curve that makes it easy to produce and deliver interactive and engaging content for students in flexible ways for a spectrum of instructors regardless of their educational technology proficiency level.
- Technical Integrity 5.0
- Accessibility 4.0
- Teaching & Learning 4.0
“Solution B” Overall Rating – 3.9
Solution B is an easy-to-use solution that allows for the creation and delivery of engaging instruction to students, and can be used in asynchronous, synchronous, and blended learning environments. Content creators can develop their own materials by installing an Add-on to Google Slides or an Add-in to PowerPoint 365 that allows for the building of presentations with interactive question types. The vendor includes access to a repository of pre-made templates to get a teacher started and some collections of specific content that deal with financial literacy, health and wellness, and a weekly current events presentation. Students interact with the content by logging into a web interface with a unique session code. If there has been an integration with an existing Learning Management System (LMS), instructors can embed a Solution B lesson or activity into that LMS as an external app and either assign it asynchronously or conduct a live session from within the LMS’s interface. The product’s 6 different interactive item types allow an instructor to formatively assess students as part of a designed lesson. Solution B also contains a Pop-up Activity feature that can be used for on-the-fly teachable moments where formative assessment becomes appropriate, but for which there was no pre-planned lesson. As students interact with the presentation and submit responses, the instructor can control which of those responses appear to the participating group, if any. The student responses are available to the instructor and stored in the Reports section of the instructor’s library once the session has ended. Administrators can use their account dashboard to limit the domains which have access to teachers’ sessions, manage LTI/LMS integrations, and view teacher, school, and district level account usage data. While the product itself does not provide a robust online assessment component that can grade student work and analyze performance, it can integrate with a LMS that may handle those functions. The product’s clean, visually pleasing interface and logical workflow layout results in an instructional tool that brings interactive and engaging content to students in a variety of ways.
- Ease of Use 4.0
- Data Security 4.0
- Student Engagement 4.0
“Solution C” Overall Rating – 4.3
Solution C is a powerful educational tool that enhances the teaching and learning process. Educators can create a wide variety of activities that use graphic organizers, manipulatives, game-based reviews, whole-class formative assessments and other activities to deliver engaging content in a synchronous, asynchronous, or blended environment. Teachers may also use previously created content by uploading a variety of files directly into their lesson – conveniently putting everything needed in one place for the student. The product offers a well-organized and extensive video tutorial library to train new users in its capabilities. Users also have access to webinars, blogs, user guides, online communities, and certification programs for additional professional development. The vendor is committed to making its product accessible to a wide variety of users through the multi-language platform and content support, integration of Immersive Reader, and offering of other accessibility tools such as closed captioning, magnification, adjustable fonts, an audio recording option, and more. The product has integrations with major learning management systems like Canvas and Schoology, and with third-party digital tools such as YouTube videos, the Desmos calculator, and PhET simulations. Users can employ filters to search a shared lesson bank by content, grade level, state standards, and national standards to make sure content is age and maturity-level appropriate. Teachers can also share links of created resources directly with each other. Solution C offers visually engaging templates, review games, and activities that provide feedback so that teacher can plan next steps. Student-specific data reports are available through the Response option, although a full data dashboard containing individual and group data is not yet available. Teachers can use the Handouts option to assess and provide individualized feedback at the student level. Class-level data is provided through game-based reviews, and students can also monitor their learning progress by utilizing the program’s end-of-game summaries. While additional training may be needed to understand some components of navigation, the product’s content creation and instructional delivery interfaces are well-organized and simple in design.
- Student Engagement 5.0
- Product Support 4.0
- Accessibility 5.0
Educators may request a free copy of the detailed evaluation reports below.