January 4, 2017

Best-in-Category Tech Ed Awards

tech ed categoryWe hear from readers all the time about how much they rely on Ask a Tech Teacher for tech-in-ed resources. Weekly, we share favorite websites, apps, and pedagogy that make a difference in the classroom.

This year, for the first time, we’ll share which tools had the greatest impact on readers. To award this Best in Category badge, we looked for the uncommon resources (meaning: not the ones everyone knows about, like Khan Academy) most visited by our readers in each category. Then we looked for the following qualities:

  • how dependable is it
  • how versatile is it for time-strapped teachers
  • does it differentiate for the varied needs of students and teacher
  • do educators like it (fairly subjective, but there you have it)

Here are the Best-in-Category and Honorable Mentions for the following Categories:

Winners: Please grab your award from this page with the embedded link.


Classroom Management Tool

Winner: Dial My Calls–an easy and quick way to call lists of people from your school (see my review)

Honorable Mention: Doodle–simplify scheduling; syncs with Google Calendar


Winner: Scratch Jr. — simplified coding with an app for ages 5-7 (see my review)

Honorable Mention: Minecraft (see my review)

Digital Notetaking

Winner:  Google Keep–essential notetaking tools; part of Google Apps; iOS, web-based; click for review available Jan. 27th

Honorable Mention: Notability–full-featured digital notetaking tool app

Digital Storytelling Tool

Winner: Storyboard That!–mix of caricatures, text and images to tell  a comicbook-style story (see my review)

Honorable Mention: Sway — quick and easy desktop publishing from MS Office

G Suite Help

Winner: Alice Keeler — so many tips and tricks for Google Apps

Honorable Mention: NA


Winner: Scribble Maps — maps you can mark up (see my review)

Honorable Mention: Google Earth

Keyboarding Digital Tool

Winner:  Big Brown Bear — great starter keyboarding program

Honorable Mention: KidzType — games, drills, and more (see my review)

Learning Management System

Winner: Otus (see my review here)

Honorable Mention: CanaryFlow (see my review)

Lesson Planning

Winner: Frolyc aka Activity Circle (see my review)

Honorable Mention: Office Mix — a free add-on for PowerPoint

Math Tool

Winner: C-STEM — tools to learn math through robotics (see my review)

Honorable Mention: Zap Zap Math — math app with games and drills (see my review)

Professional Development

Winner: Nepris — virtual field trips for teachers and students (see my review)

Honorable Mention: Bloomboard –peer group PD (see my review)


Winner: Snap! Learning — close reading solutions (see my review)

Honorable Mention: News-o-matic — age-appropriate news stories

Resource Aggregator

Winner: Mentoring Minds — resources to help students reach their goals (see my review)

Honorable Mention: Cybraryman–a massive collection of resources for students, teachers, and parents

Special Needs Tools:

Winner:  Sonocent — note-taking for special needs students (see my review)

Honorable Mention:  Carol Leynse Harpold–she has something on any OT topic

Tech Ed Tool

Winner: Banzai — financial literacy (see my review)

Honorable Mention: Photos for Class — (see my review)

Tech Tips

Winner: Free Tech for Teachers

Honorable Mention: Class Tech Tips

Video Creation Tools:

Winner:  Google Hangouts

Honorable Mention:  My Simpleshow — online video creator (see my review)


Winner: Revision Assistant — assistance with student writing (see my review)

Honorable Mention: Grammarly — automatic grammar assistance; web-based, add-on (see my review)


Winners: Please grab your image from this page with the embedded link.

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Click for her latest tech thriller, To Hunt a Sub.