This is the fifth in a series of (at least) ten blogs on the exciting startup activity I’m seeing in the EdTech space.  Following are some powerful teaching tools in in ten categories:

  1. Reading for little kids: Ruckus Media has a cool family of iPad reading apps, one was recently the winner of the Reader’s Choice; here’s a YouTube video.  We also reviewd Fingerprint Learning which seems to have stitched a bunch of early reading apps together into an iPad platform with nice parent-child communication.
  2. Reading for big kids: Studysync offers hundreds of videos featuring young people modeling the sort of discourse demanded by the Common Core.  Widely used Read180 has been updated for tablets.
  3. Writing: Write to Learn from Pearson, Writing Roadmap from CTB, and My Access! from Vantage all provide great standards-based feedback on student writing.
  4. Assessment: MasteryConnect is the place to share Common Core assessments.  Check out their iPad app.  Curriculum Associates released i-Ready, a powerful K-8 adaptive assessment (linked to engaging K-6 instructional units).
  5. Language: Verbling is a great way to practice a foreign language.  Rosetta Stone will be releasing a new K-12 product this month.
  6. Online PD: Bloomboard has free observation and evaluation tools and a big library of online professional development.
  7. Behavior: ClassDojo looks like the big hit from ImagineK12’s first cohort, it’s a simple and powerful classroom management toolset.
  8. Music: Chromatik is everything you need to practice, perform, and teach music.
  9. Presentation: You can be the next Sal Khan with the Showme presentation toolkit.  Desmos has a cool graphic calculator.
  10. Production: SchoolTube is the leader in student created video

I left a lot out, let me know what you’d add.  We’ll cover platforms and math apps in the next few days.

Disclosures: Chromatik, ClassDojo, Desmos, MasteryConnect, SchoolTube, Studysync, and Verbling are Learn Capital portfolio companies, where Tom is a partner.

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


  1. Hi Tom – Kalen from ClassDojo here. Thank you so much for mentioning us in your post – we really appreciate the support!

    If anyone who comes across this post has any questions about ClassDojo or needs help getting set up, please do not hesitate to reach out –



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