Edtech 2022: SmartBrief Reader’s Choice Awards | #education | #technology | #training


SmartBrief’s EdTech Reader’s Choice Awards for 2022 come at a pivotal time for education technology. Edtech was a lifeline for students when school buildings were closed and has given teachers new resources that, in many cases, have changed the way they tackle in-person teaching as well.

Teachers, students and parents have discovered how edtech can improve learning. Vendors are recognizing new ways to improve their products. And educators and administrators are working to scale up access.

We asked SmartBrief readers to nominate the solutions and platforms they find most effective. Renaissance and Clever were top winners in SmartBrief’s 2022 EdTech Reader’s Choice Awards. SmartBrief readers selected their favorite edtech programs in several categories, and we’ve included a few educator comments.

Curriculum development

Co-winner: Renaissance’s myON

MyON offers reading practice and a library of enhanced digital books and news articles curated for different age groups.

“The interface for students and teachers is facile and straightforward.” — Jitender Rajpoot, Los Angeles Unified School District

Co-winner: Stukent’s Mimic simulations

Mimic simulations goes beyond theory by giving students practice making real-world-style decisions and financial choices, and they can experience in-class consequences.

“I can immediately see how this product will be useful with the special populations I work with.” Melissa Ringold, Wesley Family Services, Pennsylvania

“I was impressed by the budgeting simulation they have that allows the teacher to ‘pay’ the student based on their work/behavior in class all week, then the student has bills to pay based on their chosen lifestyle, etc.” — Mary Miller, Centre Unified School District 397, Kansas  

Honorable mentions: NoRedInk and Discovery Education’s K-12 platform

“[NoRedInk] is a great way to have students practice grammar.” — Timothy Holland, Caldwell Schools, North Carolina

“Discovery Education has so many different resources in so many topics/subjects and grade levels. Their videos are the best!” — Patricia Detrich, Austin Independent School District, Texas

Classroom assessment

Co-winner: Renaissance’s Star Assessments

Star Assessments let schools and teachers visualize, screen, set goals, monitor progress and measure mastery.

“It helps in my instruction and differentiation I place in my class lesson plans.” — Alexander Major, Providence Public Schools, Rhode Island 

Co-winner: Sourcewell’s Proliftic

Proliftic aids in efficiency and time management by bringing together educators’ data, systems and resources and allows for replicating and scaling.

Honorable mention: Edmentum’s Study Island and Exact Path

Study Island is a standards-based assessment and practice program for reading and math. Exact Path offers math, reading and language arts assessments for kindergarten through 12th grade.

“Study Island is fun and engaging. The problems and curriculum are challenging, as they should be. The reports are easy for teachers to understand and access, and the game options are fun for students.” — Allison Shoemake, Ashe County Public Schools, North Carolina

Classroom management

Winner: Clever

Clever‘s classroom management platform includes teacher pages, messaging, analytics, a library and other tools.

“[You] can have district and teacher pages. I like that you can access various applications with one login.” — B. Hayden, Bonny Eagle School District, Maine

Early education

Co-winner: Renaissance’s Lalilo

Lalilo offers adaptive early learning practice that includes phonics, phonology and phonemic awareness.

“This product is so engaging for K-2 scholars, especially ELL scholars who need additional support with phonics and phonemic awareness and foundational skills.” — Camille Bourguignon, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, North Carolina

Co-winner: Learning Ally’s Excite Reading

Excite Reading is a multisensory reading program that helps students who struggle because of reading deficits. 

“[I] love Learning Ally — great paid and scholarship options.” — Magan Gaddis, Logan County Schools, Kentucky

Honorable mention: Reading Horizons’ Discovery

Reading Horizons’ Discovery helps students learn to decode and spell proficiently and is aligned with the science of reading.

Learning management systems

Winner: Clever

Clever features resources designed to let teachers create and maintain digital learning environments.

Professional development

Co-winner: Renaissance Professional Learning

Renaissance Professional Learning partners with teachers on flexible, results-oriented solutions for professional development. 

Co-winner: Vector Solutions’ Vector Training

Vector Training features online training created by experts on safety, prevention and special education.

Co-winner: National Institute for STEM Education’s National Certificate for STEM Teaching

The National Certificate for STEM Teaching allows teachers to demonstrate competency, build skills and receive certification.

“Extremely informative and offers excellent resources.” — Renee Blackshear, Texas State Technical College

“Comprehensive support for preparing STEM teachers.” — Paul Whitaker, Englewood School District, Colorado 

Safety and security

Co-winner: The Safeguarding Co.’s MyConcern

MyConcern lets educators record, easily manage and report concerns about safeguarding and well-being.   

Co-winner: Singlewire Software’s InformaCast Incident Management

InformaCast Incident Management has an interface where educators can alert, follow up and resolve incidents.

“Ease of use.” — Jennifer Pratt, Chickasaw County School District, Mississippi 

SEL: Mental and emotional teletherapy 

Co-winner: Learning A-Z’s Meaningful Conversations

Meaningful Conversations helps educators help students see themselves and others represented well in the world.

Helpful for learning how to handle student emotions.” — Fabian Bennett, Hardin County Schools, Kentucky

Co-winner: Pixton Comics Builder

Pixton Comics Builder lets students create comics as a way to improve writing and artistic potential.  

“I like how the students were engaged with Pixton.” — Julie O’Quin, Marion School District, Arkansas

Special Education

Winner: PresenceLearning’s Therapy Essentials

Therapy Essentials offers online therapy tools and assessments to help staff get through backlogs.

“[I] liked the FERPA compliance component.” — Theresa Harris, Henrico County Public Schools, Virginia

Honorable mention: Pixton Comics Builder

Pixton Comics Builder lets students create comics as a way to improve writing and artistic potential.  

STEM and STEAM

Co-winner: BrainPOP Science

BrainPOP Science lets students explore their world by creating, constructing and collaborating in both core and supplemental subjects.

“Dynamic science lessons with online labs.” — John Marsh, Garden Grove Unified School District, California

“Great wealth of information.” — G. Hilton, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Maryland

 Co-winner: Discovery Education’s STEM Careers Coalition

STEM Careers Coalition offers step-by-step activities that teach key STEM skills and support career success for students.

STEM Careers resources are amazing.” — John Pritchett, Newton County Schools, Georgia

Co-winner: MIND Research Institute’s ST Math

ST Math uses a spatial-temporal approach — showing students how to manipulate objects in space and time — starting with visual concepts, then introducing symbols, language and discussion.  

“ST Math allows students to experience math in way that allows them to understand what the algorithms are all about. This is instrumental in helping students like mathematics.” — Mariama Hargrove, Saint Louis Public Schools, Missouri

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Diane Benson Harrington is an education writer at SmartBrief. Reach out to her via email, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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