3 Emerging EdTech Tools That Can Spark an Interest in Learning

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This post is part of a month-long series to help you start 2018 on the right foot. Throughout January, visit the Varsity Tutors blog for advice, tips, and tricks on how to reignite your passion for learning this winter.

Incorporating technology into the classroom provides teachers with the ability to enhance their  curriculum. It also  offers students a unique learning experience. The growing field of EdTech is making this possible through a variety of emerging EdTech tools, such as Newsela, CricketTogether, and Flipgrid.

Interested in bringing EdTech into your classroom? Keep reading to learn about three emerging EdTech tools that can spark an interest in learning.

EdTech tool #1: Newsela

Newsela is an instructional content platform that can help you bring current events into the classroom. This tool is great if you’ve ever wanted your students to read a news article—possibly to provide context on a national or global phenomenon, or to better engage with a difficult topic—but found that the reading level was above their abilities. You may have shared the article with your students anyway, or found another way to illustrate the information. Newsela, which has both a free and paid (or PRO) version, provides five different reading levels per article, so you can meet your students precisely where they are. Articles can be found across multiple subjects, and are from credible sources like the Associated Press, Scientific American, and The Washington Post.

Students can annotate articles, or teachers can pair articles with quizzes. This past fall, Newsela released new features, including the following:

  • Unitssome text
    • A unit includes several articles, in sequence, and is divided into sub-topics with guiding questions.
  • Power Wordssome text
    • This feature allows students to access definitions of words in articles and provides vocabulary practice.

Overall, this EdTech tool will help you incorporate current events into classroom learning in a way you otherwise may not be able to. Having the ability to cater articles to each individual student’s reading and comprehension level may greatly increase your class’s level of engagement.

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EdTech tool #2: CricketTogether

CricketTogether combines mentoring, pen pals, and career day all in one EdTech tool. Essentially, CricketTogether is an eMentoring platform. This platform allows access to role models, who volunteer remotely, and enables students to practice writing and critical thinking skills.

The platform pairs students one-on-one with an eMentor, who is an employee of a partner company. Both the eMentor and the student read articles provided by Cricket Media, a company with a focus on child literacy. Students then discuss the topics in class with their teacher and peers, and exchange letters with their eMentor regarding the content. Teachers are able to view letters from both parties before they are viewed by the recipient to ensure a safe and productive environment.

[RELATED: 4 Ways Personalized Learning Positively Impacts Students]

EdTech tool #3: Flipgrid

Flipgrid is a video discussion platform that allows individuals to post short videos in response to a question or prompt. Your classroom can create a “grid,” and then use it as an interactive discussion board.

There are many ways teachers can use the class grid to spark conversations among students. Teachers can post prompts, such as having students take on the persona of a character from a book in English class. In math, students could upload videos explaining the answer to a math problem, or create tutorials for a specific math concept. Teachers can also challenge students to create discussion threads based on current topics they are learning about in class. Videos can be saved and revisited at a later date, which can promote student reflection and help students review for cumulative exams.

[RELATED: 5 Benefits of Using Videos to Learn]

Many of these EdTech tools work well within a single classroom, and even better when used by the entire school. If you have success with a specific tool, check with your administration to see if they’d like to implement it across grades. You might be able to increase collaboration across a diverse group of students, which is a great way to spark learning, both inside and outside of the classroom.


Any topics you want to know more about? Let us know! The Varsity Tutors Blog editors love hearing your feedback and opinions. Feel free to email us at blog@varsitytutors.com.