FanSchool and Books that Grow are two engaging software products that meet middle school student needs. Middle level learners have distinct needs. It’s important that tech tools for teaching, learning, assessing and reflecting at the middle school level respond to those needs. It’s obvious from the ideas and new tools pitched at the Ed-Tech start-up Pitchfest at #ISTE2016, that educators-turned-edtech-developers are the ticket to filling those needs.
Meet www.fanschool.org and Eric Nelson (@FANgeopolitics)! At the #ISTE2016 Start-up Pitchfest, Eric announced himself as a middle school teacher with a vision for motivating students to engage in learning like a superFAN engages in fantasy sports. He had me at “I teach middle school.” It’s not that younger students have no need for engaging, motivating software in the classroom. The younger student, yet, embraces curiosity and questions abound. By middle school, our students often stifle (or have stifled) that same vigor for inquiry. Thus, developing engaging ways to keep those questions coming is super important. Technology created by middle school teachers for middle school students…that’s how to meet the needs in the middle.
Books that Grow is a fascinating proposition for middle school students and their teachers. This program provides e-books that adjust in reading complexity depending on the reader’s ability. Instead of forcing students into separate reading groups to meet their needs, students effectively learn and read together. For middle school students who struggle with reading, and often conjointly with self-esteem, Books that Grow provides an avenue for reading engagement uniquely.
The visionaries behind these products have clear insight into the needs of students, because they are educators. Like Meego®, these products are not teacher inspired, they are teacher created. Big difference. Especially in meeting the needs of the middle level learner.