#EdTechMadness Final Four Set

Surprising no one, Google Apps for Education destroyed Edpuzzle to join Flipgrid, SeeSaw, and Schoology in the 2020 #EdTechMadness Final Four.

[embeddoc url=”https://tombrandtt.edublogs.org/files/2020/04/FinalFour.pdf” download=”all” viewer=”google” ]

Current Seeding Method Panned

The selection committee has received feedback from the sporting public as to how seeding could (should) have occurred. This year’s pairings were created from the number of initial mentions each tool received. Participants astutely pointed out that this method created odd match ups that were hard to engage with.

New Format for 2021

There were great suggestions for constructing next year’s tournament. One intriguing idea is to create teams of tools, think app smashing, that compete against one another. This would diminish the dominance of the big three (Google, Microsoft, and Apple) as they would be paired with a more education specific tool.

2021 Selection Committee

Let’s be honest. This idea popped into the Committee chairperson’s head and he went with it. As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. So, next year’s selection committee will include @irvspanish and @micwalker. The committee chair will make efforts to expand the committee’s viewpoint beyond the capabilities of white men of a certain age.

That said, we move to the Final Four and Championship games

  • Monday, April 27 – Flipgrid v. Schoology
  • Tuesday, April 28 – G Suite v. SeeSaw
  • Thursday, April 30 – Championship

#EdTechMadness Great Eight Matchups Set

EdPuzzle received 40 second half points to Moodle’s 8 and moves into the Great Eight defeating Moodle 69 to 40.

Great Eight Matchups

[embeddoc url=”https://tombrandtt.edublogs.org/files/2020/04/Kami-Export-April-EdTech-Madness-2020.pdf” download=”all” viewer=”google” ]


Monday, April 20 – PearDeck v. SeeSaw

Tuesday, April 21 – Zoom v. Schoology

Wednesday, April 22 – Flipgrid v. Schoology

Thursday, April 23 – G Suite v. Edpuzzle

Great Eight Scoring

Sample Great Eight Tweet





Each game will be played through a Twitter Poll. Educators will choose the tool based on the question, “If you could only use one with students, which would you choose? After voting, please retweet the poll to your network.



Strong second half puts Adobe Spark into Final Four

Adobe Spark defeated WeVideo 80 to 70 with a strong second half.

“Go-To” Cloud-based video editing platform

@micwalker declared that “the ability to add video clips, images, audio etc, make it a more robust tool for than Spark.” However, others @000Dave saw WeVideo as “styled around a more traditional method of content creation.” @smbeaverson, always with a gift for words, summed up WeVideo this way. A “one trick pony. A super cool trick, but still one.”

A tool for students

Both @smbeaverson and @000Dave gave Spark a perfect score of 25. @000Dave commented that “whether video, pages, or post – this fully free premium suite of tools provides simple and relevant options for students to create stunning work.” @smbeaverson summed it up succinctly, “As a suite, second to G Suite. Important and useful.”


Next Game – #8 EdPuzzle v. #9 Moodle – Monday, April 13th


Schoology survives first round match

In a low scoring contest, #6 Schoology defeated Screencast-o-matic 20 to 15.

Schoology has “all the tools”

@micwalker pointed out that “Schoology has built in tools that when used well can do all of the criteria. It is easier though for anyone to do those things. For example, students can be given choices in how the explore content (video, audio, text), engage in the content (formative assessment, discussion w text, audio, video) and express learning (post from any integrated tool). Individual materials can be assigned to groups or individual students based on learning needs, allows for reflection on the learning process and product. Proficiency Based Progress can be monitored, and students can personalize their profile and create portfolios right in the product.”

#5 SeeSaw wins handily over #12 Osmo

SeeSaw won its first round matchup over the plucky Osmo squad in the second game of the 2020 EdTech Madness.

Much love shown for Osmo

Osmo received high points for “engaging students with content and each other in interactive ways”. @000Dave likes the potential of this squad moving forward, “This tool is continually evolving … based off of the overwhelming amount of feedback that teachers have provided.”

SeeSaw scores high in all categories

SeeSaw had high scores in three categories: integration with evidence-based practices, engaging students with content and each other in interactive ways, and supporting student metacognition and reflection. @000Dave summed it up best, “When designed and implemented correctly, SeeSaw is a powerhouse of a tool.” @micwalker gave SeeSaw props for its accessibility. “It is quick and easy to use and parents love having a window into their child’s classroom.”


Next Game

#6 Schoology v. #11 Screencast-o-matic – Monday, April 6th – Pregame prognostications

#13 Pear Deck Defeats #4 Screencastify in Shocking Upset

The 2020 EdTech Madness kicked off Wednesday, April 1st with the last seed Pear Deck defeating 4th seed Screencastify 113 to 109.

Pear Deck out performs its low seeding

Participants had good things to say about the 13th seed Pear Deck.

In his pregame rant, @smbeaverson declared that Pear Deck had the potential to be a powerful learning tool in the hands of students. While @DLFedder said, Pear Deck offers great opportunity to enhance learning in the classroom while providing structure and focus.

Screencastify displays multiple strengths

@micwalker broke down Screencastify’s line up this way. “Screencastify allows for better asynchronous, deep learning and the ability for students to present and reflect.”

@DLFedder described how Screencastify provides value even when students are off line. “The ability to throw these videos on a USB drive to support learners in rural areas without internet pushes this tool to the top?


Next Game

#5 SeeSaw v. #12 Osmo – Friday, April 3rd – Pregame prognostications












April EdTech Madness: Scoring Explained


Five Principles of Don’t Ditch that Tech

Scoring is based on Nate and Angie Ridgway’s 5 Principles of Don’t Ditch that Tech.

  1. Does the product integrate with evidence-based instructional practices?
  2. Does the product enable students to interact with content (and each other) in interactive ways?
  3. Does the product support the variability in student readiness, interest, and agency?
  4. Does the product support critical thinking and transfer of learning?
  5. Does the product support student reflection and metacognition?


When assigning points for each principle, consider any constraints the product places on it’s use. Two are described below.

Equity – How available is this product to all students

  • Is it only available during the COVID-19 crisis?
  • Is it available to most only at a basic, freemium level?
  • Does it require a separate account, rather than allow a sign-in through a school Google or Microsoft account?
  • Does it only work on a specific device or browser?

Accessibility – How adaptable is the product to the needs of the learner? The CAST organization’s Universal Design for Learning guidelines is a great resource for understanding accessibility

Point Values

  • Three-point basket and 1 – The highest score possible. Not only does the product rock this principle, but it’s so ridiculously good it gets rewarded with a foul shot.
  • Three-point basket – This product is Stephan Curry like in it’s efficiency from beyond the stripe.
  • Two-point basket – This product earns points the hard way scrapping and clawing for rebounds and put-backs
  • Front-end of a one and one – Somehow this product made it to the charity stripe, but only makes the first attempt.
  • Air Ball – ‘nough said.

Tournament Tools


April EdTech Madness: The Field is Set

The 13 selections are in for the April EdTech Madness tournament.

The first 4 (well actually 21) out

None of these products should feel like their season was a bust. They all had a shining moment or two. Here’s the list in no particular order. I’ve linked a few of the real sleepers, so you can get to know them before next year’s season kicks off.

  1. Google Classroom
  2. Google Chromebooks
  3. Canva
  4. Canvas
  5. iPhone (screen recording)
  6. Microsoft
  7. Linux
  8. Google Meet
  9. Edji
  10. Techsmith
  11. FluentKey
  12. Jitsi
  13. Natural Reader
  14. Turnitin
  15. Hapara
  16. Securly
  17. Newsela
  18. Nearpod
  19. Animal Crossing
  20. IORAD
  21. Epic!
  22. Explain Everything

South by Southwest Division

South by Southwest division

Order of seeding: Flipgrid, Zoom, Schoology, WeVideo, Adobe Spark, Screencast-o-matic.

Top seeds are Flipgrid and Zoom (the winner of the draw between it, SeeSaw, and Screencastify). Sixth seed Schoology is the only product in this division that isn’t primarily focused on video. 

North by Northwest Division

North by Northwest division

Order of seeding: Google G Suite, Screencastify, SeeSaw, EdPuzzle, Moodle, Osmo, Pear Deck

The overall top seed is Google G Suite. SeeSaw dropped to the fifth seed due to an unfortunate luck of the draw. The venerable Moodle has the distinction of being the only open educational resource selected to the field.

Stay Tuned

  • Get your copy of the tourney brackets. Side bets are encouraged.
  • Scoring system will be unveiled Monday, March 30.
  • First Game – Wednesday, April 1st – PearDeck (13) v. Screencastify (4)

April Digital Tool Madness

Hey Friends,

We’re all staying home and staying safe. That’s a good thing. So while we are teaching both our children and our students from home, let’s try to capture some of the excitement of March Madness (oh yeah, we’re missing that too).

So I’m hosting the April Digital Tool Madness tournament in which edtech products will face off against one another and either be eliminated or advance toward the national championship.

First, Selection Weekend. Use this form to select tools that will compete in the tournament. The form has three sections.

  • Automatic bid – Is this product so established and widely used, that it just has to be part of the tournament?
  • Strength of schedule – Does this product compete successfully against the “Power 5” (i.e Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc)
  • Conference Tournament Spoiler – Is this a product no one knows about, but had a great conference tournament win to secure an automatic berth?











Empathy: The Foundation of Authentic Communication

“Until and unless people communicate authentically with others, in ways that facilitate trust and understanding, schools will not realize their mission as learning organizations.”

Fault-finding judgement v. No fault interpretation

The beginnings of my teaching career coincided with the publication of “A Nation at Risk”. Ever since, there has been a stream of commission reports that cast a critical eye upon public schools and teachers. Each of these reports analyzes “the problem”, makes judgements as to who is at fault, and suggests how “the problem” can be fixed. It is not a surprise that this methodology has trickled down to the district and school level. The “find the faults and fix ‘em” approach will never foster growth; empathy fosters growth.  When we empathize with another person’s experience we are seeking to understand how that person makes sense of their experience. Understanding requires listening and clarification, not analysis, judgement and prescription.

The Tschannen-Morans employ the language of  Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication (NVC) model to create a process of empathic reflection that leaders, coaches, and peers and use when listening to each other’s stories.

Observe – Think of yourself as a camera. You are capturing the experience, not evaluating it.

Recognize Feelings –  Sift the story in order to discover and reflect the feelings the other experienced. Discard the evaluations or judgements that might be attached to these feelings.

Discern Needs – Use probing questions to reveal the needs that are motivating actions. Separate strategies – the actions teachers are currently taking to meet their needs – from the needs themselves.

Make Requests – Ask teachers to declare what next steps they might or will take. Frame this as a question. “What next steps are you willing to take?”.  A request should be stated as invitation that allows the teacher the freedom to decline.

What strategies have you used to create empathy with others? Tweet your idea to …

Creating Empathy http://tombrandtt.edublogs.org/?p=93 How do you create empathy #beyondtools