We’re moving! (We hope you come along.)

Hey—remember us? We know things have been pretty quiet here on the eChalk blog. We’ve been hard at work building the newest, best and easiest K-12 website, LMS and group management application available. And guess what—it’s here! The eChalk K-12 Connected Campus brings all of your classes, clubs, teams and departments together in one safe, easy online environment for everyone. You can check it out here.

Now that we have an all-new eChalk, it’s time for an all-new blog as well. eChalk Talk is closing. But you can find The eChalk Connection from our homepage. On our new blog, we’ll be discussing best practices and industry news related to learning management, school websites and the role of technology in the school community. Please check it out and follow us on Twitter to stay in touch!

Check Out the New eChalk LMS!

Here at eChalk, we’re still hard at work preparing for the roll-out of the all-new eChalk platform this summer. This month, we’re excited to showcase our new teaching and learning tools. Check out the video tour:

We’ve built our new LMS to support all of the ways schools are using technology in the classroom today, from flipped classes to Bring-Your-Own-Device initiatives. Look for:

  • New Learn! student-facing online lessons
  • Easy class and section management tools
  • New class news feeds for quick and easy info sharing
  • New content management system for easier resource storage and organization
  • An easy, attractive, mobile-friendly user interface that students and teachers will love

Want to see more? Contact us for a live demo of our new Website, Class and Group applications. We’ve got lots to show you!

Did you see the all-new eChalk websites?

Pssst..did you see our video introducing the all-new eChalk websites?

We are really excited to be able to finally show off the new website platform and CMS. The new platform has been completely redesigned from the ground up with all-new code and modern design and content management tools. Check it out here:

The new eChalk websites are:

  • Built on beautiful, contemporary design templates that you can easily customize for your school or district
  • Mobile-ready and responsive on every page, both public and passwords protected
  • Easy to update and manage with a powerful CMS that gives you more autonomy and control than ever before

In April, we’ll be roiling out the preview for the new eChalk learning management tools. Watch this space!

Want to see more? Contact Client Services if you’d like to schedule a more in-depth walk-through.

We’re Getting Closer to an All-New eChalk

Psst . . .are you listening? We know it’s been pretty quiet over here, but it’s time for us to start talking again. We have been hard at work building an all-new eChalk, and we wanted to let you know how it’s going.

Last summer, we announced that we were building a new eChalk platform from the ground up. Since then, we’ve made a lot of progress. The new eChalk will be easier to use, faster to update and fully responsive for optimal performance on mobile devices. It also has new learning tools to support the ways students and teachers are using technology today, from flipped classrooms to BYOD programs. We’ve completely reimagined and redesigned eChalk to meet the expectations our schools and districts have shared with us. Some of you got to see a sneak peek at TCEA last month, and we’re very excited by the feedback you gave us. We can’t wait to show it to the rest of you!

What happens next? Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing more information about the new platform. In March, we’ll be ready to preview the new responsive design templates and CMS. In April, we’ll be able show you some of the new learning and community management tools. The Early Access version will be available this summer. We will send out invitations to see the new platform and complete transition timelines to all of our schools and districts very soon.

In the meantime, watch this space for details as development continues. More to come soon!

Big Changes at eChalk


The ed tech landscape is changing, and so is eChalk. We are in the middle of an exciting transformation of our company and our technology.

eChalk has come a long way over the last 15 years, branching out from our roots in web hosting and student-safe email to develop new features focused on teaching and learning. Now, we are hard at work developing an all-new, mobile-ready eChalk Learning Platform. We are building it from the ground up to support today’s mobile devices and new classroom models, including flipping the classroom, 1:1 and BYOD models, virtual Professional Learning Communities, and other emerging innovations the technology-enhanced classroom.

We may be a little quieter than usual, as we are focusing all of our efforts right now on building the best learning platform in the industry. Don’t worry, we’re still right here. We look forward to sharing more about our plans as the platform evolves. Look for more information here when we are ready for the big reveal!

Five Hot Ed Tech Trends to Watch This Year

Are you getting the most out of your classroom technology? With another school year around the corner, it’s a great time to reevaluate the ways teachers, students and parents are using technology. Here are some of the trends we expect to see more of this coming school year:

  • Mobile learning: Whether you call it “blended learning”, “flipping the classroom”, or something else entirely, schools are finding innovative ways to extend learning beyond the classroom walls. Much of this innovation is driven by the growing role of mobile devices in learning. As more schools embrace BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and 1:1 learning models, teachers are experimenting with new ways to deliver instruction and connect with students inside and outside the traditional classroom.
  • Social learning: Our students are social media mavens—and now, innovative teachers are leveraging their interest in connection to accelerate learning. Learning platforms that include virtual group spaces or forums where students can collaborate and respond to each others’ work can encourage deeper engagement in the material and allow students to learn from each other. Student blogging is an effective way to build writing proficiency—many students put more effort into their work when they know their peers will be reading it.
  • App smashing: Students and teachers are starting to combine apps in creative ways to produce and share complex media projects. App smashing helps students build important 21st century learning and technology skills, and builds creativity and critical thinking as students learn how to most effectively communicate their message.
  • Personalization: The greatest power of classroom technology has always been the promise of a truly personalized learning experience. But too often, this has translated to students simply doing individual exercises on drill-and-kill computer programs. To truly personalize learning, instruction must be individualized not only for pace but also for learning style, interests, and communication preferences. Learning platforms that help teachers track and collect individual assignments, build learning groups around individual interests and learning styles, and deliver instruction tailored to each student’s needs make this deeper personalization possible.
  • Gamification: As teaching moves beyond the analog lecture model and into the digital era, the move towards more personal, student-centered learning is also aided by another trend: gamification. Gamification means embedding game elements into the learning process—such as “quests,” progressive rewards or recognition, social elements, or “levels” that are unlocked by successfully completing tasks. Gamification taps into intrinsic motivation and makes learning student-directed and student-centered rather than teacher-driven. Technology tools and learning platforms can help teachers track students progress and ensure that learning is taking place in these unorthodox classrooms.

What new ideas are you planning to try in your school this year? Are you testing BYOD for the first time? Flipping the classroom? Or turning your school into an epic, gamified adventure with the help of technology tools? Let us know below!

Literacy in the Palms of Their Hands

Depending on whom you ask, smartphones and tablets are the most exciting innovations in reading since the printing press—or digital demons that are destroying students’ ability to pay attention and comprehend text in meaningful ways.

As they spend more and more time on digital devices, today’s students are likely to be exposed to more written language than any generation prior. But a large percentage of this “reading” time is devoted to texting, Twitter, Facebook, and rapid web surfing and skimming on sites like Cracked, Reddit, and Buzzfeed. Some researchers are concerned that this relatively shallow reading experience is actually changing our students’ brains in ways that are detrimental to in-depth reading comprehension and learning.

But digital reading experiences don’tBoy with tablet under covers have to be shallow. The devices in the palms of their hands can also be used to build important literacy and critical thinking skills, and provide access to a whole universe of information that those of us from the Encyclopedia Era could only dream about. And engaging kids with literary apps during the summer months may help them avoid the dreaded “summer slide” (and the even more dreaded “I’m bored!”). Here are some great apps for kids to check out while they are still home on summer break:

  • The Reading Rainbow app lets young readers access hundreds of fiction and non-fiction titles and video field trips designed to promote the love of literature. Kids can choose between Read to Me and Read it Myself modes as they develop their reading skills.
  • YALSA’s Teen Book Finder, by the American Library Association, helps teen and pre-teen readers discover new books recommended by the young Adult Library Services Association—and find a local library where they can check them out for free!
  • Comics+Kids will lure reluctant readers into literacy with a store full of kid-friendly comic book titles. Most cost between $0.99 – $2.99, but kids will also find a selection of free comics to get them started.
  • Comic Book Maker HD lets young writers create their own stories in graphic novel form.
  • Story Buddy 2 allows budding writers to put their story-telling skills to work by creating their own eBooks.
  • Feedly makes web reading easier and more efficient by aggregating content from your favorite news sites, blogs and other online sources. Older students (and teachers!) can use Feedly to monitor trending news on their favorite topics.
  • Popplet is a mind-mapping app that can help students with note taking, pre-writing, or simply collecting their thoughts on the subjects that interest them.

What are your favorite reading and literacy apps? Tell us below!