It’s August, which means that for students and staff in higher education, a new school year is about to start. And though it may seem as though summer wasn’t long enough, education and technology companies have been hard at work releasing new products, ideas, and services all ready to help you in the classroom this fall. As faculty, here are the trends, sites, and solutions you absolutely need to know. 

  • Vittle is an increasingly popular app that helps you quickly draw and write your own videos to help you easily share ideas. Made to be used with the iPad, Vittle allows you to create HD videos as easily as if you were drawing on a whiteboard. You can then share these videos in classes, demonstrate an idea during group meetings, or create a visual library for your students to access at any time.
  • For students and faculty who have a hard time listening, taking notes, and participating at the same time, the Sky wifi smartpen may be of interest. It records everything from what you say to what you write, and hold 400 hours of audio from lectures, meetings, notes, and more. It will then wirelessly transfer your recorded notes and audio to an online account for playback on almost any device.
  • Join.me is an online meeting app with the ability to record, view,  and host up to 250 meeting participants (with a paying account), or up to 10 with free accounts. Its ease lies in its simple design, so whether you’re speaking with other classrooms around the world or tuning into a staff meeting, you’ll have an uninterrupted connection.
  • Yes, adults are addicted to social networking sites and online games too. Everyone procrastinates, but there’s not a moment to be wasted at the start of the year. Freedom is an app designed to lock you out of the net for a limited time so you can grade papers, attend meetings, and get work done. You could just force yourself to stop putting work off, but if you can’t avoid online distractions, this is an easy and affordable way to get things done.
  • University Pages is LinkedIn’s new high school-geared networking site. Though it doesn’t debut until next month, it’s causing quite a positive stir. Prospective students can not only interact with those at the school and find out necessary information, but can actually view special data to see where alumni work and live. Though University Pages is not available for every school quite yet, and may not directly affect faculty at the moment, we’re sure this new offshoot of Linked In will quickly become a key player in the higher education world.
  • If you’re already a tech-driven teacher, you may be teaching in a tablet-learning classroom already. But what exactly are your students doing—class work or games? LearnPad is a classroom management tool that allows educators to view and control student tablets.

These are just a few of the tools designed to help faculty, staff, and students alike in the ever-changing world of higher ed technology. It’s easy to feel lost in the constant storm of new products and promises, so we’ll keep trying to help you stay one step ahead of the game.