Nominate an innovator - click here

Tell us your innovative ideas - click here

Meet our Innovation Coaches

Ben Drewelow

My role: I am a special education teacher in our ALC. I co-teach in the math classroom with Mr. Jason Michalicek. I also chair the NEC Professional Development Committee. I am a member of the AVID Site Team and the ALC Student Support Team.

What Innovation Means to Me: The District 287 Innovation Initiative is based on the same idea behind Google's '20 percent time,' which is often applied in the classroom under the title 'Genius Hour.'  This is where an employee, an educator, or a student, is let free of their regular responsibilities for a portion of their time in order to pursue passions, creativity, and ideas. As Innovation coaches we are allotted a block of time to do special projects, always with the intention to help students learn better and staff teach better. Some current practices at NEC that came from our Innovation program include the use of iPads & Chromebooks in classrooms, the NEC Makerspace, the KidPacks program, and a whole lot more.
What I Hope to Accomplish: One of my main efforts at this time is working with individual staff and teams to help them manage and execute their workloads in efficient, high-functioning ways. This is a very hard job. How do we manage it? How do we be efficient? How do we stay focused on results and outcomes and not get bogged down with all the barriers and difficulties? In education there is so much to do all at once, it can feel almost impossible to "get things done" in a prompt and businesslike fashion. Organizing and executing tasks has has been a major area of personal and professional development for me. As I continue to grow, myself, I'm turning my focus towards supporting others. In addition to this work, I continue to support and advocate for the growth of Project Based Learning, the Maker Movement, and other authentic forms of learning in our ALC and throughout the building

Tom Simshauser

Innovation to me means that we get really creative with our approaches to students to facilitate learning at all functional ability levels. This year I hope to work with everyone at NEC to meet this goal.

Ben Sibila

My role:  I am an Education Assistant in CIP @ North Education Center.   Part of my day I can be found in the Attain Technology lab job coaching students through a variety of client based projects. I am mentor here at NEC in addition to sitting on the student improvement committee.. 

What innovation mean to me:  Using the most cutting edge technology in concert with fresh ideas to facilitate learning, foster self-understanding and align diverse behaviors to reflect our district mission.

What I hope to accomplish:  Raise the individual value and the collective of our staff through facilitating the way we do things. Provide platforms to harness the collective creative consciousness at our school so staff and students all experience a heightened appreciation for how technology coupled with new ideas can be used as a positive tool to yield positive results.


NEC has SMART Boards in several of our classrooms. SMART Boards allow teachers to create student specific lessons in an interactive format.

Learn more about SMART Boards and other interactive tools by SMART Technologies

SMARTBoard Resources

We have a wide variety of lessons to use on the SMARTBoard located on the T-drive ranging from elementary all the way through high school.  We also have lessons designed to go along with our Love & Learning and Character Education curriculum.

How do I get to the T-Drive?

Website Resourcs


Available Apps

At NEC we have many apps for the ipad that have already been purchased and are just looking for a good home.  Below is a list of apps that we currently have available to you.  Please let me know if you are interested in getting these for your classroom!

Just fill out this form and I will get back to you as soon as possible :) App Request Form

Ben Drewelow

Ben Sibila

Tom Simshauser


Ace Math Land - Animals Series
150 Image Puzzles to Unlock, Discover, and Solve.

Action Sight Words Games & Flash Cards for Reading Sucess
Action Sight Words Games application offers children an easy-to-use interface and a grand choice of six fun educational games through which children can acquire mastery over this subject matter.

Animation Creator HD
Animation Creator HD allows your creativity to come to life on your iPad! You are the director! With simple, yet powerful drawing tools, color options, and easy to use frame management, you're only limited by your imagination! Your animations will look smooth and life-like with the high frame rate playback of Animation Creator HD.

AppWriter US
AppWriter is the first text editor for the iPad to offer users of all ages with reading and writing disabilites the necessary tools for unlocking a world of information.
AppWriter is packed with incredible assistive features. All tools and features are seamlessly integrated and comprise context based word suggestions, text-to-speech and the special Dyslexie-font.

Assistive Chat
Assistive Chat is designed to be simple and efficient, allowing users to communicate at the fastest rate possible, with natural sounding voices.

BE Write HD
Blog, Email, Edit Google Docs, Draw, Create HTML, Take Notes, Handwriting.

Between The Lines 1
This app is designed for elementary students and older, who would benefit from practice interpreting vocal intonation, facial expressions, perspective-taking, body language, and idiomatic or slang expressions.

Between The Lines 2
This app is designed for elementary students and older, who would benefit from practice interpreting vocal intonation, facial expressions, perspective-taking, body language, and idiomatic or slang expressions.

Between The Lines Advanced
This app is designed for elementary students and older, who would benefit from practice interpreting vocal intonation, facial expressions, perspective-taking, body language, and idiomatic or slang expressions.

Breathing Zone
Relaxing Breathing Exercises Breathing Zone is designed to be easy to use. There are no complicated settings and no difficult breathing patterns to master. All you need to do is breathe in and out according to the guide. Your breathing rate is gradually lowered and the length of your exhalation extended as the session progresses.

Realistic comic styling with a wide selection of: image filters, comic fonts, customizable captions, a library of classic comic graphics and dozens of multi-panel page layouts.

Explain Everything
Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design tool that lets you annotate, animate, and narrate explanations and presentations. You can create dynamic interactive lessons, activities, assessments, and tutorials using Explain Everything's flexible and integrated design. Use Explain Everything as an interactive whiteboard using the iPad 2 (and the new iPad) video display.

First Then Visual Schedule
For individuals with communication needs, developmental delays, Autism or those who benefit from a structured environment; visual schedules serve to increase independence and lower anxiety during transitions through different activities.

First Words Professional
First Words Professional uses the same intuitive interface that is so easy for preschoolers, kindergartners, and kids with special needs to use. They'll giggle with delight at the beautifully drawn pictures and matching entertaining sounds, all the while learning how letters correspond to sounds and how letters sounds form words.

GoTalk Now
Create as many communication books as you need, each with unique settings and unlimited pages.

i Learn With Poko:
Seasons and Weather! Discover three fun games in which Poko helps children 3 to 6 learn to identify various weather situations in different seasons, and teaches them all about appropriate clothing and activities.

Make beautiful HD movies anywhere with iMovie, the fast and fun moviemaking app that puts everything you need to tell your story at your fingertips.

Magnetic letters
You have an infinite number of alphabet fridge magnets, drag them onto the screen and arrange them using all of your fingers, move up to 10 letters around at the same time.

Math Drills
Allows up to 50 student profiles to learn basic math skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Math is fun:
Age 3-4 Through 8 fun activities, this app teaches kids -to recognize numbers -to count -to order numbers -to handle shapes.

Math is fun:
Age 4-5 Through 8 fun activities, this app teaches kids -to recognize numbers -to count -to order numbers -to play with weight (heavy, light) -to determine ranking (first, second... last) -to handle shapes.

Math is fun:
Age 5-6 Through 8 fun activities, this app teaches kids -to count -to add numbers -to order numbers -to handle shapes -to play with symmetry.

Math is fun:
Age 6-7 Through 8 fun activities, this app teaches kids -to count -to add numbers -to order numbers -to handle shapes -to play with symmetry.

Monster Physics
Players learn physics "hands on" through solving missions and building and refining their own inventions. In addition, a separate learning section introduces players to basic physics concepts such as friction, force, mass, acceleration and more.

Move The Turtle
Move The Turtle is an educational application for iPhone and iPad that teaches children the basics of creating computer programs, using intuitive graphic commands

The most beautiful note taking app ever designed for the iPad. Noteshelf is the handwriting note taker that features super natural digital ink, a stunning UI and a comprehensive toolset that will increase the benefits of owning an iPad by leaps and bounds.

Office HD 2
|Office² HD, the most intuitive and straightforward office document editor available on the iPad, makes it easy to open, view, create and edit Word (DOC & DOCX), Excel (XLS & XLSX), and PowerPoint (PPT & PPTX) files right from your iPad!

Pocket PCM HD
Want an easy way to keep fresh on your Process Communication Model® concepts and skills? Then Pocket PCM is a great tool for you. Inside this app you can find definitions, examples, and tips for dealing more effectively with different personality types.

Read 2 Go
From within Read2Go, you can browse, search, download, and read books directly from Bookshare using your Bookshare membership, as well as read DAISY books from other sources. The app gives you full control over visual choices for font size and color, background and highlighting color, and text-to-speech preferences. Read2Go features word-by-word highlighting for multi-modal reading.

Sentence Builder
Sentence Builder is designed to help elementary aged children learn how to build grammatically correct sentences.

Sight Words 1-100
Give your child the building blocks needed to learn to read. Combine fun, easy-to-follow activities with hands-on and audio features to jumpstart the learning process.

SmartKids Picture Dictionary HD
SmartKids Picture Dictionary HD is a dictionary of lively images, voices and sounds. It's carefully designed to help children learn English vocabulary.

SMART Notebook
The SMART Notebook app for iPad is a light version of SMART Notebook collaborative learning software. Using this app, you can create basic multimedia files and complete SMART Notebook lesson activities

Sono Flex Tobii
Sono Flex is an easy to use AAC vocabulary app that turns symbols into clear speech. It offers language to nonverbal users who are not yet in full control of literacy. Sono Flex combines the benefits of structure and flexibility, providing a framework for language development, quickly matching individual and situational communication needs. Tobii Sono Flex has been designed to be easy to operate and easy for SLPs, teachers, parents, caregivers or other communication partners to setup and customize.

Sosh Sosh™
is a mobile app designed to help ‘tweens, teens and young adults improve social skills. It is especially designed to be used by individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Speech with Milo:
Verbs Milo is for speech therapists working with children, or parents who want to teach language skills to their children.
Stand Up to Bullying Stand Up to Bullying is a fun interactive educational video featuring Lucky Kat and Daren the Lion. It’s a great way for children to learn how to identify the different types bullying and to know what to do when they see it happening.

Story Pals
Children can’t help but crack a smile or have a chuckle as they practice listening and reading comprehension with StoryPals in this engaging story comprehension app.

Tell Time
Interactive elementary app to learn telling time Tell time is an engaging and interactive app for iPad that teaches time to elementary kids in an exciting Jungle theme using beautiful clock designs and encouraging voice-overs.

VAST Autism 1
Core VAST-Autism combines the highly effective concept of video modeling with written words and auditory cues to help individuals acquire relevant words, phrases and sentences so that they can speak for themselves.

Voice Meter
From the creators of the Sosh™ app for social skills comes Voice Meter, a speech volume monitoring and regulation tool. This feature, also contained within the full Sosh™ app, has been so popular and garnered so much praise that it is now also offered as a stand-alone app.

Previous Apps of the Week

Destiny Quest
Download The Destiny Quest App for Free!
Go beyond the walls of your library with the Destiny Quest Mobile App! Search your library catalog -- anytime, anywhere!
When asked for the Library URL type in and then select NEC

ClassDojo for Teachers

ClassDojo helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators. Teachers can use this app to give students realtime feedback while in class - it will sync with the main ClassDojo website. Better learning behaviors, smoother lessons, and hassle-free data - and it's free for teachers!


Top 10 KIDS Apps - by age

Top 10 Kids. Just enter the age (1 to 10 years old) and gender of your student/child, then “presto”, out pops our Top 10 kid’s apps by category based on your child’s age and gender. Categories covered are…

★ Games apps★ Film 
★ Education apps★ TV
★ Book apps 



Snowman Math. Build a snowman by answering simple addition and subtraction questions.  The snowman is made from random parts so it is not always the same snowman.  You can also see a candy cane count by touching numbers in the question to help younger children.

BrainPOP Featured Movie

Bring learning to your fingertips™ with the BrainPOP Featured Movie app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Watch a different animated movie every day, then test your new knowledge with an interactive quiz – free!

Monster Booth - Halloween!

Monster Booth allows you to turn you and your friends into zombies, mummies, vampires, and other monsters!

First Then Visual Schedule

First-Then Visual Schedule application is designed for caregivers to provide positive behavior support.   For individuals with communication needs, developmental delays, Autism or those who benefit from a structured environment; visual schedules serve to increase independence and lower anxiety during transitions through different activities.


Sōsh™ is a mobile app designed to help ‘tweens, teens and young adults improve social skills.  It is especially designed to be used by individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome. 

Scholastic Storia

Scholastic Storia is the FREE eReading app designed to help kids learn and love to read in a fun and interactive way. Scholastic Storia comes with 5 FREE eBooks, and introduces a growing collection of children’s digital picture, chapter, and interactive books. Download the Scholastic Storia app to access age-appropriate eBooks for children ages 3 to 14.

'Songs for Kids’ includes 14 kids songs that your children will love. Each song will delight your children with captivating illustrations and animations, while playing the piano and learning new vocabulary.

The Baseball Multiplication 1–6 Facts game by McGraw-Hill offers a quick and easy way to practice and reinforce basic multiplication facts (1–6). This facts practice game runs on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

Stack the States makes learning about the 50 states fun! Watch the states actually come to life in this colorful and dynamic game! 
As you learn state capitals, shapes, geographic locations and more, you can actually touch, move and drop the animated states anywhere on the screen. Carefully build a stack of states that reaches the checkered line to win each level.
You earn a random state for every successfully completed level. All of your states appear on your own personalized map of the United States. Try to collect all 50! As you earn more states, you begin to unlock the three free bonus games: Pile Up, Puzzler and Capital Drop. Four games in one!


Math Ninja is a game where you use your math skills to defend your tree house against a hungry tomato and his robotic army.

Autism Apps is simply a comprehensive list of apps that are being used with and by people diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome and other special needs. It also includes links to any available information that can be found for each app. The Apps are also separated into over 30 categories, and the descriptions are all searchable, so any type of app is easy to find and download.

MathTappers: Clockmaster is a game to help children make the connection between hours and minutes and to help them become fluent in both reading and setting time on digital and analog clocks.


'eBook Creator’ is the simplest and easiest ebook creation application. Its interface is designed for all ages and skill levels so that young kids are able to make ebooks using the app.

tinyTube enables you to control what content children are watching on YouTube. Children can still have access to the videos and interactive music they love, without the dreaded list of "related videos" that are accessible via other interfaces.


Pearltrees’ unique visual interface lets you keep everything you like at hand so you can organize it your way. Collect web pages and turn them into pearls. Organize your pearls into pearltrees based on your interests. Enrich your collections with pearltrees from other community members. Share all of this and start to cultivate your interests with Pearltrees.

The Innovation Forum

The goal of the Innovation Forum is to promote the discussion and development of innovative ideas in education. It is an open forum administered by District 287 for discussing all aspects of innovation. Because many of the members are District 287 staff and teachers, much of the conversation will center on innovation particular to our District. Guests and outside members are welcome to participate in and benefit from such discussions. We value outside ideas.

Discussion forums are moderated to preserve the spirit of an open, interactive discussion. The forum guidelines for posting are important and should be read and accepted before you choose to participate. We will take appropriate steps to ensure discussions adhere to these guidelines.

The contents of the forum discussions are personal to the poster of those comments and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of anyone else or Intermediate District 287. The District has not pre-screened or approved postings and is not responsible for their contents. The first time on the forum you will need to create an account for yourself.

Check out our Innovation Forum

Intermediate District 287
1820 XENIUM LANE NORTH Plymouth, MN 55441
PH: 763-559-3535

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