Bill Gates took to his blog Monday to highlight some technology he’s seen that is poised to disrupt education. Titled “6 Tools for Teachers,” Gates outlined innovations that are “helping teachers work with their students in new ways and making it easier for them to connect with their colleagues.”

One such company Gates acknowledged was Chicago-based ThinkCERCA, a startup born out of 1871 and founded in 2012 that provides educators with tools to teach literacy skills. ThinkCERCA was also a winner of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Literacy Courseware Challenge.

Here’s what Gates said of ThinkCERCA:

ThinkCERCA helps teachers create reading assignments that push their students’ critical thinking skills. For example you can take a topic like the government’s role in promoting good health and assign various texts for different reading levels. Students go through a series of exercises, including constructing an argument and citing evidence from what they’ve just read. Teachers can evaluate their students’ work and assign content to help students with areas where they need to improve, right there in the tool.

ThinkCERCA Overview for Teachers & Schools from ThinkCERCA on Vimeo.

Other products Gates noted include BetterLesson, LightSail, Fine Tune, Edmodo, and BloomBoard.

While other industries have focused on innovation, education has lagged behind, Gates wrote, adding that he expects to see some major changes to the American education system in the coming years.

Technology has changed a lot about the way we live and work, but one area stands out as an exception: education. Many teachers still have to use the same tools—blackboards, textbooks, overhead projectors—that their own teachers used decades ago…

Thanks to these three trends, I think that in five years the average quality of instruction in America’s schools will be meaningfully better than it is today.

I recently had the chance to spend time with some of the new technology products being designed for teachers. Some of them are focused on teacher training, others on supporting their classroom work or helping administrators give them feedback. Although it’s too early to say which ones are going to break through and reach scale, I thought I would share a few of the ideas that seem especially promising to me.

Public Domain Image via Wiki Commons by Mathieu Sroussi