New Products

New Products

The latest offerings in books, hardware, Internet and software.Focus: Technology

Software Technology

STIAssessment

www.sti-k12.com, Internet, $12 per student/year

This Web-based assessment solution links student information systems with curriculum and assessment. Teachers can archive and align student data to assessment data and create a living assessment record that follows students throughout their career. Features include STICreator, which allows educators to develop their own test items and tag them to state and district benchmarks. Teachers can create their own assessments and select questions from a test item bank to create benchmark assessments with statistically valid test items that are aligned with local standards. Reports can also be generated that identify a student's strengths and weaknesses.

Generation YES Corp.

TechYES

www.genyes.org/products/techyes, Program (Books/Software), $495 for 30 students

Designed for students in grades 6-9, this technology training and certification program can be offered during the day or afterschool. Students assume the responsibility of becoming technologically proficient by creating projects that meet federal, state and local technology requirements. A structured peer-mentoring program assists the teacher or advisor and provides students with leadership opportunities aimed at strengthening the program and enriching the learning community.

The TechYES starter kit includes 30 full-color student guides and certifications, two-color classroom posters, a teacher implementation guide for teachers offering research-based strategies and best practices, a CD-ROM of electronic resources, a site license to run the program and a web portal account (www.techyes.net). The web portal provides tutorials, project areas and other resources to support student technology projects. After students submit their own projects, the teacher can manage the certification process through a program account.

The cost for additional students is $14.95 in quantities of 1-9, $12.45 for 10-99 and $9.95 for orders greater than 100.

NBOR Corp.

NBOR

www.nbor.com, Software, $129 -$299 per copy (volume discounts available)

NBOR, which stands for No Boundaries or Rules, enables individual students or entire classrooms to collaborate in real time over the Internet. Instead of using separate applications, users stay in Blackspace, where a single set of intuitive graphical "universal tools" are used to perform tasks like word processing, desktop publishing, photo editing and producing slide show presentations and animation. Users have unlimited peer-to-peer access to the program's communications protocols to collaborate, exchange information or transfer media and files while sharing the same Blackspace environment.

The universal tools are designed to help people perform tasks in much less time than with traditional tools. For example, during the time it takes to draw an arrow using a conventional program, students can outline an entire document, or create a slide show or an animated film.

Two online protocols--NBOR Talk and YCAAT--are included with the software. With NBOR Talk, documents become interactive and one user controls the mouse at a time, but control can be passed to anyone in the session. YCAAT enables people to use the same Blackspace environment to simultaneously draw on the same picture, work on the same design or type in the same document.

Axis Communications

AXIS OfficeBasic USB Wireless Print Server

www.axis.com, Hardware, $139

Excluding host-based printers, this print server connects to any printer with a USB port, enabling the printer to be shared among multiple computer users. Its wireless capability allows for flexible placement of printers from any computer within a wireless local area network. Other features include a small form factor and multilingual support. The system is designed to be installed and operated by those with no special training or assistance.

VERSION3

Version3 Simple Sign-On

www.ver3.com, Software, $1-$3 per student

This identity management tool was designed to help educators and students log on once to their computer accounts via a single authentication and to access authorized applications, information and resources. All the data or information is stored in an active directory instead of separate databases. To further enhance security, some of the software's properties are encrypted with encryption keys unique to each installation. With minor scripting, the same interface used for delegated administration is also available in self-service mode that permits users to securely reset their own application credentials without help desk intervention.

JVC Professional Products Company

BD-X200U

www.jvc.com/pro, Hardware, $3,495

This DVD authoring decoder creates DVDs in real time. Its features include one-time creation of customized menus, a comprehensive range of digital and analog input/outputs, chapter-by-chapter creation and direct recording. Also included is a template-based menu design, which enables users to create original menu templates and save them in the recorder.

Other new JVC products include a 50-inch plasma display monitor ($8,495), a half-inch 3-CCD color camera ($4,195) and a 15-inch high-resolution color monitor ($799).

PBS TeacherLine

Teacher Training Courses

www.pbs.org/teacherline, Internet, $150 per course

This online professional development program for pre-K-12 educators offers 80 courses designed to enhance teacher quality and address competency requirements under No Child Left Behind. The offerings cover instructional technology, mathematics, reading, science, curriculum mapping and instructional strategies. They also include 10 new elementary reading and math offerings and ISTE/Capstone courses that help teachers demonstrate their mastery of the ISTE NETS*T and earn certification in technology integration. All courses are led by facilitators who are trained and certified by PBS.

iBIZ Technology Corp.

Virtual Laser Keyboard

www.ibizcorp.com, Hardware, $99

This product is actually a laser that projects a full-size keyboard onto any flat surface. Weighing two ounces and about the same size as a disposable cigarette lighter, it can be used as a portable input device for PDA's or as a keyboard for notebook or desktop PCs. Key features include a USB/serial cable connection and a self-contained, rechargeable lithium ion battery, which lasts up to four hours. It can also be plugged directly into an A/C outlet for continuous typing. Future models will incorporate Bluetooth and/or IR wireless connections to a variety of devices.

SmartDraw.com

SmartDraw Education Solution

www.smartdraw.com, Software, $267 (educational discounts available)

This pre-packaged set of templates and tutorials was designed to help teachers create forms, quizzes, worksheets, calendars, seating charts, awards and other classroom documents. They can also personalize forms with a school logo or clip art images, customize templates with names, color-coding and clip art, personalize awards and certificates, create visual aids for brainstorming or to illustrate the relationships between ideas, and use charts and timelines to plan classroom activities.

Educators Publishing Service

Sounds Sensible

www.epsbooks.com, Program, $225

The second edition of this beginning phonics program for grades Pre-K-1 includes a Teacher's Manual providing instructions and scripts for addressing five skill areas: listening, rhyming, segmenting, learning phoneme/grapheme relationships and dictation. It aims to help students both practice skills and appreciate enriched reading content. Key Word Concept Sheets introduce each letter, its keyword and its sound. Picture and letter cards illustrate beginning sounds and matching rhymes. Students review with activities and games.

Distance Learning

ScribeStudio

www.scribestudio.com, Internet, $99 and up per classroom/month (up to 25 students)

This Web site was designed to help nontechnical users create, offer and manage courses and training material online. Educators can leverage 15 built-in question types, multiple page templates and varied content types, such as video, audio, text and images in order to author, migrate, upload, publish, teach and, if applicable, charge for their online training programs. All subscription plans combine key digital publishing activities with key e-commerce functionality.

CompassLearning

Odyssey for English Language Learners

www.compasslearning.com, Software, $48 per user

This software is offered in two versions based on student age group. The elementary level is designed for children ages 5-12 with limited or no previous knowledge of English. It addresses basic reading and language learning skills through topics and themes, such as The Paint Factory, The Dress Show and The Theater; children can click over characters and icons to listen to conversations, sing along with an antique phonograph or read funny stories. Using the same approach, the other version for secondary through adult learners uses real life professions, famous people and places. Native language support in 10 languages is optional.

Califone

Wireless Powered Learning Center (3432IR-PLC)

www.califone.com, Hardware, $255

This portable wireless listening center uses patented infrared technology to deliver a full range of high fidelity audio from up to 15 feet away. It can adapt to use with larger groups because the technology allows for more listeners than a traditional wired listening center that accommodates four or eight students.

Califone has also introduced the 4100-USB headset ($40), which features reinforced connectors, an adjustable headband and foam-filled replaceable ear cushions. An attached boom microphone offers additional versatility for spoken word and language applications.

Macromedia

Breeze K-12 School Edition

www.macromedia.com/breeze, Software, License $3,600/year

This tool enables educators, staff and students to develop online class content, academic programs and deliver time-sensitive information. They can use programs like Microsoft PowerPoint to author, publish and track Flash-based education and training materials that support classroom instruction, distance learning and professional development. It also includes Breeze Presentation and Training for 10 authors and 30 concurrent learners, plus an LMS adapter module, maintenance and one year of support.

Online Solutions for Educators

Pupil Pages

www.pupilpages.com, Internet, $800/year, plus $5 per student/year for portfolio sites

This application provides students with an organized way of presenting their achievements on the Web along with opportunities to reflect on their progress and create portfolios that can grow with them over the years. It was designed for elementary through high school-aged students and is accessible from any computer with an Internet connection. Teachers can access and manage student portfolios, which are password protected. Other features include a journal and blogging that promote collaboration and encourage students to critique each other's work.

Lucid Data Corp.

FrameWorks

www.lucid-data.com, Software, $2,495 and up

This peer-coaching and performance assessment system provides school districts with an electronic information-gathering and analysis system. Staff and teacher coaches can complete district-created assessment and coaching forms from any Web-enabled computer and exchange e-mails containing pre- and post-assessment comments. Since the software is a component of PDExpress, a professional development management system, coaches also have access to professional development records and can identify and suggest workshops, resources and other activities to staff. For each template, districts can create custom rubrics, provide detailed descriptions, offer supporting help text and assign numeric values to rubrics.

Corwin Press

Failure is NOT an Option

www.corwinpress.com, Book, $32.95

This resource, subtitled Six Principles that Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools, offers case studies and techniques for addressing difficult issues, such as establishing systems for prevention and intervention and using collaborative teaming for teaching and learning. The author identifies courageous school leadership and the professional learning community as the center of effective school reform.

TransACT Communications

TransACT Compliance & Communication Center

www.transact.com, Service, District license $400 and up/year

This online subscription service was designed to help educators comply with the parental communication requirements mandated by No Child Left Behind and other federal and state mandates regarding communication of legal and policy matters to all parents in languages they can understand. An annual subscription offers more than 44 documents in six different languages that support parent communication mandates, more than 60 general education letters and forms in 23 languages, and a management system that organizes content and keeps schools on track to provide timely and consistent communications.

Active Parenting Publishers

Padres a Bordo (Parents on Board)

www.activeparenting.com, Videos, $129.95

This series of three Spanish-language videos aims to help build student academic success through parental involvement. It features scenes of parents helping with homework, working with teachers and modeling positive discipline. Dubbed in Spanish by professional actors in Mexico, the videos include discussion tips and reproducible handouts for parents.

Cable in the Classroom

Project Cam

www.ciconline.org, Internet, Free

Developed by the cable industry's education foundation, this broadband and Web-based technology service is part of a suite of interactive educational tools created to help classes in distant locations collaborate on a variety of learning experiences. Each project includes access to a live webcam with audio feeds from participating locations, live chat capability and file sharing. Requirements include a high-speed Internet connection, an external computer microphone, external speakers, Internet Explorer 6.0 for Windows or IE 5.0 for Mac and Macromedia's Flash Player 7 plug-in.

Apple

AirPort Express

www.apple.com, Hardware, $129

This 802.11g mobile base station can be plugged directly into the wall to create a wireless network. With no separate power cord or power supply required, it works for up to 10 users at a time, enabling them to access the Internet, play music over a stereo and share a USB printer. Using a feature called bridging, users can almost double the device's range or fill gaps in an existing network. Files can also be transferred from one computer to another without hooking up to an Ethernet connection.

Other features include password protection and encryption capabilities and a built-in firewall that creates a barrier between a network and the Internet, protecting data from Web-based IP attacks. The firewall is automatically enabled when the base station is configured to share a single Internet connection.

Polyvision Corp.

Walk-and-Talk

www.polyvision.com, Hardware, $6,299

Walk-and-Talk features an interactive flat panel display and a battery-powered, mobile lectern that can be adjusted to different heights. The display acts as an extension of a computer, enabling presenters to access files, run applications, highlight key points and capture new thoughts from the interactive display surface using a stylus or fingertip. Presentations can be controlled from anywhere in the room via an intuitive remote control. The interactive flat panel is also available as a stand-alone product.


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