www.polycom.com, Hardware, $16,999 and up
These four video conferencing packages offer different distance learning systems that enable teachers to gain access to two-way interactive content, subject matter experts, museums, research, different cultures and electronic field trips. Based on the company's VSX 7000 and VSX 8000 video communication platforms, they help create a seamless environment for rich media collaboration. Features include H.264 video, audio and closed caption support, segment icons, a Web server, a Web director, array microphones and automatic camera operation to the classroom. Educators also have access to real-time information and can benefit from flexible content design, increased enrollments, dual enrollments and increased professional development.
Also new is VSX v7.5 software, which aims to improve the quality of video calls. People+Content is a software option for sending and receiving high-resolution content from a laptop or PC between any VSX video conferencing system. StereoSurround adds a spatial dimension to video calls, enhancing the intelligibility and comprehension of information. Extended error concealment technology for H.264 video calls conceals the noticeable effects of network congestion and packet loss, which enables customers to benefit from higher quality calls over lower bandwidth with embedded error concealment for IP or ISDN networks.
www.usa.canon.com, Hardware, $3,999
This multimedia projector features the company's proprietary AISYS optical technology, which offers 2500 ANSI lumens and a contrast ratio of 1000:1. Also, with LCOS technology, it offers higher SXGA+ resolution, seamless imagery and enhanced performance on motion images.
Weighing 8.6 pounds, the projector includes multiple Color-Preset modes: Standard, which produces images that closely resemble the original input source; Presentation, which increases the contrast between bright and dark areas to make it easier to see detailed diagrams and text; sRGB, which is the color space used in most digital cameras; and cinema, which is most suitable for the projection of moving images. Additional image modes include dynamic gamma correction, six-axis color adjustment, greenboard and memory color correction. The projector's 1.7x optical zoom lens can display an 100-inch image on a screen from 9.8 feet away, and its 2:3 pull-down circuitry converts interlaced 480 and 575 video to progressive-scan imagery. The product comes with multiple input jacks and connectors and can accept a variety of digital and analog computer-display formats.
Lexia Learning Systems
Lexia Primary Reading
www.lexialearning.com, Software, $120-$500
This reading software targets students between the ages of 5-8. It tracks student progress, correlates with curriculum standards and lesson plans and provides strong curriculum support in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development and comprehension. Other features include onscreen alerts, after-class reports and a student and class assignment system. Also, it automatically detects when additional practice activities are necessary and imports and exports class lists and student data with other support software.
WGBH Educational Foundation
Teachers' Domain Professional Development courses
www.teachersdomain.org/courses, Internet, Approximately $150/participant
These science courses were designed to broaden educators' knowledge of science content and teaching methodologies and help them integrate technology into the classroom. The first three offerings are Teaching Elementary Life Science, Teaching Elementary Physical Science and Teaching Middle School Life Science. Complete with readings, online discussion forums, classroom videos and assignments, these courses include clips from PBS programs such as NOVA. Additional courses will launch in 2005, all corresponding to the National Science Education Standards and the MCREL Compendium of K-12 standards.
Upper Deck U.S. History
www.upperdeck.com, Trading Cards, $2.99/10 card pack
Collectable cards in this 300-card set depict the greatest people, places and moments in U.S. history, from Columbus and the colonists to the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Insert cards feature U.S. presidents, symbols relating to the country's highest office and limited cut signature cards of U.S. presidents and legendary figures. Also new are U.S. state quarter cards featuring a photo and information capturing the essence of that state.
www.palmOne.com/tungsten-t5, Hardware, $399
This handheld device offers 256MB of flash memory, protects information if it loses its charge and doubles as a portable flash memory drive. Its high-resolution 320x480 screen offers both landscape and portrait modes. Besides contact information, the handheld can store two music CDs, several minutes of video and hundreds of VGA photos, e-mails and documents. With the company's new file transfer application, users can also drag and drop files and whole folders between the device and their desktop computer. Built-in Bluetooth wireless technology lets users connect to a compatible phone to browse the web and get e-mail.
www.adobe.com, Software, Free
This tool translates raw photo formats into the .DNG format, a new unified public format for digital camera files that can preserve digital photos in original form. The software simplifies digital imaging workflows for users juggling multiple file formats in publishing images from different cameras. Also new is the Camera Raw Plug-in, which extends raw file support in Photoshop CS to more than 65 digital camera models.
Big6 Learning Resources
www.big6turbotools.com, Software, $995
This software was designed to help teach information and technology literacy to students of all ages. It walks students through a process to create projects and complete assignments, such as research papers and book reports. Features include resources for teachers, parents and students, a word processor, bibliography tool, dictionary and customizing template that helps students produce science projects and numerous documents. Students login with their user name and password. All student work is securely stored in a locker. Teachers can also print a summary report to monitor student progress.
The Reading Assistant Manager
www.reading-assistant.com, Software, $2,000
This network software program aims to help students in grades 1-6 meet national and local reading fluency requirements. It provides a guided oral reading experience by "listening" to students as they read and offering intelligent intervention when they need it, then reporting performance to the teacher. Students can access their reading assignments from any computer on the network, and educators can get reports on ongoing assessment data.
The InCom Corp.
www.incomcorporation.com, Hardware/Software, Estimated at $2,100/classroom
This wireless, radio frequency, ID-based system can be adapted to almost any school environment to take attendance. Students wear an RFID tag in a proprietary plastic holder that's attached to a lanyard worn around their neck. Antennas that are placed above the classroom doors activate the RFID tag, read its encrypted information and send it to a server located in the school. The server then sends that information wirelessly to teachers, via their handheld PDA, so they can confirm class attendance for that period.
Teaching for Thinking
The Middle Ages: The Building of Nations
www.teachingforthinking.com, Software, $39.99
Designed for middle and high school students, this title features the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius as narrator. He explores the morality, politics and social order of eastern and western cultures as music and visuals help document the events of time. Resources include an interactive timeline, Web links, self-evaluation exercises and follow-up activities.
Also new is The Renaissance: Winds of Change ($39.99). Machiavelli, the Italian statesman and philosopher, shares a narrative that helps students understand the cultural significance and contribution of the Renaissance in context with political ideas that shaped the empires of the east and west.
DS+25 digital projector
www.christiedigital.com, Hardware, $14,495
This high resolution, single-chip DLP digital projector offers 2500 lumens brightness, a 4:3 aspect ratio, 2500:1 contrast ratio and native SXGA+ resolution in a compact design. It's compatible with almost all analog, digital and video sources and provides up to 4,000 hours of operation from a single lamp. Other features include an integrated, on-board network connectivity for ChristieNET, which provides network-enabled monitoring and control over any TCP-IP network.
Oxford University Press
The Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus
www.oup.com/us, Book, $40
Developed for writers by writers, this thesaurus lists more than 300,000 synonyms and 10,000 antonyms, as well as contains nearly 200 word banks and collections of nouns that can add exact detail to a writer's work. Other features include quick guides to easily confused words, real-world usage guidance to sticking points of grammar and word choice, and expert distinctions among awkward synonyms.
Toshiba Samsung Storage Technologies
www.sdd.toshiba.com, Hardware, $149.99
This double layer, dual-format DVD recordable drive can write DVD+R double-layer at speeds up to 5X and DVD+R single layer up to 16X. Other features include a power control system that adjusts speeds to create optimum writing conditions on each layer, a high-power laser in the pick-up head for fast writing to double-layer media and a unique optimized strategy that delivers writing on both dual-layer and 16X DVD+R media.
The company also introduced the TDP-S80U/SW80U projector series ($1,299 and $1,499 respectively) that feature 2,000 ANSI lumens, SVGA 800x600 resolution with DLP technology and 2001:1 contrast ratio.
www.epson.com, Hardware, $3,099
This projector combines 2,600 ANSI lumens with XGA resolution and a 1.6x power zoom lens that can project a clear, large image from either long or unusually short throw distances. Other features include two computer and two video inputs to switch between video sources and four dedicated audio inputs to manage different sound sources. Audio is further enhanced through a five-watt built-in speaker.
The new Powerlite 7900p projector offers 3LCD image quality with up to 4,000 ANSI lumens, an out-of-the-box network monitoring/control system and a 700:1 contrast ratio. Weighing 12.3 pounds, it sells for $4,399.
webEdition Software Ltd.
www.webedition-cms.com, Software, Free
This vendor offers its Web site content management system free to K-12 schools throughout North America. The program helps schools keep their Web site content up-to-date, whether it's contact information, class schedules, special needs program information, or other content. In addition, schools can use the program to update their online newspaper and publish events and announcements. With add-on modules, schools can create a Parent's Portal and publish assignments online. No Web programming knowledge is required.
SMART Technologies, Inc.
www.SynchronEyes.com, Software, Lab license $1,199
This lab instruction software for Microsoft Windows, which comes in six languages, helps teachers control the whole computer lab or networked classroom and provide individualized instruction directly from their desktop. The latest quiz features include the option to randomize quiz questions and answers for individual students and export quiz results to Excel spreadsheets. Also included are a quiz editor, class voting tools and real-time viewing. The software automatically distributes, collects and marks quizzes and offers customized marking so teachers can tailor grading schemes.
www.califone.com, Hardware, $500 and up
These five wireless presentation packages offer a complete wireless sound system that fits the varied communication needs of schools and classrooms. Each package includes a lightweight PA system with a built-in 16-channel UHF microphone receiver, portable tripod, mounting bracket and Infrared remote control. Users also receive a choice of handheld or hands-free microphones and an optional 16-channel UHF transmitter that allows other devices, such as interactive whiteboards and computers, to be used in conjunction with presentations. Up to 16 adjoining classrooms that use the company's wireless speakers and microphones can use one transmitter without audio interference.
MLC 226 IP, 104 IP MediaLink Controllers
www.extron.com, Hardware, $1,145 and up, $795 and up
Both remote control panels provide universal projector control in a classroom or other small-scale environment. They can be monitored and accessed from any computer connected to a LAN, WAN or the Internet. The 226 IP offers Web-based monitoring and asset management via a PC, PDA or cell phone, so it can provide proactive maintenance, event scheduling, remote technical support and theft alerts.
A simplified version of the 226, the 104 includes customized backlit buttons and a smaller form factor with four input source select buttons.
Curriculum Associates, Inc.
Connections for Comprehension
www.curriculumassociates.com, Books, $7.95 each
Designed to improve student reading comprehension, this series for grades 1-8 contains six paired reading selections featuring fiction, nonfiction or both. Lessons are followed by selected-response questions that check comprehension via a test-preparation format and provide practice with 14 higher-order reading strategies. Constructed response questions help students make connections and supply on-demand writing practice while extension activities reinforce learning. Students can also learn about genres and vocabulary while practicing genre-specific strategies. Corresponding teacher guides are also available at $6.95 each.
www.schoolnet.com, Software, About $3 per student/module
This software was designed to help school districts analyze data, assess performance and individualize instruction. This latest version includes a tracking tool that enables educators to track individual, group and school progress toward district goals. Other features are: an instructional portal that allows users to customize the software's homepage; a multi-client materials bank that lets different districts share best practices; benchmark test reporting enhancements, which allow users to generate reports on benchmark data; and batch printing, which simplifies the printing of multiple copies.
LT245 and LT265 projectors
www.necvisualsystems.com, Hardware, $2,195 and $2,495
Both of these portable projectors offer remote desktop control and the ability to broadcast information to multiple projectors and computers. Features include IEEE802.11g, a flexible wireless communication system that's compatible with 802.11b, high speed communications via integrated RJ45 with remote diagnostic capabilities and access to network files and security features, such as a USB device acting as a security key to lock out unauthorized users. They can also store information on USB drive or CompactFlash memory card inserted into the projectors that advances slides using the supplied wireless remote.