SOFTWARE: Transitioning

SOFTWARE: Transitioning

Two forces—technology advancements and the specific NCLB requirements—had a hand in almost every item chosen in this category, from Apple’s Jaguar to CompassLearning’s standard-based tool Explorer.

1. FileMaker

FILEMAKER PRO 6

www.filemaker.com, $299 (upgrade $149)

One new feature in FileMaker Pro 6 is the ability to easily import large numbers of images from a folder into a database. In the Mac OS X version, users can even capture digital images and image-data directly from cameras.

With integrated XML import and export, users can now integrate and exchange data with many applications, without complex converting of data between formats.

Version 6 also offers 20 new templates, some designed for education. Faculty Staff, for example, can help maintain data such as hire date, salary, department and grade. Also available are templates for field trips, student records and general administrative purposes.

Adhaero Technologies

ADHAERO DOC

www.adhaero.com, $245-$299 (based on number of users; site licenses available)

This Windows-based system encrypts and controls the use of Microsoft Office documents and e-mails. The software assigns digital access rights to documents during their creation, eliminating the need to reformat or save documents into third-party applications prior to distribution.

Security is attached to the document rather than a hard disk or server. Users can prevent documents from being cut, copied, pasted, forwarded or printed without permission.

Adobe

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP 7.0

www.adobe.com Photoshop: $149 (upgrade)-$609 (new)

A major enhancement of Photoshop 7.0 is the file browser, an image organization tool to browse image thumbnails; rotate, sort, rank, batch and rename images; and view Exchangeable Image File information from digital cameras. The new scripting support plug-in enables Photoshop users to automate repetitive tasks and completely replace manual workflows across multiple Adobe applications.

Apple

POWERSCHOOL 3.0

www.apple.com/education/powerschool, $18 and up per student license

PowerSchool 3.0 is the latest version of the Web-based student information system created to help educators manage student records and make data-driven decisions to improve the performance of their schools.

New features include an Integrated Master Schedule Builder with several automated schedule building features, an enhanced user interface, support for Mac OS X clients and updates to the gradebook tools that allow teachers to drag-and-drop student photos into online seating charts.

Arboretum Systems

MONTAGE

www.arboretum.com, $149

This multimedia authoring tool, aimed at letting creators work like they think, features a "trackless" workspace for the free manipulation of video, audio, stills and text in an infinitely expandable window. An alternative to Apple’s iMovie software, Montage can import or capture media clips in real time from a FireWire DV camera using remote machine control. Audio clips can be edited, arranged, stacked and processed to generate soundtracks with no track limit. Text boxes can be placed over video clips or keyed against an editable background with adjustable duration for scrolling.

BestQuest Teaching Systems

ALGEBRA’SCOOL

www.bestquest.com, $2,495 per classroom kit (introductory price $1,995)

This Algebra I program contains 30 DVDs, a teacher’s guide, student workbooks and supplemental materials. Animated characters and real-life vignettes aim to engage and motivate reluctant learners, while the DVD format allows teachers to navigate between lesson content and associated tools, such as graphing calculators and manipulatives. The software can be used on a DVD-equipped computer or with a DVD player connected to a television.

Blue Squirrel

SPAM SLEUTH 2.0

www.bluesquirrel.com, $24/single user, $119.95/5-user site license to $500/50-user site license

Schools can block unwanted junk e-mail with this anti-spam software. The software analyzes e-mail messages for spam and virus characteristics, removes executable attachments that may launch viruses, provides detailed reports for every e-mail message received, allows set-up of multiple accounts and works with all POP3 e-mail accounts and programs, including Eudora, Lotus Notes, Pegasus, Outlook, Outlook Express and Netscape.

COMPanion

ALEXANDRIA 5.44 REV B

www.goalexandria.com, $3,000-$5,000 (free upgrade for current customers), plus $399-$599/year subscription

The latest version of this fully-integrated, cross-platform library automation product has several new features. It now has strengthened ability in Mac OS X and Windows XP environments and several new or improved reporting options. Enhancements have been made on its circulation interface and Alexandria WEB interface. In addition, the product supports SIF v1.1.

CompassLearning

COMPASSLEARNING EXPLORER

www.compasslearning.com, $5,000 average cost per school (pricing varies)

This product offers criterion-referenced tests and prescriptive learning paths, which take students back to any elements of the lesson not mastered. It also has flexibility in integrating third-party products and meeting student or teacher needs.

Explorer is aligned with the Metropolitan Achievement Test, Standard Achievement Test, California Achievement Test, Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills/TerraNova and Iowa Test of Basic Skills. With access to more than 7,000 questions, it can be Web-delivered with computer-based and print components.

Connectix

VIRTUAL PC FOR MAC 6.0

www.connectix.com, $129-$249 (depending on OS), $99 upgrade

Designed to make running Windows programs, accessing PC networks, using Windows-only Internet applications and sharing files with PC users simple for those with Macs, this software has been improved for greater productivity. Jaguar users will find an overall speed boost of up to 25 percent and have the ability to launch Windows applications directly from the Mac OS X dock. Both Mac OS X and OS 9 users get increased video RAM and automatic detection of USB printers with the software.

GeeThree

SLICK TRANSITIONS AND EFFECTS, VOLUMES 3 AND 4

www.geethree.com, $50 (digital download)

The latest volumes in this series of plug-ins for iMovie 2 offer new tools to spice up iMovie creations. Volume Three has more than 100 new plug-ins, including page curls, aperture blends, ripples and soft wipes and 30 titles to punctuate the movies. Volume Four, known as the "Hollywood Edition," offers bluescreen, picturein- picture, split screen, matte effects and compositing tools, as well as the standalone application SlickMotion for panning high resolution photos.

Inspiration Software

INSPIRATION 7

www.inspiration.com, Single instructional bundle, $79, Multi-computer licenses available ($310 for 5 computers-$895 for 20 computers)

Inspiration 7 is the latest version of the tool for developing ideas and organizing thinking through visual learning activities, such as concept mapping, outlining and other activities. Designed for grades 6-12, the software now provides more powerful support for critical thinking, comprehension and writing in all curriculum areas.

The software, which is compatible with Mac OS X, also supports Inspiration 6 and Kidspiration, allowing for document sharing.

Lexia Learning Systems

PHONICS BASED READING

www.lexialearning.com, $400 (for standalone version)-$8,000 (unlimited stations)

Lexia Learning Systems has introduced four Spanish-language reading software programs. The first program, Lexia Phonics Based Reading, has all of the audio instructions and feedback a student receives while working with the software in Spanish. The program was designed to allow students to relax so they can succeed with the reading drills.

2. Apple

JAGUAR

www.apple.com/macosx, free for educators

Apple’s operating system, Mac OS 10.2, or Jaguar, features more than 150 new features and applications. Jaguar includes Rendezvous, the networking technology that replaces AppleTalk and allows users to quickly and easily link computers and devices through Ethernet, AirPort, Bluetooth, or USB and FireWire.

The operating system also includes iChat, the new AIM-compatible instant messaging application and Inkwell, a handwriting recognition technology that allows applications to work with a tablet device. Also new is an enhanced Finder, featuring a quick file search from the toolbar for a better view of files and a faster way to locate them, and the return of spring-loaded folders.

Mac OS X v10.2 requires a minimum of 128MB of memory and is designed to run on the following Apple products: iMac, iBook, Power Macintosh G3, Power Mac G4, Power Mac G4 Cube and any PowerBook introduced after May 1998.

Macromedia

STUDIO MX

www.macromedia.com/software/studio, $199/single user, $2,000-$3,000/site license

Included in the Studio MX package are: Dreamweaver MX, which allows users to produce and manage Web sites seamlessly; Macromedia Flash MX, to give sites animation, interactivity and sound; Fireworks MX, to create, edit and optimize graphics; Free-Hand 10, to design and illustrate Web site concepts; and ColdFusion MX Server Developer Edition, which allows Windows users to build rich Internet applications that integrate with databases, XML, Macromedia Flash and more.

Site licenses include a sample curriculum to help teachers start teaching Web design courses or integrate Web projects into academic courses.

Microsoft

CLASS SERVER

www.microsoft.com/education, $1,495/year, plus $2/student (estimated pricing under school agreement licensing program)

This Web-enabled software offers teachers time-saving tools to organize teaching materials, create digital student records and individualize assignments. Students can complete projects digitally and organize their work, and parents can access assignments and graded papers.

One noteworthy improvement is a link to a learning resource database of more than 5,000 lessons, tests and assignments from publishers.

Netopia

TIMBUKTU PRO ED

www.timbuktupro.com, Class Pack $249 (1 teacher, 10 students), Lab Pack $499 (1 teacher, 30 students)

This version of Timbuktu software offers remote control operations allowing teachers and students to share screens, display work, transfer project files and communicate instantly, in both classroom and lab settings.

A teacher can allow an entire class or a selected few to observe the teacher’s, or another student’s, computer.

The software’s automatic scanning capabilities let teachers track the work of multiple students simultaneously. Students can request the teacher’s help with instant messaging.

ProSoft Engineering

DATA RESCUE X V. 10.2 DATA RESCUE CLASSIC V. 4.2

www.prosofteng.com, $89 each ($139 for bundle with Classic and X)

The latest versions of this data recovery software are available for Mac OS X and Mac OS 8.6 to 9. Updates include enhanced algorithms used in the scanning process to improve data recovery and resizeable windows, which include file-size information.

3. Macromedia

CONTRIBUTE

www.macromedia.com/software/contribute, site licenses start at $999, single-copy introductory pricing is $79

Macromedia Contribute, software that enables users to update, add and publish Web content to existing Web sites, doesn’t require technical skills beyond basic word processing. With Contribute, nontechnical users can make changes to any HTML Web site while automatically maintaining site standards for style, layout, and code.

Riverdeep Interactive Learning

ZOOMBINIS ISLAND ODYSSEY EEV

www.riverdeep.net/, 2-user school edition $70, 6-user lab pack $180 (site licenses available)

The Zoombinis style of game play is designed to help students develop and apply thinking skills. Rather than tell players what to do, this program presents them with a situation and gives them the freedom to explore and invent solutions. Students in grades 3-8 solve math, logic and scientific-thinking puzzles in an effort to restore their ecologically ravaged homeland and save the wild Zerbles. Concepts such as astronomy, mechanics, cryptography and life sciences are introduced.

Riverdeep Interactive Learning and IBM

RIVERDEEP LEARNING VILLAGE

www.riverdeep.net/, www.ibm.com

The product was created to help school districts use technology to meet the national education reform guidelines. Learning Village is designed as a portal that includes tools for educators, parents and students. The new version will allow districts to more easily integrate Learning Village throughout existing technology infrastructure.

Riverdeep Learning Village, which is being jointly marketed and sold by the two companies, will eventually become the property of Riverdeep.

Riverdeep Interactive Learning

DESTINATION READING

www.riverdeep.net/, $20,000 (20 licenses per site)-$40,000 (unlimited licenses)

Aligned with state and national standards, Destination Reading takes K-3 learners from key emergent literary concepts through phonemic awareness, phonics, coding and comprehension.

Language skills are learned in the context of real language use and then applied to real language tasks. In addition, reading and writing skill development is sequenced so that each new skill builds upon prior learning.

Riverdeep’s Learning Management System, a combination of student curriculum management, standards-based testing, instant reporting and prescriptive assignments, is built into Destination Reading.

Scantron

PARSYSTEM 6.0

www.scantron.com $1,900 and up

The software offers a single process to set up courses, score tests, review results across schools within the district and generate multiple reports.

The system includes three components: ParTEST allows teachers to create tests aligned to specific curriculum objectives; ParTEST Online lets users take tests on a network or on the Internet; and ParSCORE lets educators manage student records, test information, analyze test outcomes and report scores. ParSYSTEM 6.0 is fully integrated with Scantron’s Classroom Wizard assessment product.

4. Kurzweil Educational Systems

KURZWEIL 3000 VERSION 7

www.kurzweiledu.com, Single unit $349-$1,095, 5-student lab packs $1,895-$2,695 (volume discounts available)

The latest version of this software for students with learning and visual disabilities allows teachers to selectively link classroom and standardized tests to a range of additional, customizable accommodations. These include writing and decoding tools such as annotations, voice notes, definitions, personalized toolbars and word prediction.

Among other new features, the software automatically resizes text fields for long or short answers to help students focus on the content of their responses. Answer blanks are highlighted by color and an audible pause, helping to ensure that students respond to all questions. To simplify note-taking, students can drag-and-drop from an image document directly into a waiting notes field or an external text document. Global spell checking and a search-and-replace function for both text and images were also added.

Scarecrow Education

DATA CONNECTIONS: USING ASSESSMENT TO IMPROVE TEACHING AND LEARNING

www.scarecrowpress.com, $99

This CD-Rom instructs teachers to analyze, understand and apply standardized test data in their classrooms. The software demonstrates how curriculum can be modified and student achievement can be improved through a series of module lessons on test score utilization, curriculum alignment, classroom assessment and test-taking strategies. Aids such as video clips and a glossary are available for reference, and a companion Web site features state and national standards and other information updates.

Scratch Cat

FRESH SCIENCE

www.scratchcat.com, $395 each

The DVD-based science series Fresh Science uses ScratchCat’s Sight-Based Instruction method, which introduces concepts through visuals and aims to make reading, writing and hands-on activities more relevant. Aligned to core earth, life and physical science concepts outlined in national and state standards, the series is geared toward grades 3-9.

The first release, Climate and Weather, contains hundreds of videos and still images that support five video lessons, five dual-mode video quizzes and a 50-term illustrated glossary.

Soliloquy Learning

SOLILOQUY READING ASSISTANT

www.soliloquylearning.com, $200 for up to 30 users

Soliloquy Reading Assistant helps advanced reading fluency and comprehension through speech recognition technology. Students choose from fiction and nonfiction materials and may choose to hear a model of fluent reading of their selection or reading independently, reading aloud into a microphone.If a student gets stuck on a word, the software can supply correct pronunciation.

An integrated multimedia dictionary is included and vocabulary and comprehension tests allow students to assess themselves. Individual reports allow teachers to monitor student efforts.

Synthetik Software

STUDIO ARTIST 2.0

www.synthetik.com, $379 ($179 upgrade)

This software program is for student computer artists. It combines user-configurable painting and drawing tools and a complete image processing and video effects suite. Users can paint or draw manually, or direct the program’s automatic Intelligent-Assisted painting actions. The new version, which includes eight hours of Quicktime video tutorials and instructional guides, comes optimized for Mac OS 8, 9 and OS X.

New features include an expanded paint synthesizer tool, extensive layer capabilities and additional video processing and animation support.

Wolfram Research

MATHEMATICA TEACHER’S EDITION

www.wolfram.com, $195

This software works with Mathematica for the Classroom to expose students to the computing tools and methods they may use throughout their academic career. Available for Windows and Mac OS platforms, the teacher’s edition is designed to let educators focus on teaching instead of on mundane, routine tasks.

The software’s computational engine tackles everything from simple calculator problems to advanced symbolic manipulations, while the presentation environment creates classroom demonstrations and handouts. Built-in courseware and demos range from pre-algebra to calculus.


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