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At Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, learning technology department members Jason Bihler and David Bassett work on a server with 7,000 wireless access points.
A Boone Elementary School student in the Kansas City Schools in Missouri, above, does school work through Pearson SuccessMaker. Fees for software licenses often vary.

The move toward personalized learning and the ability to deliver resources via the cloud are transforming the way districts purchase digital content for math, reading and other parts of the curriculum. As this landscape changes, district also are spending more on digital resources.

MimioDisplay, by ​Mimio
MULTI Touch LED LCD 84 4K Android, by Triumph Board
ActivBoard Touch, by Promethean
Aquos Board, by Sharp Aquos
SMART Board 6065 Interactive Flat Panels, by  SMART Tech, Ultra HD 4K imagery
TeamBoard 4 Series, by TeamBoard
Conojo Whiteboard App, by Viz Mojo Labs, Inc.
MagicIWB 3.0, by Samsung
Multi-touch TH-80LFB70U Interactive LED Display, by Panasonic
BrightLink Pro Collaborative Whiteboarding Solution, by Epson

The standard whiteboard is evolving to keep up with advancements in learning technology. With today’s newer models, several students and teachers can work together on the same surface at the same time. Corresponding mobile apps also allow students to collaborate on their BOYD or 1-to-1 devices.

The Nervanix Clarity is a headset that monitors EEG brainwaves to measure attention levels.

Measuring and even changing a student’s brain activity was once a science fiction concept. But technology advances are pushing to market more products that use attention levels and plasticity of the mind to raise academic achievement.

District leaders seeking to acquire more technology must decide whether purchasing or leasing is more cost-effective.

As the economy continues its slow crawl out of the recession, school districts that had put off capital purchases are now replacing outdated equipment and buying new technology. However, administrators are still considering large-scale acquisitions with caution.

Echo Meter Touch by Wildlife Acoustics
Heart and Lungs Lab App by Isygames
QBiC MS-1 Wide Angle Wearable Camera by Elmo
DataHub by Ward’s Science
Starter Electrochemistry Meters by OHAUS Corporation
Vernier Energy Sensor by Vernier
ChemAssist Mobile App by Fisher Scientific
MiScope by Zarbeco
STEMscopes by Accelerate Learning

Technology is revolutionizing the study of science in K12. New products for chemistry, biology and physics labs allow more engaging and, in some cases, safer experiments.

Following the BYOD and 1-to-1 trend, many of these products come with mobile apps so students can take their inquiries outside the classroom and analyze data instantly in the field.

A student reads a book through the Booktrack website, while hearing music, ambient noise and sound effects that match the action of the story.

A platform that pairs e-books with movie-style soundtracks is gaining attention in the K12 realm for boosting reading engagement and comprehension. But some researchers remain skeptical of its claim of increasing achievement without additional instruction.

Teacher Lora Sprigings’ (center) AP geography classes are part of the gradual adoption of e-textbooks by Community Unit School District 300 in the Chicago suburbs.
Collier County Schools in Florida saw science scores increase after adopting Discovery Education’s K8 Science Techbook.
Interactivity is a key feature of the latest digital platforms, including Collections,” an ELA textbook by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Discovery Education, with products like its digital Math techbook, is a newcomer to the textbook market.

A new wave of e-textbooks is giving students more than just words and a few hotlinks on a digital page. Publishers over the last few years have been adding video, interactive maps and gamified quizzes designed to engage students more deeply in their learning.

Students at Mount Hebron Middle School in Montclair, N.J., learned basic programming to make their Finch robots dance, draw, wrestle, race and play soccer. The Finch is the white device with the glowing nose.
Clay County schools students participate in a Lego robotics competition. A series of U.S. Department of Defense grants allowed the northern Florida district to establish an extensive robotics program that runs from elementary through high school.
RobotsLab's quadcopter can give students a real-life demonstration of a quadratic equation.
VEX Robotics is another kit students use for robotics competitions.
Southern Indiana Career & Technical Center's use robotic arms from Yaskawa Motoman to learn about advanced assembly lines.
Students use Pitsco’s Tetrix system to build and program robots for competition.

The new breed of robots rolling, dancing and flying into classrooms is giving educators at all grade levels an engaging new tool to fire students’ enthusiasm for math, computer programming and other STEM-related subjects.

Students use ed-tech startup Edmodo to communicate with teachers and classmates through a closed social network.

Education technology-focused startups are experiencing their biggest boom ever, with 99 new companies raising over $500 million in the first quarter of 2014. This is up from just 20 companies that raised $64 million in 2009, according to startup activity database CrunchBase.

Creating educational materials has taken on a whole new meaning as more schools are bringing 3D printers into classrooms. Science, technology, art and engineering classes are using this new technology to build their own lab tools and to bring sculptures to life, among other projects.

Despite this innovation, districts still need traditional paper printers for everyday memos, marketing materials and letters.

Panasonic's PT-CW331R Ultra-short Throw Interactive Projector
Epson BrightLink 595Wi
Boxlight ProjectoWrite5 Projector
Infocus IN2126a Projector
Hitachi CP-TW2503 Projector
ViewSonic PJD8353s Short Throw Projector
Casio XJ-ST145 Short Throw Model Projector
SMART Technologies Inc. SMART LightRaise Interactive Projectors
Optoma TW610STi+ DLP Projector
Sony VPL-SW536CM Short-Throw Projector
Mimio MimioProjector

The latest interactive projectors can turn any surface into an interactive whiteboard, allowing for greater collaboration between teachers and students.

Using accessories like digital pens, teachers and students can draw or write notes simultaneously on full-screen and side-by-side projections. Today’s interactive projectors can display 3D images and be connected to smartphones and tablets. All of these functions can help an educator create a more engaging learning experience.

There’s a lot going on inside a projector that can make a big difference in the quality of the images. 3LCD (liquid crystal display) and DLP (digital light processing) are technologies that power many of today’s popular models. 3LCD and DLP vary in the chips that use the projector’s light source, often a lamp, to reflect and display an image or video.

Ocularis Mobile by On-Net Surveillance Systems Inc.
Micro Dome Full HD Network Cameras by Canon
Summit Series 960H Super-Res DVRs by FLIR
M2014-E Network Camera by Axis Communications
FlexiDome Starlight HD 720p Camera by Bosch
IS-IP14K by Sentry360
Plug & Play NVRs by Speco Technologies

School administrators know they need to try to stop violence before it happens. Having the proper surveillance equipment can help district leaders keep a watchful eye over students and prevent the wrong people from entering a building.


The editors of District Administration magazine are proud to present the 2013 Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products. This year’s winners were chosen from more than 1,800 unique nominations sent by K12 leaders who detailed the products’ positive impacts on their schools.

Administrators in the Los Angeles USD may tap the skills of students who hacked school-purchased iPads to strengthen security on the mobile devices. A week after the iPads were distributed in September, about 340 students hacked the security system to browse websites like Facebook and Twitter.