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AG-HMC70, Panasonic Professional Camcorders, Hardware, $2,495

The latest shoulder-mount Panasonic professional camcorder was released in April. Unlike HDV, the AG-HMC70 content can be captured on a standard SD card (up to 32GB at this time) and played immediately on Blu-ray players, game machines, computers and plasma displays. It uses second-generation HD format, utilizing MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression, with signifi cant improvements in bandwidth efficiency and image quality over older MPEG-2-based systems. The camcorder's 3-CCD ? progressive image system

captures 1080i HD, 16:9 images, and is equipped with a 12x38.5mm to 426mm (35mm equivalent) Leica Dicomar wide-angle zoom lens, one-push Auto Focus, and integrated Optical Image Stabilization. Users can record from 2.6 to 6 hours, depending upon mode-either 6Mbps, 9Mbps, or 13Mbps. It is a fast and easy way for schools to enjoy the advantages of high-definition video recording.


SMART Document Camera, Hardware, $849

With the SMART document camera, teachers can display detailed images and video of any physical object and incorporate them into digital lessons using an interactive whiteboard and Notebook collaborative learning software. They can also zoom in or out, write over images, and capture stills directly into Notebook or any application. Likewise, student presenters can interact with objects placed under the document camera, and then capture their work as an image or video to add to a Notebook file.



PrimeVision Line, Projector Screens, Hardware, Prices start at $149

Elite Screens specializes in mainstream retail projector screens. Its retail projection screen lines are also ETL/cETL-listed by Intertek as proof of its compliance to electrical safety requirements in the United States and Canada. ETL certification shows that the products meet the applicable standards established by organizations such as ANSI, UL and CSA. PrimeVision has had a two-year warranty on its screens but is now offering a three-year warranty for its electric screens and a lifetime warranty for its fixed-frame products.



XL1550U, Projector, Hardware, $3,995

The Mitsubishi XL1550U XGA (1024x768 pixel) resolution LCD projector is designed for large auditoriums, classrooms or conference rooms. It projects 3,100 ANSI lumens for bright video and images even in well-lit venues. Designed with light-source lamp control, the projector supports a lamp life of up to 5,000 hours in low mode. Likewise, the XL2550U LCD projector ($4,494) delivers 4,000 ANSI lumens of brightness and offers up to 4,000 hours of lamp life in low mode. Its LCD panels include an inorganic orientation film and vertical orientation liquid crystal that improves reliability of light resistance.



Notify-IP Mass Notification System, Internet, Pricing varies

Notifier's mass communication system generates live, direct, global voice instructions for property - and lifepreserving actions via the Internet during a fire or other emergency. It delivers mass notifications or paging worldwide and can transmit instructions throughout a large facility or campus or throughout multiple facilities connected via IP. Each network IP connection is continuously monitored for system integrity. Site connections are set up for either paging or monitoring with a gateway IP address for the destination of the voice messages.


GeoSafari Classroom Dinosaur Dig, Books and Materials, $149

GeoSafari's Classroom Dinosaur Dig, for grades 3 and up, includes all the tools needed to simulate a real classroom dinosaur dig, including easy division of work for student paleontologists. Dinosaur Dig includes 30 snap-together parts, a fossilembedded rock base with six fossilized plants, an herbivorous dinosaur jawbone fragment, support rods, eight excavation trowels, four specimen brushes, 16 dig stakes, 200 feet of grid tape, and two full-color posters. Additionally, a 20-page guide with step-by-step directions, lesson plans and reproducibles is included. Each day of the project has a different goal, all leading up to the final day, when students articulate an enormous T. rex skeleton.


SPARK Science Learning System, Hardware, $299, Preorder price until August 1, 2008


The SPARK Science Learning System is a lightweight-21 ounces-durable science visualization system for science lab and fi eldwork. It's portable and designed with integrated hand straps for secure and comfortable use. Easy-to-use sensor plug-ins make it an ideal K12 addition for viewing live data, data collection, and for display and analysis. No software has to be installed, there is no operating system to navigate or support, and the finger-touch device does not require a stylus. The SPARK's full-color, 5.75-inch diagonal screen and 640x480 resolution work well for groups as well as individual students. Two sensors are included for measuring temperature and voltage, and users can connect up to four modules at the same time. There are more than 60 PASPORT all-digital sensors available, and more than 50 guided-inquiry SPARKLabs preinstalled. It has two USB ports and uses re-chargeable batteries.


GeoSafari Classroom Dinosaur Dig, Books and Materials, $149

GeoSafari's Classroom Dinosaur Dig, for grades 3 and up, includes all the tools needed to simulate a real classroom dinosaur dig, including easy division of work for student paleontologists. Dinosaur Dig includes 30 snap-together parts, a fossilembedded rock base with six fossilized plants, an herbivorous dinosaur jawbone fragment, support rods, eight excavation trowels, four specimen brushes, 16 dig stakes, 200 feet of grid tape, and two full-color posters. Additionally, a 20-page guide with step-by-step directions, lesson plans and reproducibles is included. Each day of the project has a different goal, all leading up to the final day, when students articulate an enormous T.rex skeleton.



Longitude 730R, Semi-Rugged Notebook, Hardware, Starts at $1,199

The Longitude 730R semi-rugged notebook runs on a Core 2 Duo processor, which comes with up to 4GB of memory and storage space that can be expanded to 250GB. Turbo memory is also available. The notebook is designed to stand up to the occasional drops and spills that can be the hazards of daily use. Its case is magnesium alloy and is 20 times stronger than ABS plastic. Features include a spill-resistant keyboard, touchpad and buttons. 3K notebooks have anti-shockmounted hard drives and LCD screens. 3K also offers the Longitude 740 series, with a starting price of $1,499, and the Longitude 619R, which has less memory and a price that starts at $999. Additional 740 features include a biometric fingerprint reader, which can scan up to 10 users for log in, avoiding shared passwords on the same computer.


Stories to Read, Words to Know: Developing Language through Reading, Books and Materials, Pricing starts at $19.99

The Stories to Read series, designed for K3 students, supplements ELL and ESL reading and language acquisition with engaging stories and activities that help students develop their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in English. Each of the 10 (A-J) levels in the series includes a 96-page student book supported by an audio CD. It's also accompanied by a teacher's guide that contains structured lessons, postreading comprehension and writing activities, assessment pages and key vocabulary and prereading strategies.


TeacherLine, Online Professional Development, Internet, Free

TeacherLine's education professional development resources offer more than 100 online courses for preK-12 teachers in reading, mathematics, science, technology integration, and instructional strategies. Participating teachers, who can earn continuing education units or professional development points, engage in sixweek courses that require between three to five hours of online time to complete each week. The content-rich courses include high-quality video, leading articles, interactive lessons, and online, facilitated discussions with peers that help translate learning into practice. Teachers can also build graduate credit toward a master's degree or other graduate program.



Fabulously Famous Books for Building Fluency, Books and Materials, $299

Fabulously Famous Books emphasizes reading with expression and oral performance using speeches, journals, letters, poetry and many other formats to improve fluency. Divided into three levels-K-2, 3-5 and 6-8-they're designed to build fluency skills such as expression, intonation and phrasing and to encourage students to demonstrate oral fluency performance through engaging activities like poetry slams, reader's theater and storytelling. Each level includes two copies of 32 titles, a professional guide, a teacher resources CD, and a professional paper.



Learning Style, Assessments, Student Assessment Tools, Internet, $5 per student


Learning Style Assessments are based on the original Dunn and Dunn Learning-Styles Model and are available on the Learning Styles' Web site. The assessments identify individuals' unique learningstyles, and the resulting reports offer comprehensive insights and strategies that promote academic achievement and improved performance. Separate assessments are available for grades pre-K and primary, 2-4, 5-8, 9-12, and ages 17 and older.

Rate Your Favorite Products!

Now that DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION has named the Readers' Choice Top 100 K12 Products of 2007-08, we're preparing for next year's winners. Use our star rating system to select your favorites from our products database. Visit or contact our products editor, Kurt Dyrli, at


Mr. Scrambles, Physical Activity and Learning Tool, Hardware, $39.99

This learning tool from Educational Insights, intended for children ages 3 to 8, helps children enjoy physical activity and learn how to follow directions. Mr. Scrambles, an oval-shaped mascot, helps children develop gross motor skills while having fun. Among the activities that children play are Egg Hunt, Pass the Egg, Don't Drop Mr. Scrambles, Mr. Scrambles' Race, and Mr. Scramble Says. Five popular singalong songs are also included. It can be used with an individual child or group of children and includes a Mr. Scrambles egg, an egg timer, a giant spoon and a stand.



Results Management System, Books and Materials, Pricing available upon request

The Results Management System enables psychometricians and assessment administrators to analyze and edit results before they are fi nalized and shared with others. It works in conjunction with Questionmark Perception, an assessment management system that enables learning professionals to create, deliver and report on surveys, quizzes, tests and exams. Users can review test items and drop, credit or alter scoring, and can review test results and define a pass or cut score. They can also get a real-time preview of how proposed changes will impact overall item statistics, and more.



Latitude XT, Convertible Tablet, Hardware, Starting at $2,499

The Latitude XT touch screen tablet has a 12.1-inch (1280x800) screen that offers dual-mode digitizer technology. With a thickness of one inch, the XT is one of the thinnest convertible tablets available and weighs just 3.6 pounds. Its N-trig digitizer technology has been designed for more sensitive, accurate, two-button, batteryless pen and touch performance with less power consumption. The screen offers a fast response time, consistent feel and performance for drag and drop, scroll, fl icks and select, and no interference with handwriting recognition. Options include up to 3GB of memory, 120GB of hard drive space, and a media base. If the two-button pen is not in the compartment when the system shuts down, an LED indicator blinks to indicate the pen has been removed.


Achieve Now with Sony PlayStation Portable, Education Gaming, Hardware/software, Starting at $725, quantity pricing available

PLATO's education gaming software is now being offered for Sony's PlayStation Portable, a handheld entertainment system. It delivers research-based educational content as a series of fun, interactive games, which are proven to help elementary and middle school students meet high academic standards and improve academic performance. Its 2,000 hours of standards-aligned content for all 50 states challenge students to practice, advance and excel through 57 games that target key language, reading and math skills. This supplemental study tool boosts academic skills through expanded class-time and school-tohome deployment.



Voyager Passport, Reading Intervention Program, Books and Materials, $1,439

Voyager Passport's reading intervention system strengthens all core, K5 reading programs. It provides students with 30 to 45 minutes of daily, targeted intervention, with instruction in each of the essential reading components, including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Students are assessed three times annually using Vital Indicators of Progress, a set of simple and highly predictive measurement tools. The program also features ongoing progress monitoring and Ticket to Read, a Web site designed to increase reading speed, comprehension and vocabulary through a reward system that promotes reading practice at home and school.


Latitude XFR D630, Notebook, Hardware, $3,899

This rugged Latitude XFR D630 laptop meets MIL-STD 810F standards from the Department of Defense for products that operate in extreme temperatures, moisture and altitude. It charges batteries at least 30 minutes faster than competitors and offers five times more data durability than with solid state drives. Other features include an outdoor readable screen at 500 nits, shock-isolated mounting to help protect hard drive, LCD and core electronic elements, dual locking butterfl y mechanisms for easy access to components, and a sealed keyboard designed to withstand driving rain and dust.



Secure Networks Solutions, Internet, Pricing dependent upon district needs

Secure Networks Solutions' technology protects vital information, maintains business continuity and ensures the confidentiality, integrity, availability and performance of IT services and users that rely on them. An example of how this solution can be used can be found at Grant Joint Union High School District in Sacramento, Calif., which is using it to deliver voice, video and data services to more than 12,000 students and nearly 1,500 district instructors, administrators and employees using over 6,500 networked devices. Each of its 20 remote locations also supports 2.5Gbps of bandwidth in a tripleredundancy architecture that ensures high availability.



Activity Builder, Classroom Resources, Internet, $50 per year, per teacher

With Activity Builder, teachers can create a large variety of classroom resources and activities, such as bingo boards, clocks, definition or flash cards, puzzle pieces, scrambled words and word searches. To create an activity, students choose an existing word list from the program's library, which contains more than 100,000 words, and select an activity. Then the program generates the activity using the specified word list. Teachers can also create math or letter activities and blackline masters in the same way. The program is available in eight different languages, including English, Navajo, Creole and Portuguese.



CP300, Document Camera, Hardware, $799.99

This interactive, portable document camera offers new network sharing capability. With the ability to connect all document cameras on one campus through a school's existing local area network, multiple classrooms or even an entire school can view and share live document camera lessons and demonstrations. Classrooms can also control annotation, image capture, video recording and zoom from their location. Other features include a new FlexArm with a patented camera head-locking mechanism that increases portability and security. The enhanced 3.2-megapixel camera sensor with AutoFocus also produces higher quality images than the camera's predecessors.


Reader's Theater Stories, Books and Materials, $30-$70 per set, $229-$450 per grade level kit Playbooks specializes in Reader's Theater. Its patented format presents actual dialogue text in multiple colors and reading levels. The product line for grades K12 has been upgraded, using a format that enhances students' learning experience and helps teachers better manage their time. Stories are written in a format similar to a play, with dramatic character dialogue that is read aloud by a group of readers. It efficiently incorporates both modeling and repeated oral reading in an engaging manner. The stories are packaged in a clear, plastic pouch that protects and visually shows all the materials needed for a multiday lesson plan. Kits include five to eight titles, depending upon grade level, with six copies per story. Additionally, kits include cross-curricular supplemental activity booklets for each reader.



Office 2008 for Mac, Software, $399.95/Basic Edition, $149.95/Home and School Edition

Microsoft's long-awaited Offi ce 2008 for Mac includes new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage. More than 100 new themes and templates are featured. Entourage 2008 also includes improved Windows Exchange Server support with enhanced reliability and over 70 Office-specific automator actions. Also available is Office 2008 for Mac Home and Student Edition, priced at $149.95, for users with basic productivity needs. Each version is available in 11 different languages, including Japanese, Danish, Finnish and Norwegian. The Home and School Edition doesn't connect to Windows Exchange Server for e-mail.


Rapid Responder 5.0, Crisis Management System, Internet, $7,000-$12,000

The version 5.0 upgrade to the Rapid Responder crisis management system includes improved navigation, RSS feeds, enhanced GIS integration and functionality, improved IP video and imagery, and common alerting protocol for warnings associated with natural disasters and weather conditions. It also includes an eventand incident-tracking module, extended documentation for staff management, and training documentation. Users can instantly access more than 300 data points, such as tactical response plans, evacuation routes, and exterior and interior photos.

Rate your favorite new products at Kurt Dyrli is products editor ( Carol Patton is a contributing editor.