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The latest offerings in Hardware, Software and the Internet



Electronic Grading Pen Hardware, $24.99

Career teacher Rebecca Byler was selected from thousands of applicants for the Emmy award-winning PBS amateur inventor show Everyday Edisons for her invention, the Edugrader

open, which is now available for purchase. Intended to make grading easier, this sleek and compact pen has a built-in calculator and LCD screen. Teachers begin by pushing buttons to enter the maximum number of points for the assignment at hand. While marking the page, teachers push a button to subtract points, and the calculator maintains the grade and displays it on the screen, so marking the final grade can be done immediately, speeding up the long process of grading stacks of papers.



School Web Lockers, Document Sharing Site, Internet, $750 plus $1 per student annually

A Web-based document storage and sharing program designed for schools, School Web Lockers has recently added new features such as increased grading and markup capability and a “Profanity Filter.” Using this site, teachers and students can upload, view and share files and documents online from any Internet-connected computer. The program is completely hosted and secure, and does not require any user or system administration. Students log in to view their classes, discussion forums, and homework assignments, or to upload homework. Teachers log in to view all the students in each class, post homework assignments, retrieve finished assignments, and upload graded assignments. Calendar functions also allow teachers to post on their class calendars or individual students’ calendars, enable students to keep a calendar of assignments, or allow administrators to log in and post important events on all users’ calendars.


Certify, Data Validation Software, Software, pricing varies

Certify is a software program designed to help organizations maintain accurate data. Missing or inaccurate district data can lead to audits, penalties or reductions in state and federal funding. This program enables districts to automate the process of data validation, monitoring and error reporting, easing some of the usual fi nancial and personnel pressures. With a design based upon the real-world knowledge gained during scores of successful data quality initiatives, Certify validates data for accuracy, consistency, completeness and structural integrity, ensuring districts’ compliance with state and federal regulations.



SCP740, Short-Throw Projector, Hardware, $2,355

3M aims to make big gains in the short-throw projector market with the SCP740, ideal for close presentations and interactive whiteboard applications. Achieving WXGA (1280x800) resolution and 2,600 lumens of brightness, this projector uses a DLP chip and incorporates 3M’s exclusive Vikuiti technology, which minimizes the shadows cast by a presenter on the screen. A wind tunnel attachment quiets fan noise, and a variety of connections, including DVI-I, DVI-D, S-video, RCA, and two computer inputs, allow for the use of different source components. Ethernet connections also provide network capabilities and basic remote administration, integrated speakers provide audio, and a 16:10 aspect ratio allows widescreen viewing.


H.264 Appliances, Network Video Appliances Hardware, pricing varies

Network video systems maker VBrick recently released its new generation of H.264 video appliances, the 7000 and 8000 series, which are capable of supporting both standard and high-definition video transmission. These appliances enable users to capture and deliver live streaming video over any network. When combined with additional components and management software, this hardware becomes the foundation of VBrick’s “EtherneTV” system, a complete video delivery system that can capture, record, manage and distribute video across an entire enterprise.



SmartOffi ce PL2546, Scanner Hardware, $799

Plustek’s new SmartOffice scanner is a collapsible, integrated, high-speed, sheetfed scanner intended to help offi ces become paperless. Featuring full-color, high-resolution, duplex scanning of thick documents and plastic cards such as insurance, credit and ID cards or driver’s licenses, this scanner makes digital filing of such documents seamless and instant. The user-friendly single-touch function buttons, high-recognition OCR scanning results, and A3-sized document support simplify operation. The SmartOffice is also capable of scanning at up to 600x600 dpi resolution, has a 50 sheet capacity, has simple cleaning and maintenance procedures, and outputs scanned documents into searchable PDF, Word, Excel, or BCR documents.



SPARK, Handheld Device, Hardware, $299 (basic package)

Available at the end of October, the SPARK unit is a lightweight, rugged, portable handheld device designed to provide students with a rich visual connection to science experiments through an intuitive icon-based touch screen interface. SPARK units come preloaded with standards-based content that fully integrates data collection, analysis and student response. Both a temperature and a voltage sensor are included to enable immediate use right out of the box, while 60 other types of sensors are available for purchase. Two USB ports enable connection to a computer, printer or flash drive, and a rechargeable battery allows all-day use in the classroom, lab or field. Versatile enough for a variety of ages and grade levels, the SPARK system is available in a basic package ($299) or in specifi c starter kits with ppropriate accessories for areas including elementary and middle school science ($389), or high school physics ($339), chemistry ($389), biology ($599) or earth science ($359).



M4210N-B21, LCD Display, Hardware, pricing varies based

on installation requirements LG recently introduced new display models specifically intended for education applications. A durable, scratch-resistant screen supports LG’s latest Dispersive Signal Touch (DST) and Super In Plane Switching (IPS) technologies, which help the monitor last longer and ensure a wide viewing angle. Perfect for digital signage applications, the 42-inch M4210N-B21 widescreen HD monitor comes fully integrated with IP-Cast IP technology, enabling schools to network multiple screens from a central operations center and simultaneously broadcast school announcements, schedules, maps, emergency messages, and up-to-the-minute information. Capable of portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) orientation, with WXGA (1366x768) resolution and 800:1 contrast ratio, this monitor delivers content in a detailed and vividly colored image.



ezRoom Classroom Bundle, Classroom A/V Package, Hardware, starting at $1,999

A complete, pre-assembled A/V infrastructure solution, the ezRoom Classroom Bundle addresses the evolving technology needs of today’s K12 classrooms by bringing together state-of-the-art control, interface, audio and connectivity products quickly, reliably and cost-effectively. The open architecture platform of the ezRoom allows easy connection between projectors, screens and A/V source devices, and its design flexibility allows adaptation and expansion as classroom technology needs change. The ezRoom simplifies small room A/V installation, so integrators, dealers or IT personnel can install and configure systems more quickly and consistently. Options also include wireless microphones and an analog CATV tuner.

TREASURE BAY PUBLISHING, Literacy Web Site , Internet, free

This new Web site serves as a liaison between teachers and parents, providing free resources including tip sheets, discussion forums and other suggestions for how parents can get involved in helping their children learn to read. The philosophy of the site was inspired by the book Involving Parents in Their Children’s Reading Development: A Guide for Teachers by Bruce Johnson. A chapter of the book is available for free download on the site. The site has also been designed as a place where teachers can share best practices for teaching reading skills by involving parents. One theme, for example, is the importance of encouraging reading aloud at home, even after the child has learned to read independently, as a strategy to improve language development, vocabulary, comprehension and fluency.



Aspire One, Ultramobile PC, Hardware, starting at $379

Acer’s new Aspire One is designed primarily for Internet use, providing quick access in a lightweight, ultramobile unit. An intuitive, simple interface geared specifi cally for connectivity enables users to easily browse the Web, access e-mail, use an instant messenger or VoIP, or view photos and streaming video. The $379 computer weighs just 2.14 pounds and has an 8.9-inch CrystalBrite WSVGA LED backlit display with 1024x600 resolution and an integrated Acer Crystal Eye webcam, useful for live video streaming, video chats and conferences. Each Aspire One uses a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, and options include a 120GB hard drive, Windows XP or Linux operating systems, and a 6-cell battery, which supplies power for up to 7 hours.



StarBoard FX Duo 88, Interactive Whiteboard, Hardware, see Web site for price

Hitachi has broadened its line of interactive whiteboards with the addition of the Starboard FX Duo 88, an expansive 88-inch widescreen model with a 16:10 aspect ratio. The largest model in the series, the Duo 88 offers the same multitouch interaction capabilities as other boards in the series, so more than one presenter can use their hands, electronic pens or pointers to control the board, but at 88 inches in size, it offers a larger presentation surface. The wide aspect ratio allows presentations to include widescreen video, and the unit incorporates the same replaceable camera image sensor system, durable work surface, 24 customizable function buttons, 72 digital ink combinations, and networking features found in the rest of the boards in the FX Duo series.


What Are Your Favorite Products?

Now is the time to help decide the 2008-09 Readers’ Choice Top 100 K12 Products! Visit our products database at to use our star rating system or to make a comment about a product. Or contact our products editor, Kurt O. Dyrli, at kdyrli@ The winning products will be announced in January.



Odyssey High School, Online, Intervention Program

Internet, $250 per user per year The Odyssey High School online credit recovery and intervention program is now fully designed in-house by CompassLearning staff. Based on current and confirmed brain research, Odyssey High School utilizes video and Flash-based activities, rather than solely text, to create a high level of student engagement. Each course includes a master teacher’s video lessons followed by engaging and thought-provoking activities. Following each activity is an assessment designed to move students with mastery forward, or to review for students needing additional instruction. The program includes eight core subjects: English I, English II, Algebra I, Geometry, Physical Science, Biology, U.S. History 1850-present, and U.S. Government.


CURRIKI, Online Curriculum Community, Internet, free

Curriki, an open source, collaborative curriculum Web site, was originally founded by Sun Microsystems in 2004, but today it operates independently as a nonprofit. The organization has recently redesigned its site with improved functionality, to help educators, students and parents better utilize this online community for creating and sharing K12 curricula. New features include an easy-to-use home page with three navigational tools—Find, Contribute and Connect—and new tutorial videos to help users access nearly 16,000 free assets including lesson plans, student activities, assessments and complete courses. Curriki has also recently partnered with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit education organization behind Sesame Street. The Sesame Workshop’s new content contribution, titled “Panwapa,” is a collection of educational resources designed to introduce and model the skills needed for global citizenship by sharing the stories of real children and their experiences around the world, intended for grades K-2.


VMware Fusion, Virtualization Program, Software, $79.99

Award-winning desktop and server virtualization software maker VMware has recently released Fusion, a program that enables Mac users to run PC applications seamlessly side by side with Mac applications. An intuitive Mac-native interface makes integrating PC programs simple and straightforward. Users can easily find, launch and run PC applications with Fusion’s Unity and Expose functions, and minimize each program to the Mac OS X Dock when not in use. Fusion also enables Windows games to be played on Macs, and the creation of Windows-based virtual machines that complement Apple’s Boot Camp partition, of which the Snapshots function can store copies as a backup in the event of a system crash.



WiggleWorks, Early Reading Program, Software, each edition $5,900

Scholastic has re-released its technology-based early reading program, WiggleWorks, with new content and other upgrades. A supplemental program for pre-K through third grade, WiggleWorks uses leveled, interactive e-books, reading and writing activities, and specific instruction to develop motivated, profi cient readers. It is now compatible with Windows Vista and Mac OS X and is available in two editions, one for pre-K to first grade and one for grades 2-3. Students are able to have any of the program’s 84 included e-books read aloud on the computer, or they can record themselves reading the stories and hear the playback. Students can then write and draw responses to what they have read, create their own versions of the story, and play phonics games. A built-in classroom management system allows teachers to customize lessons or activities, track individual progress, monitor time spent on software, and record messages to the class. Each edition includes 84 books, audio CDs, teacher plans and guides, and each is able to support up to 300 students.


PR-C101, ID Card Printer, Hardware, $2,399

ID card printer manufacturer Nisca has added to its product line with the PR-C101, an entry-level, single-side printing model that provides a simple and affordable way to create high quality, high durability ID cards with low maintenance requirements. Small and compact at just 14 pounds, the PR-C101 offers a rotating LCD panel and optional front or back exit design to accommodate different office layouts. Additional features include full-color edge-to-edge printing at 300 dpi resolution, 24-bit continuous tone printing to improve legibility, a removable 100-card feeder, USB 2.0 output, Windows compatibility, and a 2-year hands-free warranty. Security features include password protection and a port that allows for a locking anti-theft cable. The combined ribbon cassette and cleaning assist roller unit is disposable, and the printer comes packaged with an entry-level badge design software program.



TDP-TW420U, Projector, Hardware, $2,919

Toshiba’s new model offers wireless capability and is the company’s first presentation solution with multiscreen functionality, allowing users to network up to four projectors from a single source computer to accommodate a variety of venue sizes. It features a filter-free DLP chip, as well as 4,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, XGA (1024x768) resolution and a 2,000:1 contrast ratio, while weighing less than 10 pounds. This projector also features Windows Vista networking capability, and the wireless functionality allows for quick and easy presentation setup, as well as remote network management and extensive multimedia connectivity. IT personnel can receive e-mail notification from the projector alerting them to any temperature issues or fan and lamp status. A USB port also enables “PC free” presentations using a flash drive.



Workspace ExamView Edition, Assessment Program, Software, $249

Earlier this year, assessment software maker eInstruction merged with hardware maker Interwrite Learning. The recent release of Workspace ExamView Edition marks the first new product of the collaboration. The software program is designed to coordinate existing ExamView content—currently used by 500,000 educators nationwide—with student response hardware, including Interwrite’s Classroom Performance System clickers, and interactive whiteboards. The software is compatible with common programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel, allowing teachers to quickly and easily take notes directly on lessons, save and e-mail them to students, for example, or hand out CPS clickers, generate questions in ExamView, and quickly assess student learning. Workspace ExamView Edition is available individually for purchase, or for free with the purchase of InterWrite’s Boards and Pads.



B-500DN, Printer, Hardware, $549

Epson’s new printer intended for the business and education market, the B-500DN, is designed to provide highspeed productivity at an economical ink cost per page. This model prints up to 37 pages per minute, and its high-yield ink cartridges are capable of producing about 8,000 black pages or 7,000 color pages before needing replacement. Ethernet connectivity allows this printer to serve multiple classrooms, computer labs or offices, and double-sided printing capability saves paper and reduces printing costs. In addition, the frontloading paper cassette can hold up to one ream (500 sheets) of paper while a second cassette can hold an additional 150 pages, and advanced nozzle cleaning technology automatically prevents clogging, reducing maintenance issues. Epson estimates all of these innovations result in printing costs of less than one cent per page for black and three cents per page for color.


LanSchool Technologies, Classroom Management Program, Software, starting at $299

LanSchool 7.1, the new version of the award-winning classroom management software, adds several new features. It enables teachers to monitor all the computer activity in a classroom from their own PC, show their own screen on each student’s screen, block certain Web sites, turn student printing capability on or off, and more. It also adds the capability to control the use of USB drives, as well as application and keystroke monitoring, so teachers can be aware of all applications in use and what students are typing on their keyboards. The new version also improves usability in the thumbnail view of student screens, now enabling users to arrange the windows on the screen in any configuration to match the layout of the classroom. Up to 80 screens can be viewed on the teacher’s desktop. Other new enhancements include improved wireless reliability, ease of installation, the ability to limit Internet use, and the enabling of student questions and voting.



Leapster 2, Educational Game System, Hardware, $69.99

Leapster 2 is the next generation of Leapfrog’s award-winning handheld educational gaming platform, and it expands upon the original with new features. The Leapster 2 can now access online content with Leapfrog Connect software, enabling students to upload artwork they have created on the device, to store and share over the Web. Students can also receive online rewards and certifi cates for their game playing or download new titles. The new model is also backward compatible, so students can play any of the more than 30 titles from Leapfrog, including new games such as Disney/Pixar’s WALL-E, Scholastic’s I SPY: preasure Hunt, and Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer Camping Adventure: Explore Spanish Words, each at $24.99.


E4200, Ultramobile Laptop, Hardware, starting at $1,999

Dell has introduced two updated lines of laptops in response to the increasing customer need for more portability. Among the models in the redesigned Latitude line is the E4200, an ultraportable PC that is the smallest commercial notebook the company has ever made, at 12.1 inches across and weighing just 2.2 pounds. Despite its diminutive size, the E4200 still includes high performance features such as a 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo chip, 1GB of DDR2 memory with upgrades available up to 5GB, a WXGA backlit LED display, up to 128GB of hard drive space, and an optional 6-cell extended life battery. The line has also been redesigned to increase durability over previous models, so the E4200 also uses a magnesium alloy chassis, stronger metal hinges and a more rugged keyboard. The entire series is now also available in several colors: Brushed Metal Black, Regatta Blue, Regal Red, and Quartz Pink.



CP-WX625, Projector, Hardware, $8,995

Hitachi’s new LCD-chip projector features a brightness of 4,000 ANSI lumens, WXGA (1024x768) resolution, a 2,000-hour hybrid filter, and networking functionality. This model is specially designed for use with widescreen-format laptops and other imaging applications that use 16:10 aspect ratios. Additionally, the CP-WX625 features an HDMI terminal, allowing digital signals, such as DVD players/recorders and HD, to be transmitted digitally to the projector. 16-watt speakers provide audio, while the side-mounted hybrid filter and top-door lamp access allow for easier maintenance and replacement. The CPWX625 also features one RGB input, one RGB output and one BNC input, as well as component, composite and S-Video connections. It offers horizontal and vertical lens shift, an Instant On/Off option and a lamp life of approximately 3,000 hours in Whisper Mode. A security bar and transition detector provide advanced anti-theft capabilities.

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