Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional
www.adobe.com, Software, $449
This latest version can include virtually anyone in an electronic review of a PDF document by enabling access to commenting tools in its free reader 7.0 software. Users can provide feedback on a PDF file that consists of several content types ranging from scanned paper to spreadsheets, presentations and 3D computer-aided design. Other features include more advanced control over engineering and design documents for technical and creative workgroups that rely on specialized software. It's also integrated with LiveCycle Policy Server, which enables users to apply and manage document policies for helping control access, auditing, expiration and revocation rights to a PDF document.
In addition, Adobe has expanded its free technical support (Complimentary Warranty Support) for all of its products; now support is available for the life of the version on product defect and installation issues. More in-depth and how-to questions can be answered for $39 per call or $159 per year of unlimited calls.
LightSpeed Technologies, Inc.
705iR amplification system
www.lightspeed-tek.com, Hardware, $750
This wireless audio system transmits an instructor's voice to a small amplifier unit via infrared light. The teacher's voice is then evenly distributed throughout the classroom, allowing every student to hear clearly. No installation or power source is required. The battery pack powers the unit for eight hours of continuous use. Other features include the LightMic, a wireless microphone that suspends from a lavaliere cord around the neck and an auxiliary input to amplify audio from a computer, CD, MP3 player or other audio sources.
IPL T PCS4 Power Control and Current Sensor
www.extron.com, Hardware, $995
This product was designed for flexible, centralized, Web-based power management. Besides four 120VAC outlets, it offers preloaded control pages for Web-based monitoring, scheduling and control capabilities. Electrical current thresholds can be set up to define full power, standby and power off states for individual devises and group of outlets. Those thresholds can be used to feed status reports and trigger alarms and other automated devices. Other features include an integrated Web server, full Ethernet compatibility and e-mail capability.
Califone International, Inc.
www.califone.com, Hardware, $1,650
This wireless presentation system reaches up to 1,000 people and can serve between 3,000 and 10,000 people with wireless companion speakers. As a self-contained, complete sound system, it comes on wheels with two built-in wireless mic receivers, a CD player, a variable speed cassette recorder/player and a mixing panel. The system can also connect to two wired microphones and two external recording devices or audio sources, such as a VCR, DVD player, computer or interactive whiteboard.
www.apple.com, Software, $79
This productivity software was designed to take advantage of both Mac OS X and iLife '05 to help users create, present and publish professional-looking documents and presentations. The software includes Pages, a new word processor, and Keynote 2, a new version of Apple's presentation software that produces cinematic-looking presentations.
Pages offers tools to create letters, newsletters, reports, brochures and resumes with advanced typography, multiple columns, footnotes, tables of content and styles. With dynamic text wrapping and alignment guides, users can create free-form arrangements of text, graphics, photos, tables and charts. An integrated media browser lets users drag and drop photos from the iPhoto library directly into documents.
With Keynote 2, users can create presentations, portfolios, interactive slide shows and storyboards. Slide animations can also synchronize the movement of multiple objects and cinematic real-time animated text. Users can also insert photos, movies and music directly into presentations with the iLife media browser.
www.visibooks.com, Books, $1.95 and up per title
These computer how-to books use illustrations instead of text to walk people though common tasks. They contain less than 5,000 words, about one-tenth as much text as typical how-to computer books. The books were initially developed for students with Dyslexia, reading difficulties and limited English proficiency and are becoming popular with mainstream users. The 22 books cover Windows, Microsoft Office and Web development topics.
www.grandtec.com, Hardware, $199
This PC to HDTV converter inputs via a standard VGA connection at resolutions up to 1280 x 1024 and outputs via standard component video via 480p, 720p or 1080i for display on any HDTV. The high definition PC display provides a clarity better than traditional scan conversion, which makes it a suitable solution for anything from reading e-mail and spreadsheets to browsing Internet-based multimedia. Includes a one-year warranty.
Class Server 4.0
www.microsoft.com, Internet, $2 and up per student
Designed for grades K-12, this learning management platform helps teachers create, deliver and grade standards-aligned assessments and lessons over the Web. They can track, analyze and improve student achievement against local curriculum standards in accordance with the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
The platform allows teachers, administrators and IT personnel to work with education vendors to create, grade and distribute learning resources with more flexibility. All of a district's learning tools can be accessed through a single sign-on Learning Gateway portal solution, a technology framework that delivers information from multiple systems through the same user interface.
Class Server includes 12 Web Parts that allow information to be shared with existing applications through SharePoint 2.0. Educators can manage standards-aligned assignments and share promising practice resources with peers in other schools. Students can also complete lessons using a Web browser and secure password.
The server supports the Schools Interoperability Framework, Shareable Content Object Reference Model and Information Management Systems standards. It also offers tools on Microsoft .NET technologies to enable simple integration with existing data and systems. Schools can register online for a free evaluation copy.
M460 notebook series
www.gateway.com, Hardware, $899.99 and up
This wireless notebook was designed for maximum battery life, offering a wide range of advanced battery options. It provides from four to seven hours of battery life on a single charge and includes a modular hot-swap bay so an optional modular six-cell battery can be used with the 12-cell battery to achieve more than 10 hours of battery life. The notebook can connect to a variety of standard networks and users can customize its displays, processors, memory, hard drives and optical drives.
Voice Video Interface Units
www.polycom.com, Hardware, starts from $1,999
This series of appliances offer a scalable way to support communications between organizations and across the Internet without sacrificing network security. They provide optimized bandwidth utilization with prioritized delivery of voice and video as well as the shortest path routing of media directly between two end points rather than a centralized server. Their voice- and video- aware firewalls enhance the security perimeter. The solutions can work alone or with existing firewall/NAT traversal solutions. The units are fully compatible with leading H.323 aware firewalls and session border controllers, including those from Cisco Systems and Edgewater Networks.
Polycom has also started a new program that provides schools purchasing $500 in equipment with a complimentary United States Distance Learning Association individual membership. The membership in the organization--which monitors new technologies and supports fully integrated, teacher friendly and network supported systems--includes e-mailed news alerts, discounts on products and event registration, and national legislative representation.
Foundation for Teaching Economics
Is Capitalism Good for the Poor?
www.fte.org, Curriculum, Free
This CD-ROM curriculum package contains five lessons for secondary school teachers focusing on the institutions of capitalism and their ability to promote or inhibit wealth producing economic growth.
The lesson plans, which have been endorsed by Nobel Laureates Milton Friedman and Douglass North, include games and simulations on real-world case studies, such as how cell phones help impoverished African and Indian farmers. Teacher training seminars are also being offered nationwide.
Ballard & Tighe
www.opd.ballard-tighe.com, Courses, $139/one-unit course
This Web site offers a series of self-paced, professional development courses to administrators and teachers of English Language Learners in an online format. The courses include English Language Development, Reading, Literacy and Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English.
Each course emphasizes teaching strategies and techniques and is fully accredited through Chapman University in California. When completed, participants can earn between one and three units of semester credit.
Waves in Motion
www.coursewizard.com, Internet, $3,175 and up/year, plus $600 one-time activation fee for hosted version
This online registration system was designed to simplify the administration of professional development programs, address school accountability by providing reports for management and government agencies, and provide details of teachers continuing education activities. The new version allows administrators to enroll and/or drop participants to or from courses, manage waiting lists for courses, grade participants and instructors, set up class offerings without requiring instructor or location information, and set e-mail notification preferences. It also includes a companion FileMaker Pro 7 database for custom analysis and reporting.
ViewPlus Technologies, Inc.
Pro Ink Attachment
www.viewplus.com, Hardware $3,995
This technology adds ink print to Braille text and tactile graphic documents, allowing Braille documents to be shared with sighted colleagues and teachers. The device prints the corresponding ink characters above or alongside the Braille embossing and also allows for images to be embossed and printed. Anything that appears on a computer screen can also be made into a raised or printed image on paper. It comes with software to translate text Braille into MS Word and Excel.
www.acesoft.com, Software, $495-$1045 per building, plus $210 per building annual maintenance
When used with a Palm OS-based PDA, administrators can access critical data about students, such as emergency phone number or a counselors' name. It also provides attendance details, students' photos and their locker number and combination. The software is included in ADM2000 Student Information System at no extra charge; otherwise there is a front-end fee of $2,500. It can also be used with Microsoft Windows, 98, Me, NT, 2000 or XP and with a Mac OS X 9.2.2 or 10.1 and later versions.
www.frontrange.com, Software, One-time license: $1,500-$3,500/seat
The latest version of this software for IT support and management provides real-time remote access using a Web browser without any additional plug-ins. It was designed to lower the total cost of ownership from running and accessing applications via a centralized server, which provides centralized maintenance and upgrading. Key features include Windows Server 2003 and native Macintosh OSX Client support, pass-through authentication, session load balancing, session reconnect and session shadowing.