Latest Palm Handheld Offers Smooth Data Management
PALM Tungsten T
www.palm.com, Hardware, $499
Since the introduction of the handheld, teachers and administrators have discovered how much time they can save on tasks such as observations and student record management. The Tungsten T’s voice recording capabilities, which can capture and organize thoughts that are later automatically transferred to a computer, add a new dimension to these responsibilities.
The device is the most compact Palm handheld on the market, and it aims to offers users the functions that matter most. Navigation and application buttons reside on the new “slider,” which glides open when users need to input data using Graffiti. When just viewing or navigating information, the slider can remain closed.
Built with the new Palm OS 5 and Texas Instruments’ OMAP1510 processor, the handheld offers faster integration with data-intensive documents and updated fonts for better viewing. Rich multimedia features and software applications, such as short video clips and digital audio files, can run on the handheld.
The device’s color screen, at 320 x 320 resolution with more than 65,000 colors, is Palm’s sharpest to date. Mike Lorion, Palm’s vice president for education, says he expects educators to take advantage of Presenter to Go software to deliver PowerPoint presentations by using the Tungsten T as a projector.
According to Lorion, at least one district has made a large-scale purchase so every administrator can use the powerful device. Because of the high functionality, he says teachers and administrators will likely use the handheld. Built-in Bluetooth technology gives users the freedom to wirelessly access e-mail and the Internet via compatible Bluetooth-enabled phones. The Tungsten T can also communicate with printers, PCs and other Bluetoothenabled devices.
The handheld comes with 19 bundled productivity, communication and entertainment applications.
www.gateway.com, Hardware, $40 (upgrade option)
The new compact case for the E-2000 and E-4000 Gateway PCs use industry-standard desktop components in 35 percent less physical space than a micro tower chassis. The new frame comes with four bays: a floppy, zip, CD-RW and hard drive, and six USB 2.0 ports (two on the front), as well as audio, video and legacy ports. It measures 13.5” x 4.0” x 15.5” (HxWxD) and weighs 20.75 pounds. In addition, the frame uses standard desktop components, which reduces the challenge of finding slimline components.
Also new from Gateway is the Media Center PC ($3,999 and up), which brings together on one platform digital media features such as TV viewing, TV recording, digital music, digital video, digital photography and DVD. Suitable for delivering content to large groups of students, the unit’s capabilities are managed remotely.
Mathematica Teacher’s Edition
www.wolfram.com, Software, $195
This software works with Mathematica for the Classroom to expose students to the computing tools and methods they may use throughout their academic and professional careers. Available for Windows and Mac OS platforms, the teacher’s edition was 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. The point-andclick problem generator helps teachers in quickly generating original assignments, quizzes and answer keys.
Data Connections: Using Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning
www.scarecrowpress.com, Software, $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, urriculum 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.
THE PEAK GROUP
Wireless Technologies in Education: Moving from Pilots to Mainstream, 2002
www.peakgroup.net, Report, $79
This report examines the impact of wireless and mobile computing technologies in education. It was conducted in association with the nonprofit educational research organization AEL and reflects the result of a nationwide survey of schools and school districts that received 184 responses.
The report looks at student and teacher access, current and projected expenditures, wireless LAN platform choices, wireless device brand preferences, types of purchases and preferred software applications. Among the findings: 62 percent of respondents indicated some form of wireless technology implementation, and 57 percent will spend more on wireless technologies for the 2002-2003 school year than last year.
POWER ON SOFTWARE
On Guard 5.0
www.poweronsoftware.com, Software, Multi-user $24.30-$39 per user, K-12 building site license $995.95 (site licenses over 250 users and district licenses available)
The latest version of this anti-tampering software for shared-computer environments prevents users from renaming, copying or deleting files or folders. Windows features, such as desktop icons and control panels, can be locked, and individual programs can be secured from a single location. In addition, the software can track all user log-in activity and control access to the Documents and Favorites sub-menus. On Guard is compatible with Novell and Windows versions after Windows 95.
www.ceupid.com, Internet, $2 per teacher/month (plus installation, based on district size and other factors)
This Web-based software allows administrators who handle teacher continuing education to manage and approve continuing education unit (CEU) credits, maintain CEU records and organize continuing education classes. The information is accessed through a secure system that lets administrators add individual teachers to the system, review and approve requests for CEU credits.
www.lanschool.com, Software, $395
In a classroom, library or lab environment, LanSchool Monitor software works like a security camera for computers. It displays a thumbnail view of student computer screens on one central monitor computer. Every student’s computer is checked in random order, taking a snapshot of the screen so the teacher or librarian can view it and determine if a student is using the computer in an inappropriate way.
The educator can then send a message to the user’s screen or force the student to log out. the student’s screen can be saved to be printed later and shown to the student in a discussion about proper computer-use policies. It can be used as proof to a parent during a disciplinary process, as well.
Teacher2Teacher Online Resource Library
www.teacher2teacher.com, Internet, $29.95 per library, $54.95 for bundle of three libraries (server licenses available)
This hands-on resource was designed to complement a district’s current in-house technology professional development program. Th libraries include software tutorials, classroom activities and selfpaced courses that support Microsoft Office, Inspiration, HyperStudio and other popular software programs.
The How-to Library instructions help teachers learn specific tasks within a software program, the Viewlet Library combines video and audio to demonstrate the completion of specific tasks, and the Activities Library includes lessons, sample projects and planning sheets for technology integration.
In addition, e-Courses ($19.95) model classroom activities such as creating a newsletter or producing a presentation.
Clustering Standards in Integrated Units
www. skylightedu.com, book, $30.95
This book takes the power of curriculum integration one step further with integrated units. By clustering standards in integrated units, more can be covered without sacrificing content or learning. The book presents techniques for sustained, indepth exploration of events, circumstances or objects in the students’ environment. Templates and rubrics for integrated unit planning are provided as well as blackline masters.
www.panasonic.com, Hardware, $7,499
This portable, high-brightness XGA LCD projector weighs 12 pounds and incorporates three .99” TFT Active Matrix Polysilicon LCD panels for computer and video applications in classrooms and auditoriums. It provides both wired and wireless network capabilities. All of the projector’s setup parameters can be controlled remotely and status monitored via an Internet browser, allowing the projector to be mounted anywhere since cabling is eliminated. It is also assigned an IP address for remote control, allowing users to network multiple laptops to a single projector for collaborative team presentations.
A new non-wireless projector with similar features, the PT-L750U, is also available, for $6,499.
NetOp Remote Control v7.5
www.crossteccorp.com, Software, Single license $179, Additional host modules $38 to $120
This new version of remote control software supports a wide range of operating platforms and has enhanced security, inventory and asset management tools. The new inventory function allows details of installed hardware and software to be gathered remotely, saved to an XML file and displayed in a hierarchical view or exported to external applications for processing.
A free full-functional evaluation copy of the software is available from the company’s Web site.
The New Science Literacy: Using Language Skills to Help Students Learn Science
www.heinemann.com, Book, $19
This book’s authors assert that instructional synergy and power result from combining science and language literacy. Instructional techniques for elementary, middle and high school teachers are included. The book defines “literacy in science” as including speaking, listening and media analysis. There are specific metacognitive techniques that teachers can use to coach students to become independent learners. By combining science, language and guided inquiry, teachers can empower students to think and express themselves more effectively, improving learning and retention.
www.iii.com, Internet, $10,000 and up
This centralized networked library automation system offers core ILS capabilities such as online public access, cataloging, circulation, graphical self-checkout and inventory control. It also features advanced keyword searching, multimedia management, patron authenticating for Web resources and Web portal access.
The Java-based system, which runs on any combination of PCs, Macs or Linux workstations, offers capabilities specific to school media centers, including homeroom-based notices, overdue reports and customized reports.
Custom Collection Service
www.teacherstreet.com, Software, Pricing varies
The publishers of pre-assembled Classroom Software Collection bundles have piloted a customized software collection service. Austin Independent School District, the first to work with Teacher Street to create a custom collection, chose a set of software and curricular materials to strengthen the use of technology in teaching and learning throughout the district’s sixth grade.
Original tutorials and curriculum materials that correlate with state standards can be developed to meet the specific software technology needs within a district’s professional development programs and classrooms.
Testing and Standards: A Brief Encyclopedia
www.heinemann.com, Book, $11.70
At 110 pages and 7” x 5”, this book is literally small enough to fit in a pocket. It aims to demystify standards lingo while covering the ethics and issues of testing and standards. The author provides administrators with facts to challenge policies relating to testing and standards that aren’t benefiting students.
In a series of mini-essays, she helps readers: determine if a state’s standards and tests have been well developed; learn how passing scores for state tests are set; find out whether schools are using unethical practices to raise test scores; and learn how to check whether local newspapers describe test results accurately.
NEWBRIDGE EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING
Go Facts Science
www.newbridgeonline.com, Books, Single set $149.95, classroom set $499.95
Go Facts Science is a guided writing program for grades 2-4 that is designed to help build student skills in writing informational reports. The program features 12 books of 24 pages each, in three progressively challenging series. Each book models the elements of nonfiction text structures and provides guided practice for the five stages of the writing process. The student books act as text models for informational reports. Each chapter uses a report structure, such as compare and contrast, problem/solution, description, procedure, chart and glossary.