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The latest in hardware, software, books & materials, facilities and the Internet.
According to a study on the 2011 Vision K-20 Initiative, the U.S. is not making progress toward educational technology benchmarks, particularly helping schools meet students' individual needs and providing authentic assessment tools. Source: Software and Information Industry Association

TCI K12 Social Studies Curriculum

Pricing varies by student count

TCI, a publishing company created by teachers for teachers, has released a new version of its interactive social studies curriculum, designed for online or interactive whiteboard instruction. Lessons include a variety of activities to accommodate different learning styles, and the program provides teachers with ideas for differentiating instruction to target English language learners and other student populations. The new version also allows teachers to integrate their own resources into presentations and access each lesson anywhere, anytime in the cloud.

Califone PA419

Price: $999

Classroom audio equipment maker Califone has just released this new wireless all-in-one portable PA system. The PA419 includes a 30-watt amplifier and an integrated iPhone/iPod dock, all in a unit weighing just 14.6 pounds, making it easy to transport and use in a classroom, auditorium, or athletic field to provide clear sound for audiences of up to 300 people in a 2,000 square foot area. It also includes a DVD/CD player, remote control, and dual wireless microphone receivers to capture the sound of up to three presenters at one time. The unit can be connected to any computer, projector or interactive whiteboard through a USB cable.

Serif DrawPlus X5Serif

Price: $14 per user

Design, publishing and creative software developer Serif has released a new version of its cross-curricular, cost-effective graphics program DrawPlus. Intended to be useful for novice and advanced users alike, DrawPlus X5 allows students to create Flash animations, import CAD files, convert digital photos into graphics files, use digital artistic tools such as paint, erasers, airbrushes or charcoal, and create logos and posters of professional quality.

Edmodo edmodo

Price: Free

Edmodo, the free, secure social learning network designed for education, has added a suite of new features to enable students to collaborate in the classroom and teachers to customize the classroom experience online. These include "badges," which provide incentives for students and recognition of their achievement, a quiz builder to aid in student assessment, updated iPhone and Android apps with new features, and a new, streamlined user interface.

PLATO Learning Accucess, flexTest plato

Price: Individual, site or district-wide subscriptions available

PLATO Learning has unveiled two new personalized assessment solutions. Accucess is an adaptive diagnostic assessment that helps educators measure student achievement in reading comprehension, math and language arts. Teachers can identify deficiencies and build a personalized curriculum for individual students or classes. FlexTest is a quiz and test builder that allows teachers to create assessments from scratch using a variety of question types to evaluate a student's skills before, during and after instruction, and store them online to share with other educators, students and parents via a single Web-based interface.

Netop MyVision Basic

Price: $199 per teacher annually for MyVision Basic; MyVision Free is free

Netop's new version of its entry-level MyVision Basic classroom management software includes a number of enhancements. A new comprehensive chat feature allows teachers to chat with individual students or facilitate whole-class discussion. To encourage participation, students remain anonymous when adding comments in a group discussion, but the teacher can see all student names and save chats for reference. MyVision also allows teachers to share demonstrations and block Internet access, and it supports classrooms with PCs, Macs or a combination of both.

Faronics Insight 7.6faronics

Pricing varies by classroom count

The latest version of Faronics' classroom management software allows educators to teach an interactive lesson, monitor and control student activity, and communicate with an entire class from a central computer or mobile device, such as an iPad, iPhone or iPod. Additional new features of Insight 7.6 include a screen feed function, which enables teachers to view student monitors randomly to make sure they are on task, the ability to add students to tests already in progress and improved support for additional platforms such as Ubuntu Linux, MultiPoint Server 2011 and Vernier LabQuest.

Panasonic Classroom Alert System panasonic

Starting at $1,800

Panasonic has recently enhanced its classroom audio system by adding features and components to create a comprehensive classroom security system, available in a variety of configurations. The wireless microphone worn by the teacher provides sound reinforcement, but it also includes a security alert button, which silently notifies authorities and activates a classroom surveillance camera, providing them with a clear view of the situation.

uWriteTouch KUNO kuno

Starting at $349

The Kuno from uWriteTouch is a 10.1-inch Android tablet device designed for education. The product is also designed to be compatible with CurriculumLoft Explore1to1 from sister company CurriculumLoft. Customized content can be pushed to the Kuno and stored locally, allowing for access to class resources on the device even without Internet access. All student devices can be controlled from a school or district level, and each includes a 16GB mini SD card and a separate clamshell keyboard.

ez Write OT and SPED Editionsezwrite

Starting at $125

The research-based handwriting program ez Write now has new editions for occupational therapy (OT) and special education (SPED). Districts can use these additional kits to teach handwriting skills to all students with special needs in preschool through fifth grade. These new editions include extra materials designed for OT and SPED students, such as pencil grips, sensory activities, a travel bag and a sensory bin, which help improve manual dexterity and overall achievement for these students while teaching handwriting.