ISTE 2014 Best of Show
The following products are the winners of Tech &
Learning’s first annual ISTE Best of Show Awards.
Over 70 products were submitted and anonymously
evaluated by Tech & Learning advisors. The judges
rated their impressions on a sliding scale, then met
to decide on which technologies could have the most
impact in the classroom and deserved to be named
Best of Show. Congratulations to the winners!
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook
|Acer C720-2844 Chromebook
The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare
display that’s perfect for bright classrooms. The Chromebook offers 8.5 hours of battery life, and up to 4 GB of DDR3L
memory to support HD video and apps. The Acer C720 quickly connects to hotspots and wireless networks via 802.11a/b/
g/n Wi-Fi. Multiple layers of security features include data encryption and verified boot. Students and teachers can also
access files offline, and edit MS Office documents as well as Google Documents. Judges recommended this model for
its high-quality touchscreen, the good price point, and the “ample memory and storage.”
Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share
video stories. The app incorporates a combination of the user’s recorded voice, imagery, music, and
motion graphics and effects. Animated videos can be quickly shared via social media, email, personal blogs, and
Web sites, by posting a single link, and can be viewed on virtually any device. Our judge liked the ability to customize each
slide with photos, audio, and background choices, and commended the ease of use for students.
Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million
rights-cleared photos and other images for homework, classroom activities, and lesson plans, from sources such as Getty Images
and the National Geographic Society. The newly released ImageQuest includes a host of features to facilitate finding and working
with images. These include new filtering mechanisms for refining a search, the ability to enlarge images, features for searching and
working with multiple images at once, prepared image albums on popular topics, and project ideas for teachers. Judges praised
the high-quality, respected image sources as well as the overall image quality. One judge
highlighted another major benefit: citations are provided in different formats.
TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage
their audiences. Educators can use the screen recorder to capture anything on their screen,
use their computer’s camera to record themselves, or import camera video, music, photos, and
more. Educators can also use TechSmith
Fuse, TechSmith’s new mobile app, to
send their photos and videos straight
from their mobile device into Camtasia’s
media bin. The level of editing within Camtasia is completely up to the teachers and what they
are comfortable with. Judges noted that the latest version now allows users to work across
Windows and iOS platforms. They also raved over the company’s tutorials, which cover a variety of topics, from
basic to advanced.
Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and
deliver interactive lessons across multiple classroom technologies, while assessing, understanding, and responding
to student needs. Whether a classroom features a Promethean ActivBoard or ActivPanel, a SMART Board, 1:1
devices, or other interactive technologies, ClassFlow enables teachers to create, deliver, and store lessons and
teaching resources in one place, from a Web browser. ClassFlow also offers tools for differentiation, including the
ability to send different content to different groups of students and to assign self-paced, leveled assessments with
instant feedback. Judges found it was easy for teachers to check for understanding, and liked that every student
has an interactive board on their device.
Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most
tablets, laptops/hybrids, and ultrabooks used in K-12 education. Core 36M uses polypropylene dividers that protect the
devices from being scratched when moving them in and out of the cart. The cart’s digital timer provides an efficient method
of charging 36 devices – it rotates among three power strips while operating on a single 15-amp wall circuit. Finally, the
small 25” W x 26” D x 41” H footprint saves classroom space. Judges appreciated that there were no electronics to adjust,
since everything is preset for Chromebooks. They also liked that the cart could hold a variety of
Chromebooks in all different sizes.
The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the
P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surface desk board. The
DeskBoard can be used both as a traditional cart-mounted whiteboard for
projecting, as well as lowering and tilting flat for use as an interactive desk in
conjunction with the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector. Judges liked that
the DeskBoard could be adapted to virtually any height for adults and children, and
appreciated that it could be used in conjunction with any BOXLIGHT ultra short throw
projector for a truly customizable solution.
Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize
and track overall school, teacher, and student progress. Edmentum Sensei presents data
from Edmentum’s online learning solutions through charts, graphs, and visual cues, helping
teachers identify patterns, measure progress, and glean insights. Currently available in Plato
Courseware and Edmentum Assessments, Edmentum Sensei will also be available for Study
Island next school year. One judge cited this as the most innovative product at ISTE, arguing
that the ability to “drill down so easily will make teachers more efficient in their work.”
Judges also noted that the platform focuses on student mastery of all standards.
The Equil Smartpen from Luidia Inc. captures handwritten notes and illustrations generated
on any type of paper, and then instantly sends them to an Android, iOS, Mac, or Windows
device. Files can be exported in multiple formats, emailed, posted to the Web or a CMS, and
saved to Dropbox, Evernote, or iCloud. Equil Smartpen works with Equil’s free apps, Note
and Sketch. Equil Note lets users create and store written notes, while Sketch enables users
to import backgrounds, draw and paint with multiple brushes, work in layers, and export to
Photoshop. Judges appreciated that the Smartpen works with any ink-writable surface, and
found it to be a great tool for drawing or note-taking.
Gaggle Unity Partner Program
The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all
educational technology vendors. Through the Gaggle Unity Partner Program, teachers and
students can use Gaggle’s Collaboration Tools to create, edit, and share Microsoft Office
Online documents within Gaggle’s Digital Lockers and Assignments (formerly Assignment
Drop Boxes). Gaggle also plans to integrate Yammer, Microsoft’s enterprise social network,
and Microsoft Lync, its video conferencing and instant messaging service, during the 2014-15
school year. One of the key benefits, as noted by our judges, was that Gaggle sets up the APIs
with the SIS and the receiving vendor at no additional cost to all parties. Judges also noted that Gaggle makes account
creation more efficient for those doing it manually.
HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning
experience for improved digital instruction and collaboration. The app bridges classroom-based and informal learning
environments by providing flexibility, mobility, and personalized learning experiences both on and offline. Judges noted
this app as a winner due to its good formative assessment and ability to individualize content. They also liked the ability
to bring in external content.
Juice Power System
|Juice Power System
Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable
power components. The Juice Power System uses unique “Juice Connectors,”
magnetic connections that allow teachers to easily and safely connect and disconnect
power when reconfiguring tables. A single wall outlet can provide power in up to
eight daisy-chained tables for as many as 16 mobile devices. Regardless of which
mobile devices are used, USB outlets in the Juice Power System will provide as much
power as needed. Judges found it “super easy” to reconfigure the room setting when
power was needed at different tables. One judge added that the magnetic connections
are ideal for safety and set-up speed, calling it a “very efficient” solution.
LearnPad Octavo is a 7.85” tablet device designed specifically for use in schools. It
features a quad core processor, dual band Wi-Fi, and a front and rear camera. Its highly
portable IPS multi-touch display provides enough screen space to work comfortably
with Web sites and digital content. The tablet includes a management portal, LearnPad
Connect, designed to support the resources and instructional methods teachers use.
It provides a central repository to store LearnPad content, create customized profiles,
and manage and configure multiple LearnPads. LearnPad Octavo also supports content
developed using Adobe Flash. For educators looking for a way to push content to student
devices in a controlled manner, this device won the judges’ praises as the top choice
||Assessments & Writing
LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded
assessments and real-time data. LightSail is personalized to each student, ensuring that they are
reading high-interest books at, or above, their reading level. LightSail assesses students as they
read, and adapts their libraries as they grow. Judges found that Lightsail encourages literacy with an
“enormous online library of books.” They also found the teacher dashboards “rich in functionality and
intuitive to use.”
RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in
algebra, pre-calculus, physics, statistics, and probability. The basketball utilizes embedded motion sensors
to measure ball movement and player activity in real time. This information is sent to the corresponding
tablet via Bluetooth, providing teachers and students immediate feedback on the math,
geometry, and pre-calculus concepts behind shooting and ball-handling skills. Judges
found the product relevant and appealing to students. They appreciated the hands-on,
rigorous, engaging, and practical application for students.
Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need
to account for their assets, from software and IT to furniture, media equipment, and
more. Complete solutions come with a mobile computer, for managing assets when
administrators are away from their desks, an integrated barcode labeling software, a
barcode label printer for creating asset tags, and over 1,300 polyester asset tags. The
MobileAsset App for Android and iOS lets users manage assets from their mobile
device. Lifetime technical support and free Getting Started training is included. The
MobileAsset.EDU dashboard displays important notifications, charts and graphs, and
abbreviated lists. Judges liked the ability to scan inventory remotely, with data stored in one location.
They also liked that inventory can be tied to specific budget codes, to support tracking of Title I or
myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading
experience for students while growing the instructional capabilities for teachers. These literacy tools are
an addition to myON’s existing collection of more than 7,000 enhanced digital books with multimedia
scaffolds and embedded assessments. Students can use embedded tools in all myON digital books to
practice close reading skills. Judges were impressed that all ebooks were available on any device, and
found that myON helps students find appropriate books. They also found a high volume of content from
excellent publishers in the library.
Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors
student attention levels as they study and guides them to
revisit concepts or content areas where they lost focus.
Using a simple and safe EEG headset, Nervanix Clarity
measures the attention levels of learners as they study and
paces along with them as they navigate a page, watch
a video, listen to a recording, or interact with a
digital manipulative. The device uses Bluetooth
technology to stream the attention data it records
to the Nervanix Clarity application. Judges found
that Nervanix Clarity helps students effectively
focus on material and improve their study sessions.
They were also wowed by the ability for teachers
and parents to gain instant access to students’
progress, without having to wait for test scores
and report cards.
The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate
with any mix of technology. An enhanced version of the NetSupport School Student
app for Android lets teachers view
thumbnails of connected student
tablets, remotely launch Web sites
on one or more student tablets,
and assign student rewards. Other
enhancements include the ability to launch the Student app when tablets are switched
on at the start of a lesson, and the option to configure devices to automatically sign in
to the required NetSupport-managed classroom. Judges found NetSupport School to
be a good solution for BYOD environments, and praised the small bandwidth footprint
from devices to teacher machines.
OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool
|OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool
OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create
assessments with the question types required by Common Core
standards. The assessment creation tool enables educators to
create tests consisting of their own questions or questions from
OpenEd’s recommendation engine. The assessment tool supports
a variety of question types, including Multiple Choice, True or
False, Multiple Response, Free Response, and Composite Items.
With the tool, teachers can associate resources with individual
questions. If a student misses a question, OpenEd automatically
recommends resources such as videos or games for review. Judges
remarked upon the innovative design of the tool, and loved the
ability to rate the assessment questions.
Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel
Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed for active learning and active students, the Panasonic
3E is a tablet that comes with a detachable keyboard to deliver laptop capabilities. It ships with a
software bundle of K-12 applications, along with a thermometer probe, on-board cameras, and an
add-on lens for hands-on learning in science and mathematics. Judges liked the durable case and
appreciated the affordability for a full operating system.
Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch,
interactive capabilities to promote participation and collaboration in the classroom.
Students and teachers can draw and write directly on a document or image on the 80”
screen, and wirelessly sync with any Windows, Android, or iOS device. Additionally,
these devices can transmit documents, full HD video, images, and audio. The
LFB70 Series features PC-less Quick Start Whiteboard technology, so teachers can
switch on the display and start writing immediately, without needing to connect a
PC equipped with software.
penveu interactive display system
|penveu interactive display system
The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns
projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboards.
The system includes a digital pen and a mouse, is compatible with
both Windows and Apple products, and requires no software or
licensing. Judges felt that the penveu system allows schools to
have interactive whiteboard capabilities on a budget, and were
particularly impressed that the penveu allows interaction up to forty
feet from the screen.
PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App
|PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App
Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and
sync products. The PowerSync product line includes 40- and 20-unit carts and a 20-unit station, app-enabled charge and sync
products designed specifically for the iPad and iPad mini. The PowerSync+ app works to display remote status for all connected
iOS devices by showing which devices are fully charged and which devices need more time. It also allows users to check on
their progress when preparing devices using Apple Configurator. Judges loved the convenience of the app, and that it monitors
charging of all devices individually to identify problems. They also praised the additional security features; for instance, the cart
notifies the app if an iPad or the whole cart is unplugged.
Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310
readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices,
interactive whiteboards, and other audio sources. An additional
3.5mm input has been added to its dual RCA ports, to easily store or
stream audio from smartphones and other devices. The redesigned
remote for controlling the volume can now also power the speaker
on or off. The remote has a 20-foot range and magnetically attaches
to the speaker’s top when not in use. The speaker no longer requires
hardware to use it on a tripod, thanks to its new recessed tripod hole.
Judges raved over the portable nature of the speaker, as well as the
clear sound. They appreciated that the speaker works with a multitude
of microphone choices, and that it accepts other device inputs (such as
laptops and tablets) for amplification.
ProQuest Research Companion
|ProQuest Research Companion
ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through
the research process, along with five interactive tools that automate research tasks by drawing on large
repositories of ProQuest data. Short videos are arranged into nine learning modules that answer questions
such as “How do I choose a topic?” “Where do I find information?” and “How do I avoid plagiarism?”
Videos are aligned to the ELA CCSS and the Information Literacy ACRL standards, and an Editor tool
allows educators to add their own assessment questions and other resources. Judges highlighted the
emphasis on digital literacy and the ability to integrate existing content as standout features.
PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad
|PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad
Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini
charging carts and stations. By offering pre-installed Lightning cables, PureCharge Carts
and Stations require minimal set-up time and no additional costs. Judges loved the “out of
the box” utility, along with the ease of use. The new family includes the PureCharge Cart
20 and 40 for iPad and iPad mini and the PureCharge Station 10 and 20 for iPad and iPad
mini. One judge also noted that the carts and stations offer efficient power distribution.
Shield Xtreme Case
MAX Cases’ Shield Xtreme case offers K-12 iPad protection with features designed for
student use. The Shield Xtreme includes three layers of drop protection, a stylus compartment, asset tag window for easy school tracking, an integrated multiple viewing
angle stand, and a student hand-strap. Judges loved the highly protective features, and found the cases perfect for students, teachers, and administrators alike. One judge
noted that easy-to-use features, such as the adjustable hand strap, made this case a winner for capturing video and images.
SMART Board 6065
|SMART Board 6065
The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while
ensuring lessons run smoothly. Students and teachers can walk up to the display and start using it right away. The
system identifies the input source (such as a finger, pen, or eraser), avoiding the need to manually change modes.
The SMART Pen ID lets students write in differently colored ink with the pens, simultaneously, so they’re not
locked into the choice of their partner. Judges liked the good visual capabilities of this LCD flat panel, and loved
the Wi-Fi capability as well as the multiple sharing option.
With the Lumos SmartHub, teachers can wirelessly mirror or stream content from any device to the classroom
projector. The system can be used with iPad, Android, Mac, or PC devices. Audio is broadcast across up to four
ceiling-mounted speakers. The SmartHub lets students hear the teacher’s voice clearly,
through a wireless microphone that can be worn around the neck on a lanyard or clipped on
to a shirt. SmartHub includes a paging input that senses when an overhead announcement is
being made and mutes the audio to ensure important messages are not missed. Judges raved
over the SmartHub’s ability to seamlessly connect and integrate technology. They also found
that the wireless connectivity options made things easy for the teacher.
Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform
|Sphere2 & ClassSend Student Engagement Software Platform
AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers
and students with the tools to transmit document camera-based lessons between devices
over Wi-Fi. The components in the Student Engagement system include AVer’s Sphere2
Document Camera Software (for the teacher’s notebook or tablet) and AVer’s ClassSend app
(for the students’ tablets, notebooks, or Chromebooks). Sphere2 provides the tools for the
teacher to create lesson content and transmit it to the students. Using the ClassSend app’s extensive toolkit,
students can view, annotate, and store this lesson content on their devices and then send their contributions
back to the teacher in real time. The judge appreciated the document camera’s flexible arm, and suggested
that HD and VGA ports will enable a long life for classroom use. This judge also praised the flexibility of the
solution; Sphere2 can be used for one project or the whole class.
AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks,
iPads, Android or Windows tablets, laptops, or Netbooks (up to 14” screens) in two sliding shelves. The
TabChargeCT2 continuously monitors the power requirements for those devices and automatically determines
the most efficient charging sequence, applying power where and when it’s needed. Since the TabChargeCT2
continuously monitors each device’s power status and does not rely upon fixed length charging cycles, users
won’t have to worry about the power being drained while the device is in storage. Four additional auxiliary
power ports allow users to plug in their laptops, TabCams, document cameras, or other products while the cart
is executing its charging sequence. Our judge appreciated the “rugged yet sleek” design, and highlighted the self-monitoring
charging aspect as a standout feature.
VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring
|VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring
The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV
system and a school’s network, enables teachers to discreetly signal for assistance in the event of a classroom emergency. Emails can be
sent to multiple destinations, including cellphones and other wireless devices. In addition to text indicating that assistance is needed,
Instant Alert and the Classroom AV System can be integrated with an IP camera system to provide both visual and audio feedback from
the classroom. Judges found the VoiceLift Microphone very light and comfortable, since it hangs on an easily adjustable soft cord. They
also pointed out that teachers could benefit from reduced voice fatigue by using the system.
Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science
Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can
also be used for individual adaptive tutoring, working with the child’s needs and progression. The
program works with the student, adapting to their strengths and weaknesses. Judges found the lessons
engaging for student, and liked the convenience of cloud accessibility. One judge added that the
Waterford Early Learning program is a great supplement to classroom work.