October 2013, What’s New

9/24/2013 9:00:00 AM

software & online

The literacy solution Achieve3000 now includes classroom-tested science and social studies lessons. The lessons ask students to synthesize information and cite evidence when making supporting arguments—key requirements of the new Common Core State Standards. The solution also offers interactive assessments, similar to the latest Common Core and state tests, as well as new lesson planning resources and scaffolds for teachers. In addition, the system features a Career Center, where students can select careers that interest them, find the Lexile levels that support those jobs, and track their progress along the way.

Apex Learning has released new tutorials for math and English language arts for grades 9-12, developed to help teachers implement Common Core State Standards and Texas STAAR. Common Core Tutorials include: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Mathematics I, II, III, and English 9, 10, 11, 12. Texas STAAR Tutorials include: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and English I, II, and III. Tutorials are tablet-ready for Android or iOS devices, as well as netbooks, laptops, and desktop computers.

Pearson’s Research & Innovation Network has launched an online, interactive guide to strategies for leveraging performance assessments to measure 21st century higher-order skills such as critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving. “Assessments for a Changing Education Landscape” provides an overview of different types of assessments and the ways that they can be used to support student learning. Teachers can explore the guide to discover different ways to design performance assessments, while students and parents can learn about how the various types of performance assessments support learning.

Naiku has released Benchmark Now!, a free resource that measures students’ readiness for the upcoming Math curriculum. The cloud-based application offers ready-to- use, CCSS-aligned Math interim benchmark assessments, curated from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Assess2Know Benchmark item bank. Benchmark Now! runs on Naiku’s assessment platform, enabling students to take the tests on any Web-enabled device. Autoscoring and instant, standards-aligned reporting quickly identifies student and class performance.

CompassLearning has announced a new release of its Odyssey solution, offering enhanced alignment with CCSS, such as Authentic Task activities, videos, and associated quizzes for Math, Reading/ Language Arts, and Biology. The new version also offers alignment with updated NWEA MAP assessments, automatically generating learning paths for students based on MAP scores that are CCSS-aligned. The new version also expands options for interoperability with other learning management systems.

Coursera, a MOOC (massive open online course) provider, recently launched a series of free professional development courses for teachers. Sources include New Teacher Center, Relay Graduate School of Education, Commonwealth Trust, and the American Museum of Natural History.

Follett has updated its FollettShelf-hosted digital bookshelf, which includes a new HTML5 reading environment for Follett eContent called Follett Enlight. The new release also features two new modules that connect eContent to all parts of a school district: FollettShelf Classroom Connections, which provides tools for communication, like note-sharing and enhanced reporting, and FollettShelf District Manager, a district level platform that provides access to Follett ebooks across multiple sites.

Insight Education Group has released a set of Common Core-aligned lessons for grades K-6 in English Language Arts and Math, available through the myCore lesson-planning platform. The cloud-based myCore platform guides teachers through lesson planning and creation, offering access to an instructional coach for additional support. Each of the pre-loaded, customizable units and lessons in myCore offers users a variety of formative and summative assessments that can be used to keep pace with a district’s assessment calendar.

Net Texts has released an update of its free, Webbased content management system for educators and schools implementing 1:1 computing programs. The latest version of the Net Texts solution includes features that enable teachers to more easily create and deliver lessons, units, and complete courses, using free, high-quality, open educational content. The site includes more than 60,000 resources from leading OER providers, organized by subject, grade level, objectives, and standards. Teachers can select existing courses from the Net Texts library or mix and match items with their own educational materials. Using a free app for iPads or Android tablets, students then download and interact with the courses. Content is stored locally on devices, so students can complete assignments without WiFi access.

OdysseyWare has announced the addition of 25 new course titles, offering additional Career and Technical Education opportunities in addition to Common Core-aligned courseware for English Language Arts and Mathematics. Used in over 2,500 school districts, charter, and virtual schools, OdysseyWare offers students a fully customizable, Web-based curriculum.

Triumph Learning has updated its online Common Core resource library, offering more support for the Math and English Language Arts standards. New instructional material enables teachers to differentiate instruction for students in grades 3-8. Additionally, texts for grades 1-2 and 9-12 are now included alongside the hundreds of on-level lessons, practice sessions, and assignments. Finally, a redesigned Teacher Dashboard and user interface simplifies navigation and lets teachers quickly move from managing their classes to viewing reports and finding new content.

Share My Lesson, an online community of educators, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom through a new collection of free lessons and classroom materials about the historic event and civil rights movement. The collection offers tools to dissect and compare Dr. Martin Luther King’s prepared speech against his delivered speech. The teaching materials also review other civil rights activists such as Bayard Rustin, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, and A. Philip Randolph.

Pearson recently acquired Virtual Nerd, and has announced the continued, free availability of the company’s video math tutorials as well as the development of an app that gives students access to a math tutor. The searchable library of tutorials correlates to academic courses of study in Grades 6-8 Math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry, and is aligned to the Common Core, SAT Math topics, and ACT Math topics. In addition, students using Pearson’s digits and High School Mathematics Common Core programs now have access to content-aligned tutorials presented on Virtual Nerd’s Dynamic Whiteboard instructional platform, which anticipates students’ questions and allows them to drill down on areas of difficulty.


Based on the PBS KIDS show, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Daniel Tiger’s Day & Night app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch helps kids (ages 2-4) learn basic morning and nighttime routines from Daniel Tiger as he gets ready for school in the morning and ready for bed at night. Additional features include 8 games about morning and nighttime routines, Good Morning and Good Night strategy songs, and a timer for parents to help with routines.

Education Galaxy recently announced its all-new Common Core applications for the iPad, designed for elementary and middle school students. The apps support Math, English Language Arts, Reading, and Science. Each app, categorized by grade level and subject, provides practice and formative assessment for each Common Core standard. Students work self-paced and manage their own Study Plans. After a student’s work is complete, they can email comprehensive reports to teachers or parents.

KIDS DISCOVER has announced the availability of new iPad apps—Ancient Greece, Cells, and The Constitution—all featuring custom animations, HD photographs and videos, and interactive games and quizzes. The apps contain neither advertising nor in-app purchasing. Other popular titles available in the App Store include Antarctica, Extreme Weather, Galaxies, Matter, Simple Machines, Space, Sun, and Washington, D.C.

Paragon Software Group has teamed up with Merriam- Webster, Inc. to release eleven monolingual and bilingual reference classics for Mac OSX. The apps are combined in a single, in-app catalog, allowing users to find the right dictionary, download it, and test it for free.

Heartland School Solutions has launched a new mySchoolBucks app that enables parents to manage school-related fees, such as meals, tuition, lab, library, club, sports, and more, from smartphones and tablets. Parents can securely fund their child’s account via credit or debit card or a checking account. Additionally, they can activate low balance alerts, set up recurring payments, and review their purchase history.

Piktochart has updated its infographic creation app, offering an improved user interface and fully customizable styles, previously known as moods. The upgrade also makes it easier to move blocks around and sort items. The app is compatible with Internet Explorer and Safari.

Assessment technologies and services provider, Questionmark, has announced the release of the Questionmark Secure iPad App. Questionmark Secure is a lock-down browser that provides a secure environment for the delivery of high stakes assessments. When a participant takes an online assessment, the secure browser displays the HTML content of the assessment but disables key functions such as task-switching, right click options, screen captures, menus, and printing.

StudyBlue, a mobile and social study platform, has announced a new formative assessment tool, “Class Stats,” that builds upon the platform’s self-assessment functionality. StudyBlue scores students’ study sessions and tracks their progress toward mastery of the material. Class Stats aggregates this study data so instructors can monitor individual and group study routines, track student progress, and adapt their instruction to focus on areas where students struggle. Class Stats also offers the ability to track student progress with a weighted, aggregated average “Class” or “Individual” score. The tool is built on top of the mobile study app students use to study content authored or designated by their teacher, create their own study outlines and flashcards, and connect with a community of peers and the large library of shared study material.

Autodesk has teamed up with VEX Robotics to create a new, free 3D desktop design app made for the VEX IQ robotics platform. The VEX Assembler powered by Autodesk 123D app helps students assemble parts, test mechanisms and gadgets, and build whole VEX IQ robots. Using a drag-and-drop interface, students can assemble and test VEX IQ mechanisms, gadgets, or even entire robots in a digital environment before starting physical construction.


Phoenix Audio Technologies (www.phnxaudio.com) recently expanded the capabilities of its conference speakerphone, the Quattro3. Through two new accessories, the unit can now be mounted to the ceiling or installed over 100 feet away from the power outlet and video codec. The pick-up range, up to 20 feet, coupled with a powerful loudspeaker, covers almost twice the area of traditional conference speakerphones. Additionally, the plug-and-play functionality eliminates the need to individually test and balance each microphone in a room.

Bretford (www.bretford.com) has announced the availability of its highest-capacity charging cart, the Mobility Cart 42 for iPad and iPad mini, as well as two charging and syncing roller cases, PowerSync Roller 10 for iPad and PowerSync Roller 20 (pictured) for iPad mini. The Mobility Cart 42 includes separate locking front and rear compartments to keep power adapters locked separately from their devices and direct the heat away. The PowerSync Roller 10 for iPad is compatible with iPad with Retina display and iPad mini, while the PowerSync Roller 20 for iPad mini is compatible with iPad mini, iPhone 5, and iPod touch (5th gen). Both products incorporate everything needed for charging and syncing, and ship with pre-installed Lightning cables. Each slot in the PowerSync rollers features a charge status LED, providing at-a-glance charge status.

Audio-Technica (www.shopaudiotechnica.com) has released several headphones that are ideal for the classroom and at home. The ATH-ANC33IS offers up to 90% noise-cancellation and features a volume control with an inline mic control for answering calls and controlling music. The ATH-ANC33iS supports most smartphones and iOS devices. The controller enables the user to answer and end calls, play or pause music, and go to the next or previous track. The SonicSport ATH-CKP200 and ATH-CKP500 headphones feature controls for iOS devices and are designed to stay in place during exercise. Both models have an IPX5-certified waterproof rating and are sweat-proof and washable. Finally, the ATH-WS55 Solid Bass headphones deliver powerful bass, along with smooth, accurate mid-range and treble. The earpads on the ATH-WS55 further enhance bass response by providing an acoustic seal, preventing sound leakage.

Belkin (www.belkin.com) has introduced the Air Shield Case for iPads, designed to guard against the daily wear and tear of student transport between classrooms, and to and from school. Air Shield technology features a protective shell with shock-absorbing edges and corners to protect an iPad from accidental damage. The case has been independently tested to meet conditions for MIL STD 810G transit drops up to six feet, specified by the U.S. Department of Defense. The case is compatible with iPad 2, 3, and 4 as well as with standard charging stations and carts, such as the Belkin Store and Charge or Bretford carts.

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