Slideshows

October 2012, What’s New

www.epson.com/brighterfutures Price: $909 through the Brighter Futures program

Epson’s PowerLite 435W is a short-throw projector equipped to produce an 80” image from 2.7 feet away.

Quality and Effectiveness: Epson’s PowerLite 435W projector is a very nicely featured, short-throw projector that produces outstanding image quality. The unit can project an 80” image from only 2.7 feet, and at its farthest distance, the 435W can project a 16:10 image up to 113” diagonal. The 3,000 lumen, HD-capable output makes the Epson an excellent option for districts looking for a short-throw projector solution. The projector has a native WXGA resolution of 1280x800 and has a host of inputs and options. The projector is also equipped with an Ethernet port and optional wireless module for remote monitoring or control to project and connect via a network. The E-TORL lamp is rated for 6,000 hours when used in economy mode. The unit also has a USB “Plug ‘n Play” option for projecting video, presentations or document camera feeds directly from a USB connection.

Ease of Use: The PowerLite 435W is very simple to set up and use. The menu system is intuitive, and the included remote has many features accessible from a dedicated button. Zooming or focusing the image being projected is easily accomplished through a focus slider on the machine and dedicated “tele” and “wide” buttons on the top of the unit. A convenient feature many will be able to take advantage of is the ability to quickly project via the USB connection without the need for a computer.

Creative Use of Technology: While Epson does not break any ground in regards to new technology, the ease of use and the quality of the image achieved from such a short distance are notable. The brightness and image quality are simply stunning, and watching 1080p video on the unit was quite impressive.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: The PowerLite 435W would provide an excellent solution for school settings where a short-throw projector is required. The sound quality doesn’t have the full tonality range of a larger, dedicated speaker system, but the 16W speaker does produce more than enough sound to be heard throughout a large classroom. The option of adding wireless capabilities to the device is nice, but it would have been better had the wireless capabilities been built into the unit. Though the price of the unit is not the cheapest in its class, the image quality and available options make it an excellent short-throw option.

TOP FEATURES

• Image quality
• 6,000 hour rated bulb life
• Available connections and options

OVERALL RATING:
The Epson PowerLite 435W’s connection options are excellent, and the unit offers a compelling, nicely-featured shortthrow solution for education.

David Andrade tests Lightspeed’s My Big Campus, an online service that allows schools to create an engaging, collaborative online environment. Below are some of the latest feature highlights of My Big Campus:

Lockdown: This feature will temporarily limit a student’s ability to use messaging and wall posts to communicate with other students. The teacher can lockdown individual students or an entire group/ class. The lockdown lasts for 15 minutes and then resets and can be used as a classroom management tool, or to help students focus on a specific lesson or task. During a Lockdown, only schoolrelated activities can be performed.

Groups: Teachers and administrators can create groups based on classes, class group, subject, teacher groups, and more. Group members can have different permissions for access to resources in My Big Campus. It makes communication and collaboration very easy. You can even do video chats in a group.

Collections: A collection is a set of library items and/or files that you set up based on lessons, assignments, topics, or your own needs. You create a collection under “Your Stuff.” This is a great feature for sharing resources with others.

David Andrade is a Physics Teacher and Educational Technology Specialist in Connecticut.

www.monarchteachtech.com Price: $899.99 includes 6 student players, with unlimited number of students per teacher.

 
 
 
(Top) The newest VizZle template is called
Phonics, and it allows creation of customized
reading activities targeting both phonics and
word comprehension using both still and video
images.
(Middle) VizZle games, like this one (showing
a pop-up quiz that opened when a player
landed on a square) are good for small groups,
creating a joint focus and promoting social skills practice during play.
(Bottom) The shared library (with over 6,000 lessons, all of which are reviewed by moderators before being accepted) has academic subjects as well as behavioral and transitional lessons for every age level, because every template type is customizable.
VizZle Visual Learning is a Webbased program specifically designed for students on the autism spectrum. VizZle lets educators store lessons and tools, connect with the teaching team through shared student folders, make playlists, launch lessons, and track data. Teachers can customize any pre-made lesson from the shared library or create their own lesson using templates that support images, video, and audio. They can also search thousands of peerreviewed lessons created by other educators.

Quality and Effectiveness: Teachers set up a student profile with student personal data and IEP goals. Students go to their folder to complete teacher assignments. Teachers are not limited to one subject area. Teachers are not limited to on subject area and can make lessons on a wide variety of topics.

Ease of Use: The program is relatively easy to use. Each section has online tutorials to clarify how to make your own lesson. The software is truly intuitive, making it very easy to navigate the first time you enter your name and password.

Creative Use of Technology: Any teacher or therapist can develop an entire curriculum using this program. You can record your voice for the non-readers or insert quizzes or pop-up questions to increase expressive language. If you are making a story, you can add your own photos, Google images, and even videos.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: The best part of the product is its ability collaborate within the teaching community. Teachers can choose another teacher’s lesson or create their own. The lesson formats range from matching boards, build a book, pix2go, sorting, and games. If you need a lesson on nutrition, for example, just go to “share type,” subject, grade, and voilà—a list appears. Select the lesson you like and drag and drop into your vizZle.

TOP FEATURES

• Individuals can use vizZle to create custom lessons that are clear, relevant, interactive, and diversified.
• The ability to collaborate with other teachers is another stand-out feature.
• VizZle is one program that will cross the curriculum in all grades.

OVERALL RATING:This program is one of the best I have seen. If you are a teacher or therapist who enjoys making lessons to meet individual and class needs, this is the program to get.

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