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ISTE 2014 Best of Show

www.bretford.com • Retail Price: Contact Bretford for pricing details at 800-521-9614

The Bretford 36-Unit MDM charging cart is designed for tablets as well as Chromebook and Ultrabook computers.

Quality and Effectiveness: The charging cart comes preassembled. When we received it, we only had to readjust the separators that fell off during delivery. The reviewer used the cart for eight laptops (15.6” screens) and six Chromebooks (11.6” screens), but the cart has enough slots for 36 devices. The cart can accommodate device sizes ranging from large-screen laptops to smaller tablets.

Ease of Use: Users can easily fit all of the cords and chargers into the back of the cart and thread the cords through the holes to charge up devices. It is very simple to pull a device out of the cart and place it back after use.

Creative Use of Technology: This charging cart is perfect for campuses that have multiple devices, such as Dell laptops, iPads, iPad minis, Chromebooks, tablets, or e-readers. Our curriculum department was able to secure the computers by locking them up and could easily roll the cart to other parts of the building without damaging the devices.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: The fact that this cart can charge many kinds of devices makes it perfect for BYOD and multiple-device environments. This cart could even eliminate the need for a computer lab since it can hold up to 36 devices, which frees up space and funds.

TOP FEATURES

• Holds up to 36 devices
• Allows for ease of mobility and security for devices
• Allows greater teacher involvement by allowing teachers to bring their devices to their classrooms rather than taking the students to a computer lab.
• The Power Manager is designed to charge a full cart of laptops using only one wall outlet. The system constantly re-evaluates the demand for power and concentrates on the devices that need it the most, adding power strips as battery demand drops, until all devices are charging simultaneously.

OVERALL RATING:
This cart can be helpful for both district training and classroom environments. The cart’s durability and mobility make it ideal for today’s dual-use training/classroom spaces. The cart is a great solution for multiple-device environments.

www.odysseyware.com • Retail Price: Contact company for pricing.

Odysseyware provides course materials and a learning management system to deliver courses to students in grades 3-12. Instructors can select courses to supplement the regular classroom, or for credit recovery or advancement. For many courses, instructors can choose which parts of the course materials to include and add customized assignments. They also offer Common Core Assessment and remediation modules for grades K-8 in math and English Language Arts.

Quality and Effectiveness: Odysseyware offers over 160 courses at various grade levels in multiple subject areas. Courses include core subjects such as math, science, history, and English Language Arts as well as CTE courses, electives, Common Core Assessment Readiness, Advanced Placement, and GED prep. Odysseyware translates materials into nine languages and offers text-to-speech software right in the course interface. Course materials are updated frequently and updates are immediately pushed to the user as it is a Web-based interface. The pre-built, well-designed curriculum makes this product a perfect solution for schools and individual teachers.

Ease of Use: The software is relatively self-explanatory and anyone with prior experience with technology should have no problems navigating. For users who are less tech savvy, support materials are abundant and clear. Because the software is Web-based, there are no servers or maintenance issues to worry about on the user end. You do, however, need to ensure that the latest version of Adobe Flash is installed on any machines using Odysseyware.

Creative Use of Technology: Odysseyware offers curriculum maps for its courses that tie directly to the CCSS, so teachers will know which standards are being met with the curriculum assigned. Some courses appear to be very text-dependent and may be intimidating for some students. Games and simulations at the lower level are appropriate to reinforce the text from the lessons. Most assessments are self-graded and tracked by the program.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: Odysseyware can easily be incorporated into existing curriculum as a supplement for re-teaching or as an enhancement for more advanced students. With the variety of courses available, schools can offer electives that were previously unavailable to students, and teachers can incorporate new materials into their classrooms. With very basic training for teachers and students, Odysseyware can be up and running in a school in a few short days.

TOP FEATURES

• Flexibility: With the option of using all or part of each course, teachers are able to build courses that meet the needs of their classrooms and their students.
• Differentiation: The translation and text-to-speech features of Odysseyware make differentiation and learning style preferences easy to accommodate.
• Alignment: The CCSS curriculum maps make it easy for teachers to use Odysseyware to supplement their course materials in areas for which their students may need support or enrichment.

OVERALL RATING:
Odysseyware may well be the answer many districts are looking for as they seek to incorporate blended and online learning into the curriculum. With flexibility in use for re-teaching or enrichment, Odysseyware offers solutions for many schools that struggle to meet the needs of their students.

http://info.eb.com • Price: A subscription for Britannica Pathways: Science is determined by number and nature of access. Contact sales for specifics.

Britannica’s Pathways: Science is an online, interactive approach to teaching the scientific method in grades 6, 7, and 8 with a framework that is ideal for project-based learning, teacher-led instruction, and STEM programs.

Quality and Effectiveness: Created with the goal of targeting common scientific misconceptions among middle school students, Britannica’s Pathways: Science is a lesson package for teaching life, physical, earth, and space science. Rather than just presenting scientific facts like a basic encyclopedia, Pathways guides students through a method of inquiry from the essential question to hypothesis to information gathering and finally to an evidence-based conclusion, which enables students to learn as they conduct research. Students are shown how to reach conclusions by comparing and contrasting information, determining central ideas, evaluating arguments, and analyzing evidence. The user can then view or print the completed lesson responses and notes.

Ease of Use: Since this is a Web-based program, installation is a matter of buying the service and ensuring all computers are equipped with proper supporting programs, Internet connections, and settings. As teachers and students begin to learn with Pathways: Science, obvious and intuitive navigation instructions and lots of support materials make this an easy program to use. There is a teacher dashboard, which outlines various sample implementation models, helps guide instruction, explains the teaching philosophy that is supported, and indexes lessons by the state standards. These resources are also available and printable through a Teacher Notes link in the “Investigate” portion of a lesson, along with a detailed description of the resources presented.

Creative Use of Technology: Pathways: Science is easy to use. There’s no limit on the number of simultaneous users, and the program is fully compatible with technologies such as interactive whiteboards and virtual learning platforms. It also works equally well on PCs, MACs, iPads, and other Internet-compatible devices. This makes the homework and preparation for flipped lessons much easier, and it allows teachers to more easily plan for whole-group, small-group, and individual learning.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: A wide variety of resources is presented, which allows students to choose their preferred format and addresses many different learning styles. The modules engage students through inquiry-based learning. This method helps them learn to form hypotheses, test their ideas, evaluate data, and reach informed conclusions. Teachers can track students’ progress and allow them to restart a lesson. The material and research method support the Common Core standards, foster reading in the content areas, and encourage students to drive their own learning.

TOP FEATURES

• With nearly 100 lessons tied to the Common Core and Science curricula, Pathways: Science uses a consistent Predict-Investigate-Conclude process that teaches inquiry-based learning, critical thinking, and conceptual change, while presenting a wide variety of quality resources from the Britannica Online School Edition.
• A simple Teacher Dashboard makes it easy to manage classes, track student progress, search for lessons by standards, and implement effective inquiry-based lessons.
• Since it is Web-based and equally effective on any Internet-ready device, Pathways: Science can be accessed from school, home, or anywhere that the Internet is available, making it ideal for BYOD programs and flipped learning situations.

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