Best New Administrator Tools

Keep an eye out for these five products coming your way.

Of the new ed tech products crossing my desk or that I've seen at recent conferences, the following five look especially promising for school administrators.

Sub-IT. How much angst and staff power is involved in your current process for rounding up daily substitutes? Newcomer central xchange aims to ease your pain with its automated substitute staffing service. Pairing a centralized online database with Internet or phone technology, Sub-IT allows educators to simply call or log in for an automatic substitute match search and selection and instant notification to all stakeholders. Teachers and subs can set personal criteria — such as a specialized credential or preferred grade levels — for the best classroom fit. The program also offers customized report tools that enable administrators to analyze absence trends; spaces for teachers to enter personal lesson plans; and calendars for scheduling future absences. No licensing, products, or equipment purchases are necessary. Pricing starts at $1.75 per absence.

Sagebrush InfoCentre District Reports Manager. Accountability is the name of the game, and library information has joined other data required for state level reporting. For districts using Sagebrush's InfoCentre v2.2 (available this month), the new companion product District Reports Manager can go a long way toward increasing efficiency. The product lets administrators access data from all the district's libraries to put together reports on circulation, collection, and patrons. Reports can also provide data for analysis on the library's relationship to student achievement to help with future planning.

Destiny Asset Manager. With new research pegging the average district's yearly asset loss and damage at nearly a quarter million dollars, administrators might get a few better nights' sleep knowing their fixed and portable assets are safe and sound. Follett Software's Destiny Asset Manager uses a browser-based interface and scanner technology to keep tabs on everything from books and band uniforms to PDAs, laptops, digital projectors, and everything else in which they've invested precious dollars. Central district installation means all schools can tap in to the same system, eliminating the need for multiple site-based solutions. The product also provides administrators the critical data they need to complete reports and comply with GASB requirements.

Redrock Reports. Not yet launched but coming soon for administrators, Redrock Reports is a school funding subscription service designed to help leaders find the most direct pathways through NCLB and other grant and funding mazes. In addition to customized databases, it will include consulting, advisory, and research services.

Instructor RP. A great tool to help drive innovation is Polycom's just-released videoconferencing and whiteboard solution, an all-in-one package. This product helps pave the way for more exciting instruction by encouraging the integration of remote audiences or experts and long-distance collaboration. Good for professional development and classroom use, Instructor RP does not require a PC for operation, allows for the simultaneous display of participants and data, and features camera touch control directly onscreen.

Polycom's Instructor RP

Susan McLester is editor of Technology & Learning.