February 2011 What’s New

February 2011 What’s New

Online & Software
Apex Learning

Apex Learning has announced 10 new online courses for the 2011–2012 academic year, adding 16 semesters of instruction. The new courses include Financial Literacy, Probability and Statistics, Creative Writing, and Multicultural Studies.
Price: Contact company for pricing.
Category: online learning

Destiny 9.9

Improvements in Follett’s new release include greater email flexibility, improved differentiation between library and textbook fines, more refund-processing capability, and quicker printing of new patron bar codes.
Price: Contact company for pricing.
Category: library management


Eleven new content packs, offered in 26 languages and tailored to a variety of grade levels, are available for use with MimioStudio 7 software and the MimioTeach interactive system, which converts any conventional dry-erase board into a fully interactive whiteboard.
Price: Free to members of MimioConnect (where membership is also free)
Category: interactive-whiteboard lessons

Excent MyGraduationPlan

A new online software solution for school districts permits greater student participation in the individualized education plan process. Students use MyGraduationPlan to assess their disabilities and learn to become advocates for their own IE Ps. In addition, school districts can use the series to meet the compliance requirements for SPP Indicator 13 and the IDEA indicator.
Price: Contact company for pricing.
Category: assessment

Facts On File American History Online

American History Online now offers a video feature with more than 1,000 newsreel videos, along with the complete content from the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of American History.
Price: Starts at $650 for schools with 500 or fewer students.
Category: social studies

Inspire Elementary Students with Engineering

A new online professional development course from PBS TeacherLine helps teachers of pre-K through sixth grade build on their subjectarea knowledge while learning innovative strategies they can apply in the classroom to teach engineering concepts.
Price: $295
Category: professional development

NBC Learn Chemistry Now

NBC Learn has teamed with the National Science Foundation to launch a weekly online video series that uncovers and explains the science of common physical objects in our world and the changes they undergo every day. Chemistry Now also looks at the lives and work of scientists on the frontier of 21st-century chemistry.
Price: free
Category: science

Pearson CloudConnect

The new product is intended to help schools simplify the creation, setup, and management of Live@ edu accounts for students as well as staff. CloudConnect offers synchronized sign-on for Live@edu accounts, so a user can access his or her Live@edu account with the same username and password used at the school.
Price: Contact company for pricing.
Category: management

Pearson digits

A new middle-school mathematics core curriculum integrates lesson planning, homework management, intervention, and assessment, all within a design that encourages class collaboration via interactive whiteboards. Targeted intervention supports lower-level students, and higher-level students are challenged with enrichment and extensions.
Price: Contact company for pricing.
Category: math

PTC Wizard conferencescheduling software

The Web-based parent-teacher-conference scheduling software is now compatible with all SIF Association–certified education information systems. Benefits include plug-and-play integration with other student information systems, automatic propagation and update of student and staff data, and quick implementation after sign-up.
Price: Contact company for pricing.
Category: scheduling software

SAFARI Montage K–6 Supplemental Content Package

Four hundred new titles enhance the system’s K–6 offerings. The updated package includes 646 video titles, 238 hours of content, and 13,092 clips and features the release of SciGirls, Sid the Science Kid, and more.
Price: Contact company for pricing.
Category: video

Serif PagePlus X5

Features included in the newest version of the company’s desktop publishing software are PhotoLab & Image Cutout Studio (students can edit their photos directly in PagePlus); Photo frames (students can add numerous photos to a document in one click); and PDF import, edit, and export (for printed work, classes can save as a native file or import, edit, and publish PDF s with commercial print settings).
Price: Single copy $59.95; or integrated in the Serif Design Suite, single user copy is $149 and site licenses start at $2,200.
Category: desktop publishing


Sophia is an online social teaching and learning platform that “connects people who want to teach with people who want to learn.” The site is accepting content that is organized by ‘learning packets’--bite-sized collections of content focused and organized around academic subjects. Described as a mashup of Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube, Sophia offers free, easy-to-use web and mobile applications to enable teachers, tutors, parents, students and others to develop lessons using any medium they choose - from sidewalk chalk on a driveway to a multi-media presentation.
Price: free (currently in beta; public launch in March)
Category: social networking

TeachTown: Basics 2

The developer of animated computer- aided instruction for students with autism spectrum disorders has released a fun and innovative curriculum for these students.
Price: Contact company for pricing.
Category: special needs

TUNEin to READING Version 5.0

Electronic Learning Products has launched version 5.0 of the reading intervention program, which uses music to help struggling readers in grades three through 12. T he release adds new songs, explicit vocabulary instruction, and an expanded library of high-frequency vocabulary words.
Price: $10/student/year.
Category: reading

VariQuest Design Center Software v2.0

New features of Varitronics’ release include the ability to browse for content based on instructional and grade-level needs, type in Spanish, and use advanced editing tools for further customization options, including importing lists from Microsoft Excel.
Price: Current users can upgrade to the new software free at www.variquest.com/ software-update.
Category: management

The Wild Wild Web DVD

This new student guide to preventing cyberbullying shows students how to deal with cyberbullying safely and skillfully. With a humorous yet candid approach, the DVD , targeted to kids aged 10 to 16, is fast-paced and visually engaging.
Price: Contact company for pricing.
Category: Internet safety


The Titanium Series of washable headphones and headsets developed by Califone (www.califone.com) enables schools to wash headphones and headsets without damaging sensitive electronic equipment. The new series includes three headphones and three headsets, can limit the playback volume to 85dB, and has a variety of cord options.

Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. (www.bretford.com) has added the NETBOOK36-CT to its netbook-cart offerings. The new cart features the same small, 32-by-26-inch footprint as the NETBOO K42-CT flagship model but has wider, 2.25-inch computer slots to accommodate both the netbooks and the extended battery packs frequently used to help lengthen their usable life in the classroom.

Customers of Numonics’ (www.numonics.com) INTELLIBOARD can now upgrade their interactive whiteboards so that two pens can be used; the $299 price includes the cost of returning the single-pen electronics. The upgrade kit will include the dual-pen-capable electronics module and an INTELLIBOARD software CD .

Hitachi America (www.hitachi-america.us/digitalmedia) has announced the introduction of its lightweight CPX9 Portable Series LCD projector for use in classrooms and conference rooms and on the road. Weighing less than five pounds and measuring 12 by 8.7 by 3 inches, the CPX9 can project images of up to 300 inches (diagonal measurement) with XGA resolution, 3,200 lumens of brightness, and 16.7 million colors and features a Whiteboard Mode that adjusts the projector’s brightness when it is used with a whiteboard.

Highlights from BETT 2011
BETT, UK’s biggest annual international educational technology show, was held in London in January, showcasing more than 600 exhibitors. Here, T&L advisor Terry Freedman shares his picks for the show’s standouts:
The RM Slate

RM ’s answer to the iPad, the RM Slate runs on Windows 7 and, therefore, supports Flash media. The other big advantage is that, having been designed for school use, the RM Slate will almost certainly integrate smoothly with the school network.

I Can Present

I Can Present lets a school very easily create a professional-looking newscast or other type of television program. Making full use of greenscreen technology, I Can Present enables users to film someone in the studio or classroom, and then insert the background afterwards.

SMARTBoard 800 series

The SMARTB oard 800 series makes full use of the kind of touch technology we’ve come to know, love, and expect. Not only does it support two people working at the board at once, it is also gesture-enabled, meaning users can swivel images around using finger and thumb.

Netgear Managed Wireless

If you have multiple wireless access points in your school—perhaps added over time as the need became greater and the money became available—you will know that what you have is not only a wireless network, but one heck of a nightmare. This managed wireless solution, on which all the access points are run from one control panel, seems like a good solution.

Casio Lampless Projector

What’s your biggest presentation expense as far as running costs are concerned? The projector, right? It needs the filter replaced every so often, and when the bulb goes, so does a chunk of your budget. Here’s the answer: the Casio XJ-A145 LCD projector, said to last for around 20,000 hours (or about 5 years). Okay, the reds are more like browns, but the savings means most schools can live with that. It’s bright, even in ultra bright lighting conditions. Impressive.

Promethean ActivBoard 500 Pro series

The latest in the ActivBoard 500 Pro series is also touch- and gestureenabled. Thus, you can write something with the pen, and then manipulate it with your hand. The stand-out feature was the release of a Software Developer Kit with the board, enabling anyone with the requisite technical understanding to create their own apps.

iPads in Education

What apps are there for use in the classroom? If the idea of trawling through the apps store doesn’t appeal, then check out this stupendous Web site instead. It features lots of education apps, organized into several useful categories.

Mobi View from eInstruction

Mobi View is a handheld interactive whiteboard that enables the teacher or student to control what’s on the board from anywhere in the room. Using touch-screen technology, it’s a bit like having an overgrown iPhone in your hands.


2DIY —or Do It Yourself— is a great program from 2Simple. One of the hardest things to cover in the edtech curriculum is programming, especially with really young kids. But 2Simple has made it simple and fun.