The following products are the winners of Tech & Learning’s first annual ISTE Best of Show Awards. Over 70 products were submitted and anonymously evaluated by Tech & Learning advisors. The judges rated their impressions on a sliding scale, then met to decide on which technologies could have the most impact in the classroom and deserved to be named Best of Show. Congratulations to the winners!
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook Acer C720-2844 Chromebook (www.acer.com (opens in new tab))
The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display that’s perfect for bright classrooms. The Chromebook offers 8.5 hours of battery life, and up to 4 GB of DDR3L memory to support HD video and apps. The Acer C720 quickly connects to hotspots and wireless networks via 802.11a/b/ g/n Wi-Fi. Multiple layers of security features include data encryption and verified boot. Students and teachers can also access files offline, and edit MS Office documents as well as Google Documents. Judges recommended this model for its high-quality touchscreen, the good price point, and the “ample memory and storage.”
Adobe Voice Adobe Voice (www.adobe.com (opens in new tab))
Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporates a combination of the user’s recorded voice, imagery, music, and motion graphics and effects. Animated videos can be quickly shared via social media, email, personal blogs, and Web sites, by posting a single link, and can be viewed on virtually any device. Our judge liked the ability to customize each slide with photos, audio, and background choices, and commended the ease of use for students.
Britannica ImageQuest Britannica ImageQuest (www.britannica.com)
Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rights-cleared photos and other images for homework, classroom activities, and lesson plans, from sources such as Getty Images and the National Geographic Society. The newly released ImageQuest includes a host of features to facilitate finding and working with images. These include new filtering mechanisms for refining a search, the ability to enlarge images, features for searching and working with multiple images at once, prepared image albums on popular topics, and project ideas for teachers. Judges praised the high-quality, respected image sources as well as the overall image quality. One judge highlighted another major benefit: citations are provided in different formats.
Camtasia (www.techsmith.com/camtasia (opens in new tab))
TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educators can use the screen recorder to capture anything on their screen, use their computer’s camera to record themselves, or import camera video, music, photos, and more. Educators can also use TechSmith Fuse, TechSmith’s new mobile app, to send their photos and videos straight from their mobile device into Camtasia’s media bin. The level of editing within Camtasia is completely up to the teachers and what they are comfortable with. Judges noted that the latest version now allows users to work across Windows and iOS platforms. They also raved over the company’s tutorials, which cover a variety of topics, from basic to advanced.
ClassFlow ClassFlow (www.classflow.com)
Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive lessons across multiple classroom technologies, while assessing, understanding, and responding to student needs. Whether a classroom features a Promethean ActivBoard or ActivPanel, a SMART Board, 1:1 devices, or other interactive technologies, ClassFlow enables teachers to create, deliver, and store lessons and teaching resources in one place, from a Web browser. ClassFlow also offers tools for differentiation, including the ability to send different content to different groups of students and to assign self-paced, leveled assessments with instant feedback. Judges found it was easy for teachers to check for understanding, and liked that every student has an interactive board on their device.
Core 36M Core 36M (www.bretford.com)
Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, laptops/hybrids, and ultrabooks used in K-12 education. Core 36M uses polypropylene dividers that protect the devices from being scratched when moving them in and out of the cart. The cart’s digital timer provides an efficient method of charging 36 devices – it rotates among three power strips while operating on a single 15-amp wall circuit. Finally, the small 25” W x 26” D x 41” H footprint saves classroom space. Judges appreciated that there were no electronics to adjust, since everything is preset for Chromebooks. They also liked that the cart could hold a variety of Chromebooks in all different sizes.
Deskboard DeskBoard (www.boxlight.com)
The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surface desk board. The DeskBoard can be used both as a traditional cart-mounted whiteboard for projecting, as well as lowering and tilting flat for use as an interactive desk in conjunction with the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector. Judges liked that the DeskBoard could be adapted to virtually any height for adults and children, and appreciated that it could be used in conjunction with any BOXLIGHT ultra short throw projector for a truly customizable solution.
Edmentum Sensei Edmentum Sensei (www.edmentum.com)
Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student progress. Edmentum Sensei presents data from Edmentum’s online learning solutions through charts, graphs, and visual cues, helping teachers identify patterns, measure progress, and glean insights. Currently available in Plato Courseware and Edmentum Assessments, Edmentum Sensei will also be available for Study Island next school year. One judge cited this as the most innovative product at ISTE, arguing that the ability to “drill down so easily will make teachers more efficient in their work.” Judges also noted that the platform focuses on student mastery of all standards.
Equil Smartpen (www.myequil.com)
The Equil Smartpen from Luidia Inc. captures handwritten notes and illustrations generated on any type of paper, and then instantly sends them to an Android, iOS, Mac, or Windows device. Files can be exported in multiple formats, emailed, posted to the Web or a CMS, and saved to Dropbox, Evernote, or iCloud. Equil Smartpen works with Equil’s free apps, Note and Sketch. Equil Note lets users create and store written notes, while Sketch enables users to import backgrounds, draw and paint with multiple brushes, work in layers, and export to Photoshop. Judges appreciated that the Smartpen works with any ink-writable surface, and found it to be a great tool for drawing or note-taking.
Gaggle Unity Partner Program (www.gaggle.net)
The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gaggle Unity Partner Program, teachers and students can use Gaggle’s Collaboration Tools to create, edit, and share Microsoft Office Online documents within Gaggle’s Digital Lockers and Assignments (formerly Assignment Drop Boxes). Gaggle also plans to integrate Yammer, Microsoft’s enterprise social network, and Microsoft Lync, its video conferencing and instant messaging service, during the 2014-15 school year. One of the key benefits, as noted by our judges, was that Gaggle sets up the APIs with the SIS and the receiving vendor at no additional cost to all parties. Judges also noted that Gaggle makes account creation more efficient for those doing it manually.
HMH Player HMH Player (www.hmhco.com)
HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital instruction and collaboration. The app bridges classroom-based and informal learning environments by providing flexibility, mobility, and personalized learning experiences both on and offline. Judges noted this app as a winner due to its good formative assessment and ability to individualize content. They also liked the ability to bring in external content.
Juice Power System Juice Power System (www.bretford.com)
Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique “Juice Connectors,” magnetic connections that allow teachers to easily and safely connect and disconnect power when reconfiguring tables. A single wall outlet can provide power in up to eight daisy-chained tables for as many as 16 mobile devices. Regardless of which mobile devices are used, USB outlets in the Juice Power System will provide as much power as needed. Judges found it “super easy” to reconfigure the room setting when power was needed at different tables. One judge added that the magnetic connections are ideal for safety and set-up speed, calling it a “very efficient” solution.
LearnPad Octavo (www.learnpad.com)
LearnPad Octavo is a 7.85” tablet device designed specifically for use in schools. It features a quad core processor, dual band Wi-Fi, and a front and rear camera. Its highly portable IPS multi-touch display provides enough screen space to work comfortably with Web sites and digital content. The tablet includes a management portal, LearnPad Connect, designed to support the resources and instructional methods teachers use. It provides a central repository to store LearnPad content, create customized profiles, and manage and configure multiple LearnPads. LearnPad Octavo also supports content developed using Adobe Flash. For educators looking for a way to push content to student devices in a controlled manner, this device won the judges’ praises as the top choice among tablets.
Actionable DataExcellent BooksAssessments & Writing LightSail (www.lightsailed.com (opens in new tab))
LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time data. LightSail is personalized to each student, ensuring that they are reading high-interest books at, or above, their reading level. LightSail assesses students as they read, and adapts their libraries as they grow. Judges found that Lightsail encourages literacy with an “enormous online library of books.” They also found the teacher dashboards “rich in functionality and intuitive to use.”
MathBall MathBall (www.robotslab.com)
RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, physics, statistics, and probability. The basketball utilizes embedded motion sensors to measure ball movement and player activity in real time. This information is sent to the corresponding tablet via Bluetooth, providing teachers and students immediate feedback on the math, geometry, and pre-calculus concepts behind shooting and ball-handling skills. Judges found the product relevant and appealing to students. They appreciated the hands-on, rigorous, engaging, and practical application for students.
MobileAsset.EDU MobileAsset.EDU (www.waspbarcode.com)
Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software and IT to furniture, media equipment, and more. Complete solutions come with a mobile computer, for managing assets when administrators are away from their desks, an integrated barcode labeling software, a barcode label printer for creating asset tags, and over 1,300 polyester asset tags. The MobileAsset App for Android and iOS lets users manage assets from their mobile device. Lifetime technical support and free Getting Started training is included. The MobileAsset.EDU dashboard displays important notifications, charts and graphs, and abbreviated lists. Judges liked the ability to scan inventory remotely, with data stored in one location. They also liked that inventory can be tied to specific budget codes, to support tracking of Title I or CTE funds.
myON myON (www.myon.com)
myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students while growing the instructional capabilities for teachers. These literacy tools are an addition to myON’s existing collection of more than 7,000 enhanced digital books with multimedia scaffolds and embedded assessments. Students can use embedded tools in all myON digital books to practice close reading skills. Judges were impressed that all ebooks were available on any device, and found that myON helps students find appropriate books. They also found a high volume of content from excellent publishers in the library.
Nervanix Clarity Nervanix Clarity (www.nervanix.com)
Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit concepts or content areas where they lost focus. Using a simple and safe EEG headset, Nervanix Clarity measures the attention levels of learners as they study and paces along with them as they navigate a page, watch a video, listen to a recording, or interact with a digital manipulative. The device uses Bluetooth technology to stream the attention data it records to the Nervanix Clarity application. Judges found that Nervanix Clarity helps students effectively focus on material and improve their study sessions. They were also wowed by the ability for teachers and parents to gain instant access to students’ progress, without having to wait for test scores and report cards.
NetSupport School (www.netsupportschool.com)
The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced version of the NetSupport School Student app for Android lets teachers view thumbnails of connected student tablets, remotely launch Web sites on one or more student tablets, and assign student rewards. Other enhancements include the ability to launch the Student app when tablets are switched on at the start of a lesson, and the option to configure devices to automatically sign in to the required NetSupport-managed classroom. Judges found NetSupport School to be a good solution for BYOD environments, and praised the small bandwidth footprint from devices to teacher machines.
OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool (www.opened.io)
OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standards. The assessment creation tool enables educators to create tests consisting of their own questions or questions from OpenEd’s recommendation engine. The assessment tool supports a variety of question types, including Multiple Choice, True or False, Multiple Response, Free Response, and Composite Items. With the tool, teachers can associate resources with individual questions. If a student misses a question, OpenEd automatically recommends resources such as videos or games for review. Judges remarked upon the innovative design of the tool, and loved the ability to rate the assessment questions.
Panasonic 3E Panasonic 3E (www.panasonic.com (opens in new tab))
Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed for active learning and active students, the Panasonic 3E is a tablet that comes with a detachable keyboard to deliver laptop capabilities. It ships with a software bundle of K-12 applications, along with a thermometer probe, on-board cameras, and an add-on lens for hands-on learning in science and mathematics. Judges liked the durable case and appreciated the affordability for a full operating system.
Panasonic TH-80LFB70U Panasonic TH-80LFB70U (www.panasonic.com (opens in new tab))
Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote participation and collaboration in the classroom. Students and teachers can draw and write directly on a document or image on the 80” screen, and wirelessly sync with any Windows, Android, or iOS device. Additionally, these devices can transmit documents, full HD video, images, and audio. The LFB70 Series features PC-less Quick Start Whiteboard technology, so teachers can switch on the display and start writing immediately, without needing to connect a PC equipped with software.
penveu interactive display system penveu interactive display system (www.penveu.com)
The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboards. The system includes a digital pen and a mouse, is compatible with both Windows and Apple products, and requires no software or licensing. Judges felt that the penveu system allows schools to have interactive whiteboard capabilities on a budget, and were particularly impressed that the penveu allows interaction up to forty feet from the screen.
PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App (www.bretford.com)
Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync products. The PowerSync product line includes 40- and 20-unit carts and a 20-unit station, app-enabled charge and sync products designed specifically for the iPad and iPad mini. The PowerSync+ app works to display remote status for all connected iOS devices by showing which devices are fully charged and which devices need more time. It also allows users to check on their progress when preparing devices using Apple Configurator. Judges loved the convenience of the app, and that it monitors charging of all devices individually to identify problems. They also praised the additional security features; for instance, the cart notifies the app if an iPad or the whole cart is unplugged.
PresentationPro PresentationPro (www.califone.com)
Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, interactive whiteboards, and other audio sources. An additional 3.5mm input has been added to its dual RCA ports, to easily store or stream audio from smartphones and other devices. The redesigned remote for controlling the volume can now also power the speaker on or off. The remote has a 20-foot range and magnetically attaches to the speaker’s top when not in use. The speaker no longer requires hardware to use it on a tripod, thanks to its new recessed tripod hole. Judges raved over the portable nature of the speaker, as well as the clear sound. They appreciated that the speaker works with a multitude of microphone choices, and that it accepts other device inputs (such as laptops and tablets) for amplification.
ProQuest Research Companion ProQuest Research Companion (www.proquest.com)
ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process, along with five interactive tools that automate research tasks by drawing on large repositories of ProQuest data. Short videos are arranged into nine learning modules that answer questions such as “How do I choose a topic?” “Where do I find information?” and “How do I avoid plagiarism?” Videos are aligned to the ELA CCSS and the Information Literacy ACRL standards, and an Editor tool allows educators to add their own assessment questions and other resources. Judges highlighted the emphasis on digital literacy and the ability to integrate existing content as standout features.
PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad (www.bretford.com)
Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-installed Lightning cables, PureCharge Carts and Stations require minimal set-up time and no additional costs. Judges loved the “out of the box” utility, along with the ease of use. The new family includes the PureCharge Cart 20 and 40 for iPad and iPad mini and the PureCharge Station 10 and 20 for iPad and iPad mini. One judge also noted that the carts and stations offer efficient power distribution.
Shield Xtreme Case (www.maxcases.com)
MAX Cases’ Shield Xtreme case offers K-12 iPad protection with features designed for student use. The Shield Xtreme includes three layers of drop protection, a stylus compartment, asset tag window for easy school tracking, an integrated multiple viewing angle stand, and a student hand-strap. Judges loved the highly protective features, and found the cases perfect for students, teachers, and administrators alike. One judge noted that easy-to-use features, such as the adjustable hand strap, made this case a winner for capturing video and images.
SMART Board 6065 SMART Board 6065 (www.smarttech.com)
The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run smoothly. Students and teachers can walk up to the display and start using it right away. The system identifies the input source (such as a finger, pen, or eraser), avoiding the need to manually change modes. The SMART Pen ID lets students write in differently colored ink with the pens, simultaneously, so they’re not locked into the choice of their partner. Judges liked the good visual capabilities of this LCD flat panel, and loved the Wi-Fi capability as well as the multiple sharing option.
With the Lumos SmartHub, teachers can wirelessly mirror or stream content from any device to the classroom projector. The system can be used with iPad, Android, Mac, or PC devices. Audio is broadcast across up to four ceiling-mounted speakers. The SmartHub lets students hear the teacher’s voice clearly, through a wireless microphone that can be worn around the neck on a lanyard or clipped on to a shirt. SmartHub includes a paging input that senses when an overhead announcement is being made and mutes the audio to ensure important messages are not missed. Judges raved over the SmartHub’s ability to seamlessly connect and integrate technology. They also found that the wireless connectivity options made things easy for the teacher.
Sphere2 & ClassSend Student Engagement Software Platform Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform (www.averusa.com)
AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document camera-based lessons between devices over Wi-Fi. The components in the Student Engagement system include AVer’s Sphere2 Document Camera Software (for the teacher’s notebook or tablet) and AVer’s ClassSend app (for the students’ tablets, notebooks, or Chromebooks). Sphere2 provides the tools for the teacher to create lesson content and transmit it to the students. Using the ClassSend app’s extensive toolkit, students can view, annotate, and store this lesson content on their devices and then send their contributions back to the teacher in real time. The judge appreciated the document camera’s flexible arm, and suggested that HD and VGA ports will enable a long life for classroom use. This judge also praised the flexibility of the solution; Sphere2 can be used for one project or the whole class.
TabChargeCT2 TabChargeCT2 (www.averusa.com)
AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, laptops, or Netbooks (up to 14” screens) in two sliding shelves. The TabChargeCT2 continuously monitors the power requirements for those devices and automatically determines the most efficient charging sequence, applying power where and when it’s needed. Since the TabChargeCT2 continuously monitors each device’s power status and does not rely upon fixed length charging cycles, users won’t have to worry about the power being drained while the device is in storage. Four additional auxiliary power ports allow users to plug in their laptops, TabCams, document cameras, or other products while the cart is executing its charging sequence. Our judge appreciated the “rugged yet sleek” design, and highlighted the self-monitoring charging aspect as a standout feature.
VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring (www.extron.com)
The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV system and a school’s network, enables teachers to discreetly signal for assistance in the event of a classroom emergency. Emails can be sent to multiple destinations, including cellphones and other wireless devices. In addition to text indicating that assistance is needed, Instant Alert and the Classroom AV System can be integrated with an IP camera system to provide both visual and audio feedback from the classroom. Judges found the VoiceLift Microphone very light and comfortable, since it hangs on an easily adjustable soft cord. They also pointed out that teachers could benefit from reduced voice fatigue by using the system.
Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science (www.waterford.org)
Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adaptive tutoring, working with the child’s needs and progression. The program works with the student, adapting to their strengths and weaknesses. Judges found the lessons engaging for student, and liked the convenience of cloud accessibility. One judge added that the Waterford Early Learning program is a great supplement to classroom work.