Live from FETC - Jan 22-24, 2009

Live from FETC - Jan 22-24, 2009

Attendance was significantly down at FETC in Orlando this year -- usually one of the largest ed tech conferences in the US. But, there was no shortage of product news at the show. Here are some highlights (see video reports HERE):

AVerMedia Technologies released the new AVerVision VP-1 Portable Visual Presenter. The AVerVision VP-1 is an economical document camera solution perfect for first time document camera users, tight budgets, or for those who only need the basics. The VP-1 offers an ultra-portable, lightweight design with key features including Auto Focus and 8X digital zoom. This document camera will fill the fundamental need for basic document or 3D object presentation while still maintaining crisp AVerVision image quality.

Promethean launched Activsoftware Inspire Edition, the latest in interactive whiteboard software. Created for use with any brand of interactive whiteboard, Activsoftware Inspire Edition brings Promethean's software into a single, easy-to-use platform. The new generation of software also allows each user to customize toolbars, layout, and operation of the program. Users can now save multiple profiles for different teachers, subjects or grade levels. Activsoftware Inspire Edition is fully compatible with all major operating systems, including Windows, Mac and Linux. To meet overwhelming demand from teachers worldwide, the new software is fully compatible with any brand of interactive whiteboard. Coming in March.

Vernier Software & Technology has added three new probes that are compatible with Vernier’s data-collection device, LabQuest. Students can now collect scientific data with the new GPS Sensor, Wide-Range Temperature Probe and Power Amplifier. Like other probes in the collection, when connected to the LabQuest students can view and analyze data in a meter, data table or graph mode using Vernier’s award-winning technology.

HP unveiled the following at FETC:

The HP Assessment and Grading Solution for Education, which automates the administration and grading of tests.? * The HP Mini 2140 Notebook PC is a lightweight, portable, fully functioning PC designed with education in mind.? * The HP dx9000 TouchSmart Business PC allows students to learn through visualization and active participation.

The American Education Corporation (AEC) released U.S. History I, a brand new core Social Sciences course for the A+nyWhere Learning System courseware program. U.S. History I is the first full-semester course component of a comprehensive, yearlong course of study that is appropriate for grades 9–12. U.S. History I is designed to bring the history of America to life by connecting the events of the past to today’s world. Students will examine history by using the themes of culture, economics, geography, global connections, government, science/technology, and sociology/anthropology.

Saving educators' time and further enriching their overall user experience, Discovery Education announces several key upgrades to Discovery Education streaming. The digital video-based learning resource now features an enhanced landing page that allows users to access all Discovery Education services, preview new additions to the media library, encourages customization and personalization, and more.

PBS Teachers introduced the PBS Teachers Activity Packs, a growing library of Web-based widgets that contain links to high-quality PBS education resources and activities focused on a specific curricular theme for multiple grade levels. Finding digital resources for the appropriate grade level, subject and lesson among the vast array of material on the Web can be a time-consuming and challenging task for educators, but PBS Teachers is making the search easier and quicker with the new Activity Packs. More than 30 Activity Packs are available free-of-charge for educators to "grab" for classroom use, or to post on their classroom and school Web sites or favorite social networking sites.

Psychological Software Solutions, which provides behavioral improvement solutions for schools, today announced the results from several implementations which demonstrate that the use of their 5 Steps to Improving Student Behavior and Review360™ leads to noteworthy reductions in disruptive behavior, increased rates of inclusion for students with emotional and behavioral disorders, dramatic reduction in school districts’ expenditures on behavioral services and ultimately significant gains in academic achievement.

Millions of students around the country will now have the opportunity to leverage their mastery of video game skills to raise their math scores thanks to a creative partnership between Tabula Digita and the education publisher Pearson. Tabula Digita will create customized versions of its award-winning DimensionM educational video games aligned directly to the math curriculum in Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley enVisionMATH, the nation’s bestselling elementary math program, and Pearson’s two middle school programs, Prentice Hall Math and Connected Mathematics (CMP2).

new Classroom Walkthrough 3.0 (CWT 3.0) features new look fors, the ability to create custom look fors, hierarchical management, and enhanced reporting. The industry leader in classroom walkthrough technology, CWT is a research-based process that allows building administrators and others to quickly collect data about classroom practice and to use that information to work with teachers to plan and implement improvement and professional development activities. Through brief classroom visits, CWT allows instructional leaders to see what’s happening in the teaching and learning process and to track instructional data as it relates to student performance.

SmartMath from Britannica has three main focuses: math focus (includes 35,00 math problems aligned with NCTM standards), student focus (students practice at their one rate, in their own time), and teacher focus (formative assessments may be customized for a grade, class, or individual students by math topic or state standards).

Excelsior Software has developed a comprehensive solution to meet the needs of educators and administrators committed to using data to inform instruction and impact achievement. The Pinnacle Suite from Excelsior Software now provides an all-inclusive set of tools, bringing together the previously separated pieces that stakeholders need for efficient data-driven decision-making.

To help teachers integrate technology into their curriculum, Sebit, LLC, developer of Adaptive Curriculum, announces the availability of professional development workshops for middle grade math and science teachers. Conducted by staff from Arizona State University, the workshops will focus on the use of technology to provide students with virtual hands-on experiences in math and science.

launched ActivCommand, a software-based solution that optimizes the management of classroom technology devices. Simply put, ActivCommand can reduce the cost of technology ownership and lower energy bills for districts by simplifying the management, maintenance, and control of disparate equipment including PCs, projectors, document cameras, and other devices used in the classroom. At the district level, administrators and support staff can centrally manage all classroom technology deployed across the district. During preliminary trials, use of ActivCommand showed a reduction in average daily projector runtime by 37%, extended the average projector lamp life by 12 months, and deferred the expenditure of over $365 per classroom. ActivCommand allows teachers to control classroom equipment from a single User Interface on the ActivBoard,. This simplifies device usage by making possible the elimination of frustrating and inefficient remote controls. It also allows teachers to integrate multiple technologies in a more seamless fashion, without pausing instruction to change inputs or troubleshoot individual technology components.

Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. today announced its RHOMBII line of reconfigurable training tables is now available for order exclusively through Herman Miller North American dealerships and will begin shipping on February 1. The RHOMBII tables help educators and business professionals make the most of their usable space. With optional built-in power, easy mobility and the ability to nest tightly when stored, the RHOMBII training tables offer hundreds of set-up combinations.

CompassLearning announced they are now offering customers unlimited access to Odyssey curriculum. Unlimited acces means more school-wide useage, campus-wide implimentations eliminate the need to schedule oe share acess, and every studens works at his or her personalized learning path.

Writing Rules from Bytes of Learning makes learning to write interesting. Students write, teachers mark, all online. Includes adjustable options and custom content.

PCMall Gov announced reh winners of the “Green Light “ contest. The essay contest was designed to encourage students to examine how technology is affecting their clasrooms and schools, and what that means to the environment overall.

WriteIt! Live from FTC Publishing is a web-based writing application that creates a paperless writing environment. WriteIt! Live allows teachers to distribute new assignments to their students from any computer with internet access. Students can view, complete, and digitally turn in their writing assignments.

SpeakQ plugs into WordQ and adds simple speech recognition. Conventional speech recognition systems are designed primarily as a productivity tool for persons who have no trouble writing (and dictating) or as an alternative hands-free access tool for persons with physical disabilities. WordQ/SpeakQ, on the other hand, is for those who can type but who have trouble writing and reading in the first place. SpeakQ 1.4 with Vista compatibility is now shipping.

SkillsTutor is designed to increase academic achievement for students in grades K through Adult. Over 1600 basic skills and thinking skills lessons focus on the fundamentals of learning. Quizzes and tests quickly identify skill deficiencies and prescribe appropriate lessons. Students feel comfortable practicing skills in an engaging environment similar to standardized tests.

A fully assembled, programmable humanoid robot has been developed from the original MECHRCTM to provide an ideal solution for engaging and teaching ICT to children aged 14+. Its out of the box solution makes it quick and easy to get this robot up and running. The robot provides amazing agility and has been designed with transparent panels to enable easy viewing of the servo motors as it moves. With its programmable software and remote control it allows teacher led and small group activities that both challenge and engage. The robot is designed to be of use across the curriculum in a number of different subjects. For example, the RM MechRC education system gives pupils a chance to develop their skills in design technology and engineering, by encouraging them to add extra servos and construct simple sensors that will enhance its capabilities.