T&L News(128) - Tech Learning

T&L News(128)

Week of: May 5, 2008 Robots in Overdrive Budding high school engineers got a chance to show off their science skills at the annual FIRST Championship, a robot-building competition held recently in Georgia that brought together more than 1,500 students from across the world. What's
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Week of: May 5, 2008

  • Robots in Overdrive
    Budding high school engineers got a chance to show off their science skills at the annual FIRST Championship, a robot-building competition held recently in Georgia that brought together more than 1,500 students from across the world.
  • What's New
    Wash your hands all you like. Chances are if you have computer keyboards in class, you could still get sick with a norovirus, the antibiotic resistant staph infection MRSA, or one of the thousands of other contagions that hit schools every year. According to University of Arizona scientist Dr. Charles Gerba, computer keyboards and mice can have about 400 times more germs than a toilet seat. The Silver Seal Shield keyboard is made from an antimicrobial plastic that contains silver ions, a natural germ repellant. The boards are also dishwasher safe, which makes disinfecting that much easier.
  • The Whiteboard Revolution
    Teachers are clamoring to have interactive whiteboards in their classrooms. What is it about this technology that is so useful and appealing. Let's look at some of their capabilities.
  • What's New
    Vinpower Digital, Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of advanced digital duplication equipment, has entered into a licensing agreement with Xerox Corporation to develop, market, and support a new line of Xerox DVD/CD and Blu-Ray Duplicators. The manual tower duplicators range from 1-15 writer drives, which operate independently of a PC and provide a quick, inexpensive way to make multiple copies of CDs and DVDs. The duplicators allow users to transfer image files directly from a PC to the duplicator's internal hard. Several models offer 256MB buffer memory for more stable high-speed duplication.
  • What's New
    OKI Printing Solutions has launched its B6250. series of printers, which provide advanced monochrome printing and can handle heavy printing loads in demanding work environments (the B6250 prints 30 pages per minute; typical monthly duty cycle is 150,000 pages). The printers offer the fastest processor speed (533 MHz) and highest maximum memory storage in their class (128MB RAM), allowing businesses to expand software use and increase print volume. They are designed to support the daily monochrome printing needs of growing workgroups in educational settings and to deliver maximum performance and reliability.

Robots in Overdrive

The annual FIRST Championship at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta last month had more than 1,500 student teams from the U.S. and seven other nations building and operating their own robots from a kit of hundreds of parts. This year's game, called "FIRST Overdrive," tested students' and their robots' ability to race around a track knocking down 40-inch inflated balls and passing them either over or under a six-and-a-half-foot overpass.

Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and other robotic devices, started the program in 1989. The mission: to motivate young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math while building life skills (FIRST is an acronym—For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). "It is inspiring the next generation of innovators and engineers," says Kamen. "Years from now, some of the students who competed in the Georgia Dome will be inventing solutions to society's most challenging problems."

The organization also recognized the recipients of educational scholarships worth nearly $10 million from the most prestigious science and engineering schools in the country, such as Georgia Institute of Technology, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Purdue University. Along with the robotics competition, FIRST also hosts a Tech Challenge for high school students, the FIRST LEGO League for children 9–14 years old, and the Junior FIRST LEGO League for kids 6–9 years old.

To learn how to compete next year, go to www.usfirst.org

What's New

Wash your hands all you like. Chances are if you have computer keyboards in class, you could still get sick with a norovirus, the antibiotic resistant staph infection MRSA, or one of the thousands of other contagions that hit schools every year. According to University of Arizona scientist Dr. Charles Gerba, computer keyboards and mice can have about 400 times more germs than a toilet seat. The Silver Seal Shield keyboard is made from an antimicrobial plastic that contains silver ions, a natural germ repellant. The boards are also dishwasher safe, which makes disinfecting that much easier.

Silver Seal Antimicrobial

Seal Shield

www.sealshield.com

$60

The Whiteboard Revolution

Teachers are clamoring to have interactive whiteboards in their classrooms. What is it about this technology that is so useful and appealing. Let's look at some of their capabilities.

What's New

Having trouble with your wireless network? Hawking Technologies is promoting a new wireless-300N adapter. The HWUN1 Hi-Gain Wireless-300N USB Adapter with Upgradeable Antennas will ensure that every computer gets a strong signal. It extends the typical Wi-Fi network four times and boosts the data throughput 12 times. Designed with two removable antennas that can be upgraded to high-powered indoor/outdoor ones, it is Macintosh and PC-compatible. The Hi-Gain is also backward compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n and will operate on the highest throughput that your network allows.

Doublesight, a provider of digital signage and LCD monitor solutions, offers a nifty DS219-STA stand that holds two monitors for classroom viewing. Adjustable for height, tilt, swivel, and pivot, each monitor adjusts independently of the other for a custom view. The DS219 also features 180-degree arm rotation, which allows users to share while sitting across the desk from each other. Ships pre-assembled; VESA-compatible with existing LCD monitors.

D-Link, an award-winning developer and manufacturer of digital electronic, broadband, and networking solutions, has released its DSN-2100-10 xStack Storage Array, which holds eight hot swappable SATA disk drive bays supporting 8TB raw capacity and supports multiple RAID levels. Also offers embedded storage management, cache management, volume virtualization, and VLAN zoning.

Digital Acoustics, a developer of IP-based intercom and paging products, has announced the availability of the IP7 series, the company's next generation IP/Ethernet audio solution. The series, which operates with Digital Acoustics' TalkMaster communication management software, includes two intercom products and three high-powered IP audio amplifiers. They are designed to deliver voice-quality audio over wired, wireless, and fiber in LAN or WAN networks and can convert analog call stations and speakers into IP-based two-way communicating devices. School officials can issue voice messages by classroom, groups of rooms, or by building. They can also deliver targeted, informational messages across the entire campus immediately.

What's New

Toshiba, makers of the newly designed Satellite laptops, have included face recognition software technology to provide users with a new way to log in to a PC. The technology harnesses the laptop's built-in Webcam to grant or deny access by referencing a database of stored digital images of a registered user's face. Students can use the software to log in to their personal accounts, ideal for classroom laptops.

Adobe Systems announces the newest version of its Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro, a Web-conferencing and e-learning solution. The new version includes improved features for Web conferencing, such as archiving and editing capabilities for recorded online meetings. E-learning enhancements include breakout rooms to let students in virtual classes initiate separate conversations online. Other features include rapid authoring of video-based content, integration with Blackboard and SumTotal learning-management systems, and tools that track and organize online classes.

Pageant Software has announced the release of Inbound Manager 5.77, an inexpensive software package promoting mailroom efficiency and productivity that can be downloaded from the company's Web site and installed on PCs running Windows 2000 or XP. Designed for recording data about packages received from all types of carriers, it can be used to record shipper, recipient, and department information. With a scanning device (not included), users can scan delivery barcodes into the system rather than manually typing them. Stored data can be printed in report form.

Curriculum Advantage has announced a new model for educators to implement Response to Intervention using its flagship software Classworks, a network-based system of K-12 reading and mathematics curriculum. The new model offers a multitiered intervention process that allows for assessment, identification, and appropriate instruction for all students. Customized by state, levels of intervention range from Tier 1 (for students performing on-grade level) to Tier IV (for students with IEPs).

Aruba Networks has released a new version of its RFProtect Wireless Intrusion Prevention System. Users can define their own attack-detection signatures and defend against previously unknown, undisclosed, or un-patched vulnerabilities. The RFProtect software has been integrated into Aruba's existing security product to enhance Layer 1-2 security capabilities. The new system ships summer 2008.

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