Software & Web Sites
Adobe Systems has announced the release of version 7.0 of its Acrobat software, which is used to convert documents into the Adobe Portable Document Format. The new version allows for workgroups to assemble documents from multiple sources and securely collaborate on projects inside and outside of a firewall. Other new features include enhanced integration with Adobe Live Cycle and the ability, for Acrobat 7.0 Professional customers, to include anyone in a review of a PDF by enabling access to commenting tools in the new Adobe Reader. Education pricing for Acrobat 7.0 Professional is $159, and Acrobat 7.0 Standard is $99. The products will also be offered through Adobe's Open Options licensing programs.
Adobe Systems, Inc., 345 Park Avenue, San Jose, CA 95110; (408) 536-6000; www.adobe.com
New from Macromedia is Macromedia Captivate (formerly RoboDemo), an authoring tool that allows users to create software demonstrations and interactive simulations in Flash, without any programming knowledge or multimedia skills. Teachers and trainers can use Captivate to create an interactive learning experience for their students. It is available for download from the Macromedia Web site. The cost is $299 for upgrades from RoboDemo versions 4.x and 5.x, and $499 for new users.
Macromedia, Inc., 600 Townsend Street, San Francisco, CA 94103; (800) 470-7211; www.macromedia.com
Cognitive Concepts has released Earobics Literacy Launch, a program that helps build reading skills in children in grades pre-K-3. Areas of focus include beginning reading and writing, alphabetic knowledge, phonemic awareness, and language development. The program uses adaptive software that automatically adjusts to each student's level. Moreover, each Earobics implementation is customized to meet school and district needs. A classroom implementation of Earobics Literacy Launch is $3,250. School and district pricing are also available.
Cognitive Concepts, P.O. Box 1363, Evanston, IL 60204; (888) 328-8199; www.earobics.com
When is student cell phone usage a good thing? When they are using their phones to get their homework assignments. Expanding on its original functionality that allowed students and their parents to access assignments and other classroom information from a Web site, HomeworkNOW.com now allows for access from wireless devices, such as a cell phone or a PDA. The product is a managed Web service, which means that a school does not need its own server or Web site to use it, but it does include an API that allows for integration with an existing Web site, if there is one. There is no cost to students. A single-teacher account is $19 per year. A school-wide account (with no cost to individual teachers) is $175 per year.
HomeworkNOW.com, 6 Elton Avenue, Stratham, NH 03885; (888) 397-6297; www.homeworknow.com
MATHMATICS AND SCIENCE
TinkerPlots, mathematics education software from Key Curriculum Press, helps students in grades 6-12 see the connection between collecting and analyzing data and formulating and testing their own hypotheses. The program contains user-friendly plotting tools that allow students to create their own graphs and reports. A single-user package is $89.95; a ten-user package is $299.95. Site licenses are also available.
Key Curriculum Press, 1150 65th Street, Emeryville, CA 94608; (800) 541-2442; www.keypress.com
Academy123 has launched a new Web site aimed at helping middle school and high school students with math and science homework. The site (www.academy123.com) features chapter overviews and solutions for the actual problems found in most commonly used textbooks. A teacher guides the student through the problem using voice and color pen strokes on an online whiteboard. Academy123 Web site subscriptions are available to individuals for $39.95 per month. Special pricing is also available for schools and districts.
Academy123, Inc., 31368 Via Colinas, Suite 110, West Lake Village, CA 91362; (818) 865-2222; www.academy123.com
Dassault Systemes has developed CosmicBlobs, a 3-D graphics software program for children ages 7-14. Users can build 3-D creations, Blobs, which can then be animated, e-mailed to friends, or imported into other applications. An accompanying Web site (www.cosmicblobs.com) offers instructions, tips, and activities for the users, as well as a place for them to share their ideas. The program for Windows PCs, is available for $39.99.
Dassault Systemes, Cosmic Blobs Team, 300 Baker Avenue, Concord, MA 01742; www.cosmicblobs.com
Fortres Grand Corporation has announced PC Manifest Version 1.0 asset inventory software, which provides an inventory of hardware, software, and system information for each computer on a network. Functionality includes: automatic alerts when hardware is removed from a PC and identification of all spyware, adware, instant messaging, and chatware installations. Prices start at $59 for a single license.
Fortres Grand Corporation, P.O. Box 888, Plymouth, IN 46563; (800) 331-0372; www.fortres.com
NetSupport DNA Helpdesk 2.0, available as a component of NetSupport DNA asset management software or as a standalone product, is a Web-based tool providing detailed recording and tracking of user requests. Features include hardware and software inventory, software distribution, query-based reporting, and remote control functionality.
NetSupport, 6815 Shiloh Road, Suite A-7, Alpharetta, GA 30005; (888) 665-0808; www.netsupport-inc.com
Excelsior Software's new tool, District Data Analyzer (DDA), allows individual schools and full school districts to gain the benefits of traditional data warehousing systems at a fraction of the cost. The program allows users to connect with multiple data sources that may reside in different locations, including student information systems, curriculum management systems, and state or district assessment data. DDA also provides customized data reporting options. Pricing for DDA starts at $15,000 to $20,000 per district, with volume discounts for large districts.
Excelsior Software, Inc., 960 37th Avenue Court, P.O. Box 337030, Greeley, CO 80633; (970) 353-8311; www.excelsiorsoftware.com
Keep your network safe from security risks associated with instant messaging and peer-to-peer file sharing with Enforcer 4.0 from Akonix Systems. The software can identify and block access to P2P networks and IM programs, including BitTorrent, eDonkey, IRC, and AOL's AIM. Other features include support for large networks and reporting capabilities. For pricing information, contact a sales representative through the Akonix Web site.
Akonix, 600 B Street, 18th Floor, San Diego, CA 92101; (619) 814-2300; www.akonix.com
WGBH Boston and Teachers' Domain have joined forces to develop Teachers' Domain Professional Development, a series of online courses for K-12 educators, enhancing their knowledge of science concepts and providing them with multimedia resources for the classroom. The current available courses are Teaching Elementary Life Science, Teaching Elementary Physical Science, and Teaching Middle School Life Science. Additional courses, including those for high school teachers, will be available in 2005. Pricing is made up of two components: a license fee and a per-participant fee. These fees apply to each course instance. Volume discounts are available; contact WGBH for a price quote.
WGBH Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 200, Boston, MA 02134; (617) 300-5400; www.teachersdomain.org/courses
Questia Media has announced that they will be giving away a free, one-year subscription to their online academic library, Questia, to one librarian at every secondary school in America. The Questia library is composed of 50,000 full-text books and 400,000 journal, magazine, and newspaper articles, all academically vetted by a team of librarians who focused on the specific needs of high school students. The service also includes a suite of research tools that allows students to set up their own online workspaces. The online nature of the library means that an unlimited number of students can access the material simultaneously. Librarians can fulfill their free one-year subscription to Questia by calling Marisa Hayden at (888) 950-2580, ext. 2689.
Questia Media, Inc., 24 East Greenway Plaza, Suite 1000A, Houston, TX 77046; (713) 358-2601; www.questia.com
The State Educational Technology Director's Association has unveiled the informational Web site for its Technical Assistance Partnership Program. The site allows educators to learn about the work of several state grantees who are studying the effects of educational technology on student learning.
New from IntelliTools is the Intellishare Classroom Activity Exchange, a free service that allows the community of IntelliTools Classroom Suite (a software tool set for K-8 curriculum support) users and authors to share activities. Features include: user messaging, a flexible search interface, activity tracking, and reward points for users that can be redeemed for IntelliTools' products and training.
IntelliTools, Inc., 1720 Corporate Circle, Petaluma, CA 94954; (800) 899-6687; www.intellitools.com
Alienware has released the Alienware Area-51 line of desktop systems, which come equipped with a PCI Express graphics slot, Intel Pentium 4 processor, up to 2GB of DDR memory, and a compact form factor.
Alienware, 12400 Southwest 134th Court, Bay 8, Miami, Florida 33186; (800) 254-3692; www.alienware.com
Headphones for Kids, a new product from Kidz Gear, has won an iParenting Media Award. Headphones for Kids are adult-featured stereo headphones made especially for children, with unique safety, comfort, and ergonomic features. Priced at $19.99, the product is available at toy stores and on the Kidz Gear Web site.
Kidz Gear, San Ramon, CA; (925) 803-7506; www.gearforkidz.com
Explorer Pro, a new portable sound system from Anchor Audio, provides indoor/outdoor UHF wireless and AC/DC operation for audiences up to 500 people. The self-contained portable sound system is designed for users with no technical ability and can be used for speeches or music for assemblies. The Explorer Pro Basic Package, which includes the sound system, a speaker stand, and a wireless mic, is $1,630. The Deluxe Package, which includes a companion speaker and an extra wireless mic, is $2,105.
Anchor Audio, 2565 West 237th Street, Torrance, CA 90505; (800) 262-4671; www.anchoraudio.com