Ember Media, in conjunction with The William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, has unveiled TheKey: An Interactive Guide to the Top Black Colleges and Universities and TheKey2: An Interactive Guide to the Top Colleges and Universities for Hispanics. Both CD-ROMs are free and help African-American and Hispanic-American students and their families navigate the college admissions process. They also contain college admissions tips, an application tutorial, and links to SAT and ACT test preparation sites.
Ember Media, 224 W. 35th Street, Suite 1502, New York, NY 10001; (212) 695-1919; www.embermedia.com
Reading and Writing
New from PLATO Learning are two products designed to teach writing strategies, grammar, and mechanics to middle school, high school, and adult learners: PLATO Essential Writing Process and Practice and PLATO Fundamental Writing Process and Practice. Both programs allow for learner interaction and self-paced instruction. For pricing information, contact PLATO through the Web form on their site.
PLATO Learning, Inc., 10801 Nesbitt Avenue, South Bloomington, MN 55437; (800) 44-PLATO; www.plato.com
KidBiz3000 is a Web-based learning system for grades 2-8 that aims to improve kids' reading skills. The program, developed by Achieve 3000, sends a daily news-based reading assignment to each student, at their own reading level, along with a set of related activities. The primary focus is on reading comprehension and vocabulary, but there is also emphasis on writing. For pricing and implementation information, use the inquiry form on the company's Web site.
Achieve 3000, Todd Plaza, 1091 River Avenue, Lakewood, NJ 08701; (888) 968-6822; www.achieve3000.com
Help Desk Technology Corporation has announced version 8.2 of their HelpSTAR product. The update adds rules-based workflow automation, which allows users to create business rules that trigger specific actions, such as assignment or escalation of service requests. Other new features include a dashboard that lets users monitor help desk performance and support for multiple help desk e-mail addresses. Prices start at $2,495. Volume discounts and upgrade plans are also available.
Help Desk Technology International Corp., 1328 North Ferdon Boulavard, #315, Crestview, FL 32536; (800) 563-4357; www.helpstar.com
CrossTec has released the NetOp Desktop Firewall, designed to centrally manage the restriction of traffic in and out of network machines. It also limits the applications that can run on each user's machine, whether the machine is on or off the network. Contact customer service for school pricing.
CrossTec Corp., 500 NE Spanish River Boulevard, Suite 201, Boca Raton, FL 33431; (800) 675-0729; www.crossteccorp.com
Create a complete inventory of all hardware, software, and systems information on all computers in a network with PC Manifest from Fortres Grand Corporation. The software constantly monitors the computers and automatically records the dates and details of all software installations and hardware upgrades. Pricing starts at $59 for a single license. Volume discounts are available.
Fortres Grand Corporation, P.O. Box 888, Plymouth, IN 46563; (800) 331-0372; www.fortres.com
New from Serious Magic is Visual Communicator 2. This latest version of the video creation software program includes flexible recording, which allows the user to shoot segments out of sequence or at different times, and real-time editing capabilities. Three versions are available: Visual Communicator Web ($199.95), which supports video resolutions up to 320 x 240; Visual Communicator Pro ($399.95), which adds the ability to record for DVD, videotape, and video projection; and Visual Communicator Studio ($695), which offers live video output.
Serious Magic, Inc., 101 Park Shore Drive, Suite 250, Folsom, CA 95630; (916) 985-8000; www.seriousmagic.com
Curriculum Support and Tutorials
Digitalis Education Solutions is giving away 12 astronomy lesson plans for use with K-12th-grade students. Lessons cover a variety of topics, including moon phases, solstices, and equinoxes. You can access the lesson plans on the Digitalis Web site.
Digitalis Education Solutions, Inc., P.O. Box 2976, Bremerton, WA 98310; (360) 616-8915; www.digitaliseducation.com
The Media-Savvy Student, a new book from Zephyr Press, is designed to help elementary school teachers integrate media literacy into their existing curricula. Each unit, such as "Media Stereotype Detectors," comes with objectives, procedures for teaching, suggested grade-appropriate adaptations, and assessments. The retail price is $24.95.
Zephyr Press, 814 N. Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610; (800) 232-2187; www.zephyrpress.com
Atomic Learning has announced the release of nine new Web-based tutorial series, including tutorials for Photoshop Elements 3, PowerPoint 2004, and Palm OS 5. For a complete list of titles or to request a price quote for school subscriptions, visit the Atomic Learning Web site.
Atomic Learning, Inc., 43 East Broadway, Little Falls, MN 56345; (866) 259-6890; www.atomiclearning.com
World Atlas, the online atlas from Facts on File, has been updated with a redesigned interface, new content, and new features, including comparison and ranking tools, updated statistics, and a new image gallery. For pricing information, contact the Facts on File sales department.
Facts on File, Inc., 132 West 31st Street, 17th floor, New York, NY 10001; (800) 322-8755; www.factsonfile.com
BrainPOP, producers of animated educational content, has added four new movies to its social studies library. Roman Republic, Rise of the Roman Republic, Pax Romana, and Fall of the Roman Empire will give students a solid overview of Ancient Rome. For a complete list of BrainPOP's 300 plus titles and subscription information, visit their Web site.
Learning about civil rights and liberties can be fun, thanks to Civio, a strategy card game based on key Supreme Court cases that have influenced civil rights. Developed by Reach and Teach, the game is designed for students ages 13 and up. A single copy, for two to four players, is $16.95. A Teacher's Pack, for up to 20 students, is $85.
Reach and Teach, 29 Mira Vista Court, Daly City, CA 94014; (415) 586-1713; www.reachandteach.com
The Transport T1200, a new notebook computer priced under $1,000 and designed primarily for educational institutions, is now available from MPC Computers. Features include an Intel Pentium M or Celeron M processor and support for 802.11 b/g wireless connectivity. The computer can be ordered directly from the MPC Web site.
MPC Computers, LLC, 906 East Karcher Road, Nampa, ID 83687; (888) 224-4247; www.mpccorp.com
Hitachi America has introduced the Performao CP-RS55 LCD projector, targeted at both the professional and consumer markets. Features include a low weight (4.84 pounds), three picture mode settings (Normal, Cinema, and Dynamic) and a Whisper Mode option that reduces fan noise. The suggested retail price is $899.
Hitachi America, Ltd., www.hitachi.us