What's New(17)

Web Resources

Learning Through Sports has launched a 3-D version of its Web-based math, reading, and language arts program, Kid's College. Designed for K-8 learners, the 3-D Kid's College features live action and more realistic visuals than its previous version. Schools currently using Kid's College will have automatic access to the 3-D program.

A new Web resource from Thomson Gale aims to help students nationwide perform better on standardized tests by providing more current content than what's available in textbooks. ClassTrac, piloted recently in Texas, uses interactive exercises and multimedia tools to promote learning.

Historyplayer.com, an interactive history e-zine, was introduced this fall. The e-zine uses articles, reviews, quizzes, and games to encourage a story-based, interactive approach to learning about history. The site will focus on one historical event every month.

EBSCO has released Kids Search, a search engine designed specifically for K-6 researchers that allows users to search by topic, subtopic, and keywords. Topics are depicted with colorful graphics, and the site features Topic of the Month and Top Searches sidebars.

The NeuronFarm's Web-based reading comprehension program for grade 3-8 learners, 3D-Readers, uses automated test scoring, real-time feedback, and an emphasis on visual learning to instruct young readers. A one-year license includes access to 20 different modules for use by 30 students.

Another new reading program was recently released by Sunburst Technology. The latest title in the Key Skills for Reading series, Vocabulary Development, targets skills outlined by NCLB and Reading First's Five Essential Components of Reading Instruction. The program uses educational activities to help grade 1-3 readers improve their skills and includes a management tool for teachers to assess students' learning.


EarthWalk has two products designed to lengthen user laptop time: SideKick, an external 10 amp-hour laptop battery, and the portable eCharger, which conditions and recharges 16 SideKick batteries simultaneously.

Alienware has two new notebook computers, the 17-inch Area-51R m5700 and 15.4-inch Area-51R m5500. Both feature Intel Centrino technology; the m5500 also has new Alienware Graphics Control Technology.

Brother has released the MFC-640cw, a color inkjet printer retailing for about $200 and featuring built-in wireless and Ethernet interfaces. Other new printers include the MFC-9420CN multifunction laser printer and the HL-5200 series of monochrome laser printers. Estimated prices for the laser printers run from $229 to $799.

A new USB flash drive, the Cruzer Freedom, is available from SanDisk. The 256 MB device can be worn as a necklace or clipped to a backpack or key chain. Students with the Cruzer can access free content, including the Merriam-Webster pocket dictionary and a choice of one SparkNotes study guide, from the SanDisk online catalog.

Epson's PowerLite 82c and PowerLite 62c LCD projectors have four-second start-up times, four video input connections, and 2,000 ANSI lumens of brightness, and feature new energy- and heat-saving lamp technology. The PowerLite 82c has a native resolution of 1024 by 768; the 62c's is 800 by 600.

The Epson PowerLite 82c comes with a two-year warranty.

Palm has released two new handhelds. The Palm TX has integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless and a high-resolution (320 by 480) color screen, as well as 100 MB of non-volatile flash memory and compatibility with SD Cards up to 2 GB. The compact Palm Z22 Organizer also has a color screen and comes with applications like Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Note Pad, Calculator, World Clock, and Photos.

The sixth generation of interactive whiteboards has been released by SMART. The SMART Board 600 series comes in 48-inch, 64-inch, and 77-inch screen sizes and features a redesigned pen tray, USB connectivity, and an easy-to-reach Help button. Optional extra accessories include an updated wireless module, 15W USB speakers, and an improved floor stand. Schools, libraries, and not-for-profit organizations involved in K-12 education may qualify for 25 percent discounts on SMART Boards through the SMARTer Kids Foundation.

Numonics Interactive Products Division has also released a new whiteboard. The Digital Presentation Appliance (DPA) becomes a large interactive projection screen when it's connected to a PC and LCD projector; an electronic multimedia pen allows teachers to annotate and take notes on the screen. Other features include an online help menu, optional cordless pen, and four-year warranty.

A new device from WorldVibrations enables students to podcast and radio broadcast from their schools. The WorldVibrations Radio Station & Podcaster (WVRS-P) is available directly from the WorldVibrations Web site for about $2,800.

Two washable computer mice from Unotron are designed to help stop the spread of infection in workplaces and schools. The ScrollSeal washable optical 3-button mouse and the SteriMax washable optical 3-button mouse can be purchased with or without scroll wheels and come in gray or black standard or rubberized finishes.

This washable mouse, from Unotron, can be rinsed under a tap.


Harcourt Assessment has released the Early Childhood Observation System (ECHOS), a student assessment system designed to evaluate younger learners. The program, which is Palm-compatible, measures student learning in seven developmental areas using four criteria; results can be downloaded onto a PC for immediate Web-based feedback. ECHOS also generates progress reports in Spanish and English.

Word lovers can now play a Mac-based hangman game called Hangman Pro, from Ken Winograd and Space-Time Associates. The game features 70 word categories including Astronauts, Dogs, Monsters, Rock & Roll, Star Trek, and Vegetables, as well as unlimited custom word lists.

Summit Interactive recently unveiled its newest math software. The Ascend Math Solution, designed for grade four through adult learners, uses streaming video to provide direct instruction, which students then apply to individualized problem sets. Ascend is also designed to work with Summit Interactive's GraspMath software.

PLATO has introduced two new products for the middle school audience. Foundational Mathematics is designed to bring remedial math learners up to speed; Earth and Space Science is the final curriculum installment in the PLATO Middle School Science Series.

PLATO Earth and Space Science features lessons called Planet Earth and Water in Our World.

A new software product from FarStone, VirtualClass, uses a district's LAN to enable teachers to broadcast their desktops to 16 computers at once as well as distribute and collect assignments virtually. A plug-and-play keypad is available for easy set-up.

Microsoft has released the Office 2004 for Mac Student and Teacher Edition. New features designed just for Macintosh users include a Scrapbook, Notebook Layout View, and Page Layout View. The software, which retails for about $150, includes three licenses.

Books and DVDs

Sagebrush Education Resources has added state curriculum standards-aligned titles for all 50 states to its online bookstore, www.sagebrushbooks.com. Educators and parents can search for books in the language arts, math, science, and social studies subject areas using three different criteria.

Ignite! Learning has released Squibs, a collection of animated science DVDs on topics like Cells, DNA, and Adaptation; In Space: Earth, Moon, Sun, and Beyond; and Gravity, Friction, and Work. The DVDs, which are geared toward younger learners, cost $29.95 each and can be purchased at www.squibs.com.

Ignite! Learning's Squibs features nine different animated science DVDs for kids.

Until June 30, 2006, schools can purchase The Futures Channel's Math and Science On Location Digital Video Resource Library for a significantly reduced price. The DVD/CD Rom set has 67 mini-movies, 600 activities, and a printable user's guide.

Midisoft-Learning Through Music's latest DVD is Peter and the Wolf: A Classic Tale of a Musical Adventure!. Based on Prokofiev's 1936 composition, the DVD includes 15 games designed to improve children's audio and visual memory, pattern recognition, and knowledge of musical instruments.

A new book from ISTE, The Digital Reader: Using E-Books In K-12 Education, gives educators practical ideas for using e-books to enhance curriculum and teach reading in the K-12 classroom. A free excerpt and table of contents can be downloaded at www.iste.org/store.

Independent computer book publisher No Starch Press has announced the arrival of The Cult of iPod, a new book by Leander Kahney, editor of Wired News and bestselling author of The Cult of Mac. The Cult of iPod can be purchased online and from booksellers.

The Cult of iPod is by the same author as the best-selling book The Cult of Mac.

Professional Development

A free online course called Motivating Students to Learn has been made available by Curriculum Associates. Interested educators can find the three-part e-training course at www.CurriculumAssociates.com/TIE.

The Biotechnology Institute encourages educators interested in teaching biotechnology to apply for subsidized attendance at this year's annual National Biotechnology Teacher-Leader Program, which will be held April 6-9, 2006 in Chicago. Applications are due by February 3.

Correction: In the "Top Ten Wish List" article in the November 2005 issue, the Web address for the Palm Education Solutions Guide was listed incorrectly. The Web site can be found at http://esolutions.palm.com/~techthree/esg.