from Technology & Learning
Get up to speed on the latest product releases in the education market.
Windows Server 2008 is the most recent release of Microsoft's server line of operating systems and is the successor to Windows Server 2003. Like Vista, it is built on the Windows NT 6.0 kernel. It automatically comes with most of the technical, security, management, and administrative features new to Windows Vista. The most notable feature is a new variation of installation called Server Core, where no Windows Explorer shell is installed, and all configuration and maintenance is done through CLI windows or by remote connection via Microsoft Management Console. The new server also offers self-healing NTFS and dynamic hardware partitioning.
AVerMediaTechnologies, Inc., a provider of digital multimedia and presentation technology, has released its CP300 Interactive Portable Document Camera. With its network-sharing capability through Local Area Networks, the camera now allows multiple classrooms or even the entire school to view and share live lessons and demonstrations such as science lab dissections. Camera features, including annotation, image capture, video recording, and zoom, can be controlled by each classroom accessing the demonstration on the net work. The new FlexArm design with a patented camera head-locking mechanism increases portability while adding stability to the camera head. Other design improvements include enhanced image quality.
Linksys introduces a dual-band wireless-N Gigabit router WRT600N that lets you connect to the network without wires and comes with a built-in four-port full-duplex 10/100/1000 switch to connect your wired–Ethernet devices together at up to gigabit speeds. The router lets you easily add storage space onto your network—or plug in a USB flash disk for easy access to portable data files. The built-in media server streams music, video, and photos from any compatible media adapter. The router operates in both the 2.4- and 5-gigahertz radio bands simultaneously, effectively doubling your wireless bandwidth. Other features include industrial-strength encryption capabilities and a powerful SP1 firewall.
Panasonic has two new LCD projectors designed for cost-effective, fixed installations. Ideal for small to medium classrooms, the new PT-F200U and PT-F200NTU projectors provide long-lasting brightness and features that reduce installation and maintenance costs. The PT-F200NTU model also sports built-in wireless and wired network capability. Both projectors come equipped with Closed Caption capability to meet the needs of the hearing-impaired and to facilitate Assistive Listening Device compliance. Both models also offer a host of standard features, including direct power off, rear-access for easy lamp replacement, numerous connection terminals, and an easy-to-use remote control with a built-in laser pointer.
Chicago-based nonprofit Innovations for Learning has developed the Teachermate computer, a handheld device designed for grades K–2 that costs $50. Innovations for Learning will give one Teachermate to first-grade classrooms throughout each of the Chicago Public School system's 500 elementary schools in the next two years courtesy of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Innovations for Learning wants to give students an easier, more efficient way to use computers to learn reading and math. The minicomputers are 4 inches wide and 3 inches tall, with a 2.5-inch color screen, 500MBs of internal memory, and a battery life of four hours—and rugged enough to withstand a 5-year-old's use.
Phoenix Wi-Fi radio from Com One, a subsidiary of Baracoda—a company that specializes in Bluetooth wireless technology—allows your classroom to tune in to thousands of Web radio stations worldwide without tying up a computer. The Phoenix includes built-in stereo speakers and battery.
Planar Systems, Inc., has announced a partnership with Wyse Technology to deliver the next generation of integrated thin client network displays. Designed for applications where space constraints, data centralization, and security are concerns, the Planar ND1750 and 1950 are ideal for computer labs at schools and universities. Users save desk space and decrease installation time by using one power supply and integrating the monitor with the Wyse Thin OS. The Planar ND line is backed by a three-year warranty and 90 days of software upgrades.
ePals, Inc., an online international learning community, is providing the first educational applications dedicated to cre ating a safe online environment on the Intel-powered Classmate PC, formerly known as Eduwise. Applications will include the ePals' Global Learning Community, SchoolMail, and SchoolBlog. The Classmate PC is an affordable, fully functional laptop designed to support collaborative learning environments for students in emerging markets. Students and teachers can join the ePals' interactive classroom community by selecting the ePals icon on the PC's desktop. They can then access protected e-mail, blogs, tra n slation tools, evidencebased curricula and experience authentic, collaborative learning. ePals connects more than 350,000 teachers from 200 countries and territories around the world.
NetSupport, a provider of desktop management solutions, has released its latest version of NetSupport Manager remote control software. Version 10.3 offers significant improvements in the areas of security, scripting, and multi-monitor support, allowing users to deliver hands-on remote support or interactive training. Enhanced features include coexistence with Remote Desktop and smart-card support. NetSupport Manager supports all Windows platforms from Windows 95 on, Mac OS, Solaris, PPC, Win CE, and Windows Mobile platforms. A fully functional 30-day trial copy can be downloaded from www.netsupportmanager.com.
Holt McDougal, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, has released two complementary planning products for teachers. Teacher One Stop, an enhanced version of Holt's awardwinning One Stop Planner, comes on a DVD full of documents, tools, and multimedia. It adds search capabilities and new resources that will make teacher planning and organizing a breeze. Teacher One Stops are available for every Holt program starting with Holt Elements of Literature and Holt Elements of Language. In addition, Holt also offers ThinkCentral, an online learning management system that allows teachers to access all of the resources from adopted Holt programs in one location in digital format. Teachers can customize the platform to include their own materials and resources.
Plato Learning, Inc., a provider of K–adult computer-based and e-learning solutions, will be the first company to market its educational software on the hand-held Sony Playstation Portable. With PLATO Achieve Now, elementary and middle school students can access a series of fun, interactive games that are proven to help meet high academic standards and improve proficiency. Students can participate in games that target key language arts, reading, and mathematics skills. The 57 games provide kids with a study tool of 2,000 hours of content aligned to all 50 states' teaching standards.
Write to Learn 5.0 is Pearson's updated version of its Web-based learning tool for writing and reading comprehension skills in pre-K–12 students. WriteToLearn allows students to practice essay writing and summarization skills, measured by Pearson's Knowledge Analysis Technologies (KAT) engine, which evaluates passages of text, not just grammar and spelling. The upgrade adds text-to-speech capabilities for English Language Learners, a dictionary, and instant-word Spanish translation ability. The teacher-comment feature provides students with direct feedback, while the essay scoreboard grades students on grammar, spelling, redundancy, and irrelevancy as well as six additional writing skills.
Web 2.0 learning platform Kidthing, which serves children, parents, and teachers, has announced a content distribution partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises that will bring enhanced digital versions of all Seuss books to the kidthing platform. In addition, a line of interactive learning activities and games will be created using Kidthing's proprietary technologies. Find titles in the site's online store and download them on kidthing's free, digital media player. This spring, Kidthing and Dr. Seuss Enterprises offer teachers and classrooms a digital read-along version of The Lorax as part of the National Educational Association's Read Across America program.
Questionmark has released its Results Management System ( RMS), an application that works in conjunction with Questionmark Perception, the assessment management system that enables teachers to create, deliver, and report on surveys and exams. The RMS provides fully integrated item and test statistics, enabling a complete view of how a test is performing. Questions with poor or borderline performance are flagged, enabling the user to spot potential problems. Users can employ standard Web browsers to review test items and drop, credit, or alter scoring.
Projector Lamp Services, LLC, which provides re-lamping services for the projection display industry, has relaunched an improved Web site, Relampit.com, featuring a new look with easier navigation and enhanced ordering features for customers. PLS has developed a process that allows lights to be remanufactured at a reduced cost without compromising lifetime or performance. The company also offers a no-charge projector lamp recycling service that focuses on reducing waste and environmental mercury contamination from the lamps in front and rear projectors, encouraging districts to think green when they replace their AV equipment.
Nortel LearniT and Curriki have formed an alliance to coordinate their Web sites into one of the world's largest, free online sources of educational materials. Nortel LearniT is a key philanthropic initiative of Nortel, a worldwide communications technology firm; Curriki, originally founded by Sun Microsystems, is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to make curricula and learning resources available online to everyone at no cost. Teachers will now be able to access a free forum for creating and sharing online instructional materials on both sites, integrating the latest digital technologies.
From Corwin Press comes Web Literacy for Educators by Alan November (www.corwinpress.com). November's book is a practical guide to help teachers and students find, sort, and evaluate information on the Web. It also illustrates how educators across all content areas and grade levels can use the Internet to strengthen students' critical-thinking skills. The new book provides basic steps to help learners judge information for quality and validity. Included are tips for addressing plagiarism, explanations of commonly used terminology, and information for students' out-of-school unfiltered research.
Wireless Generation's senior vice president of research, Margaret Honey, PhD, an expert on education and technology, has co-edited a book called Data Driven School Improvement: Linking Data and Learning (Teachers College Press). Her book offers a comprehensive examination of how educators use data and technology to achieve lasting improvements in student learning. Highlights include a framework, based on a three-year project sponsored by the National Science Foundation, describing how data are transformed into usable knowledge, plus informative case studies of best practices.