What's New(35)

from Technology & Learning

Hardware

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 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; VESAcompatible 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.

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 drive. Several models offer 256MB buffer memory for more stable high-speed duplication.

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.

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.

Software

Toshiba, maker of the newly designed Satellite laptops, has 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 announced the newest version of its Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro, a Webconferencing 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.

Fablevision, an educational publisher of CD-ROMs, books, and films, has teamed up with Thinking Moves to release its SmartMoves DVD. Designed for students in grades 3–12, it features a series of 40 body movements (known as Body Puzzles) choreographed to music that are designed to increase students' focus and memory and decrease stress and anxiety levels. Students should also see improvement in balance and coordination. The moves take between 3-5 minutes and are perfect for mini-breaks during the day. A supplemental Teacher's Guide is included.

The Study Buddy, an interactive learning system from Hamilton Electronics, helps pre-K–12 students create talking flash cards using visual and auditory cues to reinforce learning. The software also allows teachers to create original, customized curriculum materials for their classrooms using dry-erase pens, photos, graphics, and voice instruction. Comes complete with 36 two-sided reuseable, laminated cards that provide 72 individual, 10-second recordings that can be used repeatedly. Teachers can stimulate young children by creating easy lessons to assist with object identification, storytelling, and sequencing skills, while encouraging writing skills and improving vocabulary in older students.

WGBH Boston Video has released two new NOVA specials on DVD that explore the historical origins of apes and dinosaurs. In Ape Genius: What Separates Apes from Humans, NOVA studies the secret mental life of apes and the crucial gap between ape intellects and our own. In The Four-Winged Dinosaur: Microraptors and the Bird Origin Debate, the program investigates the pigeon-sized Microraptor, the smallest adult dinosaur ever found. Found buried under volcano ash in eastern China, the fossils of this creature were covered in feathers, provoking the question of whether the dinosaur could actually fly. NOVA assembled a team of paleontologists and aeronautical engineers to reconstruct Microraptor and do a wind-tunnel experiment. The results have surprising implications for longheld theories about how winged flight began. Both DVDs include downloadable material for educators; visit www.shop.wgbh.org.

Online

Learning Station, a provider of online solutions for K–12, has released the latest version of its LS Education Desktop, which now features ePals' SchoolM@ail, a secure, multilingual e-mail tool for students. LS Education Desktop is a one-stop Web-based platform for teachers and students to access e-learning tools they use daily and also includes LS Test Builder and LS Teacher Pages.

Curriculum Associates, a publisher of research-based supplemental curriculum tools, has announced it will offer two Let's Go Learn programs, DORA (Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment) and DOGMA (Diagnostic Online Math Assessment). Both programs test and report on student skills while adapting to individual learners' needs. DORA diagnoses K–12 reading abilities, while DOGMA serves as a diagnostic tool for grades K-5 math and remedial math students.

SAFARI Montage has partnered with Best Quest Teaching Systems to digitally deliver two of its math teaching systems, Math'scool (for grades 5–9) and Algebra'scool (for grades 7-12), through video-on-demand. The teaching programs provide all supporting materials needed to prepare students for success in algebra and higher math through lessons, graphics, and short videos profiling professionals who use math in their careers.

CTB/McGraw-Hill, a publisher of standards-based achievement tests for pre-K–12 and beyond, has added additional security features and product enhancements to its online essay assessment system, Writing Roadmap. Aimed at students in grades 3–12, Roadmap provides students with feedback as they write, while the program's automatically generated scores allow them to make instant revisions. Essays are evaluated along six writing dimensions: ideas and content, organization, voice, word choice, conventions, and fluency. New security features include a lockdown student browser, which disables access to other applications once students start the program; asterisk technology, which flags scores for teacher review; 16 new writing prompts; and an improved scoring algorithm.

Key Curriculum Press, a publisher of mathematics and science educational materials for elementary, middle, and high school students, is launching The Key to Tracker, an online subscription service that serves as the companion to the company's Key to... workbooks. The Key to Tracker helps teachers improve students' basic math skills and monitor their progress as they use the Key to...workbooks for fractions, decimals, percents, and algebra instruction. All tests in the self-paced material are computergraded. Teachers can view both individual scores and class averages. A free trial of The Key to Tracker is available at www.keypress.com through August 1, 2008.

Applied Answers, Inc. has released a new Web-based, managed file-transfer and storage solution, FileGenius. Users can transfer and store files in a secure online environment: FileGenius offers 128-bit encryption, indefinite file storage, and unlimited users and groups. Access it with any standard Javascriptenabled browser, so no hardware or software installation is needed. Upload, download, and transfer/share files up to 2GB in size. A free 14-day trial is available at the Web site.

Teknimedia, a provider of e-learning software for education and corporate markets, is offering free IC3 training for K–12 teachers. It will provide up to five user licenses per K–12 school to help teachers prepare for IC3 certification exams. Each teacher will be provided a unique ID and password to access the PCIC3—Getting Ready for IC3 courses via Teknimedia's Web Learning Center. Teachers will have at least three months to complete the courses, which contain more than 100 hours of instruction.

From San Diego State's Department of Educational Technology comes Bob Hoffman's multimedia Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. EET is a growing collection of short articles on a variety of concepts related to instructional design and education and training. Access an enormous trove of alphabetized topics—learn about gestalt theory, sleep and memory, or Piaget's developmental stages, illustrated with colorful graphs and charts. Authors are graduate students, professors, and others who contribute voluntarily.

Books

Harvard Education Press has released Transforming Schools with Technology: How Smart Use of Digital Tools Helps Achieve Six Key Education Goals by Andrew Zucker. Zucker, a senior research scientist at the Concord Consortium and longtime education researcher, writes with firsthand experience of technology programs at the local, state, and national levels and offers a unique perspective on both the promise and pitfalls of investing in digital tools. He sets big goals for technology: making schools engaging and relevant; reaching all students; attracting, preparing, and retaining high-quality teachers; and improving the ways in which we measure and account for learning. Zucker shows why today's digital tools are essential for students, teachers, and school administrators.

McGraw Hill Professional has just published Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, by Clayton M. Christensen, Curtis W. Johnson, and Michael B. Horn. The book expands on the theory of disruptive innovation first introduced by bestselling business writer Christensen in his work The Innovator's Dilemma, and applies it to America's struggling educational system. The authors see disruptive innovation—a new process, service, or technology that overturns the existing system and replaces it with a cheaper, more accessible version—as the only hope for improving the quality of education in America. The book pinpoints the standardization of teaching and learning as the main culprit and offers as a solution customized instructional methods, via computer-based learning, as the only way to effectively teach today's diverse student population with its many learning styles.

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