ABSOLUTE MANAGE - Tech Learning

ABSOLUTE MANAGE

This computer life-cycle management offering allows users to manage the PC and Mac devices in their deployment from a single interface. Track installed applications and licenses on all the devices in your deployment. Collect data from each machine so you can intelligently manage application licenses to prevent over-install penalties. Monitor and enforce your configuration policies, and use the data you collect to remotely monitor and control the devices in your deployment. Use the Security Content Automation Protocol reports to manage corporate and government regulations, including FDCC compliance. Price: Contact company for pricing. Category: asset management
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Put to the Test: PRODUCT: CO:WRITER 6 FROM DON JOHNSTON

Co:Writer 6 enables students who struggle with writing and spelling to work at their own pace. The latest version teams with a companion application, like a word processor or Web browser, to help users build and write correct sentences.PROS: Flexibility and support for guided independent work are key features of this latest version. The word window is always active and displays on top of the companion program’s window, so it’s easy to see recommended words as you compose an email or blog or write a document in your word processor. Students having difficulty with written words can receive audio feedback, because the program optionally reads word choices and completed sentences. Co:Writer will also read aloud menus and dialogbox contents. In addition to three main dictionary options, there are dozens of topic dictionaries from which to choose. Several video tutorials introduce new users to the product.CONS: Unfortunately, most districts will find the application too expensive to install on every school computer. Instead, they will reserve access to students with special needs or IEP/504 plans, thus reinforcing the divide between students receiving mainstream education and children who have trouble accessing the general curriculum. This outcome, it should be noted, is not a fault of the program per se.OVERALL EVALUATION: Co:Writer 6’s strength lies in its ability to create a writing environment tailored to individual users’ needs. Struggling readers and writers both young and old and individuals with poor or illegible handwriting, developmental delays, physical disabilities, and learning challenges can use its word-prediction power to become better writers. While it falls into the category of assistive technology, it’s flexible enough to meet the needs of all students.www.donjohnston.comRetail price: Single licenses start at $325; network unlimited site licenses, $1900/volume discounts.—Carol Holzberg

ANGEL LEARNING MANAGEMENT SUITE, V7.4

The ANGEL LMS 7.4 mashup makes it easier to incorporate rich media content from sources such as YouTube and Picasa into courses. The new release also enables incorporating RSS feeds into courses. With ANGEL LMS 7.4, several schools can be managed from a central location through a new institutional directory.Price: Varies Category: management system

Put to the Test: Absolute Software Geofencing promo image

Put to the Test: Absolute Software Geofencing

Geofencing is a feature available now with Computrace Complete by Absolute Software.  Geofencing allows users to create predefined boundaries to contain the physical location of the devices in a school’s deployment. Once these boundaries are defined, the school can create

Put to the Test : Discovery Software Principalm+

allows administrators to transfer student-information-system (SIS) data to a handheld device. Because data can be accessed from a handheld immediately, the information may be used for everyday discipline, student-conduct incidents and histories, emergency preparedness, and security. Each user is issued his or her own passkey, and data can be synchronized as often as needed.PROS: The Principalm+ transfers information without using a third-party server. The software transfers data to most handhelds, including smartphones, BlackBerry smartphones, and PDAs, and soon to Apple iPhones. Users can add customizable fields. The data-download sets can be customized, such as downloading just phone numbers and health information for a teacher going on a field trip.CONS: None.OVERALL EVALUATION: One of the biggest problems administrators have is that all the student data we collect are never where we need them when we need them. Principalm+ solves this problem. Administrators can use Principalm+ to check the discipline record of a student at the site of an incident rather than having to wait until they get back to the office. They can look up a locker combination on the spot, or even a parent’s phone number. This type of application is long overdue.www.discoverysoftware.comRetail price: Based on per-student, per-module model.

CLASSLINK PERKINS DATA PORTAL

The ClassLink Perkins Data Portal simplifies the process of collecting and reporting the data required for federal Carl Perkins Title II grants. Any school that receives Carl Perkins Title II funding will find that ClassLink Perkins Data Portal provides easy report generation that meets the most recent federal and state mandates; a clear snapshot of consortiums, districts, and schools on postsecondary placement data; and data-driven analysis of student performance criteria using customized charts and graphs. Price: Contact company for pricing. Category: data management

NETOP PROTECTON PRO (WWW.NETOP.COM)

The Netop ProtectOn Pro combines hard-disk protection with remote management and Internet, application, and device controls. Netop built this new solution on the foundation of the popular ProtectOn2, which allowed teachers to automatically roll back virus damage and unwanted changes that students might make to classroom computers. Netop ProtectOn Pro can protect data and system integrity by controlling user access to USB and Wi-Fi devices, hard disks, floppy drives, Web sites, and software applications. It can automatically restore computers and erase damage from viruses and unwanted downloads. Price: U.S. education pricing starts at $19/computer for schools with 25 or more computers. Volume discounts available. Category: remote management

HP SCHOOLCLOUD (WWW.HP.COM)

HP SchoolCloud provides students and teachers 24/7, anywhere access to all their school applications and data. It also allows IT professionals to manage their resources more efficiently by maintaining applications and data on servers rather than on individual computers. HP SchoolCloud solution combines infrastructure; software; and on-site, instructor-led professional development for teachers. It is a scalable solution that lets schools manage from 200 students up to 200,000 students all from a central location.Price: Contact company for pricing. Category: data management

SPARK SCIENCE LEARNING SYSTEM

The SPARK Science Learning System is an all-in-one mobile device that integrates probeware with inquiry-based content and assessment. The SPARK can be used as a standalone science- data-collection tool, or it can be connected to a computer via a USB cable and used as a data-collection terminal for PASCO data-collection software. A teacher can assign the class an experiment, and the students can use their SPARK units and probes to develop hypotheses, collect data to prove or disprove the hypotheses, and then draw conclusions.PROS: The SPARK comes with more than 60 preinstalled experiments. It is rugged enough to be taken outdoors and handled by elementary-, middle-, and high-school students. The SPARKvue software permits the same interface to be displayed on a computer so a teacher can deliver pre-lab instruction to an entire class via a data projector. Additional probes are reasonably priced. The SPARK is battery-powered, so it can be used outside the classroom. It allows students to record their data directly to the device. The experiments included in the SPARK let students collect meaningful data in real time. The device also has helpful online educator-training resources.CONS: It would be nice to have one kit that included all the probes; PASCO does, however, offer kits that provide the probes necessary to perform the labs that are embedded on the SPARK Science Learning System.OVERALL IMPRESSION: Science is not a study of facts and dates; science is a process. The SPARK takes this discovery process into account in a fun, easy-to-use tool.www.pasco.comRetail price: $329

PACKARD MINI 2140

Hewlett Packard Mini 2140 Notebook PCThe 2140 is the most recent upgraded addition to the HP Mininote line of netbooks. The device weighs only 2.6 pounds but sports as much basic computing power and performance as any student or teacher would need in a classroom. The brushed-aluminum-clamshell case protects a 92-percent-fullsize QWERTY keyboard and 10.1-inch diagonal HP Illumi-Lite LED display. The screen supports a 16:9 aspect ratio, similar to those of many newer TVs, and you can choose between standard and high resolution. The integrated VGA webcam enables video and still-image capture built into the top of the open clamshell.PROS: The performance upgrade from the HP 2133 Mini-note is obvious. The enhanced resolution and stereo audio were immediately met by oohs and aahs from the student reviewers. The keyboard is also the most comfortable of the netbooks T&L has reviewed, which makes this the best device for older students and the best personal professional device for teachers. The 2140 feels durable to the touch, and while we didn’t perform any spill tests, the HP DuraKeys finish (a clear coating applied over the keyboard) should give added protection against any cafeteria accidents.CONS: Compared with some of the packaged education applications that come installed in competitive products, the vanilla Microsoft’s OS options are limiting. The price point may be too high for some schools and districts as well.OVERALL EVALUATION: This device would make a terrific one-to-one solution, especially for high-school students. Its performance and multimedia features would work even for students graduating and moving on to college. The netbook could also do double duty as a mobile presentation device for classrooms.www.hp.comRetail price: starts at $449