Calypso Systems (www.calypso systems.com) has unveiled the CB-2000 networked buttonpanel controller. The powerful CB-2000 wall-mounted controller integrates classroom A/V technology, such as projectors, document cameras, and audio amplifiers. The CB-2000 can control all networked and nonnetworked devices in the classroom, eliminating the hassle of separate controls and many steps for each device. Teachers can also use Calypso’s Encore! desktop control software with the CB-2000, thus gaining easy access to A/V controls from their classrooms’ PCs, laptops, wireless slates, interactive whiteboards, and similar networked devices.
Calypso Systems’ ezRoom-5000 (www.calypsosystems.com) delivers integrated device control, hardware and software user interfaces, remote monitoring, audio amplification, CAT5 wall plates, projector mounting, and every wire, cable, and connector needed to build out classrooms. The addition of Calypso Systems’ Smart Block adds up to four relays and power-management capabilities to the ezRoom- 5000. Developed on an open-architecture platform, the ezRoom-5000 is compatible with all projectors and standard A/V gear.
has unveiled the newest version of its popular soundfield-reinforcement technology, the WCMRF Voice Amplification System. The new WCM-RF features functional enhancements designed to improve sound and increase intelligibility in the classroom. The new WCM-RF system, Calypso’s first voice-amplification product with a 20-band digital equalizer as a standard feature, provides customized sound quality for a variety of environments.(www.calypsocontrol.com)
Extron’s new WallVault System (www.extron.com) is a family of complete, centralized A/V switching and control systems designed for use with wall-mounted short-throw projectors and flat-panel displays. These economical classroom A/V systems use twisted-pair technology for transmitting signals and include network connectivity for Web-based asset management, monitoring, and control. WallVault Systems take their name from the WMK 100 Wall Mount kit, which securely mounts and conceals system components on the wall.
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
Fluency Tutor is an online software solution for students developing, and teachers assessing, oral reading fluency. The product incorporates passages that align to MetaMetrics Lexile Framework for Reading and includes tools for practicing, assessing, and measuring fluency. Students listen to passages being read aloud with textto- speech voices and practice their own reading. When ready, they record assessments for teachers to listen to and mark. Several graphical reports are available to show students’ progress. PROS: The software allows teachers to select exercises of the right difficulty for each pupil and to record his or her progress. Teachers can evaluate the fluency errors made, words correct per minute, and level of prosody (expression of reading) for every student. The system is also available to teachers and students at home. CONS: To be truly effective, the product requires complete buy-in from all reading teachers. A school must also have enough computers available for students to practice and take assessments. OVERALL EVALUATION: Every school should have a program like this Fluency Tutor to help students learn to read. This one is as good as, or better than, most I have seen.www.texthelp.comRetail price: Starting at $2,245 per school, first year; $745, each year after. Discounts available for multi-year purchase.—Joe Huber