Learning.com’s Digital Learning Environment is an online curriculum management tool that coordinates lesson plans to national and some state curriculum guides. Teachers have the ability to share their best lesson plans with other educators, and can interact with students via online journal lessons (interactive web pages). Users can import media for outside resources such as teacher tube, and the program encourages teachers to relate lesson plans to curriculum guidelines as they are being written. Lessons are stored on companies’ servers, eliminating the need for local installations.PROS: The software is an excellent value, since anyone who currently uses a Learning.com product can access it free of charge. This is one of the easiest to use curriculum management tools available. It includes a comprehensive feature set that is robust enough to get the job done, especially for elementary schools. With a crisp and clean user interface, anyone who can use a word processing program can use the Digital Learning Environment. Sharing lesson plans among teachers makes it easy to collaborate with co-workers. CONS: To reach a larger audience, the product needs to be coordinated to more state curriculum guidelines.OVERALL EVALUATION: Schools will benefit from a software tool like Digital Learning Environment, a product that boosts collaboration between teachers and allows for easy student-teacher interaction via interactive web pages.www.learning.comRetail price: Free to current Learning.com customers.—Joe Huber
GENERAL-PURPOSE: The Christie LX500 ($6,495) is a 5,000-lumen XGA (1,024x768) projector with a choice of four optional lenses, motorized lens shift and focus and a 3,000-hour lamp life.SHORT-THROW: The Christie LW400 ($5,495), with the optional 0.8:1 fixed short lens, can project a five-foot image from four feet away. It is a WXGA (1,280x800), 4,000-lumen projector with a lamp life of up to 3,000 hours in eco mode.HIGH-DEFINITION: The Christie HD405 ($24,495) is a 4,100-lumen DLP projector with native 1,080p HD (1,920x1,080) resolution. It offers a range of six optional lenses with vertical and horizontal lens shift. It accepts inputs of VGA through UXGA (1,600x1,200) and supports standard HDTV formats of up to 1,080i.
Toshiba’s Digital Products Division (www.laptops.toshiba.com) has announced the availability of the new Portégé M780 (right) Tablet PC and Satellite Pro U500 (left) laptop with multi-touch display. The new laptops feature Windows 7 Professional and take advantage of the built-in touch capabilities of the operating system. Instead of pointing and clicking, users can quickly tap to launch programs and open files. The laptops also include Toshiba’s touch-enabled ReelTime and Bulletin Board applications, which help users more easily find and organize information.
This software enables users of any age to take ordinary photos and turn them into unique compositions. Students use it to cut out an unlimited number of people and props from digital images using a technique that resembles painting by numbers. The cutouts are then layered onto a background of choice and embellished with a set of controls, including blending tools; retouching tools for object colors, tints, and transparency; and the ability to add titles, captions, and speech bubbles. Price: retail price, $39.95; education discounts available Category: photo editing
These services integrate digital content into daily teaching practice. Dell teamed up with Brain- Honey to provide educators with open-source, customized content. BrainHoney’s platform allows teachers to align content development to state standards using a simple drag-and-drop interface to develop curriculum maps. BrainHoney also generates daily reports on student progress against state standards. Professional Learning Services supports the integration of digital content and Connected Classroom technologies into daily teaching practice. Price: Contact company for pricing. Category: content management
released its new line of Satellite Pro, Tecra, and Portégé business laptops with Windows 7 support. The Satellite Pro line features new screen-size options in 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch diagonal display configurations as well as a 13.3-inch diagonal touch-screen display. The new Satellite Pro U500 Touch laptop features a 13.3-inch diagonal multi-touch screen display that helps mobile professionals easily tap, drag and drop, and scroll through files, calendars, and tasks or zoom in and out of a window with just a two-finger pinch. In addition, Toshiba is including touch-ready basic productivity software, Toshiba LifeSpace, on the Satellite Pro U500 Touch.www.laptops. toshiba.com
SoftChalk, a developer of content-authoring software, has released SoftChalk V5. New features include a digital repository. Users can now perform keyword searches across several media repositories and embed widgets, so blogs, polls, surveys, widgets, wikis, and videos can easily be inserted to create dynamic lessons. The eCourseBuilder tool combines several lessons into larger eCourse modules with automatic calculation and tracking of score information between and within lessons.Price: $550 for single education license, volume discounts offered Category: content-authoring software