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
The beta version of SMART Notebook Express software is a lightweight Web-based application that lets anyone, anywhere download, edit, and share files created in SMART Notebook software. SMART Notebook Express enables educators who do not have SMART Notebook software installed on their computers to access and customize SMART Notebook content for their teaching needs. SMART Notebook Express incorporates popular features of SMART Notebook software, including the textediting tool, the pen tool, single-object selection, move and delete, basic Adobe Flash support, and the option of adding a page.Price: free Category: presentation
The newly enhanced SMART TableST230i interactive learning center (www.smarttech.com/table) includes a SMART Sync classroom management software license that enables teachers to transfer content between their computer and the SMART Table. They can then monitor and control student activity, and display the SMART Table screen image on a SMART Board interactive whiteboard. Additionally, integration with the SMART Document Camera enables students to capture images directly onto the SMART Table in real time. The SMART Table Toolkit—used by teachers to customize and create content—now provides direct access to thousands of SMART Notebook collaborative learning software Gallery items, and allows teachers to preview SMART Table activities on their computer.
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
RM's fully assembled, programmable humanoid robot has been developed from the original MechRCTM to provide a solution for engaging and teaching ICT (information and communication technologies) to children aged 14 and up. The robot, which comes with a series of educational-activity guides, was designed with transparent panels to enable easy viewing of the servo motors as it moves. With its programmable software and remote control, it allows teacher-led and small-group activities designed to be used across the curriculum, such as in design technology and engineering.
Study Island is a Web-based system for assessing students’ progress according to state standards. The service automatically addresses students’ deficiencies, provides a variety of reports, and works with several student-response systems without requiring that additional software be installed. Students are given electronic assignments to complete to state standards; if they are proficient enough, they can move on to another standard. Students who do not show proficiency receive a remediation assignment; if they do not pass it, they are given a second, easier assignment. Along the way, the system generates reports on students’ progress that can be emailed to teachers and parents.PROS: Study Island is a very good product and easy to use and has excellent reporting capabilities. The fact that there is no additional software to install is a bonus.CONS: Since the system can be accessed outside of school, a student could get help from a parent or a peer and an incorrect report on the student’s proficiency could be generated. To use the system effectively in the classroom, schools must ensure that there are enough computers for all students and that students who need remediation are given enough time to receive it within the normal school day.OVERALL EVALUATION: Study Island is an excellent way to ensure that students work to state-standard proficiency.www.studyisland.comRetail price: Varies according to product selected and school size; see Web site for further details.
The Qwizdom Q6 Student Response System (www.qwizdom.com) offers more opportunity for collaboration than any previous system; it includes an easy-to-use keypad similar to that of a cell phone, text input, and a larger LCD screen for viewing full responses. The small, ergonomic radio-frequency remotes allow each student to communicate with the teacher from up to 328 feet away and are durability tested to withstand the rigors of the classroom. Software used with Q6 remotes is both PC- and Mac-friendly, integrating easily with PowerPoint and Keynote. Additionally, Qwizdom Connect software works with hundreds of thousands of premade curriculum resource slides. The Q6 allows the student to enter scientific, mathematic, superscript and subscript expressions, along with punctuation symbols found on a cell phone.