The EduCast USB Duplicator System with MP3 Players from Hamilton Electronics serves three main functions without the need for a PC: it copies audio lessons or class assignments from a single flash drive to 15 units instantly (this can be expanded to 30 by daisy-chaining two drives), collects assignments and information from 15 drives and consolidates them into one for a teacher’s review of student projects, and provides a reusable and low-energy solution for storing and distributing classroom material. For example, a choir teacher can distribute songs to his students by inserting the USB into an MP3 player and copying all the songs in minutes. The teacher can copy all the files to up to 15 USB drives. At the end of a grading period, the teacher can collect all the assignments from a class to one USB drive, also in minutes. PROS: The product is simple plug-and-play. Just insert the source drive in the slot marked “source,” insert the target drives in one or more of the target slots, and press a button. CONS: It’s debatable whether the EduCast USB Duplicator’s cost is justified by the use it would get in a school. Educators would also have to be mindful of copyright infringement. OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is a really good idea, especially since more teachers have sample files they want to distribute to students. For example, in our school we have to download large-print books for visually impaired students, and this type of device would be fantastic for getting these files to them. www.hamiltonelectronics.com Retail price: $1,399 with 16 MP3 USB drives
NB Series Mobile Powered Workstations (www.newcastlesys.com) are patented ergonomic carts that can carry computers (desktops, towers, or laptops), printers, scales, bar-code scanners, and most other small electronic equipment to wherever it is needed. An onboard battery can power up to four devices simultaneously for eight to 10 hours of normal use. Adjustable shelves hold up to 75 pounds each. For maximum convenience and efficiency, every model in the NB Series has a slotted mast that allows the user to adjust the height of each shelf to the most comfortable position. The workstations are compact (42 inches high, with a footprint of 24 x 26 inches) and easily maneuvered on 5-inch casters (front fixed, rear locking swivel).