has announced a USB-connected virtualdesktop client and the release of its fifthgeneration vSpace desktop-virtualization software. The U170 plugs into a computer’s USB 2.0 port and, with vSpace, enables additional users to share that computer. Each U170 delivers a high-definition multimedia experience and has connections for the user’s own monitor, speakers, microphone, keyboard, mouse, and other USB peripherals. The U170 draws only two watts of electricity and is powered through the USB cable, so it does not require a separate power adapter. Several U170s can be connected to a computer either directly or through a USB hub.www.ncomputing.com
Califone International, Inc. (www.califone.com) has upgraded and expanded its line of monaural and stereo listening centers. Designed for use with computers, the learning centers are now available with six positions in addition to the existing four-position listening center, which includes six or eight stereo headphones (2924AVPS). Each center can expand to accommodate additional students with the 10-position jack box with volume control (1210AVPS). Monaural listening centers are available with six positions, which include six or eight stereo headphones (2924AVP) and an eight-position jack box with volume control (1218AVPY). The 1218AVPY is now standard on all monaural centers and replaces the 1208AVPY, which did not feature individual volume controls.
Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. (www.bretford.com) has added six new 4:3 and 16:9 format Video View wall-mounted projection screens. The new 4:3 TVShape Video View models are calibrated to the standard TV size, so viewers see an image that looks correct, whether they’re in a classroom or a conference room. The new screens have a 1.0 gain for the best all-around viewing surface.
Apex Learning released new online math courses tailored to the academic standards in Georgia, Florida, and California. These state-specific additions to Apex Learning’s suite of digital curricula integrate multimedia—in the form of animations, charts, graphs, images, and interactive manipulatives—with instructional text. Price: Pricing varies depending on the implementation Category: math
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
The Elluminate Learning Suite now includes Elluminate Live! V9.5, Elluminate Plan! V2, and enhancements of Elluminate Bridges for learning-management-system integrations. Elluminate Live! V9.5 adds improved audio fidelity and reduced audio time lag, along with higher video-frame rates for smoother video motion. Elluminate Plan! V2 helps organize, script, and package content and activities before the live session. Elluminate Bridges now includes support for ANGEL Learning Management Suite 7.3 and 7.4 and newer Blackboard Learning Systems. Price: Contact company for pricing.Category: Web conferencing
PLE combines 21st-century technology with PLATO Learning’s curricula, assessment and standards management to create a unified system for integrating the key aspects of the educational process. This latest release adds new features and functionality upgrades, including the Create Custom Resource tool, teacher and student communication tools and enhanced batch enroll features.Price: $300-$1,200 per seat (inclusive of instructional content)Category: administrative tool
DreamBox Learning K-2 Math is an interactive math curriculum for grades K-2 that is built on a standards-based mathematics curriculum and presented in a fun, adventure-style interactive game. The program presents in-depth math lessons that develop computational fluency, conceptual understanding, and problem-solving ability. DreamBox analyzes a student's individual responses and dynamically customizes the content and sequence for each child. The program keeps track of the student’s progress and remediates and accelerates the student as needed.Pros: The graphics and audio are attractive enough to hold students’ attention for the intended grade level. The vocabulary is also age-level appropriate. The action on the screen will hold the student’s attention, but does not distract from the lesson. The program readily adapts itself to the individual student’s learning style and pace. The areas covered are based on NCTM standards. Students are given continual positive reinforcement as they move through the tasks. The online dashboard is a great standards-based report card on the students progress through the program. Online support provides teachers and parents with tips on how to transfer math skills to everyday life. Progress emails are automatically sent to parents every time the student uses the program.Cons: The program would benefit from some type of administrative module that handled security and reporting for classroom use.Overall Impression: This is a great example of one of the many Web-based learning tools out there. Because it is Web-based, updates can be done automatically so schools can ensure the curriculum is linked to the latest standards.Retail Price: $12.95 per month per student, volume discounts available