Inspiration 9 is an enhanced and updated version of the original software. New features include the Presentation Manager, which automatically creates bulleted slides and graphics from a student’s diagram, mind map, or outline. Inspiration 9 also features a new Map View, which allows students to create and think in mind maps. Price: single license upgrades $29.95; regular single copies $69; 5-computer license packs $310; 10-packs $550; 20-packs $895 Category: concept mapping
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.
These programs provide musicians, students, and educators with powerful, flexible tools for ear training and music theory education. Designed for musicians of all levels, Auralia and Musition offer drill-based, interactive instruction through versatile but structured exercises and give users instant feedback on their performance. Both programs also offer Solfège support and include customizable syllabi from AP Music Theory and Trinity Guildhall. And for the first time, Auralia and Musition are available for both Windows and Mac OS platforms with the same feature set.Price: $149, separately; $249, bundle Category: music
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)
Sharp Electronics (SharpUSA.com/projectors) announced a special deal for schools: for every PG-F267X Projector purchased by K-12 educational end-user organizations between now and June 30, Sharp is offering a free “classroom pack” of 25 Sharp WriteView EL-W535B Educator Scientific Calculators, with an estimated total retail value of $325. Sharp’s PG-F267X is the company’s first short-throw DLP BrilliantColor professional projector, combining the high brightness and convenience of a short-throw design with the fine image quality and reliability of BrilliantColor DLP technology.
The compact AVerVision CP300 digital document camera has a 3.2 megapixel sensor, 8X digital zoom + 2X AVERZOOM (total 16X zoom), fast-response auto focus, laser positioning guide, split screen, and picture-in-picture. The camera can store up to 80 images and will support 1280x720 resolution. There is also a selection of online lesson plans, software tutorial and training video to help teachers get started. The software for this camera allows for the complete control of the camera from a computer. Presenters can annotate an image on the camera. They also have both remote viewing and remote control of the camera over a LAN. Pros: Unlike some other document cameras, the CP300 is very easy to move from one classroom to another. The software is very easy to use and learn. Since the camera allows users to record and annotate any process, a teacher in any subject can record something she wishes to teach or remediate and annotate the process. This is recorded as an avi file, which means the teacher can then post in on her Web page for students to view. This is in addition to all the standard functions of a document camera. The split screen and picture-in-picture screen allows the teacher to display both a “live” sample and a reference sample (from one of the 80 stored images), or from the Web on the screen at the same time. There is also a microscope adaptor available. Cons: The advanced features might take longer to learn than on some document cameras. But the online software tutorial and training videos are helpful and the basic set-up and operation is as simple as most. Overall Impression: At $700, this is an affordable and worthwhile addition to any classroom. Retail Price: $699-- Joe Huber
System 44 helps students who never mastered basic phonics and decoding skills in the primary grades learn the 44 sounds and 26 letters of the English language and get on track as readers and learners. The program’s adaptive software presents phonics in a unique way specifically designed for older students who are able to grasp complex systems even as they struggle with reading. System 44 includes the new Scholastic Phonics Inventory to help identify students who lack basic phonics skills. Price: Pricing for the program, which includes perpetual software licenses, varies Category: reading intervention
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
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.