SOFTCHALK V5 (WWW.SOFTCHALK.COM) - Tech Learning

SOFTCHALK V5 (WWW.SOFTCHALK.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
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DREAMBOX LEARNING K-2 MATH

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 

NETOP PROTECTON PRO (WWW.NETOP.COM)

The Netop ProtectOn Pro combines hard-disk protection with remote management and Internet, application, and device controls. Netop built this new solution on the foundation of the popular ProtectOn2, which allowed teachers to automatically roll back virus damage and unwanted changes that students might make to classroom computers. Netop ProtectOn Pro can protect data and system integrity by controlling user access to USB and Wi-Fi devices, hard disks, floppy drives, Web sites, and software applications. It can automatically restore computers and erase damage from viruses and unwanted downloads. Price: U.S. education pricing starts at $19/computer for schools with 25 or more computers. Volume discounts available. Category: remote management

EBEAM SOFTWARE (WWW.LUIDIA.COM)

eBeam software for the eBeam interactive whiteboard now allows users to send a wide variety of interactive-whiteboardgenerated content directly to their Amazon Kindles and Kindle DXs. Students can use this feature to review class lessons, and parents can see what children have studied in class. Price: Contact company for pricing. Category: presentation software

mimio Interactive in NC

PINE VALLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Wilmington, NC; serving 560 K-5 studentsType Of Whiteboard: mimio (mimio Interactive: $549), www.mimio.comWhy whiteboards?“We had funding to catch up with other schools technologically, and learned through talking with them that whiteboards let you pull in from outside sources and use the Internet,” says second-grade teacher Tara Jarman.We chose these whiteboards because ...Jarman, who could buy only one board per grade, liked mimio’s affordability. The teachers needed to share boards, and Jarman found the mimios easily transferable between classes.What do you like about the whiteboards?Jarman has several students with ADD and learning disabilities. “Students love coming up to the board and being involved in the lessons. It is colorful and exciting, even for the kids who can’t read.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?“That’s a hard question. There are a few more tools they could add to the gallery, but there is already a lot of stuff.”Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“They have. I have a monthly meeting with mimio teachers where we share ideas. We share lessons on our wiki, too. Teachers—even the older ones—tell me all the time what they’re doing.”Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?Jarman recommends using the training and resources the company provides. “Install the software on your home computer, so if you think of a lesson at night or on the weekend, you can work on it.”

REMOTE-LEARNER.NET AND KALTURA PARTNERSHIP

Remote-Learner.net and Kaltura announced their partnership to offer educational institutions advanced video capabilities integrated with the Moodle Learning Management System. Using the Kaltura module for Moodle, teachers can upload and manage rich-media content, including lectures, demonstrations, photos, and audio recordings. Students can then post video comments, ask questions and create a face-to-face discussion recorded directly from their webcam or other sources. The module also includes Kaltura’s Video-PowerPoint Widget, which presents a video and a slideshow in full synchronization. Price: Contact company for pricing. Category: videoconferencing

SURPASS SAFARI 6

Surpass Software releases version 6 of its suite of library automation products, bringing a brand-new interface to the company’s publicaccess catalog for desktop and Web. Surpass Safari 6 is available in both a Windows desktop version and a Web-based version that runs on the latest generation of Web browsers. Drag-and-drop features make organizing the page easy. A few of the available widgets are library news and bulletins, a library calendar and events list, a list of links to Web sites, lists of recommended reading lists, and lists of new materials or popular titles that can be configured to scroll the book-jacket images of the selected materials. Surpass Safari 6’s appearance can be customized. Price: Contact company for pricing. Category: library automation

EDUCAST USB DUPLICATOR

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

INTERWRITE MOBI TABLET

The Interwrite Mobi interactive tablet can be used in a variety of ways. If the instructor uses the tablet in “sandbox” mode, the entire class can collaborate on a project. In “split screen” mode, the instructor might have several students or several groups of students working on the same problem and displaying the progress on the screen. And, of course, the instructor can use the mobi tablet as a regular interactive tablet.PROS: The mobi uses RF (radio frequency) communication, is lightweight and compact, and is rugged enough to stand up to many hours of classroom use. The tablet recharges via a USB cable from the computer, so it does not require another AC outlet. It has a 2.4-inch built-in color display that, when used with the Interwrite CPS, shows student responses to questions on the tablet. The tablet integrates with Examview softview, and teachers can use up to seven student mobis at one time.CONS: It still uses a rechargeable pen, which could run out of power before a lesson is over.OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is the best interactive tablet I’ve seen so far. Since multiple students can participate at the same time in their own workspace, this system more or less makes the idea of expensive interactive whiteboards obsolete.www.einstruction.com Teacher tablet, $399; student tablet, $349; mobi learning system (one teacher tablet, two student tablets recharging station and software), $1,150

ANGEL LEARNING MANAGEMENT SUITE, V7.4

The ANGEL LMS 7.4 mashup makes it easier to incorporate rich media content from sources such as YouTube and Picasa into courses. The new release also enables incorporating RSS feeds into courses. With ANGEL LMS 7.4, several schools can be managed from a central location through a new institutional directory.Price: Varies Category: management system