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
The TriCaster Upgrade 2.5 now includes a software update of its TriCaster BROADCAST, TriCaster STUDIO, TriCaster PRO and TriCaster portable live-production systems. This upgrade adds the ability to record all video in the MPEG-2 Studio Profile, capturing with full 4:2:2 color sampling, which is important when recording chroma-key footage. In addition, enhancements to the real-time MPEG-2 encoding technology yield significant improvements in quality, with a lower compression rate, for broadcast-quality video recording.
GENERAL-PURPOSE: Dell’s 1409X ($749) is a 2,500-lumen DLP projector; with up to 4,000 hours of lamp life, it provides 1,024x768 XGA resolution and has HDCP, component, composite, S-Video, RS232 and audio input/output ports.INEXPENSIVE: The Dell 1209S lists for $549; for that price you get a DLP projector with 2,500 lumens, 800x600 SVGA resolution, up to 4,000 hours of lamp life and HDCP, component via VGA, composite video, S-Video, RS232 and audio I/O ports.POCKET: The M109S ($499) weighs less than a pound; it is a DLP projector with 858x600 SVGA native resolution and 50 lumens of brightness. It measures about 4”x4”x2” and offers connectivity to laptops, desktops, DVD players and gaming consoles. Its lamp life is up to 10,000 hours.HIGH-DEFINITION: Dell recommends its 7609WU for HD use. This $4,999 projector offers 1,920x1,200 WUXGA native resolution, 3,850 lumens, up to 2,500 hours of lamp life and dual HDMI ports.
The new Adobe Video Collection, both standard and professional editions, comprise new versions of Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, and Encore DVD. The Professional edition of the collection delivers tools for editing digital images, designing motion graphics, and visual effects, real-time video and audio
GENERAL-PURPOSE: ViewSonic’s PJD6220 (list price, $1,199; street price, about $900) is a lightweight DLP projector utilizing BrilliantColor technology. Its high brightness and contrast ratios make it suitable for many lighting situations. This projector features closed captioning for the hearingimpaired.SHORT-THROW: ViewSonic PJD5351’s short-throw ratio produces a 50-inch image at a distance of three feet; it weighs just 5.1 pounds.HIGH-DEFINITION: The company’s Precision Pro8100 Home Theater projector delivers full 1,080p HD resolution, and a C2Fine liquid crystal panel and “HQV Hollywood Quality Video” processor produce crisp HD images.
The Epson PowerLite Presenter portable projector and DVD player combo includes two 10-watt speakers with virtual surround sound, microphone support, and built-in closed-captioning capabilities. WXGA resolution displays content from wide-screen notebooks, and the unit supports a host of input devices, such as a camcorder, a digital camera, and an iPod.PROS: The USB plug-and-play connectivity makes for easy setup and eliminates toggling between projector and display. The controls are easy to use and well defined. The PowerLite Presenter projects in native 16:10 (WXGA) aspect ratio as well as 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios and offers USB connectivity for viewing JPG images without a computer. The built-in microphone is a nice feature.CONS: Cannot be mounted on a stationary mount. The 10-watt speakers may not be powerful enough for all locations.OVERALL EVALUATION: The variety of inputs and the clarity of the controls make this projector an excellent choice for anyone looking for a mobile projector in the mid-price range. The HD projection at an aspect ratio of 16:10 makes wide-screen viewing a real pleasure. Every school needs a couple of mobile projectors, and this one is designed for mobility.www.epsonbrighterfutures.comPrice: $808 through the Brighter Futures program
GENERAL-PURPOSE: Mitsubishi’s new XD221U (street price, $700 at www.bhphotovideo.com), a 2,300-lumen DLP projector, has a 10-watt speaker and audio-mix capability (the projector can simultaneously project audio from two sources, such as a DVD and a third-party wireless microphone). It offers XGA native resolution and a lamp life rated at 4,000 hours in low mode.SHORT-THROW: The XD500U-ST (list price, $1,995; street price, around $1,300) projects a 60-inch image at a distance of only 33 inches, or a 100-inch image at a distance of 55 inches. It is an XGA, 2,000-lumen projector with a lamp life of up to 3,000 hours.POCKET: Mitsubishi’s XD95U (list price, $1,995; street price, about $1,000) is not quite “pocket,” but it is a DLP microportable XGA projector weighing three pounds and offering 2,200 lumens. Its lamp life is up to 3,000 hours.HIGH-DEFINITION: The Mitsubishi HC5500 (list price, $4,995; street price, about $2,300) LCD projector projects at a full HD (1,920x1,080) 1,080p resolution. Brightness is rated at 1,200 lumens and lamp life at 5,000 hours in low mode