The AVerPen Interactive Collaborative Learning Solution combines collaborative learning with mobility, simultaneous teacher student engagement, and immediate feedback, all from virtually any surface in the room. AVerPen starter sets include one teacher pen with four student pens, able to work
AVerPen combines the features of interactive-whiteboard technologies in a mobile collaborative-learning solution-all usable with virtually any surface in the room. Teacher pens are able to control all features as well as activate, limit, and expand student-pen functions. PROS: The product is lightweight and easy to use. It lets teachers use any hard surface as a wireless slate, and with the class pack, several students can interact at the same time (as many as 60 student pens can be registered). The screen can be split so that each user can work in his or her own section. Using the built-in keypad on the pen, teachers can ask any yes-no, true-false, or multiple-choice question and display results on the screen. In the transparent mode, you can annotate on existing documents. CONS: The pen is more expensive than a student-response system, but because it adds key elements of an IWB in a mobile, collaborative solution that includes assessment, it is a cost-effective alternative to a full IWB, SRS, and slate solution. OVERALL EVALUATION: The AVerPen is a good value in that it combines several 21st-century classroom products in one. If your school has AVer document cameras (the pen is compatible only with AVer), this product is an excellent addition to the classroom. [ED note: Aver does not market the pen as an SRS.]www.avermedia-usa.com/presentationRetail price: Starter pack, $799.99—Joe Huber
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.”
RM ePad (www.RMeducation.com) interactive slate comes bundled with RM Easiteach so teachers can create and deliver engaging lessons with all the interactivity of a whiteboard from the palm of their hand. The RM ePad works with PowerPoint, any Internet browser, and all other classroom software. The unique hand straps make it easy to carry the RM ePad, and text entry is simple with the built-in keyboard. The wireless RF technology allows for 60 feet of unhindered movement. The LCD panel monitors the pad and pen battery, which provides more than 40 hours of use on one charge.
The Torch (www.ignitelearning.com) delivers digital content and assessments configured entirely by grade level, subject, and state. The device, as small as a Wii controller, allows administrators to select customized curriculum for purchase and immediate use. Ignite!’s plug-and-play platform is fully functional on both Mac and PC, requires no installation, and is ideal for interactive-whiteboard-equipped schools, though it also works with a simple projector-computer setup in any classroom. Teachers build and save state-standards-based lessons while administrators, through usage-tracking features, can assess how investments in digital content are being leveraged for academic progress.
Papershow (www.shop paper show.com) is an affordable new interactive presentation tool and digital whiteboard (a starter kit costs $199). Teachers can annotate their PowerPoint presentations during class or capture ideas derived from their students on the digital whiteboard. Papershow allows teachers to project handwritten notes from a pad of paper to an overhead screen by using a Bluetooth pen, a USB key and interactive paper. Teachers can edit presentations, write notes, draw helpful diagrams and host brainstorming sessions, all in real time.
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.
LifeBook T4310 convertible tablet PC has multi-touch input. Configurations start at 4.2 pounds, and 12.1-inch-wide displays offer flexibility, with a modular bay and a dual digitizer supporting two-finger touch. The dual digitizer delivers traditional pen-based input as well as allowing two-finger touch to be used to manipulate images, zoom into maps, and interact with the tablet PC.www.shopfujitsu.com
The OpenClassroom Server (OCS) places the teacher in control of an easily managed local Web 2.0 environment. The OCS lets the teacher and students carry out research, communication, collaboration, publication, and other network-based functions through an intuitive interface and provides classroom-level management and control. The OCS can be connected to a network that is also connected to the Internet, which allows students to search the OCS and the Internet simultaneously. PROS: Retrieving the cached data is very fast. Three models offer a price range for every use. The teacher can select what information can be stored on the OCS. Extra security is provided for wikis, blogs, and forums on the Class OCS-School and OCS-Class models since both provide local storage. Audio/video content that has been downloaded to the server can be more quickly accessed from the OCS server. This not only saves time but also external bandwidth.CONS: The cloud model does not have the same speed and security.OVERALL EVALUATION: Overall evaluation: The OCS-Class and OCS-School provide a speedy, safe, and secure learning environment, while the OCS-Cloud offers the benefits of being managed and hosted by the company.www.aspenlearning.comRetail price: OCS-Class, $1,200; OCS-School, $3,500; OCS-Cloud, $2/student/year