Calypso Systems’ ezRoom-5000 (www.calypsosystems.com) delivers integrated device control, hardware and software user interfaces, remote monitoring, audio amplification, CAT5 wall plates, projector mounting, and every wire, cable, and connector needed to build out classrooms. The addition of Calypso Systems’ Smart Block adds up to four relays and power-management capabilities to the ezRoom- 5000. Developed on an open-architecture platform, the ezRoom-5000 is compatible with all projectors and standard A/V gear.
Dukane Audio Visual (www.dukcorp.com/ audiovisual) released its Convey Solutions software, which enables schools to gather and analyze data on student progress as well as control all their audiovisual resources from a central location. The Convey product group includes the Convey AClick studentresponse system and Convey Enterprise 4.3 software, which allows schools to aggregate data and lets teachers share formative and summative assessment curricula to meet learning standards.
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.
Calypso has added two configuration options to its ezRoom Classroom Bundle. With the addition of the ezRoom-100 and ezRoom-500 Classroom Bundles, Calypso’s solutions can cost-effectively address the full spectrum of classroom AV integrated multimedia scenarios, from the simplest to the most sophisticated. Leveraging an open-architecture platform, the ezRoom solution enables districts to put in place an integrated multimedia infrastructure that can seamlessly expand to match evolving teaching and technology needs. The ezRoom-100, an entry-level package, offers intuitive, reliable button control and quality audio to classrooms in which projectors, computers, and DVD players are used.
Calypso Systems (www.calypso systems.com) has unveiled the CB-2000 networked buttonpanel controller. The powerful CB-2000 wall-mounted controller integrates classroom A/V technology, such as projectors, document cameras, and audio amplifiers. The CB-2000 can control all networked and nonnetworked devices in the classroom, eliminating the hassle of separate controls and many steps for each device. Teachers can also use Calypso’s Encore! desktop control software with the CB-2000, thus gaining easy access to A/V controls from their classrooms’ PCs, laptops, wireless slates, interactive whiteboards, and similar networked devices.
The HP Z Workstation Series Workstations (www.hp.com/go/workstations) offer the nextgeneration Intel Xeon processor 5500 series with integrated memory controllers and Intel Turbo Boost Technology. The series includes professional graphics solutions, built-in HD audio, and an option for solidstate drives. The HP Z800 Workstation is for users working with applications such as 3-D animation and broadcast video.
Co:Writer 6 enables students who struggle with writing and spelling to work at their own pace. The latest version teams with a companion application, like a word processor or Web browser, to help users build and write correct sentences.PROS: Flexibility and support for guided independent work are key features of this latest version. The word window is always active and displays on top of the companion program’s window, so it’s easy to see recommended words as you compose an email or blog or write a document in your word processor. Students having difficulty with written words can receive audio feedback, because the program optionally reads word choices and completed sentences. Co:Writer will also read aloud menus and dialogbox contents. In addition to three main dictionary options, there are dozens of topic dictionaries from which to choose. Several video tutorials introduce new users to the product.CONS: Unfortunately, most districts will find the application too expensive to install on every school computer. Instead, they will reserve access to students with special needs or IEP/504 plans, thus reinforcing the divide between students receiving mainstream education and children who have trouble accessing the general curriculum. This outcome, it should be noted, is not a fault of the program per se.OVERALL EVALUATION: Co:Writer 6’s strength lies in its ability to create a writing environment tailored to individual users’ needs. Struggling readers and writers both young and old and individuals with poor or illegible handwriting, developmental delays, physical disabilities, and learning challenges can use its word-prediction power to become better writers. While it falls into the category of assistive technology, it’s flexible enough to meet the needs of all students.www.donjohnston.comRetail price: Single licenses start at $325; network unlimited site licenses, $1900/volume discounts.—Carol Holzberg