UBOOST VERSION 2.0 (WWW.UBOOST.COM) - Tech Learning

UBOOST VERSION 2.0 (WWW.UBOOST.COM)

Used in tandem with schooldistrict learning-management systems, uBoost helps educators reward positive student behavior with points and performance- based honor badges. Points can be used for charitable causes or can be redeemed for merchandise or gift cards. uBoost Version 2.0 includes new parental-notification features. uBoost sends daily email notification to parents regarding the points their children receive, as well as the accomplishments and behaviors for which they have been rewarded. Price: Contact company for pricing. Category: behavior monitoring
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Blackboard Connect for Teachers is used as a platform for outreach to parents concerning urgent situations and academic issues regarding their children. Now teachers can harness that same capability to better involve parents in their child’s classroom performance. Using the service, teachers can reach parents wherever they are with phone messages, and parents no longer have to wait for a quarterly report card to discover that they need to intervene in their child’s academic performance or behavior. Price: Contact company for pricing. Category: teaching tools

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

SPARK (HTTP://SPARK.IROBOT.COM/)

SPARK (Starter Programs for the Advancement of Robotics Knowledge) provides robotrelated resources to help build STEM curricula. Through SPARK, educators, parents, and registered members can access a comprehensive library of educational resources including robot-related tools, activities, events and camps, and development platforms. Price: Contact company for pricing. Category: STEM

Put to the Test : Discovery Software Principalm+

allows administrators to transfer student-information-system (SIS) data to a handheld device. Because data can be accessed from a handheld immediately, the information may be used for everyday discipline, student-conduct incidents and histories, emergency preparedness, and security. Each user is issued his or her own passkey, and data can be synchronized as often as needed.PROS: The Principalm+ transfers information without using a third-party server. The software transfers data to most handhelds, including smartphones, BlackBerry smartphones, and PDAs, and soon to Apple iPhones. Users can add customizable fields. The data-download sets can be customized, such as downloading just phone numbers and health information for a teacher going on a field trip.CONS: None.OVERALL EVALUATION: One of the biggest problems administrators have is that all the student data we collect are never where we need them when we need them. Principalm+ solves this problem. Administrators can use Principalm+ to check the discipline record of a student at the site of an incident rather than having to wait until they get back to the office. They can look up a locker combination on the spot, or even a parent’s phone number. This type of application is long overdue.www.discoverysoftware.comRetail price: Based on per-student, per-module model.

Product: Study Island

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Accessibility Issues and Web 2.0

I'd thought we were doing well with equal access issues, but recently our Special Education Department teachers have raised several questions about accessibility and new, Web-based tools that are being used in classrooms. Where can I learn more about this? As the web becomes increasingly interactive,

Product: www.novlet.com

Novlet.com is a Web application that supports what the site describes as collaborative nonlinear story writing. Using Novlet.com, reader-writers add passages to the narrative anywhere they want. If the user doesn’t like any of the continuations that have already been written, he or she can start a new story line. The stories can be written in a variety of languages, including some obscure ones, such as Bislama.PROS: Novlet.com gives students a chance to practice writing skills on a Web site and to feel that they’re “publishing” something online. Students can write alternative endings to classics or create their own stories.CONS: It’s tough to go back and edit your own passage; since other users have already added passages and hidden drafts, you wind up altering the plot of the story. Talented student writers may feel that this limits their creativity. Also, writers are discouraged from editing one another’s passages. If a writer thinks another’s passages are poorly written, she is encouraged to post a comment or send a message.OVERALL EVALUATION: The application is designed for collaboration, which means that writers of all abilities are invited to participate. That can be positive or negative, depending on your point of view. If you have an active inner journalist or inner English teacher, resisting the temptation to edit may be difficult.www.novlet.comRetail price: free