T&L congratulates the winners of our 33rd annual Awards of Excellence program. You can find summaries of these winning products on the following pages, along with comments from our judges.
SOFTWARE AND WEB-BASED: NEW PRODUCTS
ABC-CLIO Solutions is an online resource that offers authoritative, up-to-date coverage of essential topics in U.S. history and government, world history, geography, and a range of multicultural and popular culture subjects. Created specifically for students in middle and high school, higher education, and public library settings, the suite of 15 online databases provides comprehensive, authoritative reference content, gives students a deeper understanding of coursework, and offers critical thinking explorations of more than 500 scholarly dilemmas that challenge students to think critically and reach their own conclusions. Judges applauded the video content, saying it could be used to support the curriculum in World and U.S. History. Additionally, one judge commented on the variety of the video content—a mix of presentations with voice-overs and live lectures.
(www.adobe.com (opens in new tab))
Available with Creative Cloud or as a free Web or iPad app, Adobe Slate lets students and teachers turn words and images into beautiful visual stories in a matter of minutes. Users can easily create and share slates that can be viewed on any device with no design or coding experience needed. Projects automatically sync between a computer and iPad, so users can easily access them wherever inspiration strikes. Judges found the app to be “great for storytelling,” adding that “animations and fluid movement make students’ work pop.” One judge recommended Slate for use in high schools where visual storytelling or Web publishing apps are being used.
Insight Education Group
ADVANCEfeedback, powered by Insight Education Group, is a growth-centered human capital management system for teachers, coaches, and school leaders. The easy-to-use, cloud-based platform empowers every step of robust observation, evaluation, and professional learning processes, including both live and video-based observations, evidence and artifact integration, coaching, reporting, and scheduling. Judges cited the capability for administrators and teachers to use video in order to evaluate and improve practice as a standout feature. They also ranked ADVANCEfeedback as highly creative in terms of being the first video platform of its kind.
Apperson Evo Social and Emotional Learning
Educators use Apperson’s Evo Social and Emotional Learning (Evo SEL) Web-based platform to conduct the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA), a standardized, strength-based measure of SEL competencies in children grades K–8. The data gained provides insight into students’ emotional competencies and resiliency, and provides a framework for maximizing potential. The platform includes intervention strategies to address specific social and emotional skill gaps identified in the assessment. Judges raved over the great analytics and comparison capabilities, and found it easy to use.
Audisee eBooks with Audio
Lerner Publishing Group
Audisee eBooks with Audio are an ideal solution for reluctant and struggling readers, on-grade readers, auditory learners, and ELL/ESL students. With fiction and nonfiction offerings for readers in grades 4–12, Audisee titles work on a range of devices, from desktops to ereaders, and are available in both single-and multi-user formats for schools and libraries. Judges praised the functions that help support students, such as the ability to highlight text. Judges also found the ebooks visually stunning and appreciated that they were read by a human.
Autodesk Tinkerplay is a free app that lets users design and customize their own creatures and characters on their mobile devices and make them real using a 3D printer. Tinkerplay makes 3D printing a snap. It organizes parts by color, and neatly arranges them so you get a perfect print every time. Judges found set-up to be quick and easy. They also thought the app makes 3D design “fun and simple.” Judges also found that Tinkerplay easily integrates into any classroom setting, and appreciated the free version as a way to test out the concepts.
Barracuda Mobile Device Manager
Barracuda’s cloud-based Mobile Device Manager enables K-12 organizations to enhance the security and management of their iOS and Android devices. A hosted service means that schools can enjoy all the benefits of a world-class MDM solution (such as new features and other updates) without the hassles of needing to maintain any on-premise infrastructure. Judges found it easy to use and were impressed with the scope and effectiveness of the MDM.
Bloomz is a teacher communication app that provides real-time updates, event and volunteer coordination, and community building tools to engage with parents. Bloomz is built for the K-8 environment and enables teachers to save time in their communication with parents by easily sending messages, sharing pictures, scheduling parent-teacher conferences, and even signing up parents for volunteer opportunities. One judge noted that it was “very easy to get up to speed” on the app, and appreciated that Bloomz is available on the tablet, phone, and desktop. One judge added that the app could help “increase the flow of information from school to home and back again.”
Bring Science Alive!
Bring Science Alive! is a comprehensive NGSS-and Common Core-aligned K–5 science program that combines hands-on learning with technology. The program runs on an online learning platform that connects students to teachers and teachers to TCI. Through a single sign-in, teachers can access a wealth of coordinated resources—easy-to-implement presentations with in-class investigations, clear standards-based content, interactive student notebooks, tutorials, formative and summative assessments, and more.
Calibration Connect is an accurate, reliable, Web-based observer calibration tool designed to help districts score and certify observers who conduct teacher, principal, and staff observations, ensuring the validity of the evaluation process. Developed in collaboration with Teaching Learning Solutions, Truenorthlogic Calibration uses a series of relevant, high-quality, master-scored videos of classroom teaching that are aligned with the district’s own rubrics, providing observers with realistic observation scenarios to view and rate. Judges found it easy to use, and a unique offering in the marketplace.
Classroom, Inc.’s Read to Lead: After the Storm
Students learn to read, write, and think like leaders in Read to Lead—a series of Common Core-aligned learning games from Classroom, Inc. The first game, After the Storm, is designed for 6th-grade CCSS. Students take the role of editor-in-chief of a news magazine after a major storm hits the community. They learn that close reading, critical thinking, and decisive action are the keys to success in the game, school, and the workplace. Judges were impressed with the engaging quest-style game, particularly because it assesses close reading strategies utilizing problem-solving skills. They also found the student interface easy to navigate.
Classroom Orchestrator gives teachers the power to monitor all their students’ device screens with a dynamic refresh rate. Teachers can zoom out to view the activity of an entire class, or zoom in to see what individual students are doing. They can also record device activity to share or investigate, or enable screen sharing for easy classroom collaboration. Judges thought Classroom Orchestrator was very effective in schools, and praised the unique capabilities of the software as well as its innovative approach.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Curiosityville presents a digital world for children, their teachers, and their parents. Available on tablets or computers, kids have access to hundreds of adaptive games and classroom activities that support learning at school and at home. Judges loved the variety of online and offline activities and found that they help encourage playful learning. One judge added that the characters are engaging for pre-school and early elementary school.
Deep Freeze Cloud
Deep Freeze Cloud is a suite of enterprise products offered as software-as-a-service. In addition to providing computer protection with the company’s reboot-to-restore technology, the suite includes services to manage software automation, asset administration, power savings, and computer lockdown. Administrators can further secure computers with application control and antivirus, and leverage the power of the cloud via Web or a mobile device to protect and manage IT assets.
Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA2+)
The Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA2+) is a research-based assessment that gives educators the right mix of tools to systematically observe, record, and evaluate changes in student reading performance. With the ability to identify independent reading levels and provide a focus for instruction, teachers are empowered to meet each student’s individual needs. Judges loved the ability to use the program on the iPad.
Discovery Education Math Techbook
Discovery Education’s Math Techbook is the latest in the company’s interactive digital Techbook series. This new educational resource is built from the ground up and serves as a comprehensive math resource for educators and students, offering curriculum, instruction, assessment support, hands-on activities, engaging videos, and digital tools. The series is cloud-based and platform-neutral, working with whatever hardware a school district has—iPad, tablet, mobile device, laptop, or desktop. Judges found the resource user-friendly and loved the variety of examples, graphics, and modes of imparting information to students. They also loved the game-based play and badges.
Door 24 Plus
Available for free on the App Store, Curriculum Associates’ Door 24 Plus iPad app for grades 1–8 establishes students’ fact fluency and then builds computational fluency by providing practice problems using basic facts, number sense, and algebraic thinking. The app supports a blended learning environment and harnesses the power of game design to provide students with an engaging learning experience. Judges appreciated the game-based app as a useful tool to teach math skills, and found it easy to use.
Econ Alive! The Power to Choose
Econ Alive! The Power to Choose is a comprehensive, semester-long curriculum that demystifies economics for high school seniors. It is made up of concise, standards-based text with activities that help students grasp complex concepts through understandable, real-world situations. Using this online curriculum, students complete collaborative projects, writing assignments, critical-thinking challenges, and problem-solving group work. Teachers and students have access to easy-to-implement presentations, clear, standards-based content, interactive student notebooks, formative and summative assessments, and more. Judges praised the engaging technology modalities and found that the curriculum addresses diverse learning needs
Edgenuity MyPath is an online intervention program that offers data-driven differentiated instruction for mathematics and reading. Edgenuity MyPath is designed to meet middle school and high school students at their individual learning levels and give them exactly what they need to catch up, keep up, or get ahead. Spanning skills in grades 3–11, Edgenuity MyPath offers students instruction and practice on the skills and concepts they need to focus on in order to be successful. Judges commended the ease of adaptation, incorporation, and delivery of feedback.
eSchoolPLUS Family App
SunGard K-12 Education
The eSchoolPLUS Family App, which is designed to tighten the feedback loop between schools and families, puts just-in-time information at the fingertips of parents, guardians, and students on their mobile device. Easy-to-view icons quickly connect families with classwork, schedules, attendance, grades, and more. By displaying data through the lens of action, the eSchoolPLUS Family App helps schools and families partner in supporting student achievement. The app is available for iOS devices, Android, and Kindle devices. Judges loved the user-friendly interface and appreciated the opportunities to keep parents in the loop.
Go Math! Academy
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Go Math! Academy is an online, at-home learning program that combines practice problems and help videos with games and rewards to help students succeed with GO Math! (or any Common Core-aligned program). The program is available for Grades K–8. Judges applauded the gamified math practice, which offers awards, choice, and parent ownership. They also loved the video, practice, and quick learning checks as well as the bilingual capabilities.
GoQuest interest-based personalized learning software makes teacher management of student-centered inquiry easy. The software supports educators in teaching critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication with a research database of over 40,000 curated online resources, as well as a differentiation engine allowing teachers to individualize instruction for each student with just a click or two of the mouse. Judges praised the “beautiful” interface and rated the surveys that students are able to complete for learning style and preference as a unique feature, differentiating GoQuest from competitors.
Gaggle School and District Websites
Specifically created for K–12, Gaggle’s Safe Classroom Learning Management System features built-in processes and classroom workflows designed to promote educator and student productivity. For schools using Google Apps for Education or Office 365, Gaggle Safety Management elevates those products into full-featured learning platforms while enhancing their compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). As a leader in educational technology for more than 15 years, Gaggle continues to innovate, providing affordable school and district Web site solutions that unify the online experience. The company also offers an affordable archiving and records retention solution that integrates with any leading email or communication platform.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
HMH Player provides online and offline access to HMH content and curricula in a mobile-friendly format. One-click customization capabilities enable teachers to create and customize lessons and add content outside of HMH programs. Judges liked that the app is correlated to standards, and found it easy to use. One judge in particular loved the abundance of educational plug-ins available.
Hybridge K–8 software from Compass Learning makes combining digital and face-to-face instruction easy and can make an existing blended environment more manageable, with delivery, differentiation, and alignment options where the teacher stays in control. The software is fully integrated with national assessment providers and features versatile reporting tools for high-level instructional decision-making tailored to educators’ needs. Judges rated Hybridge to be an interesting product, designed to support scaffolding in a blended learning environment. Another judge commented on the smooth and easy-to-use student interface.
iCurio brings easy access and order to a wealth of relevant and reliable online educational resources to support a district’s shift towards blended learning environments. iCurio delivers Knovation’s collection of over 360,000 online educational resources—hand-selected, categorized, and aligned to standards by curriculum experts to ensure relevancy and comprehensive coverage for every grade, subject, and learner. Online resources can be easily organized according to a district’s curriculum, providing a consistent structure and foundation for blended learning. Judges found iCurio highly effective in the classroom. Additionally, one of our judges cited the product’s workflow as a winning feature.
Keyboarding Without Tears
Handwriting Without Tears
Keyboarding Without Tears teaches the keyboarding and pre-keyboarding skills students need to succeed in today’s K–5 classrooms. The program is designed to help prepare students for the digital world with general computer readiness and digital citizenship skills. Keyboarding Without Tears features game-based lessons and activities; continuous, meaningful review; and cross-curricular connections. Judges found it extremely easy to use from a teacher’s perspective, and appreciated the sequence of the program as well as the teacher guidelines.
Lead and Transform Diagnostic Tool
Based on the 14 Essential Conditions for effective technology integration that are foundational to the ISTE Standards, the free Lead & Transform Diagnostic Tool allows CTOs, CIOs, school leaders, and other decision makers to evaluate their school or district’s progress toward technology integration. The tool provides a snapshot of how a school measures up in meeting the Essential Conditions and then automatically generates a report that helps pinpoint strengths and areas for growth. Judges praised the tool’s educational value and found it superior to similar products on the market
Loot Pursuit: Pompeii
Loot Pursuit: Pompeii is an educational app that provides a hands-on, drills-based approach to solving math problems that align to the Common Core Mathematics Standards for 6th and 7th grade. Players must solve challenging math problems involving algebra, geometry, fractions, integers, and ratios in order to recover genuine artifacts stolen from the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. With a comic-strip storyline guiding play, the app blends fun and learning. Judges liked the historical aspect of the game and found the art appealing and interesting for students. One judge noted that the app contains various math strategies.
MakerBot’s free iPad app MakerBot PrintShop offers a brand new feature called MakerBot Shape Maker that takes drawings and sketches and instantaneously turns them into 3D printable files. With the snap of a photo and a touch of a finger, MakerBot PrintShop Shape Maker allows users to easily and quickly transform sketches, photos, and screen captures into a 3D printable file, without any 3D design experience. One judge found that the app, paired with a MakerBot 3D printer, would be a good choice for schools committed to STEAM education, design thinking, and creative makerspace opportunities. Another judge found the app easy to use and appreciated the availability of templates.
MindPlay Teacher Companion
MindPlay Teacher Companion is a professional development course designed to immerse K–12 teachers in best practices and expert knowledge on effective reading instruction strategies. MindPlay Teacher Companion is co-authored by Dr. Nancy Mather, co-author of the Woodcock Johnson IV, with Dr. Blanche Podhajski, Dr. Janice Sammons, and Marilyn Varricchio. The course uses lectures, videos, written information, and activities organized into eight modules to help teachers better understand how the English language works. One of our judges applauded the program as being innovative and thought it could help improve students’ reading performance. The judge also loved the complementary online reading tool, MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach, which helps educators support students with diverse reading skills.
Nepris Industry Connections
Nepris is a cloud-based social platform where teachers and industry professionals connect and collaborate through virtual, interactive sessions and show students science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math applied in the real world. Nepris makes this a turn-key process by identifying and registering professionals and teachers, matching professionals’ skills to the teachers’ needs, advising on best practices for classroom interaction, hosting the interactive sessions, and tracking all the data in a social platform. Judges raved over the platform, and thought that it could be used to inspire students by bringing industry experts into their classrooms. They also found the Web site clean and modernlooking with a well-designed and streamlined interface.
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Office Mix is an app that supports educators in creating and sharing rich, interactive lessons, perfect for blended learning environments. Mixes play like Web videos with added capabilities for animations, live links, and more. Judges gave Office Mix high marks for scope and effectiveness, as well as ease of navigation.
Online Special Education Academic Instruction
PresenceLearning’s online special education academic instruction connects schools with fully credentialed, highly qualified special education teachers located remotely who deliver instruction to students with mild, moderate, and severe needs. The services are delivered via live, interactive video sessions and are provided one-on-one or in small groups for reading, writing, math, and life skills and functional living. Using PresenceLearning’s platform, remote teachers have access to 45,000 activities and materials or can upload customized materials to ensure they are meeting student needs. Judges were impressed with the teachers featured in the video lessons, noting that they understand the importance of differentiated instruction. Judges also found it easy to navigate, and appreciated the flexible scheduling options for students to meet teachers.
Pathblazer K–8 math and reading intervention software helps educators engage struggling students, hold their attention, and deliver precise instruction to accelerate kids to grade level. Pathblazer features adaptive screeners and diagnostics, scaffolding and non-repetitive re-teaching, and real-time actionable data to inform instructional decisions. Judges found the instructions on the student side clear and easy to follow, and loved the age-appropriate characters and graphics. One judge added that Pathblazer could be easily integrated in whole-class and small-group settings.
Pearson Middle Grades American History 2016
Available in print, digital, and blended options, Pearson Middle Grades American History 2016 is designed to unlock the story of our nation’s history with engaging stories, activities, and opportunities for drawing connections from the content to students’ own lives, expanding their understanding of American history and why it remains important today. The program bridges time-tested best practices, curriculum standard expectations, and technology to help prepare students to be college-and career-ready. Judges rated the program as being very thorough in scope and appreciated the interactive features, such as the ability for students to click on parts of a historical document for more information. They were also thrilled with the supplemental materials, such as videos and ideas to support the curriculum (for example, publishing blog posts about a specific topic).
PebbleGo Next is the next step for researchers when they are ready to graduate from the original PebbleGo. PebbleGo Next features curriculum-connected content for grades 3–6 starting with State & American Indian Studies, rich articles with more robust information, and text suitable for readers in grades 3-6. PebbleGo Next includes expert-level text, fully narrated by professional voice-over artists to provide essential scaffolds for struggling readers, English language learners, and more. Judges thought students would find the product engaging and user-friendly. One judge noted that the ease of use and variety of ways that information is presented make it ideal for the grades for which it is intended.
Professional Learning Platform (PLP)
Knowledge Delivery Systems
The Professional Learning Platform from KDS is a cloudbased, enterprise professional development solution. PLP supports both learning and applying knowledge, and provides educators with curated content, social collaboration options, and continuous professional development. Judges found the PLP innovative and welcomed the ability to network with colleagues. They also rated the PLP very easy to use.
RedBird Advanced Learning
Redbird Mathematics represents the culmination of 25 years of research into personalized learning by Stanford University. The K–7 digital curriculum uniquely offers students rigorous, adaptive, and personalized math instruction that includes multiple modes of instruction, active learning through interactive problem-solving, and engaging games to extend practice and enrich conceptual understanding. Additionally, rich STEM projects, career pathways, and contextualized problems inspire students to develop a love of mathematics and connections to the real world. Judges commended the program’s use of adaptive reinforcement tools and thought it provided enrichment for students, thereby maximizing learning potential.
RollBack Rx Home Edition
RollBack Rx is a comprehensive Windows System Restore solution that enables users and IT administrators to easily restore their PCs to any previous state in just a few seconds. Any unexpected incidents such as user errors, viruses, or faulty software installations can be easily and quickly reversed. One judge listed the compatibility with virtual machines as a unique feature. Judges also liked the ability to roll forward and back in time for restoration points.
TIME For Kids Classroom App
TIME For Kids
The TIME for Kids Classroom App is a dynamic teaching tool that brings exclusive current events content to life through videos, interactive timelines, photo galleries, polls, maps, and more. The TIME For Kids Classroom App also features alternate reading levels, audio read-alouds, and Spanish translations of select text and quizzes aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Judges gave the app high marks for quality and effectiveness, and found the app easy to use.
Total Motivation—a print-and-online supplemental curriculum used by two million students nationwide—is flexible enough to fit any scope and sequence but rigorous enough to drive instructional design on its own. Designed to help students build critical thinking skills, Total Motivation aligns to state standards and reflects the rigor of high-stakes assessments. Online progress monitoring, activity coding, and a wealth of instructional strategies empower educators to provide quality instruction in the classroom. One judge gave it high marks in terms of navigation and ease of use. The judge also found that the unique use of technology in this curriculum made it a winner.
Understanding Dyslexia, by MindPlay, is a new, online professional development course for K–12 teachers and parents offering expert knowledge on identifying students who have dyslexia and instructional strategies that help them learn to read. The program is co-authored by Nancy Mather, Ph.D., and Barbara J. Wendling, M.A. Judges appreciated the mix of video, audio, and text. One judge in particular praised the specialized content covered and the targeted resources suitable for this population of learners.
Waggle Smart Practice, Assess, and Instruct
Triumph Learning, LLC
Waggle is a personalized, seamless, all-in-one smart practice solution for blended learning. In addition to Smart Practice, Waggle features Assess for assessment, and Instruct, a differentiated instructional toolset for teachers that integrates both Coach and Waggle resources. Judges thought the student demo was easy to use and were impressed with the different components available for instant integration. One judge in particular praised the formative assessment options built into each aspect of the tool.
Voces ESL/ELD eTextbook
The Voces ESL/ELD eTextbook was created for beginning-to lowintermediate-level English language learners to support language development while addressing cultural components that are unique to high school students. Each chapter includes assessments, vocabulary lists, audio recordings, recording exercises, videos, games, flashcards, scavenger hunt activities, and more. Judges gave the ESL/ELD eTextbook high scores across the board, finding it highly effective and easy to navigate. Judges also rated the eTextbook as age-appropriate and appreciated the variety of media.
Voces US History Digital Courseware
Voces US History is an all-in-one, digital, courseware site license that includes history texts with accompanying lessons and activities. The courseware covers the Pre-Columbian America of the New World to the Obama Administration, all in clear and concise lessons that are delivered in bite-sized pieces. The program can be accessed from home and schools.
SOFTWARE AND WEB-BASED: BEST UPGRADES
Apperson Evo Academics Free Teacher Edition
Apperson, Inc. has made its Evo Academics assessment platform available free of charge to educators. The free teacher edition, designed by teachers, allows educators to create online quizzes and tests, share tests with colleagues, build and store rubrics, assign tests to students through a student portal, access assessment results in real time, and generate student proficiency reports for the standards assessed. Teachers can use one platform for both assessment creation and online testing. The platform supports several question types, including multiple choice, true/false, short answers, and essays.
Atomic Integrate offers a cost-effective professional development, technology integration, and support solution that enables teachers to effectively utilize technology to impact student achievement. The solution includes Tech Integration Projects, which provides 21st-century skills concept training and classroom projects, and Training Spotlights, which focuses on current ed tech topics. Subscriptions to Atomic Integrate come with anytime, anywhere online access for one year. Judges loved the upgrades to the solution as well as the LMS integration capabilities. They also rated the workshops and training tutorials as being well done, adding that many schools would benefit from them.
Tinkercad is a free tool for 3D design, 3D modelling, and 3D printing. Teachers don’t need to be software experts, thanks to Tinkercad’s built-in lessons. Users of all ages, from kindergarten to college, learn the basics of 3D design. Tinkercad is also ideal for exporting to Minecraft and learning the basics of coding. One judge found Tinkercad the perfect fit for schools that emphasize STEAM education. Across the board, judges were impressed with the unique use of technology in Tinkercad as well as the ease of use.
Barracuda Email Security Service
Barracuda’s Email Security helps IT administrators protect their business against all of the threats associated with business email. The comprehensive cloud-based service includes best-of-breed spam and virus blocking, data protection, DoS prevention, email continuity, encryption, and policy management. Judges were pleased with the ease of use and gave it high scores overall.
ClassFlow is a school system version of Promethean’s, cloud-based, interactive lesson delivery platform. Accessible from any device with an Internet connection, ClassFlow connects front-of-class displays, such as interactive whiteboards, flat panels, and projector systems, with individual student laptops and tablets to create a connected classroom where teachers can stimulate collaborative learning opportunities. ClassFlow for Schools brings together lesson creation and delivery with a range of features designed to take learning beyond the classroom and aggregate data from students’ progress against standards across an entire school or school system.
ClassLink provides OneClick Single Sign-On and OneRoster. Available in both free and enterprise editions, ClassLink’s OneClick technology enables single sign-on access to Web, Windows, and Google applications, and instant access to files at school and in the cloud. ClassLink OneRoster easily and securely delivers class rosters to any publisher using open technology standards. Accessible from any computer, tablet, or smartphone, ClassLink is ideal for 1-to-1 and BYOD initiatives. Judges found that ClassLink was similar to the learning management systems they were used to, with some unique features that made it stand out. One judge praised the ability to attach files, videos, whiteboards, polls, and pages to the discussion area.
Computing for EducationCity
EducationCity connects teaching and learning by pairing time-saving teacher tools with standardsaligned student activities. The latest subject, Computing, combines colorful animation and interactive resources to offer K–5 students a friendly introduction to essential technology skills, including Internet safety best practices, how technology works, and the building blocks of coding. Judges loved the easy-to-understand lessons for students, and cited those lessons as being chunked appropriately by grade level. One judge added that the engaging game and video interface helps captivate young students.
Educational Technology and Online Learning Courses
Connections Learning by Pearson
Education Technology and Online Learning Courses provide students with technology instruction and then ask them to apply their new learning to academic assignments. Course content aligns with the ISTE Standards for Students as well as state and national standards. The content also addresses 21st-century skills and creates both academic and technology lessons and activities to reinforce technology skills as students apply them to academic concepts. Judges were pleased with the ease of navigation and found the courses comprehensive and innovative.
Connexus School Management System
Connections Learning by Pearson
Connexus is a comprehensive online learning management system that, through an intuitive and user-friendly learning platform, connects students with their lessons, teachers, and a wide range of educational resources. Connexus is accessible 24 hours a day from any device with an Internet connection.
Deep Freeze Enterprise
Faronics Deep Freeze Enterprise provides the ultimate workstation protection by preserving the IT administrator’s desired computer configuration and settings. Each time a user restarts their computer, Deep Freeze restores the computer back to the preferred configuration. Judges loved the new scheduling and countdown features, and found it an overall solid solution for schools.
Edgenuity Curriculum and Learning Management System
Edgenuity’s middle and high school courses combine rigorous content with direct-instruction videos from teachers, multimedia, and interactive learning tools and resources to engage students. Judges noted that many courses can be modified to satisfy a district’s specific needs. Judges also loved the comprehensive records and ease of maneuvering around the system.
Reflex is designed to help students of all ability levels to develop fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The system continuously monitors students’ performance to customize the experience for every learner. Reflex also provides teachers with reporting tools to monitor and support student progress. Judges gave ExploreLearning Reflex high scores for ease of navigation and operation, and thought it would be an ideal product for schools.
Faronics Insight is a classroom management tool that helps teachers create a collaborative learning experience with their students. Insight Teacher empowers instructors with the ability to educate, monitor, and communicate with an entire class from one central computer or iPad. Insight Tech Console also helps IT professionals manage and support multiple labs with ease. Faronics Insight is compatible with Windows, Mac, Chromebook, Linux, iOS, and Android devices. Judges appreciated the software’s support for mobile devices, and rated it as a useful tool for high-bandwidth environments.
Gaggle Safe Classroom LMS
Specifically created for K–12 classrooms, Gaggle’s Safe Classroom Learning Management System features built-in processes and classroom workflows designed to promote educator and student productivity. For schools using Google Apps for Education or Office 365, Gaggle Safety Management elevates those products into full-featured learning platforms while enhancing their compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Judges gave it high marks all around, citing its functionality and ease of navigation as winning features.
Connections Learning by Pearson
GradPoint is an easy-to-use and cost-effective online and blended learning solution for grades 6–12. It enables districts and schools to personalize learning with rigorous, standards-based core, elective, honors, and Advanced Placement curriculum delivered on an intuitive learning platform. Judges commended GradPoint for supporting a definite need for specific communities, and rated the resources included in GradPoint to be thorough and well thought out.
The iLit mobile app is a comprehensive, digital literacy solution designed to produce two or more years of reading growth in an academic year for students in grades 4–10. The intervention program offers personalized learning support based on students’ instructional needs, with engaging interactivities and built-in reward systems that motivate and track progress.
Developed to accelerate English language development, iLit ELL’s research-based, digital intervention is enhanced with straightforward, point-of-use scaffolding and content to support English language development. Students learn through word study, develop prosody with the English language, and become independent readers who meet grade-level standards.
i-Ready Diagnostic & Instruction
Built for the Common Core, i-Ready Diagnostic & Instruction combines a valid and reliable adaptive diagnostic with personalized student online instruction and teacherled instruction. The diagnostic pinpoints student needs down to the sub-skill level and generates a combination of online instruction and downloadable teacher-led lessons that are unique to each student’s diagnostic result, in addition to providing targeted skill instruction support through mobile apps. These individualized instructional plans are easy to understand, differentiate instruction, and support blended learning. Judges commended the software’s function of automatically grouping students for small group instruction based on needs and progress. One judge admired the ability to track student progress toward year-end goals and loved the powerful reporting features.
Issues & Controversies
Featuring a new design and a variety of new features, Issues & Controversies helps students understand critical issues by exploring hot topics in politics, government, business, society, education, and popular culture. Original videos and educator support materials enhance select issues, and interactive polls allow students to vote on every issue. Updated weekly, Issues & Controversies offers in-depth articles—each presenting both sides of an issue—to inspire constructive debates. Judges praised the high quality and comprehensiveness of the resource. One judge emphasized that it could work particularly well in flipped classrooms due to the wealth of topics for students to read and research before discussing their findings in class.
LanSchool version 7.8 offers several enhancements to the software that enables educators to monitor, collaborate, and communicate with students. The system now supports up to 10,000 connections, and the functionality of the Chromebook extension now includes LanSchool features such as View Student, Show Student, Save Snapshot, and Chat. The ease of use and navigation won high marks from our judges, and they also rated the software as being comprehensive in scope.
Learning Bird offers a library of teacher-created digital lessons that provide multiple perspectives on every topic. All lessons are aligned to local curricula and textbooks and designed to help students develop self-directed learning skills. Judges were impressed with the program’s provision of a personalized range of perspectives on any topic, aligned to students’ curriculum, grade, and textbook. Additionally, one judge commended Learning Bird’s innovative and convenient approach to learning.
The LearnBop platform continuously collects data to create feedback loops for ongoing improvement of student performance, teacher effectiveness, and the efficacy of the content within the system. The platform organizes data into intuitive dashboards that offer teachers a dynamic view of class performance down to each individual student. Judges appreciated that they were able to see students’ attempted answers, as well as access individual and class results. They also cited the diverse reinforcement tools as standout features.
Mackin Educational Resources
Mackin Educational Resources provides library and classroom materials for grades PreK–12. Mackin users have access to more than 18,000 publishers and a collection of more than 2.5 million printed titles. Additionally, Mackin features a robust selection of more than 300,000 ebook titles and close to 50,000 audio books, databases, and video resources are available through the digital management system, MackinVIA. Judges were impressed with the scope and found MackinVIA easy to use and straightforward. They also liked the ability to personalize the content and add books to groups.
Lightspeed Systems Web Filter
Lightspeed Systems Web Filter provides safe Web access for any device, anywhere, anytime. Designed specifically for K–12 schools, Web Filter makes it easy to give students, teachers, and administrators the policies they need for appropriate Web use, whether users are on or off the school network. Features of this scalable filter include drilldown reporting and the ability to block, decode, or decrypt SSL traffic. Judges gave the Web Filter high scores all around. They found it easy to use, navigate, and rated it a useful solution for schools.
MimioStudio 11.3 with MimioMobile3 app
With the release of MimioStudio 11.3 classroom software and the MimioMobile 3 mobile app, MimioStudio offers full compatibility and seamless integration with the MimioMobile application, which enables educators to deliver collaborative lessons across any Apple or Android mobile device for up to 50 students at a time. All current customers can upgrade to these versions for free from app stores and Mimio’s Web site. Judges rated the software as easy to use and high quality. They also loved the QR login for the app.
MyLearningPlan Professional Development Management System
My Learning Plan Inc.
MyLearningPlan, a PDMS (Professional Development Management System), offers quick and simple planning, tracking, and evaluation of all forms of professional learning in one comprehensive online system. Judges gave the system high marks for ease of use and its unique approach to professional development.
myLexia App for the Apple Watch
The myLexia app is the educator interface for Lexia Reading Core5, which delivers real-time student skills data and norm-referenced performance measures to educators. Compatible with the Apple Watch, as well as with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, the app includes the Assessment Without Testing technology, which gives teachers and administrators mobile access to school-wide, classroom, and individual student performance data and actionable lesson plans, without stopping to administer a test. Judges praised the clear, concise, and easy access for both teachers and students. They also loved the easily accessible feedback.
MyStatLab: Interactive Assignments for MyStatLab
MyStatLab is an online resource for teaching and learning statistics. The tool creates personalized learning experiences that help students better absorb statistics course material. Interactive Assignments offer an integrated mix of text, videos, interactive animations, tutorials, and assessment. Each assignment guides students through text and multimedia content that helps students develop conceptual connections and aids in knowledge retention. MyStatLab won our judges over with its impressive scope and effectiveness, as well ease of use and navigation.
NetSupport School is a classroom instruction, orchestration, monitoring, and management system. The latest version offers compatibility for Windows Server 2008 and Vista systems. Internet metering and control has been extended to include support for https locations. Individual page controls for site filtering allow a full Web site to be blocked, while allowing access to specific pages within the site. Instant Messenger monitoring now provides the option to block total access for IM products or, where appropriate, allow use but monitor dialogue. NetSupport School won judges over thanks to its ease of use and appropriateness for any school setting.
New Learner Experience and Courses for Plato Courseware
Grounded in a tradition of solid research and applied innovation, Plato Courseware provides standardsbased online courses. Plato’s learner experience streamlines functionality, transforms interaction, and empowers students to take ownership of their learning. With robust flexibility and rigorous content, students have the option to choose from a multitude of courses, from math and ELA to Career and Technical Education courses. One of our judges was blown away by the collaboration element, and cited the collaboration space with shared whiteboard, video playlist, chat, and documentation as a standout feature. The judge also praised the clearly thought out instructional sequence.
PBS LearningMedia offers more than 100,000 digital resources for PreK–12 educators and continues to expand its provision of education content that appeals to digital native students. Resources are available in English and Spanish, and are aligned to various national and Common Core State Standards. New content is now available in all educational subject and topic areas in various formats, from videos and primary source documents to virtual events and maps.
Truenorthlogic PD Connect is a complete, Web-based professional development management system that provides educators with a personalized approach to professional development that evolves as the educator adapts and grows. Truenorthlogic PD Connect allows districts to house all learning opportunities. The system can manage district-created or led content or online content from any provider in the same system for ease of use and tracking of credits and completions. Judges found the system easy to navigate, and said it “helps streamline the whole PD process.”
Scantron Analytics features interactive dashboards, smart filters, and fast performance powered by Qlik. With Scantron Analytics, teachers can immediately answer questions about students, assessments, and classes with a single click, making it easier to adjust instruction for improved achievement. Judges loved the detailed support available for diverse school constituencies and were impressed with the visuals for graphs.
School Loop Plus
School Loop is a learning management system for K–12 professional learning communities that supports vulnerable youth and at-risk populations. School Loop’s communications and collaboration tools connect education teams with parents and students, help students to achieve their academic goals, and enable school staff to identify and monitor at-risk students, as well as to evaluate the impact of support programs. Judges loved that parents, teachers, and students can all see the same view, eliminating confusion. They also appreciated the simplified user interface for both teachers and students in the latest version.
Schoology is an online LMS platform that fosters collaboration, communication, and resource sharing in schools and colleges. Teachers can build media-rich learning communities within Schoology where students can share, collaborate, and learn together, both in and out of the classroom—even from a smartphone. Judges praised the simple and easy-to-use interface for teachers, and one judge found that it eased the transition to an LMS in their experience. Judges also raved over the administrative and management improvements in the latest version.
International Science Teaching Foundation and Science Bits
Science Bits is a multimedia curriculum that promotes the change from a transmission educational model—based on the transmission of facts from teacher to learner—to a constructivist one—based on inquiry, critical thinking, discovery, and learning by doing. Science Bits empowers teachers with lessons that adhere to the constructivist 5E Instructional Model, promote real understanding, and engage students in learning. The lessons use many multimedia and interactive resources and help monitor student progress. Judges commended the variety of content (such as videos, interactive challenges, and assessments) and the range of activities and lessons. One judge added that Science Bits could help build foundational skills to assist students in learning concepts.
Sonocent Audio Notetaker Version 4 (Windows)
With the Sonocent Audio Notetaker study and productivity tool, users can take live recordings or import audio from lectures, meetings, classroom activities, and brainstorming sessions. The software displays each phrase of speech as a colored chunk. Our judges ranked the tool as appropriate for secondary school and thought it could have an advantage for special needs classrooms. One judge raved over the many creative ways they could apply the software in a school setting, and rated it “wonderful” overall.
The College Board
SpringBoard Digital is a comprehensive, cloud-based college and career readiness English Language Arts and Mathematics curriculum from the College Board with a collaborative, open workspace that fosters teamwork and builds 21st-century skills. SpringBoard Digital includes virtual tools, manipulatives, and correlations to the Khan Academy, Turnitin’s Revision Assistant, and Learnosity Assessment Engine. Teachers can personalize lessons, pacing calendars, maps, and parent letters. Students can highlight, mark up, or annotate text to make SpringBoard their own. Judges raved over the high-quality lessons aligned with assessments and found SpringBoard thorough and easy to use.
Study Island is a robust K–12 solution that helps drive meaningful formative assessment strategies in the classroom. Study Island’s learning programs offer academic support through practice, immediate feedback, and built-in remediation. Edmentum Sensei for Study Island brings data-rich analytics to life via intuitive charts, graphs, and visual cues. Judges found it easy to use and thought it would be useful as a station in the classroom to support the curriculum.
Tales2Go is a Netflix-like subscription service that streams audio book titles from popular publishers to desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. Teachers can assign the same audio book to an entire class or grade. One judge found Tales2Go highly effective as an audio book platform, and thought it could help students with their comprehension skills, foster a love of reading, and boost listening skills in various ways.
Think Through Math
Think Through Learning Inc.
Think Through Math’s Web-based instructional system provides rigorous lessons built upon each state’s learning standards, fostering deep conceptual understanding and sustainable gains in proficiency. Think Through Math features live, online math teachers who provide one-to-one tutoring for struggling students in real time.
Turnitin’s cloud-based service for originality checking, online grading, and peer reviewing saves instructors time and provides valuable feedback to students. Turnitin is one of the most widely distributed educational applications in the world and is used by more than 15,000 institutions in 140 countries to manage the submission, tracking, and evaluation of student papers online. Judges called it an “amazing, effective tool,” and particularly loved the ability for teachers to send comments back to a student or to print from the site as needed.
Stoneware Inc. released webNetwork version 6.3, a significant update that extends the functionality of the Unified Workspace platform for IT while continuing to provide users with the freedom and flexibility they want. With redesigned file services, users can leverage the storage and editing capabilities of cloud providers like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Box, and Dropbox within their existing workspace. The upgrade also introduces single signon (SSO) enhancements and webPass wizards to simplify the creation of custom SSO definitions. Judges gave it high scores for ease of use and appropriateness for use in a school setting.
HARDWARE AND NETWORK: NEW PRODUCTS
16-Port Tablet Charging Station
Tripp Lite’s 16-Port Tablet Charging Stations can hold 16 tablets while providing high-speed charging, syncing, secure storage, and flexible deployment. Each USB charging port delivers up to 2.4 amps of charging current, and the removable and reconfigurable dividers help protect and organize each tablet. The station’s sturdy steel construction safely contains the devices, and the station can be mounted to a wall, or deployed on a desk, counter, or on the floor. An optional handle kit can turn the station into a mobile cart. Judges ranked the station as being sturdy, compact, and easy to use. They also praised the efficient use of space for technology storage.
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The Acer Chromebook C910 features a 15.6”, full, HD-wide viewing angle display, as well as two big upward-facing speakers for high-definition sound. The model is powered by the latest Intel processor based on Broadwell micro-architecture, and features an ultra-fast MIMO 2x2 802.11ac wireless connection that helps boost Internet speeds to up to three times faster than previous models. Judges were impressed with the quick boot time and found the display to be very high quality. They also appreciated the wealth of product resources on Acer’s Web site, including resources and drivers.
ActivPanel by Promethean
Promethean’s ActivPanel interactive flat panel display modernizes the classroom by uniting vibrant HD images, lesson delivery software, and collaborative interactivity. The ActivPanel reveals brilliant colors and crisp details to boost readability. Students can actively participate in lessons at the display with just a swipe, pinch, or zoom. The intuitive interface provides a natural experience, whether writing with the digital pen or using multi-touch gestures. Judges raved over the quality of the ActivPanel and found it easy to get to grips with Promethean’s software. One judge added that the sturdy glass front allows students who are familiar with tablets to use the ActivPanel with ease, while teachers don’t need to worry about damage to the glass.
Aver Information Inc. Americas
C30i is a small-footprint charging solution packed with features to safely secure and efficiently charge 30 laptops, Chromebooks, or tablets. C30i provides intelligent charging, with the ability to automatically shut off once devices are fully charged, and can help conserve energy consumption or prevent any circuit overload. Its slide-out shelves and individual AC adapter compartments provide users easy device access and management. Judges loved the compact design and shelves, as well as the cord management. They found it was one of the easiest carts to set up and use.
BlackMagic Studio Camera
The Blackmagic Studio Camera HD or 4K is built for live production with a 10-inch viewfinder, MFT lens mount, four-hour battery, talkback, tally indicators, phantom-powered microphone connections, 3G-SDI, and user upgradeable optical fiber connections that let users connect to a switcher with a single cable. The camera’s tough, lightweight, magnesium alloy body is packed with all the built-in features schools, students, and education professionals need for multi-camera production and broadcast. Judges thought the camera was an “excellent piece for any school looking to have a professional quality television studio.” One judge added that, although set-up was a bit challenging, the outcome was excellent.
The BoxLight DeskBoard is a portable, height and tilt adjustable desk surface that can be interactive via an attached ultra-short throw interactive projector. The DeskBoard is an ideal solution for schools that need mobile, customized interactivity as it can be used as an interactive screen or as an interactive desk with the ability to raise, lower, tilt, and move from classroom to classroom. One judge was thoroughly impressed with the DeskBoard, citing its adaptability for different learning and teaching styles, its interactive features, and its flexible structure as winning features.
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The Epson BrightLink 536Wi is an interactive, short-throw projector offering collaborative learning opportunities and dual pen-based interactivity that transforms any wall or existing whiteboard into an interactive display. PC-free annotation tools allow teachers to write on images projected directly from an iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android device, document camera, or Blu-ray Disc player. In addition, the BrightLink 536Wi is compatible with SMART Notebook, Promethean ActivInspire, and MimioStudio educational software programs. Judges found the projector easy to hook up, and liked the long power cord, as well as the extra cords provided for auxiliary uses, such as USB and VGA. Judges were also impressed with the brightness and clarity, even in a classroom with lights right above the projection screen.
BrightBytes Early Warning Module
Built on BrightBytes’ Clarity platform, the Early Warning Module identifies at-risk students based on individualized and buildingspecific triggers. The module enables schools and districts to proactively predict potential dropouts, and intervene at an early stage. Judges thought it would be a good tool for schools, and found it a unique offering in terms of its technology.
Casio EcoLite XJ-V1 Projector
Powered by its laser and LED hybrid light source, Casio’s EcoLite XJ-V1 is 100% lamp-free, which means schools no longer need to replace expensive and hazardous mercury lamps. Casio’s eco-friendly, low-maintenance projector offers an estimated 20,000-hour lifespan with minimal brightness degradation and continuous operation. It also features a throw ratio of 1.54-1.7: 1, brightness up to 2,700 lumens, and consumes half the power per unit than traditional lamp-based projectors. Judges found video crisp and clear, even in a lit setting. One judge added that, when used with both video and as a second computer screen, the video quality was exceptional.
E3T/USB Ear Bud
The lightweight E3T/USB stereo Ear Bud headphone delivers full-bodied sound and works with iOS, Windows, and Android-based platform devices. It is compatible with tablets, smartphones, netbooks, notebooks, desktop, and laptop computers. Judges were pleased with the inexpensive yet high-quality earbuds, and deemed them perfect for classroom use. They also found the earbuds sturdy enough for frequent study use.
Dreyfous & Associates
EduSystem is a teacher-led, blended learning, LMS program that provides teachers and students with engaging, interactive digital lessons and supporting documents, which can be used offline by downloading onto multiple devices. The easy-to-use teaching platform and free student app allows educators to assign, teach, modify, and assess curricular objectives aligned to Common Core and state standards. EduSystem offers comprehensive K-12 digital content in English and Spanish for math, science, and ELA. Judges loved the ease of use and thought it ranked above similar products in the market.
KB4 Bluetooth Keyboard
The Bluetooth KB4 offers full-sized connectivity with any iOS, Windows, or Android mobile device. Once the wafer-thin KB4 is synced to a Bluetooth-enabled device, the virtual keyboard disappears, so students see the entire display. The KB4 meets key PARCC and Smarter Balanced requirements as well as EPPA21, NCSC, WIDA, and DLM standards. Judges found the KB4 unique, as it enables students and teachers to use a keyboard on smaller devices. They added that it was simple to set up, and “worked flawlessly.”
KidWind Advanced Wind Experiment Kit and Renewable Energy with Vernier Lab Book
Vernier Software & Technology
Vernier’s KidWind Advanced Wind Experiment Kit helps students explore advanced aspects of wind turbine technology by testing different blade designs, gear ratios, generators, and devices to measure electrical and weightlifting power. The complimentary Renewable Energy with Vernier lab book contains a wide range of experiments that utilize the kit and address objectives in integrated sciences, physical science, physics, and environmental science. Judges appreciated that the kit enables students to develop projects at their level of experience to better understand the concepts. One judge added that the kits can be used in any type of school setting, such as an outdoor classroom or in an indoor classroom that has fans or air conditioning vents.
LearnFit Student Standing Desk
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The LearnFit Student Standing Desk is an on-demand, heightadjustable desk. With the simple use of a hand lever, young learners can change the height of their desktops so that they can work and collaborate in a way that best suits them. Judges loved the braking system for easily adjusting the height, and appreciated the simple, out-of-the-box set-up. One judge suggested that the desk could help introduce a new learning space into the classroom.
Max Shield Xtreme Case
Max Interactive Inc.
The MAX Shield Xtreme for the iPad Air and Air 2 was designed with educators in mind. It features three layers of protection around the critical areas of the iPad, as well as a hand strap, stylus holder, and built-in kickstand. It also features transparent asset tag windows for scanning and easily fits into charge and sync carts. Judges praised the great quality and slew of useful features, and found it easy to put on an iPad (and then use with the hand strap and stylus). They rated the case as being durable enough to go through several years of heavy use by students, and even longer use by teachers.
The Califone Bluetooth VoiceSaver PA is ideal for tour groups, presentations, athletic events, and dance classes. The lightweight wireless headset enables handsfree convenience and operability from up to 20 feet away from the receiver. The rechargeable battery will function for up to six hours on a single charge and refreshes in four hours. The PA283 also comes with a one-year warranty for school use. Judges were impressed with the lightweight headset and found it easy to use. They also appreciated that it came with all necessary components for an efficient, out-of-the-box experience.
PA329 Wireless PresentationPro
The PresentationPro Wireless PA is built for fast and easy set-ups so classroom and school presentations can be run quickly and efficiently. The PresentationPro provides educators with high-quality audio support, whether for vocal reinforcement or connecting to mobile devices, LCD projectors, netbooks, notebooks, laptops, and desktop computers. Additionally, the PresentationPro is powerful enough to require only a single speaker for the classroom. One of our judges rated this their favorite product of the bunch, due to its versatility, ease of use, and portability. The judge added that it could even be used for outdoor events.
PASCO Wireless Spectrometer & Spectrometry software
The PASCO Wireless Spectrometer is designed for introductory spectroscopy experiments, and its Bluetooth and USB connectivity enable use with tablets and computers. With the spectrometer and free downloadable software, students can measure intensity, absorbance, transmittance, and fluorescence. The kit includes 10 plastic cuvettes and lids. An optional Fiber Optic Cable lets users perform emissions spectroscopy experiments with the PASCO spectrometer. Judges thought the device would make experiments involving spectrometry very accessible to students, and found the software intuitive and easy to use.
The SMART kapp is designed to replace traditional dry-erase boards or flipcharts, and is available in 42-inch or 84-inch models. The dry-erase board features digital capture technology to turn marker impressions into shareable, electronic images. Teachers can connect up to two Android or iOS devices to the board. With the SMART kapp mobile app, anyone with a compatible smartphone or tablet can instantly capture screenshots of the board. Teachers can also share sessions with up to five remote participants, save captures to the mobile device, or upload them to a cloud storage service. Judges noted that the SMART kapp was well made and sturdy, and thought it would be an ideal fit for classrooms without the room for a standard, projector-sized interactive board.
The SPARK Element is a robust, low-cost, highly portable device designed for use in and out of science classrooms. The Element can use any PASPORT sensor and can connect to USB interfaces such as the USB Link or SPARKlink, or Bluetooth interfaces such as the Airlink2, SPARKlink Air, or 550 Universal Interface. The Element includes interactive and inquiry-based SPARKlab activities. Judges rated the SPARK Element as being sturdy and compact, and appreciated the simple, easy-to-use interface.
UM351W with DisplayNote
NEC’s UM351W is a 3500-lumen ultra-short-throw projector that offers a complete interactive projector solution when paired with the optional NP03Wi interactive system (dual pens) with auto calibration. The projector can be wall-mounted directly above the screen on which it projects to eliminate shadows and glare. The UM351W includes a 20W speaker, closed captioning, and RJ-45 for remote management over a network, and its input panel includes dual HDMI, VGA, and a microphone input to amplify the presenter’s voice. Judges found the projector unique in that it could negate the need for an interactive whiteboard, and improve upon it, since a teacher could move about the classroom. Judges also rated the projector great for BYOT, enabling schools to leverage their existing hardware as well as allowing students to use their own devices.
XR-630 With XMS-Cloud Management
The Xirrus XR-630 Access Point features a powerful controller, application-level intelligence, automated provisioning, and optional cloud management to complement the company’s line of modular XR Arrays. The XR-630 is the ideal solution provides strong wireless connectivity in areas of low-to-medium user density. Additionally, the model supports ACExpress, which optimizes wireless performance by automatically segmenting faster 802.11ac clients from slower wi-fi clients. Judges rated the XR-630 as well-designed and thought it would be great for the classroom. Judges added that the ease of use, amount of control, and flexibility of different ways of controlling access for various users was perfect for schools.
Charging Cabinet for Mini-Laptops
Anthro Corporation’s YES Cabinet for Mini-Laptops can corral multiple devices in cramped classrooms, media centers, and offices. The wall-mountable charging unit can store and charge up to 12 devices. One size fits all Chromebooks, Surface Pro 3, and other mini-laptops. It’s simple to set the cabinet’s bay width and shelf height for particular devices, and then reconfigure when it’s time for new ones. Users can mix and match mini-laptops, tablets, and handheld devices for more flexibility. Judges liked the solid cabinet and its safety mechanism for wall screws, as well as the convenient cord management system. One judge added that the small form factor was ideal for stations or small-device grouping.
HARDWARE AND NETWORK: BEST UPGRADES
Acer Aspire Switch 10
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The Acer Aspire Switch 10 is a hybrid tablet that features a 10.1-inch screen and a detachable keyboard dock. It comes with the 32-bit version of Windows 8.1 and can run any x86 application. The Acer Aspire Switch 10 can be fully operated via touch, or docked and used with a physical keyboard and trackpad. Judges rated the machine as being very sturdy for its tablet design, and appreciated the magnetic hinges that connect the tablet to the keyboard. They also deemed it to be extremely easy to use.
Acer C740 Chromebook
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The Acer Chromebook 11 C740 was designed with middle school and high school students in mind, as it can be transported, dropped, bumped, scraped, and shared. The Acer C740 features a purpose-built design and an easy-to-manage interface. Judges were impressed with the sturdiness and build of the Chromebook, as well as its hardware and good battery life. They also found it easy to use and rated it as being ideal for schools that use Google Docs.
AQUOS BOARD Interactive Display System
Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America
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The Sharp AQUOS BOARD interactive display system offers smooth and simple communication in a wide range of contexts, with highly responsive touch pens that allow several users to write on the same touch screen at the same time. The Sharp Touch Display Link software enables multifaceted wireless communication. Judges raved over the high quality of the board and rated it great for classroom use. They also found it easy to use with the full Windows computer attached.
Samsung Chromebook 2 with Intel Celeron processor
Samsung Electronics America
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The new Chromebook 2 features a leather-like cover and HD resolution screen, optimized video conferencing, and enhanced Exynos 5 Octa processor that enables high performance, with wi-fi speeds that are three times faster than before. Judges pointed out that the extra metal in its casing made it more rigid and structurally sound. One judge reported that they would buy this for their classroom devices, calling it a “solid device for student use.”
The TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator
The TI-84 Plus Graphing Calculator is ideal for high school math and science. Its MathPrint technology enables students to enter fractions and equations in proper notation, so they can see them on the display exactly as they’re printed in texts and on the board. Judges loved the new features of the long-trusted device, such as the color screen, rechargeable battery, and memory for more apps.
Barracuda Backup is a complete, cloud-integrated solution for protecting physical and virtual environments that includes software, appliance, and offsite replication. Barracuda Backup is simple to deploy, easy to manage, and offers unlimited cloud storage. Judges found it easy to create backups and schedules, as well as to easily retrieve data for restoral. They also appreciated the ability to grab data from storage devices without requiring end-user intervention.
Barracuda Message Archiver
The Barracuda Message Archiver is ideal for organizations looking to reduce their email storage requirements and boost user productivity with mobile or desktop access to any email sent or received. Delivered as a physical or virtual appliance, the cloud-connected archive uses the Barracuda Cloud to move information to the cloud for backup and disaster recovery or as a secondary tier of storage. In addition, the Barracuda Message Archiver also provides a powerful, yet simple platform for eDiscovery and compliance. One judge called Message Archiver a “must have” from a district perspective for archiving requirements, adding that it “works like a charm.” Another winning feature among judges was the add-in for Outlook, which makes searching the archives easy, even if a message is deleted from your computer.
Barracuda NextGen Firewall X-Series
With increasing demands for bandwidth availability due to the richness of Web 2.0 applications, managing bandwidth at the application layer is becoming more important. The X-series combines next-generation application awareness with bandwidth optimization tools to ensure that all network traffic is prioritized according to policy. Judges rated the Web interface superior to that of competitors, and found that the Web Filter had enough “horsepower under the hood” to keep up with network activity and demands.
Barracuda Web Filter
Today’s schools require constant interaction with online resources and applications—despite the risks of prohibited content, wasted bandwidth, and loss of confidential data. Barracuda Web Filter enables K-12 organizations to enjoy the benefits of Web connectivity safely. Judges found it easy to use overall, and liked the customization options, such as the ability to create more granular rules to be either stricter or more lenient depending on the filter group.