What’s New: New Tools For Schools

Software & Online


Cricket Media and myON have announced that content from Cricket’s portfolio of children’s books and magazines will now be available to students reading on myON. With the additional content, myON now offers more than 8,000 titles from nearly 70 publishers through their publisher program. myON, a personalized literacy platform, provides online access to more than 5.5 million students worldwide. Students can access myON at school or home on laptops, desktops, tablets, and mobile devices for an online or offline reading experience.


Curriculum Associates has added new Close Reading lessons for grades 3–5 to its i-Ready® Diagnostic & Instruction online program. This next generation of i-Ready lessons provides complex, authentic texts that help students build their close reading habits to meet the rigor of the Common Core for each targeted standard, as well as the broader set of anchor standards. The lessons are designed to deepen students’ reading comprehension and motivate them as they experience and grow accustomed to reading rigorous text independently.


Doodle, a group scheduling service, has released a new, redesigned version of its free iPhone app to offer built-in chat, contact integration, push notifications, and other features. Through Doodle, users select possible dates and times and then let participants specify what works best for them. With a quick look, users can see everyone’s availability and be able to make a final decision that satisfies the entire group.


Edgenuity has introduced a new suite of consulting, coaching, and professional resources to help schools and districts implement blended learning programs. Edgenuity’s Blended Learning Services consist of Program Design Consulting, an Introduction to Blended Learning On-Site Workshop, a Blended Learning Resource Kit, Blended Learning Coaching for Practitioners, and a Blended Learning Course.


Edsby, developers of an learning management system, now integrates with Microsoft Office 365. Edsby users can now authenticate via Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory and the OAuth2 protocol. This enables a convenient one-click login for Edsby users already authenticated with Office 365. In addition, this new integration enables Edsby users to select documents from their Microsoft OneDrive file store as teachers and students collaborate within Edsby classes and groups and as students submit work digitally to teachers for assessment.


Instructure, creator of the Canvas learning management system today, has partnered with Zaption, a video learning company, to offer Zaption’s interactive video lessons in ten Canvas Network courses, including the recently announced Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), “Fight or Die: The Science Behind FX’s ‘The Strain.” As part of the Canvas experience, Zaption provides new ways for students to interact with video content, from answering questions to receiving feedback while watching. For educators, Zaption’s advanced analytics provide immediate feedback on students’ engagement and their understanding of key concepts.


CMK Press has released a new book, The Invent To Learn Guide to Fun, featuring a variety of classroom-tested “maker” projects for learners of all ages. The book offers step-by-step instructions, full-color photos, open-ended challenges, and sample code. Students can learn to paint with light, make their own “Operation Game,” sew interactive stuffed creatures, build Rube Goldberg machines, and more.


Moodle, the open source learning platform, has launched its latest version, Moodle 2.9. Updates to the learning management system include a redesign of the navigation and user interface as well as the introduction of conditional quiz questions and lesson improvements. Course editing improvements include the ability to drag and drop images into the text editor and section deletion. Furthermore, Moodle 2.9 now supports AMD (Asynchronous Module Definition) formatted JavaScript Modules and allows the use of JQuery in core code.


A new video series takes viewers on a journey to unlock the mysteries of the brain and better understand how this complex organ functions. Produced by NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBCUniversal News Group, in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), the series, “Mysteries of the Brain,” covers the latest research in neuroscience and profiles the scientists who are leading it. The eight-part video series draws on cutting edge scientific research conducted in the White House BRAIN Initiative, which works in partnership with NSF, among other agencies, as well as other renowned scientific organizations.


OpenEd, creator of the online library of standards-aligned resources for K-12 teachers, announced an expansion of its formative assessment bank to include new assessments built from questions from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Assess2Know Benchmark Item Bank and Higher Learning Technology. OpenEd’s technology links assessment directly to instruction. After students complete tests on their computers, tablets or Chromebooks, teachers can view the results on their mastery charts. OpenEd then recommends specific videos and assignments for each student based on each student’s progress in learning each Common Core standard.


Lexmark has announced the availability of Perceptive Checklist Capture, a solution that automates the process of gathering related documents and data from desktop, mobile, and smart multi-functional (MFP) devices, streamlining the capture process and reducing the rate of misfiled or misclassified content. In the field, Perceptive Checklist Capture enables users to take photos and capture other content with a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet. In the office, users can scan documents at an integrated Lexmark smart MFP or capture files at a desktop computer, then immediately add them to a project or case folder. Leveraging the Perceptive Evolution platform, the capture interface is similar across all devices and platforms.

(www.get.quickkeyapp.com and www.pearsonschoolsystems.com)

Quick Key, which develops digital assessment tools designed to improve student performance and eliminate hand grading, announced a collaboration with Pearson that enables educators to quickly score assessments using Quick Key and instantly upload results to the PowerSchool student information system. The integration enables educators and administrators to take action based on real-time data, to identify which students need help and which lessons need to be revisited.


Schoolie.com, a startup that helps parents learn more about public school options, has announced the upcoming release of the beta version of its platform for making information on public schools more accessible and transparent. Schoolie.com compiles in-depth data from the school district and multiple other sources, going beyond simple test score results. The platform measures 19 critical factors in the areas of academic rigor, course variety, and support for students to deliver a comprehensive quality score. Parents can search by academics, variety of coursework, and student support, or just by overall ranking, to ensure the best possible match.


McGraw-Hill Education has launched a new computer adaptive test (CAT) for Acuity, the K-12 interim assessment solution available in Math and English Language Arts. The new adaptive methodology, called ShadowCAT, uses a shadow-test algorithm to ensure that all test requirements are met while maximizing the information obtained from each test taker to provide a valid, precise score for every student. The adaptive solution is a key component of the Acuity College and Career Readiness (CCR) assessment solution, a new suite of interim assessments for Grades 3–8 that uses all assessment items written to the new college and career readiness standards.


TabPilot has enhanced its Tablet Manager MDM software to enable teachers to distribute content to iPads for student access through the TabPilot File Locker app. File Locker will display many common file formats internally, or allow the student to choose an external app. Teachers have easy access to quickly clear passcodes on iPads, allowing students to get back to work quickly. AirPlay features allow teachers to choose a student iPad to start mirroring to a classroom Apple TV device with just a few clicks in the cloud-based Control Tower console. Web Links allow the teacher to place links to websites directly on student iPad home screens and restrict the browser to only that group of sites if they choose. Additional features for IT Administrators include the ability to push out global proxy settings to specific groups of iPads as well as capabilities for distributing certificates often needed by school web filters.


Tales2Go Inc. has introduced caching and Lexile search to its award-winning apps. Users can now listen to complete audio book titles without a continuous internet connection, and educators and parents can search by Lexile measure. Tales2Go, known as a Netflix for children’s audio books, supports the development of literacy skills during a student’s most critical early childhood and elementary school years.

(www.teachscape.com and www.swivl.com)

Teachscape has partnered with Swivl to further support educators in video-based professional development. Now, teachers can use the Swivl Robot, in conjunction with their mobile devices, to capture classroom videos of their own instructional practices and then upload them to the Teachscape Effectiveness Platform to collaborate and share best practices with their colleagues.


Tobii Dynavox, manufacturer of assistive technology for individuals with communication disabilities, introduces the new Tobii Dynavox I-Series+ speech generating devices and accompanying Communicator 5 software. The new I-Series+ and Communicator 5 are the next generations of the previous I-Series and Communicator suite. I-Series+ devices come with a 12 inch or 15 inch touch screen and optional eye tracking capabilities, supporting communication through voice, email, text messaging, social networking, phone calls, and more. Users can also access computer applications and control their environment including electronic devices, lighting, and doors.


Trident Case (www.tridentcase.com) has released the TechJacket rugged case solution for 11-inch laptops and Chromebooks. Offering drop protection from up to four feet, the TechJacket fully shields laptops and Chromebooks from classroom wear-and-tear. In addition to its protective guard, the TechJacket’s design includes anti-skid protective corners, access to all ports (USB and charging) while the case is on, as well as shock-absorbing lining. Furthermore, the case also provides users with comfortable nylon fabric carrying straps. The straps, which are attached to the reinforced corner guards, are designed to fit Chromebook and laptop brands up to 11.6” in size. Devices can be used with the case attached.

BenQ (www.benq.us) has introduced a full lineup of 100% sRGB Colorific projectors. sRGB displays produce a richer color saturation and deliver more accurate images with a higher perceived overall brightness. The new line includes the Large Venue P-Series Projectors (PU9730 and PU9530), the High Brightness S-Series Professional Projectors (SU964 and SU922), and the first 100% sRGB Multipurpose Projector, the HC1200.

Tripp Lite (www.tripplite.com) has expanded its line of charging stations with AC models for Chromebook computers. The new charging stations charge and secure up to 32 Chromebooks, feature high-speed charging, and allow all of the Chromebooks to charge at the same time. Sturdy steel construction and a locking door and side panels keep the Chromebooks safe without interfering with charging.

Harman’s JBL Professional (www.harman.com) has introduced the EON 206P Portable PA system, an all-in-one powered system that delivers professional performance and ease of use. The JBL EON 206P features a pair of 6.5 inch passive loudspeakers, each featuring a 6.5-inch woofer and a 1-inch neodymium black nylon dome tweeter, powered by a 160-watt power amp section (80-watts per channel). The EON 206P also features a maximum SPL output of 113 dB, with a nominal coverage pattern of 100 x 80 degrees.

Acer America (www.acer.com) has announced the availability of the S1385WHne professional series projector, offering short-throw technology, 20W audio and wireless projection. Thanks to short-throw versatility and a native 16:10 aspect ratio, the Acer S1385WHne is capable of delivering images of up to 100 inches diagonally from as little as 3.4 feet from the screen, providing flexibility in placement options. Boasting a 3200 ANSI lumens brightness and native WXGA (1280 x 800) resolution, it can also project clear images from a long distance on a large screen, even indoors during daylight. Two built-in 10W speakers deliver clear 20W sound to fill an auditorium.

Absolute Software (www.absolute.com) has partnered with Dell to embed Persistence technology in Android-powered Dell mobile devices at the factory. By activating Persistence technology, Dell customers will receive high-quality endpoint security and data risk management, allowing IT to remain connected with all corporate devices, regardless of user or location.

Lumens Integration Inc. (www.mylumens.com) has released a complete lecture capture solution featuring the new CaptureVision VS-LC101, a video capture box, and the VC-A20P HD network PTZ camera. With its ability to capture and stream live, Lumens lecture capture station is ideal for education.

Barracuda (www.barracuda.com) and Aerohive (www.aerohive.com) have teamed up to offer more granular visibility into creating better-defined security policies for wireless access through a technology integration and joint customer messaging. Aerohive’s HiveOS devices, including access points, switches, and routers, now can integrate with Barracuda Web Security Service, Barracuda Web Filter, and Barracuda NG Firewall. By using Barracuda and Aerohive products together, customers can enable more advanced wireless access and security with greater user visibility in BYOD environments.

Hitachi America, Ltd. (www.hitachi-america.us/projectors) has introduced its CP-WU8461 and CP-WU8451 LCD projectors, two new models that offer HDBaseT Ultra HD video networking capability along with improved contrast, WUXGA resolution, and other enhancements. Both models provide HDBaseT connectivity to deliver uncompressed ultra-high-definition multimedia content in formats including Ultra HD/3D and 2K/4K video via the projectors’ Cat5e/6e input. HDBaseT is compatible with all HDMI formats and supports all key features. The CP-WU8461 and CP-WU8451 are able to receive video signals from distances of more than 300 feet via HDBaseT. In addition, both projectors include a complete selection of A/V inputs including HDMI, component, S-Video and composite video, USB Type A and Type B, computer, and audio. LAN, RS-232C control, remote control and monitor out connections are also provided.

Through a collaboration with Microsoft, Crestron (www.crestron.com) technology now natively integrates with the Microsoft Surface Hub. The new solution combines the premier large format Windows touch appliance with Crestron’s control, automation, and video distribution solution. Pairing a Crestron DigitalMedia Presentation System (DMPS), TSW touch screen, TSS scheduling touch screen, and a set of USB Extenders with Microsoft Surface Hub adds the flexibility of control right from the conference table.

InFocus Corporation (www.infocus.com) has released the Mondopad 2.0, a large-format, all-in-one, video conferencing touchscreen collaboration device ideal for the conference room, classroom, distance education center, and multi-point office. In addition, Mondopad 2.0 includes features that make sharing, annotating, archiving, and overall collaboration easier, particularly between multiple locations. The Mondopad is a 57-inch, 70-inch and 80-inch diagonal 1080p, large-format, multi-point touch display, powered by an on-board PC with open standard technology that’s compatible with Microsoft Office and Intel. Mondopad 2.0 offers on-board storage and has a built-in collaboration software suite.