Software & Online
ACHIEVE3000 LEADERSHIP EDITION
Achieve3000 released a new digital dashboard called Leadership Edition, which gives school and district leaders access to the timely, accurate, and meaningful data needed to inform effective action plans and student placement in tiered intervention programs. Designed to help educators gain a deeper understanding of the literacy needs of their various student populations, Leadership Edition presents key metrics such as student usage, performance, and progress towards college and career readiness in easy-to-read, visual formats.
AspirEDU, a provider of student retention and instructor performance analytics, released new functionality to support academic advisors and instructors of face-to-face courses. AspirEDU’s Dropout Detective analyzes the behavior and academic success of the student population by reviewing LMS data on a daily basis. Dropout Detective provides dashboards to administrators, advisors, and instructors that identify students that are at risk of dropping out or failing courses. The new software release allows schools to make changes in advisor assignments that rebuild the advisors’ dashboards in real time. Additionally, instructors can manually flag at-risk students and automatically send alerts to the appropriate advisors.
Edco, the online fundraising platform for K-12 school teams and clubs, introduced an updated platform that features a Step-by-Step Fundraising Guide, a suite of interactive tools that walks users through the fundraising process. The Step-by-Step Fundraising Guide helps students and teachers describe their funding needs and present their activity as a compelling fundraising campaign. It then provides instructions for communicating with friends, family members, and other community stakeholders. To ensure students’ safety and privacy, all correspondence through the platform uses a secure Edco email address.
GALE SCIENCE PRODUCTS FOR LIBRARIES
Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, is offering three new science products for academic and school libraries. The products are designed to help students understand science beyond the text, and combine Gale’s curriculum-aligned reference content with partner CyberScience’s interactive 3D models. Two products, geared primarily for the academic market, cover the topics of human anatomy and chemistry, while a third resource combines multiple science topics and can be used as refreshers in introductory college science courses or as a basic science learning tool in high schools.
GREATKIDS TEST GUIDE FOR PARENTS
The national non-profit GreatSchools and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) announced a collaboration to assist parents in supporting their kids’ learning by unpacking PARCC test scores through the new GreatKids Test Guide for Parents. Twenty math and English Language Arts (ELA) teachers from states using Common Core aligned assessments were part of the development process behind the GreatKids Test Guide for parents. Through the lens of their experiences in the classroom, they provided insight into what supports parents need to make the best use of their child’s test results to improve their academic growth. These teachers included members of the PARCC Educator Leader Cadres, teacher fellows from America Achieves, and teachers affiliated with Educators for Excellence.
Hapara Workspace is a platform for teachers and students to create highly personalized learning experiences that deepen collaboration and differentiation. Teachers are able to streamline the process by tracking progress, submissions, and providing feedback to students. In addition, students now have an intuitive interface to manage their assignments and customize their submissions. Additionally, teachers can share their Workspaces with others, across the world.
Curriculum Associates recently launched i-Ready Central to help teachers, principals, and administrators implement the i-Ready program. The online portal, offered at no additional cost to i-Ready users and accessible 24/7, includes more than 160 resources organized around stages of implementation throughout the school year. These resources, including tips, training videos, and planning tools, will be updated frequently to ensure educators have the most current, relevant content at their fingertips.
LEGO EDUCATION WEDO 2.0
LEGO Education released WeDo 2.0, a wireless, tablet-ready, robot-based learning system for the elementary school science curriculum. Correlated to standards-based projects, the solution engages and motivates students to solve real-world science problems by working with engineering, technology, and coding through the LEGO classroom-friendly software and 40+ hours of hands-on projects. LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 strengthens students’ understanding and develops competencies across key science topics including physical sciences, life sciences, earth and space sciences, and engineering.
Participate Learning encourages K-20 educators to collaborate in finding and using the best digital resources within schools, districts, and personal learning networks. With Participate Learning’s Collections, teachers can find and curate educational websites, apps, and videos for improving student outcomes and place these in a digital folder. The newly launched collaboration feature gives educators a way to invite colleagues from within their school or across the country to discuss and share Collections in real time.
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, has extended its partnership with global computer-based testing leader Pearson VUE to deliver a range of professional certification exams globally as sole vendor. The agreement means that the certification exams which cover specialist areas such as IT service management, Software Testing, Security, and Business Analysis – along with new exams planned in the near future – will be delivered via Pearson VUE’s network of over 5,000 test centres around the world.
PowerSchool Group LLC, provider of K-12 Student Information Systems (SIS), has purchased InfoSnap, Inc., a provider of cloud-based Online Registration Management and School Choice / Lottery solutions for K-12 public, private and charter schools. Acquiring InfoSnap enables PowerSchool to expand its core SIS platform to address the demand for full featured, integrated registration and school choice solutions.
PRINCIPLES OF CODING
Odysseyware, provider of customizable online courses for K-12 education, has added a “Principles of Coding” course to its curriculum. The course is designed to introduce middle school students to the basics of coding and to help them delve into the thought processes behind designing technology by creating games, simulations, and even a mobile application. The course combines project-based learning, oral communication, modeling, and traditional instructional methods so students are able to see the connection between the core subjects and computer science while examining the global impact of technology.
Learn2Earn announced a major update to its Whooo’s Reading platform. In late fall 2015, the company expanded its reading-writing connection component and implementing more tools to help teachers monitor reading comprehension growth. Previously, students could use the Whooo’s Reading platform to answer a short CCSS-aligned comprehension question about a book they recently read or to write a brief review. Now, Learn2Earn has added the option of writing longer “blog post-style” responses of about 750 characters. Based on the Common Core writing standards, the blog posts are grouped into three categories: informational, opinion, and narrative writing.
Adobe announced the availability of Adobe Post, a free iPhone app that lets users turn words and images into beautiful designs that are instantly sharable across social channels. The app features design filters that automatically arrange images and text in a few simple taps, as well as responsive text that adjusts when moved or resized. Auto Recolor palettes provide color schemes to reduce the time spent searching for the perfect combination of colors, and an Inspiration Wall that presents layouts and designs.
PBS KIDS SCRATCHJR
PBS KIDS released its first coding app called PBS KIDS ScratchJr. Designed for kids ages 5-8 and available for free from the App Store and Google Play, PBS KIDS ScratchJr enables kids to create their own interactive stories and games featuring their favorite characters from Wild Kratts, Nature Cat, WordGirl, and Peg + Cat. By snapping together colorful programming blocks, children can make characters move, jump, dance, and sing. In the process, kids will learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively.
WOLFIE IPAD APP
Tonara partnered with Alfred Music to bring piano pedagogy to the Wolfie iPad app. Now, teachers and students can access an expanded music learning catalog, which includes Alfred’s Premier Piano Course and Alfred’s Basic Piano Library as well as traditional and contemporary scores that have been adapted to every skill level. With features such as the app’s built-in cursor which highlights the student’s progress note-by-note, anyone can use Wolfie to learn how to better decipher music and develop sight reading skills and rhythm.
Word Fireworks is a language learning game that teaches kids to read and write Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Hebrew, by setting off pyrotechnics. As players proceed through the game, they gain language skill and unlock more fireworks. The app is available for Android devices as well as the iPhone and iPad.
Dremel (www.dremel3d.com/education) announced a 3D printer designed to support teachers and demystify 3D printing technology in the classroom. The Dremel 3D Idea Builder’s easy-to-use software and resources integrate with existing STEM curriculum. The printer comes with ten curriculum-based lesson plans and 3D model kits designed for exploring STEM education with the nuances of 3D printing. To help teachers while they implement 3D printing, 1:1 customer support and training are available via phone, Skype, online chat, and email.
NEC Display Solutions of America (www.necdisplay.com) announced the MultiSync E233WM widescreen desktop monitor with LED backlighting. The 23-inch display includes ecofriendly features and a slim design to save desk space. Compared to previous generation LCDs, the E233WM display radiates less heat, uses less packaging, and maximizes recycled plastics in its production. The company also released the MultiSync EA305WMi and EA275WMi, 30-inch and 27-inch displays. Designed for dual monitor configurations, these widescreen models feature IPS panel technology with wide viewing angles (178° horizontal/vertical), DisplayPort 1.2 inputs and outputs, and ControlSync technology that allows users to control up to six displays in a multi-monitor configuration.
Texas Instruments (www.ti.com) announced its 0.67-inch 4K UHD chip for education projection displays, home theater, and business. The DLP 4K UHD chipset combines the fast switching speed of the digital micromirror device (DMD) with advanced image processing. This latest DLP Products offering in a single-chip projector architecture enables high resolution and high brightness solutions at a price point that allows manufacturers to expand 4K UHD projection displays to a broad audience.
Toshiba Surveillance & IP Video Products (www.toshibasecurity. com) announced the availability of a new program specially designed for K-12 schools and higher education institutions. The Toshiba Surveillance Education Program presents easy to manage, and comprehensive IP video surveillance options. The program offers special pricing on Toshiba cameras, accessories, software, and recorders, as well as on-going alerting, systems reporting, and Toshiba engineer support.
Bretford Manufacturing Inc. (www.bretford.com) announced the addition of three new product additions to its EDU 2.0 line of smart, powered, and flexible furniture. The new product additions include the EXPLORE Flip and Nest Youth Height Tables (pictured), EXPLORE Pedestal Base Tables, and MOTIV Wall Benches. The new EXPLORE Flip and Nest Youth Height Tables adapt to the individual learning styles of young students by giving them the power to create their own space. The tables are available in rectangle, trapezoid, quarter round, and half round sizes. The EXPLORE Pedestal Base Tables are ideal for any meeting or group collaboration with seating up to eight. Tables are available in sitting and standing heights with a single or double base. The freestanding MOTIV Wall Bench is flat on one side so it can be placed directly against a wall, and rounded on the other to provide comfort when seated. Bretford also announced the availability of its TechGuard Lockers, personal charging lockers that can simultaneously charge up to three devices. Available in 1-, 5- or 10-bay configurations, each bay is equipped to hold a 15.5-inch laptop, 10-inch tablet, and a phone, with the ability to charge them all at once.
Nor-Tech (www.nor-tech.com) introduced a mobile laptop cart for 2016. The laptop charging cart, also available for Chromebooks and tablets (including both iPad and Android), incorporates energy-saving features and leading-edge battery-charging technology. The carts can be powered by a single standard AC outlet and have locking options available for extra safety and security. Nor-Tech’s power management features eliminate overloaded circuits and automatically prioritize the lowest charged units. The turnkey solution, which accommodates all brands, can be integrated into existing wired and wireless environments.
MakerBot (www.makerbot.com) announced the MakerBot Smart Extruder+, a new swappable extruder for Fifth Generation MakerBot 3D Printers that is designed and tested for better print performance over a longer period of time. With improved components and an enhanced sensor system, the Smart Extruder+ is designed to provide a streamlined and reliable printing process from start to finish. The Smart Extruder+ features improved key components to ensure longer-lasting reliability, such as an improved thermal management system and an extended PTFE tube to feed the filament into the nozzle. Additional improvements include faster print start up and refined build plate leveling, the process of calibrating a 3D printer.
PASCO Scientific (www.pasco.com) introduced a line of wireless sensors that are compatible with multiple technology platforms, including Windows, Mac, iPad and iPhone, Android tablets and phones, and Chromebooks. The line, which includes wireless pH, temperature, pressure, and force/acceleration sensors, simplifies lab setup and removes the clutter of cables. The wireless technology also helps schools save money by eliminating the need for a separate device to connect sensors to a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Students can simply transmit the data directly from the wireless sensor to their device.