CES ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR EDUCATION
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year showcased some new products for schools and parents. Here are some highlights:
Beyond Tablet Coding Pack provides a brand-new platform for young children, typically aged four to seven, to create and execute code with physical manipulatives and without a display screen, for example, to code battle strategies or to develop interactive stories with multiple characters incorporating their own voice performance and music composition. It comprises two main components, a Beyond Tablet, and game maps and physical manipulatives. Beyond Tablet is a smart tablet without a display screen, and offers tangible interactivity through capacitive sensing and RFID recognition.
Kano showcased its Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit, a DIY kit that shows you how to build a Bluetooth Coding Wand, learn to code with step-by-step creative challenges, and make magic, with a wave, twist and a twirl. The Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit lets kids create with creatures, spell motions, music, sounds, wizarding artifacts and iconic locations. Make feathers float, enlarge Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans, immobilize Cornish Pixies, make fire flow and more. Available now at selected retailers, Kano's Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit is priced at $99.99.
AEvice Health’s AireSone Junior is a smart wearable for children, launching in the U.S. in June 2019. The AireSone Junior tracks breathing and heart rate, and detects wheezing and cough. The device notifies parents via smartphone when there are any potential concerns. AEvice Health says the AireSone Junior is the first wearable specially designed for asthmatics.
More schools are turning to mindfulness to support their students’ social emotional learning needs. Muse by Interaxon, creator of the Muse brain sensing headband, addresses this issue with their newest product, Muse 2. This new device is a personal meditation assistant that is designed to provide real-time feedback on brain activity, body movement, breathing patterns and heart rate during meditation. Muse 2 uses built-in biosignal, inertial, and heart sensors to create real-time audio experiences in four key areas to help users find focused calm, improve posture, and increase breath and heart awareness. With the companion app, Muse 2 translates meditators' internal states into immersive soundscapes to provide subtle guidance during meditation. Muse 2 is available for $249.
Viewpointsystem showcased the VPS 19 smart glasses, which combine eye tracking with a display element for a Mixed Reality experience. The inclusion of "digital iris" technology is what sets the VPS 19 apart from other wearable technologies. The digital iris is capable of interpreting a person's eye behavior to enable interaction by eye gesture, both consciously and subconsciously. The VPS 19 glasses are lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods of time (less than 95g including display unit), just like an ordinary pair of glasses, but are durable to provide reliable service in real-life environments and changing light conditions. The Viewpointsystem VPS 19 will be available in early 2019.
Yuneec International is launching its all-new Mantis Q, an adventure ready drone controlled via mobile device or remote, features voice control technology and is small enough to tuck away inside a bag. The Mantis Q also features foldable arms for optimal portability and convenience, up to 33 minutes of battery life and autonomous flight modes with top speeds over 44 miles per hour. Due to its portability, ease-of-use and superior flight time, the Mantis Q is ideal for adventurers, families and drone enthusiasts. With the all new Voice Control feature, users can command Mantis Q just by using their voice. The Mantis Q, priced at $499.99, includes a controller, one battery, spare propellers (one set), three-port charger, power and USB cable. The Mantis Q (X-Pack), $649.99, includes the Mantis Q, controller, three batteries, travel shoulder bag, spare propellers (one set), three-port charger, power and USB cable.
NEC Display Solutions of America (www.necdisplay.com) announced the launch of two new projector series. Designed primarily for K-12 education, the five new models provide between 3700 and 4000 lumens and offer XGA, WXGA or WUXGA resolution. The new MC series projectors — MC372X and MC382W — replace the models in NEC’s popular VE and V series. These models offer a significant upgrade for entry-level projector customers, including increased brightness, better connectivity, network capability and longer lamp life. The three new ME series projectors — ME402X, ME372W and ME382U —replace models in NEC’s first-generation ME series, offering longer lamp life and a broad choice of resolutions.
MaxPad is a new interactive whiteboard from Starton (www.startonusa.com). It combines a tough ceramic-coated steel board with a built-in Windows 10 computer, optical infrared sensor technology, high-definition camera, microphone, and a complete set of wired and wireless ports. The MaxPad, when combined with a Casio LampFree ultra short throw projector, provides an image from 75” to 165” diagonal. It’s big, responsive and remarkably useful – the ideal presentation and communication tool for any classroom or conference room.
Sphero (www.sphero.com) announced the launch of Specdrums, the STEAM learning brand’s first music-focused product. Specdrums are musical, app-enabled rings that empower kids of all ages and skill levels to create and play music by using colors on a variety of surfaces as their instruments. Specdrums meets kids where they are, from beginners to the artistically-inclined, and connects coding and technology with kids’ ability to move and tap to create rhythm and sound. Kids can create their own masterpieces on the corresponding Specdrums app with hundreds of instruments, loops and sounds.
Listen Technologies (www.listeneverywhere.com), a provider of assistive listening systems, has announced the launch of Listen EVERYWHERE, its new and improved Wi-Fi product. Listen EVERYWHERE is an affordable, low-latency solution that is ideal for houses of worship and classroom settings where ambient noise and distance can make it difficult for congregants and students to hear audio clearly. The product also can be used in indoor arenas and airports and in combination with other ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) systems such as ListenRF, ListenIR or ListenLOOP for assistive listening.
Software & Online
APEX LEARNING ACQUIRES YOUTH DIGITAL PROJECT-BASED TECHNOLOGY COURSES
Apex Learning announced the acquisition of Youth Digital’s library of project-based technology courses. In courses ranging from coding and design to gaming and animation, students are empowered to go beyond being tech users to become creators. Students use industry-standard tools to complete projects such as developing an iOS or Android app, creating a 3D video game, or designing a fashion collection. Apex Learning will provide online support from experts to students enrolled in the technology courses to ensure they can successfully complete their coursework and projects.
Intelitek recently made several significant updates to CoderZ, its online learning environment where students in grades 5-12 learn STEM by coding real and virtual 3D robots that will further support educators’ efforts to make computer science education an integral part of the curriculum. CoderZ helps schools develop fundamental coding and programming skills through fun virtual robotics. Major enhancements include: Cyber Robotics 101 (a course for learning programming basics), training activities (project-based missions) to enhance the existing bank of individual lessons, improved functionality, and several new and upcoming tools to improve class management, including class and student progress tracking and progress control.
COMMON SENSE LAUNCHES CURRICULUM TO COMBAT CONCERNS FACING MIDDLE SCHOOLERS
With all this time spent online, tweens and teens are navigating a minefield of challenging issues, from sexting and cyberbullying to fake news and addictive design. In response, Common Sense launched the Digital Citizenship Curriculum for grades 6–8, available free to all schools through its flagship Common Sense Education platform. Each lesson in the award-winning curriculum takes on the authentic concerns that students face in their conMted lives, giving them the skills they need to succeed as digital learners, leaders, and citizens tomorrow.
FOLLETT RELEASES NEW VERSION OF DESTINY
Follett has released Destiny 16.5 featuring enhancements to Destiny Library Manager, Destiny Discover, and Destiny Resource Manager. Destiny 16.5 highlights include: Collection Playlists, Genrefication Improvements, Revised Job/Report Manager Functions, Assess Fines for Resource Components, and Global Renew Enhancements. For a complete look at all that is new in Destiny 16.5, visit https://bit.ly/2QC75VZ.
GUIDEK12 ACQUIRES DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION FIRM, EXCENSUS
GuideK12TM announced the acquisition of Excensus LLC, a computer software development and applications firm based in Eagan, MN. Excensus was a development partner with GuideK12 for many years, so this acquisition expands the development capabilities to enable future GuideK12 growth. GuideK12 serves the K-12 market with school district clients across the entire United States providing geovisual analytic software used by school administrators for visualizing data. GuideK12 software applications range from boundary planning, open enrollment tracking to resource placement and beyond. The ability to visualize data assists with critical decisions and improves data insights, transparency and broad support.
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT ACQUIRES ADAPTIVE LEARNING SOLUTION WAGGLE
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has acquired adaptive learning solution Waggle. Integrating Waggle’s platform with HMH’s leading core curriculum programs and services will create effective, classroom-based personalized learning experiences for all students across the spectrum of learning needs—those above, on and below grade level. The acquisition continues HMH’s investment in the extension of its core solutions.
LENOVO’S LANSCHOOL AIR JOINS EDWIN
Lenovo’s LanSchool Air, the company’s new cloud-based, classroom management platform, is now integrated into Edwin, the latest technology innovation from NELSON, Canada’s leading educational publisher. The inclusion of LanSchool Air in the Edwin digital ecosystem brings Lenovo’s classroom management software to Canadian teachers and students, empowering educators to create a classroom environment that is highly interactive, collaborative, and easily manageable.
STUDYSYNC AND THE NEWS LITERACY PROJECT PARTNER THROUGH SYNCBLASTS
StudySync is partnering with The News Literacy Project (NLP), a non-profit organization that helps educate middle and high school students about how to separate fact from opinion in media reports. NLP will provide articles and video content for StudySync’s recently released product, SyncBlasts. SyncBlasts offer reading and writing assignments that present social studies, science and current event topics relevant to students’ lives and their world.
VERNIER NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2019 ENGINEERING CONTEST
Vernier Software & Technology is accepting applications for its 2019 Engineering Contest. This annual contest recognizes one middle school, high school, or college educator with a prize valued at $5,500 for innovatively using Vernier technology to introduce engineering concepts or practices to their students. Applications for the Vernier Engineering Contest are due by February 15, 2019, and the winner will be announced on the Vernier website and Facebook page in March. For complete information on the 2019 Vernier Engineering Contest and to submit an application, visit https://www.vernier.com/grants/engineering/.