What’s New: New Tools for Schools

This winter was another busy conference season, kicking off with BETT in the UK, then FETC in Orlando, and then TCEA in San Antonio. Below are some of the highlights from the newest classroom tools that were showcased at these events.

Software & Online

(edex.adobe.com) & (www.rsc.org.uk)

Adobe redesigned its Education Exchange, a free online learning platform designed by and for educators to ignite creativity in the classroom. Enhancements include a simplified layout, visual timelines to track progress, personalized course recommendations and collaborative workshops. The Exchange features new courses on visual storytelling and UX/UI design with Premiere Rush and Adobe Spark. Inspired by educator feedback, the redesigned Exchange aims to provide better access to professional development and teach creative problem solving


Alive Studios has unveiled Rugs alive, a classroom rug that, along with the free Rugs alive mobile app, can turn smartphones and mobile tablets into a magic window through which students can see 26 animals—one for each letter of the alphabet—come to life. As they practice their letters with the rug, students can also practice early STEM concepts by matching animals to their habitat. Students can then walk around the habitat, take pictures, and more.


Amplify announced that it is launching a new mCLASS suite that includes teacher-led and adaptive student-driven instruction, as well as the mobile version of the DIBELS 8th Edition assessment developed by the Center on Teaching and Learning at the University of Oregon’s College of Education. The updated mCLASS early literacy suite integrates assessment, instruction, and intervention programs to help educators provide reading instruction for all students. It will be available for the 2019–2020 school year.

(www.boxlight.com.), (www.critical-links.com), & (modernroboticsinc.com)

Boxlight Corporation announced new alliances with Critical Links and Modern Robotics, Inc. Leveraging Critical Links technology, Boxlight is delivering Mimio MicroCloud, an innovative platform giving both students and teachers secure in-classroom WiFi access to locally-staged resources including curriculum, content, and Learning Management Systems, even without a live/stable internet connection. The Mimio MicroCloud also underpins the MyBot Education solution from Modern Robotics, Inc., enabling students to develop programming and robotics skills through the integrated platform.

(www.bulbapp.com) & (www8.hp.com/us/en/home.html)

Bulb Digital Portfolios announced its web-based iOS application will come pre-loaded on screens of HP.edu devices, giving students and teachers immediate access to the digital portfolio. This partnership with HP makes it seamless for students, educators and leaders to create, collect and share meaningful knowledge, helping school districts document a student’s process and growth over time and make learning more transparent by telling a student’s whole story.

(iamcybersafe.org) & (awelearning.com)

Center for Cyber Safety and Education has partnered with AWE Acquisition, Inc to feature cyber safety lessons with AWE Learning’s newest products, Early Literacy Station Platinum and AfterSchool Edge Platinum. Both products each include over 70 new software titles, spanning all STREAM subject areas (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, Math) for early learners. The cyber safety lessons feature Garfield and were put together by the Center and cartoonist Jim Davis.

(www.cerego.com) & (www.bbc.com/bitesize/levels/z98jmp3)

Cerego announced that BBC Bitesize, a free online study resource for students in the United Kingdom, will integrate Cerego’s learning platform within its online guides for General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) courses, delivering an interactive and personalized method for students to improve their foundational knowledge and achieve higher test scores by using data insights to simultaneously educate students and measure their performance, while also providing students with access to their own learning data.


Certiport announced the release of Compass, a new web-based exam delivery system powered by Microsoft Azure. Compass is exclusive to Certiport and Pearson VUE and tests candidates in multiple languages with secure browser-based software. Compass’ lightweight technology reduces the size and number of downloads with a simple interface to access the same Certiport tools and services currently available on the Certiport Portal. Compass is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X platforms.

(www.discoveryeducation.com) & (www.iste.org)

The International Society for Technology and Education (ISTE) announced that Discovery Education will be offering ISTE members access to its newest service, STEM Connect, for free through July 31, 2019. STEM Connect is an interdisciplinary K-8 supplemental resource built on a 4Cs STEM skills framework. Featuring flexible, modular learning units, STEM Connect provides students an easy-to-follow educational experience through high-quality resources that can be used in a wide variety of classrooms and across all subjects.

(www.edgenuity.com) & (driversed.com)

Due to a new partnership with DriversEd, Edgenuity customers in eight states will have access to interactive online courses designed to teach students relevant local driving laws, pass their permit exams and get onto the road with confidence. Edgenuity will offer schools and districts access to state-approved, online educational resources for beginning drivers, high-tech courses available 24/7, an interactive driver’s education experience that incorporates streaming video, 3-D case studies and dynamic learning activities.


Epic! announced that over 500 million books have been read on the platform since launch. In addition to having free access to Epic!’s digital library, teachers have curated almost 2 million content collections on topics like ocean animals, coding and Native American history for students of all grade levels. Teachers have also created nearly 200,000 interactive quizzes on Epic! to gauge comprehension of reading material, which can be taken at school or at home.


Follett unveiled Follett Genre Solutions to help simplify genrefication for librarians and media specialists seeking to make the transition from the Dewey Decimal System to a more bookstore-like layout based on genres. Support is provided by the company through Do-It-Yourself Genre Starter Kits, colorful labels and signage, titlewave improvements that allow genres to be automatically assigned to book orders, tips for how to maximize the available features through Follett’s Destiny Library Manager and Titlewave solutions.


Safe Zone Gunfire Detector automatically detects, analyzes and reports gunfire to local authorities within ten seconds — saving time that can save lives. An alert is sent to the appropriate dispatch center, providing critical information on their existing displays. Safe Zone announced the completion of a $1-million round of funding anchored by Seedfunders, the strengthening of its North American market distribution and the expansion of its senior leadership team.


Impero Software announced a new cloud-based product portfolio with three modules; EdTeach, a multi-device monitoring classroom management solution; EdProtect, a student safety solution that sends teachers and administrators real-time alerts if students type or search for keywords related to concerns about bullying or self-harm; and EdAdmin, a network management solution that helps monitor and track school resources. Additionally, Impero EdAware records and analyzes multiple types of student information to help identify potential safety risks.


itslearning has created an easier workflow between G Suite and the itslearning LMS. Teachers can automatically log on with their Chromebook details and access their Drive files to attach to Assignments, Make a Copy for each student of a template file, receive an Assignment tied to Drive file(s) and respond with their answer submissions using Drive/Docs/Sheets/etc. itslearning also offers an all-in-one Grading flow for reviewing and grading student cloud file submissions.


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) is introducing iconic globetrotting super-thief Carmen Sandiego to a new generation, beginning with the launch of a new animated series on Netflix and produced by HMH. Carmen’s return also includes the book series, Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego, a host of high-quality resources and teaching tools incorporating Carmen’s adventures such as Google Earth and Google Expedition games and original digital content, and a live action movie slated for 2020.


KinderLab Robotics expanded its KIBO curriculum suite by announcing Growing with KIBO - A Progressive Robotics Curriculum for Grades K– 2. This guide was designed to support early elementary classrooms with a complete, sequenced STEAM curriculum covering robotics, coding, and computational thinking—in addition to providing opportunities for integrating these topics with arts and literacy activities. With this newest addition, KinderLab now offers more than 150 hours of standards-aligned robotics curriculum across its various books.


MERGE announced a new AR/VR learning platform, Windows 10 support, and an educator Ambassador program. The MERGE EDU subscription software platform gives teachers and students a single destination for AR objects and tools, VR experiences, and activity plans aligned to NGSS. Students can import models from 3D libraries such as Google Poly or code and design in Paint 3D, Tinkercad, SketchFab and CoSpaces and hold their creations as virtual objects on the MERGE Cube.

(mheducation.com) & (www.illustrativemathematics.org)

McGraw-Hill Education and Illustrative Mathematics (IM) announced a new agreement to help IM expand its reach into schools nationwide and inspire more children to enjoy math. McGraw-Hill will offer an exclusive IM Certified customized version of Illustrative Mathematics’ curriculum on McGraw-Hill’s digital learning platform, adding interactive tutorials, assessment tools, a customized version of IM Certified professional learning for teachers and print materials to make the curriculum easier to use and more powerful for students.

(nearpod.com) & (www.desmos.com)

Nearpod announced new platform features and enhanced curriculum offerings made in partnership with Desmos, Common Sense Education and other well-known partners, including 25 Nearpod math lessons that incorporate Desmos for grades 6-12, 18 new Common Sense digital citizenship lessons for grades 3-5, VR career tours for 16 career pathways, 200 Cricket ELA lessons featuring leveled texts for grades K-5 and 18 lessons from Participate on the United Nations Sustainable Development goals for grades 6-12.


Sora, a new reading app launched at the beginning of this school year, contributed to record-breaking digital book adoption by giving more students access to ebooks and audiobooks. The OverDrive Education catalog includes two million ebooks and audiobooks in virtually all subjects. Students can access the school and local library’s digital collections anytime, anywhere. Sora also features dyslexic font, exportable notes and highlights, a built-in dictionary and other personalized learning tools.


The Buck Institute for Education announced its new brand name, PBLWorks. This change drives a renewed focus on providing high quality Project Based Learning (PBL) to all students and supporting teachers and administrators in implementing PBL effectively. PBLWorks offers an expanding collection of PBL services, including thought leadership, training around Gold Standard PBL, as well as resources, curriculum materials, and more. The new brand also encompasses the organization’s PBL research and the events it hosts.


Project Tomorrow‘s Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning will no longer have participation windows and deadlines. School and district leaders can use the free Speak Up suite of tested resources whenever they need to collect feedback from their stakeholders, including Snapshots for data collection on timely topics, Flash Indicators for short 5-question surveys on hot topics in education, and Speak Up 360, an annual comprehensive feedback tool that supports short and long-term decision making.


The Quest Safe School System is based on technology from subsidiary HTS Image Processing and offers real-time, automated vehicle recognition via machine vision. In a school setting, the system is hosted on a cloud-based platform integrated with campus intelligence, tracking vehicles, students, staff, deliveries and campus visitors. It also features whitelist and blacklist capabilities for vehicle identification, can interface with government based databases for real time detection and alerts on campus threats, and more.


A new efficacy study by McREL International suggest that Raz-Plus is an effective supplemental resource to improve elementary students’ reading achievement and interest within high poverty and high racial/ethnic minority schools. Students whose teachers used Raz-Plus, a K-5 reading blended learning platform, had higher reading achievement scores than students in the control group. In addition, students who teachers used Raz-Plus showed higher interest in both academic and recreational reading as well.


Lexia RAPID Assessment is a K–12 computer adaptive universal screener that efficiently screens the skills most predictive of end-of-year reading success. Administered up to three times a year, RAPID for Grades K–2 measures students’ foundational skills in the key reading and language domains of Word Recognition, Academic Language, and Reading Comprehension. RAPID for Grades 3–12 measures complex knowledge, understanding, and application of skills within these domains.


The Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21) has joined forces with Battelle for Kids (BFK). P21’s existing networks will join BFK and continue to advance 21st century learning for every student. Founded in 2002, P21 began a national conversation about the skills needed for work, life and citizenship in the 21st century, including the “4C’s” of creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration.


ReadyAI’s AI-in-a-Box takes STEAM a step further by teaching key AI concepts, including object recognition, landmark-based navigation, object manipulation, facial recognition and expressions, speech generation and speech recognition. Designed for all users, each box provides everything a teacher needs to instruct students on how to apply AI to real-world problems. AI-in-a-Box uses STEAM and project-based learning (PBL) to help students acquire a deeper knowledge of AI through active exploration of real-world challenges and team-based problem-solving.

(www.studysync.com) & (www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us)

StudySync announced a content partnership with media company The Players’ Tribune to incorporate first-person narratives from a diverse set of international athletes into its core StudySync ELA curriculum, as well as its social media-like Blasts assignments, in order to bring relevant, high-quality content to middle and high school students. The Players’ Tribune platform also features multilingual content, including stories from Spanish-speaking athletes. The stories include personal topics like health issues, mentorship, childhood experiences and more.


Vernier Software & Technology has released the Exploring Motion and Force with Go Direct Sensor Cart downloadable activity module to engage students in hands-on learning as they investigate key STEM concepts. The seven ready-to-use experiments found in the activity module explore frictional forces, motion, and simple machines, such as the lever, ramp, and pulley, all using the Go Direct Sensor Cart and other materials typically found in the classroom.

Hardware & Software

Peerless-AV (peerless-av.com) announced the launch of its SmartMount Motorized Height Adjustable Flat Panel Cart (SR598ML3E) for education applications. The Motorized Height Adjustable Flat Panel Cart is ADA compliant, offers multiple accessories, including a laptop tray, video conferencing shelf, six-outlet surge protector, PC mounting plate, and power cord manager. Focusing on ease of use, the cart also features 4” casters for rigidity and stability and a pre-assembled design with no wiring required – making installation seamless.

Promethean (www.PrometheanWorld.com) showcased their Promethean Escape Room experience and announced their debut of their new ‘For the Love of Learning’ campaign along with the 2018 US Promethean Grant winners at FETC. Promethean also previewed its new ActivPanel Elements Series Featuring an intuitive menu experience, Vellum touch/writing technology, and access to a choice of ActivInspire and cloud-based ClassFlow software programs as standard, the ActivPanel Elements Series continues Promethean’s commitment to education.

Verso Learning (versolearning.com) has added several new features, including improved student-to-teacher feedback, exit tickets to elicit student responses to questions related to lessons or activities, and an improved teacher dashboard to provide visibility into the impact of instructional practice at the class and student level. Verso also enables teachers, coaches, and mentors to share insights and provide structured feedback for other teachers. Teachers can use this feedback to improve their pedagogical approach and lesson designs.


Acer (www.acer.com) has debuted three new products recently for education customers, including its first two 12-inch Chromebooks, the Chromebook 512 and Spin 512. They feature U.S. Military Standard (MILSTD 810G) compliant durability, a 3:2 aspect ratio, and are powered by Intel processors with Gigabit Wifi. The new 14-inch Acer TravelMate B114-21 features up to a 7th Gen AMD A6-9220C processor paired with Radeon R5 graphics, and up to 10 hours of battery life.

BenQ (www.BenQ.com) presented several new products at TCEA 2019, including a premium RP Series IFP display line with health-conscious features such as an anti-glare screen, bacteria-resistant screen, CO2 air quality sensor and more, their BlueCore laser projector line that features pen and touch interactivity, 5000 ANSI lumens of brightness, DustGuard technology, and more, and an InstaShow WDC20 wireless presentation system featuring a software-free solution that allows for multiple presenters to lead from any device.

Dremel (digilab.dremel.com/products/3d40-flex) has announced the debut of its newest 3D printer, the Dremel DigiLab 3D40 FLEX 3D Printer. The 3D40 FLEX offers a variety of new features, including a flexible build plate to help make it much easier to remove parts after printing, 30% faster printing in draft mode, and higher resolution capabilities to better print intricate features like arches, organic forms, small details, engravings and diagonals.

Casio America, Inc. (www.casio.com/home) announced the new Superior Series of LampFree Projectors. The models provide full HD (and WUXGA) resolution with crisp images and vibrant colors. With a 1.7X zoom lens, the Superior Series increases flexibility with installations as the projectors can fit into many existing brackets. The Superior Series features Casio’s mercury-free, laser and LED R-Hybrid Light Source, producing clear and brilliant colors while providing a service life of up to 20,000 hours.

Epson (www.epson.com/education) announced the PowerLite U50 WUXGA 3LCD projector – an ultra-bright classroom projector that offers over 10,000 hours of lamp life. Featuring 3,600 lumens of color brightness and 3,600 lumens of white brightness, plus WUXGA resolution, the PowerLite U50 shines bright even in well-lit rooms. The projector offers enterprise-level security via integrated wireless networking, and teachers can wirelessly share content simultaneously from multiple devices, providing a collaborative display solution for any classroom.

Hanson Robotics Limited (www.hansonrobotics.com) announced their next innovation in consumer robots: Little Sophia. Little Sophia is a tutorial companion that teaches STEM, coding, and Artificial intelligence (AI), with a playful personality and unmatched characteristics of the renowned Sophia the Robot. Designed for kids (especially girls) ages 7-13, Little Sophia helps kids learn new things in robotics, science, technology engineering, math, coding, and AI. With her smart software, Little Sophia is also the ultimate AI home assistant.

While GoodReader (www.goodreader.com) originally became popular for the way it handled very large PDF files on an iPhone or iPad, GoodReader 5 delivers an all-new interface that makes viewing documents even easier – including a split-screen view for iPad which enables users to view two documents or even different sections of the same document simultaneously. This feature is especially useful for comparing documents such as contracts or research papers.

HoverCam’s (www.thehovercam.com) Pilot 3 features a Windows PC, 13-megapixel document camera, and 21-inch multi-touchscreen with wireless HD mirroring functionality in a mobile podium. The Pilot’s wireless transceiver instantly beams the podium’s screen and touch annotations to any interactive flat panel, projector or TV in uncompressed 1080p HD resolution. Other products HoverCam announced include Pilot X, a tablet-based wireless digital teaching station, the Ultra 10 document camera, and ClassFusion, a classroom presentation system.

InFocus Corporation (www.infocus.com) debuted two new projector lines – the LED IN1100 Series and the laser INL3100 Series – along with the new IN119HDG projector ideal for business and education applications. The InFocus Quantum Color Engine gives the IN1100 Series and INL3100 Series exceptional image quality and all of the new projectors are equipped with InFocus’s DLP technology and BrilliantColor implementation for accurate picture quality that provides true-to-life colors to make details pop.