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Brain Workout

Core_mind_bldr_pro Looking for a workout for your noodle? The Core Mind Builder CD-ROMs promise some mental pushups with hundreds of hours of intelligence testing designed by top MENSA puzzle editors and test experts. The software builds abstract and logical reasoning powers with hundreds of challenging questions and brain teasers. The Core Mind Builder Pro includes four interactive CD-ROMs that include verbal and math tests, and IQ and Aptitude Builders. Not bad for less than forty bucks.

Cheap Thrill

Dxg566v At $150, DXG’s 566V is quite possibly the best bargain in video for schools. Whether it’s for a field-trip movie or graduation clips that will be distributed on a Web site, the camcorder delivers with 30 frame-per-second videos at 1,280 by 720 resolution. It has a 3-inch fold-out viewing screen and the DXG 566V doubles as a high-quality 5-megapixel still camera. Rather than using bulky tapes or optical media, the 566V puts its stills and clips onto inexpensive Secure Digital flash memory cards.

Epson Joins Short Throw Projector Party

Pl_400wEpson is the latest projector-maker to introduce a short-throw digital projector, and the PowerLite 400W can fill a 7-foot screen from only 3.5-feet away. It can not only work in small rooms, but reduce shadows for a teacher who works close to the screen. The wide-screen projector uses three LCD panels to produce 1,800 lumens of brightness, has a 10-watt speaker and can show high definition movies and TV. The projector has a 4,000 hour lamp and features network monitoring and control.

Win a Document Camera: Contest Runs Through April 18, 2008

Avercontest_flyer Do you have a winning a document camera lesson? AVerVision’s Lesson Plan Contest asks educators to submit a lesson plan relating to one of six subjects that includes a document camera as the primary technology or demonstration device. One new AVerVision document camera and $1000 will be awarded to the winner of each subject category.  Subject categories include: Mathematics, Science, English/Language Arts, History/Social Studies, Art/Music, and Other. The contest runs between January 25 and April 18, 2008. Winners will be chosen and announced by May 2, 2008.

Big Class, Small World

Celestron_ldmWhen Celestron starts selling its LCD Digital Microscope (LDM) in March, it will allow science teachers to not only talk about the inner works of bacteria and cells, but show it to the entire class as well. With its own flat screen, the LDM’s 2-megapixel camera can show the micro world up close. The kit comes with everything needed to explore a micro world, including three objective lenses that can yield up t o 400X magnification, which can be raised four-fold with the microscope’s digital zoom. A preview of the microscope can be seen at www.celestron.com

Leapfrog Blends Fly and Leappad in New Handheld Tool

Tag_school_5 The new Tag School Reader from Leapfrog debuted at FETC, and it is a very cool little device. Kids log into this pen-like device and simply scan the tip over text in a series of Tag Readers to hear the words read aloud. The Tag Reader library will include popular storybooks, kids’ classics, and transition readers, including high-interest titles like Miss Spider’s Tea Party, Cars, Spongebob, and I Spy. Thanks to a high-tech pattern printing using Composer software, the pen automatically recognizes each new Tag title simply by scanning the pages. Another perk: all reading activity is automatically logged into a management system that evaluates things like time on task and which words students scanned repeatedly. Pricing is expected to be about $500 for a center pack (includes 8 readers and software); $1300 for classroom kit (includes 24 readers and software). A consumer version will release this spring; the education version of Tag starts shipping in August.

Free Whiteboard Lessons

A new SMART microsite launched this month offers free Notebook collaborative software lessons. The theme this quarter is math & science, featuring five original Scholastic-branded lessons – all aligned to standards. The site also includes contests and plenty of other helpful links, articles, and how-tos for both new and experienced whiteboard users. Watch for upcoming themes: Earth Day lessons in April, and back To School lessons in August.

The Need for Scanning Speed

Insight30 The latest development in high-speed scanners for schools is Pearson’s iNSIGHT 30, a tiny device that’s capable of turning up to 75 pages a minute into color and grayscale digital documents. It can not only handle a variety of page sizes and paper weights but the ScanTools software automatically orients the image for the operator. Perfect for inputting and reading automated tests, grading, attendance and employment records, the iNSIGHT 30 is a cost-effective way to turn paper into pixels.

FETC Numbers are In

FetcAccording to RB Oppenheim Associates, the PR firm handling FETC, FETC had about 8,000 attendees (about the same as last year) and 480 exhibitors (up from 450 in '07). The workshop attendance almost doubled from last year (from 950 to 1850), with impressive speakers like our own Alexander Russo taking an inside look at NCLB.

SAFARI Montage Integrated with Promethean Activboard

FetcEducators can now present content from SAFARI Montage’s video-on-demand digital media management system on the Promethean Activboard. Users can freeze frame video and annotate over it by using the pen to write notes and hightlight information. SAFARI Montage lets users save, meta tags and share Promethean lessons, saved on flipcharts, on their district’s central server.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Tech Tools are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.