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Digital Classroom Done Right

Follett_15studentproject Follett Digital Resources can take the confusion out of the digital classroom with a Web-based system that provides access to a school’s curriculum assets on a class by class basis. This hosted service is focused on the K-through-12 teaching environment and relies on using a recent Web browser with Flash software. The Digital Classroom provides a place for teachers to post lessons, assignments, additional online resources as well as a way for students to submit online assignments. At the same time, parents can check on their children’s work. They’ll be showing the program at booth 2176.

Document Camera with Computer

Uf130dxIf tying up a computer every time you need to use a document camera is cramping your teaching style, Samsung Opto-Electronics America’s UF-130DX Presentation Station is the closest thing to a self-standing presentation machine. With a built-in AMD processor and Windows CE, the UF130DX builds puts 720p resolution images at 30 frames per second on-screen. Just put your lesson on a CompactFlash, SD card or USB memory key and it’s ready for the class, the system can handle PowerPoint, Word, Excel, PDF and images. You can try it out at booth 1252.

Teacher’s Angel

Angel_k12_small_2How often does a new version of school software come out that has lots of new and cool things, but still has the bug you hate or lacks the one feature you really need? A little too often, if you ask me, but the recently released version 7.3 of the Angel Learning management Suite has more than 100 new features that came from teachers and administrators who use the software every day. On top of improved testing tools and a simpler interface, Angel 7.3 has a new administration console for quicker supervision and better integration into SIS systems. You can try out a demo of the program. They're at booth 2266.

NECC Survival Guide

Necc08_logoWhile we can’t help with sore feet and headaches, TechTools can lend a hand with some of the basics for next week’s 29th annual National Educational Computing Conference. Held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, there’s no shortage of things to do, people to see and stuff to play with.

The Schedule of Events

Floor plan of exhibitors

Alphabetical exhibitor listing

Workshop schedule

Things to do in San Antonio

It won’t help much but as big and tiring as this year’s show is, next year’s is sure to be bigger.

Win a Document Camera

Avermedia_logo AVerMedia’s AVerVision Teacher Forum is giving away a new document camera to a teacher every month. Just go to the site, post a comment or make a suggestion on how to use the devices and yours could be chosen for the month’s free camera. The contest runs until August 28 so post early and often.

One to One on the Cheap

Novacentro1One-to-one computing in schools will be delivered via a traditional budget notebook or desktop PC, right? Wrong, there are now a whole slew of different hardware choices for pairing kids with computers, including Fourier’s innovative NovaCentro. The 2.4-pound portable comes with a color screen, 624MHz processor, 128MB of system memory and 256MB of flash memory for storing programs, data and all sorts of projects. Rather than Windows XP, you can get the NovaCentro with either Linux or Windows CE, and it comes with a slew of educational software. Its battery provides 8 hours and costs about $500.

Digital Art for the Kindergarten Crowd

Kidiart_studio_hi_resIf dabbling in digital art seems like something more for middle-schoolers than five-year-old Kindergarten students, think again. VTech’s KidiArt Studio is a self contained table with a digital camera mounted on a flexible arm so that kids can take shots of classmates or items on its workspace. It connects with either a computer or a TV and is great for making everything from stop-action animation sequences to holiday art projects. At $80, it costs less than many digital cameras bought by schools.

Zooming in on the World

Bionicam_out_of_pkgThe world of nature, materials and even insects gets a lot bigger with Jakks Pacific’s EyeClops BioniCam. This handheld digital microscope can zoom in at 100x, 200x or 400x to reveal hidden details in everything form concrete to a bee’s wing on its color display. Images can be played on any TV or saved on a USB memory key for use with a computer. The company’s web site has lots of great classroom ideas for the BioniCam, which sells for $80.

Instant Feedback with Hot Dots

Eta_4f_chargingupsmallNothing compares to instant feedback and positive reinforcement when teaching reading to kids, and ETA Cuisenaire’s Power Pen can tell them when they’re right or wrong. After reading a book, students answer questions on Charging Up cards by taping answers with the Hot Dot pen. Each card quizzes kids on the content of the reading passage and the pen records right and wrong answers, while letting the kids know how they did. There are Charging Up kits for third, fourth and fifth grade classrooms that cost $300 each. The sets include 24 books, three groups of 24 Study Strategy Cards and 8 Hot Dots Power Pens; additional pens cost $10 each.

The Dependable Hard Drive

SaF1_raid_lg_2msung’s Spinpoint F1 RAID hard drive not only holds a terabyte of all sorts of school data but uses less power than other 3.5-inch drives. It’s particularly good for data-heavy applications like 24-hour video surveillance. The secret is that the F1R uses three magnetic platters and an innovative perpendicular recording technique, which lower energy use and cooling needs while raising performance. The drive’s discs spin at 7,200 rpm and it comes with a 7 year warranty.

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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.