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Instant IDs

10052 No school can remain safe today without formal identification cards, but making them can be a slow and expensive hassle. ID Maker’sPremier System can create as easy as saying smile to students and staff. The kit includes a card printer, USB camera with tripod and the supplies to create 200 cards. The system can churn out 125 cards per hour and costs $2,700 for one-sided printing and $3,800 for two-sided printing; adding a district-wide ID database of cards adds $500. The system can be a money-maker for the school or district if you charge for replacements.

The School Printer

C6050_AR Over the years I’ve seen dozens of printers that the makers say are perfect for schools, but they all fall short in one regard: they are generally no different from printers sold for a variety of other purposes. OKI Data’s C6050n is different in that it comes with a cool set of digital school supplies for creating classroom content and banners for the next fund raiser or blood drive. At $500, it should fit into the district budget as well.

Capable of pumping out 22 color or 26 monochrome pages a minutes, according to its maker, the C6050 has a duty cycle of up to 55,000 pages per month. This puts it in the sweet spot as a school- or department-wide printing resource.

It can connect directly via a USB cable or to a network and has the easiest set up routine I’ve seen for connecting to a school LAN. It took all of two minutes to install the software and connect to my network and the printer worked on the first try. It can use either a fixed or an automatically-assigned IP address.

The proof of any printer is in its output and the C6050n creates stunning 600- by 1,200-dot per inch prints in rich color with solid blacks, smooth gradients and sharp edges. The output is good enough for an art class’s digital photography projects and inexpensive enough for creating math worksheets. It comes with a main paper tray that holds a full ream and has a nifty paper level indicator on the outside so you’ll never run out of paper. It can sit on an optional second paper tray that costs $229.

I looked at and every day used the C6050n for a variety of jobs, from social studies presentations and science spreadsheets to overhead slides and card stock invitations and brochures. While other printers stop at letter or legal size paper, the C6050 can accommodate sheets that are up to 4-feet long, creating banners that are perfect for the classroom, gym or hallway.

C6050 pyramid It takes a little effort to get the printing specs correct but once it’s set up, the banner printing puts the C6050n in a class by itself. I was able to make banners with the ABCs for a classroom and of panoramic photos I took.

The printer can be ordered with the School Communications Pack, a CD that’s filled with templates for calendars, announcements and award certificates. The jewels are the customizable banners for everything from announcing an essay contest to a sporting event.

OKI Data goes against the grain with separate toner cartridges and imaging drums for putting its three colors and black toner onto paper. The C6050’s toner comes in separate cartridges that can be changed, although it can get a little messy. A word to the wise, have a vacuum cleaner ready.

A full set of toner cartridges costs $265 and is good for 4,000 pages of color and 5,000 pages of black and white prints. This adds up to a per page cost of about 6.6 cents, about 50 percent less than other color lasers, like HP’s Color LaserJet CP 2025. The separate imaging drums cost $82 each and have a lifetime of 20,000 pages. Overall, its per-page costs are slightly lower than other color laser printers.

While it takes as much as 30 seconds for the printer to warm up if it hasn’t been recently used, the C6050n is fast once it gets going. The first page is out in 11.4 seconds and it can produce 18.5 pages per minute. On the downside, the printer uses as much as 984 watts of power when it is printing, 30 percent more than other printers. Its sleep mode still uses 12 watts versus close to zero for competitors.

Over two months of daily printing with a wide variety of papers, it jammed once. On the downside, the C6050n is loud with a series of blunt noises as well as a shrill fan.

The C6050n comes with a 5-year warranty on the LED printing mechanism and 1 year of coverage on everything else. Buying a 3-year printer warranty with onsite service can double its price, however.

If you’re looking for a color printer that’s as reliable as it is inexpensive, look no further than the OKI Data C6050n. In other words, it is the school printer.

OKI Data C6050n

+ Easy LAN set up
+ Beautiful prints
+ Fast
+ Banner printing
+ CD full of educational items

- Uses a lot of power
- Messy toner changes
- Loud


Answering the Call for Better Learning

IPhone_Human_Anatomy[1] Following up on its free flashcard maker, MemoryLifter, has just released a version for the iPhone that can put learning in your pocket. LearnLifter can suit anyone’s learning style with the ability to vary the flash cards’ timing, pattern and repetition. There’re modules for a variety of subjects, including SAT prep, state capitals and physiology. Learning modules are downloadable and cost between $1 and $20.

PC Control Freak

Ikonnet You’ve got a room full of students and computers, but are struggling to get everyone on the same digital page. Ikonnet’s HiClass 5.0 offers a comprehensive way to control every PC in the class by broadcasting the same screen to everyone or sending pages to individual computers. The teacher can send out with a variety of popular file types, from .asf to .wav, and keep any eye on what each student is doing. The best part is that with a headset, any child can have a private conversation with the teacher. At any time, the teacher can turn off the computers or give the class a quiz.

Turning Paper into Bits

KV-S1045C001[1] Schools have generally been a step or two behind companies in reducing paperwork and relying exclusively on digital technology. Panasonic’s KV-S1045C is small but can help schools to catch up by digitizing up to 80 items – from attendance cards to test sheets – per minute. The scanner’s document feeder can hold 92 pages of material, scan both sides of sheets and save the results in a variety of image formats. 

All-in-One for Cheapskates

OJ4500right-20100208074318 A typical classroom all-in-one printer at $250 sounds pretty good until you consider that a school might need two- or three-dozen of them. That’s thousands of dollars. HP is trying to change that with itsOfficeJet 4500, an all-in-one scanner, printer, copier and fax machine that costs $100, yet is great for all sorts of classroom documents – from trip permission slips to worksheets – is not an inexpensive task. It works with Windows and Mac computers and uses the company’s newest ColorLok ink cartridges.

FREEBEE FRIDAY: Learning in a Multitasking World

Media multitasking report We all know the toll that social networking, video games and TV takes on a child’s ability to concentrate on schoolwork, but the Kaiser Family Foundation brought together a panel of cognitive scientists, developmental psychologists, neuroscientists and educators to discuss the topic. The report’s results are in and they’re not encouraging. It shows that the average child (from 8- to 18-year old) now spends more than 7.5 hours with computers, phones, music players and video games. Because most kids revel in using several devices at once, the average is closer to 10.75 hours of media interaction. Read all about it with the downloadable report.


Class timer Ask any teacher and chances are that you’ll hear that rather than projectors, computers and textbooks, time is the most precious resource in a classroom. Class Timer is a nifty little program that puts time front and center on the screen of any PC. It requires the latest version of Java to run, can be set up to count up or down and has an annoying sound that plays when time is up. It’s great for everything from how long recess lasts to dividing the day into usable chunks in an elementary classroom.

Short Throw, Long on Value

MT-EDU101 I love the ability of short throw projectors to transform a small room into a teacher zone with fewer on-screen shadows, but the price of these specialty devices has held them back from more general use in schools. Until now, because Sanyo’s latest short-throw projector is reasonably prices at $950. The MT-EDU101 should be out by April and comes as a complete unit ready for mounting on the wall above the screen. It not only has a 25 watt amplifier and a pair of speakers, but the projector comes with a wall mount that allows it to sit between 7 and 27 inches away from the screen while hiding all the wiring.

Instant Math Class

Basic math cover Sometimes multimedia flourishes don’t matter as much as having a talented teacher explain a subject with a plain old white board and markers. With a variety of subjects like math, world history, chemistry and improving student study skills, the Teaching Company’s series of DVD lessons are a great way to improve learning and progress. Its Basic Math series consists of 30 targeted half-hour lessons on everything from a review of adding and subtracting to a preview of algebra. The course comes with an outline of subjects covered and workbook. It’s all taught by math pro Murray Siegel.

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