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Hear Me

Wms470_voc4d84d60946cb3With a large class or auditorium to talk to, having amplification is the only way that everyone can hear. But who wants to be tied down with wires? AKG's WMS 470 Presenter Set automatically chooses from among 48 separate wireless channels so that the connection is loud, clear and static-free. The $500 microphone set has a separate transmitter that can be clipped to a jacket or belt.


Connection Central

Tnp221_hiWith the teacher’s desk becoming a warren of computer and power cables, Altinex has a better idea: Hide it all. The company’s Tilt ‘N Plug Jr Interconnect Box combines power, USB, VGA, audio and wired LAN into one small module. The key is that the unit swivels to open or snaps shut so that it’s flush with the tabletop. Available in black or brushed aluminum, it costs $400.


FETC Freebee Friday: Grading for Absolutely Nothing

120124_gradecam_screenshotIf you thought that setting up an automatic grading scheme at your school would cost at least two limbs, think about looking at GradeCam’s free application. The key is that rather than an expensive scanner or dedicated hardware, GradeCam uses a simple document camera or Web cam to snap a shot of the test and compare it to the answer sheet. It then compiles a score and creates a class list with the grades. The free version is limited to a ten question format but can handle a variety of multiple choice formats.



FETC 2012: A Window into Student Behavior

Gaggle_logoWith so many kids texting and using social networking at school, it can provide a window into the lives of students. Gaggle has a new approach with its Human Monitoring Service. It won’t be available until this summer, but the service will intercept messaging and let administrators review them for clues about depression, bullying, violence and other topics of concern. 



FETC 2012: Table It

ActivTable-300x200Who says that all lesson material has to be projected vertically on a wall or screen? Promethean’s ActivTable turns education on its end with a table that has a 46-inch touch screen, perfect for kids to cluster around and explore learning with their fingers. It comes with all you’ll need to use it, including lots of classroom software. No word on pricing at this point.



FETC 2012: Projector Big Enough for an Auditorium

Epson-PowerLite-Pro-Z8450WUNL-Z8455WUNL-Z8350WNL-Z8250NL-and-Z8255NL-Installation-ProjectorAnyone who’s tried to fill a huge screen in a big lecture hall or auditorium with a classroom projector knows that the image quickly gets washed out and often distorted. Enter Epson's ProZ line of large venue projectors that can fill large screens with between 7,000 and 10,000 lumens of illumination and have a variety of specialty lenses. There are three models, some of which can be ordered in black or white and they should be available later this winter.


FETC 2012: Quick Curriculum

Qtopia bioOne of the coolest things I saw at FETC is Qtopia , a curriculum platform from Qwizdom that includes thousands of free lessons, complete with multimedia content. There are homework assignments, games and quizzes as well as classroom activities. Kids can be presented as on-screen avatars and the material can be automatically graded. The best part is that it’s all free for individual students and teachers, although the company has a paid Qtopia Plus service, which consolidates a full classroom, school or district.


FETC 2012: Paper Goes Digital

Lg-math-viewThere may be little overlap between paper tests and digital electronics but KarbonStream’s KarbonPad creates an intriguing hybrid device that provides the best of both worlds. The 14.5- by 10.5 device weighs 2.2 pounds and lets students take tests and quizzes on the familiar and easy to produce paper test or quiz, but KarbonPad translates the student’s answers into digital form so that they can be electronically corrected and dropped into computerized grade book software. It communicates with WiFi, has 2GB of internal storage and works with bubbles, multiple choice as well as written answer formats and the pad can be used as a response clicker with five potential answers.



FETC 2012: Powering the School

PowerSchool_for_Parents_(2)The latest in iPad and iPhone education is a pair of Pearson apps:  PowerSchool for Students and PowerSchool for Parents. They each take the company’s PowerSchool 7.1 program even further with kids having their familiar chalkboard interface so they can go through their digital lessons. Meanwhile, parents can keep track of what goes on in the classroom, including test scores and teacher comments.


FETC 2012: Touch Me

TouchBoard-3-math-cropeInstruction’s TouchBoard combines the latest in interactive hardware with the latest in educational software. The interactive whiteboard comes in two sizes and aspect ratios: 78 inches (traditional 4:3) and 88 inches (wide-screen 16:9). Both connect to the host computer via USB and work with PC, Mac and Linux systems. The board uses infrared technology to deliver 8,000 by 8,000 dot touch resolution for use with a finger or a pen. Each board comes with the company’s ExamView assessment program and WorkSpace lesson content.


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