The intriguing idea behind After the Storm is that the educational game deals with the days after a huge hurricane has devastated the town. The town’s sixth grade class takes over writing, editing and distributing the local online magazine. Along the way, they describe the damage and how the people are coping. The game emphasizes reading, writing and role playing and it is aligned with Common Core standards for everything from finding key ideas and details to writing informative and explanatory texts. It should go on sale later this summer.
Most administrators and IT types are perfectly content to get generic equipment to fill out their school’s network, but Aerohive Networks can simplify a WiFi set up with their school-centric apps and controller-less design that puts the emphasis on centralized management of the LAN’s components. The company’s StudentManager app lets staff monitor the wireless network’s activity and performance, while the TeacherView program lets teachers monitor what students are doing online.
Samsung School is back with many improvements that make it a great way to take advantage of a classroom of tablets. Version 1.5.6 of School works with Android tablets and lets teachers send resources directly to students, make sure that every student has the current lesson on their slate and deliver assessments to them. Rather than a multiple choice format, they can answer with an image, drawing or even a multimedia clip, making School software very flexible.
Why not start teaching kids about science and technology during their first days at school? Accelerate Learning’s STEMscopes NGSS does just that with a comprehensive program that takes kids from pre-K through high school. It is aligned with Common Core standards as well as those of various states and is used by 1.5-million students in Texas.
What’s the best place to put a classroom of computers while they’re charging at night? How about a dedicated charging locker? That way, they’ll be safe and still have a full battery in the morning. Black Box’s iPad, Chromebook, Tablet, and Laptop Lockers are 19-inches tall and can hold up to 10 items that are separated by dividers. The best part is that the lockers are stackable so that if you need more notebook or tablet room, you can get another locker and connect them. There are optional casters and drawers and you can stack up to four cubes. The lockers sell for $450 each or $1,550 for a group of four.
The latest for students struggling to keep up with the class is Scientific Learning’s Fast ForWord, an iPad app that helps kids maintain attention, remember better what they’ve learned and improve processing skills. Based on animated graphics, the online program is more than a way for them to catch up with the class, it is a method for speeding up their reading rate and ability to learn. It can be used in the classroom, at home or anywhere there’s an Internet connection, and should be out in the fall.
And that turns out to be a good thing, because there’s no better way to stir a child’s imagination and use that curiosity to teach them about electricity, physics and programming than with robots. For those teachers who are unsure about their robotic or programming abilities, there’s No Starch Press’s “The Lego Mindstorms EV3 Discovery Book.” With lively text and color photos, the book shows and explains how to make six mechanical creatures – including tips on the delicate assembly process – from the basic EV3 set, including a race car and a six-legged walker. It costs $35.
With so many schools extending downwards into offering pre-school classes, VTech has the right tablet. With a 7-inch screen, multi-core processor and 8GB of storage space, the InnoTab MAX can easily fit into small hands and can run all Android educational apps. It comes with 16 age-specific apps, including programs for problem solving as well as recognizing letters and numbers. Unfortunately, it won’t be available until after the school year starts.
Corel and Kivuto are giving away a slew of software to teachers so they can have the latest tools to work and teach with. Called Teacher-Try-It Program at ISTE 2014, the program allows them to download a variety of software, including Corel’s PaintShop Pro, CorelDraw and others. They are fully functional and licensed version for teachers to use at school, at home and in-between. All told, it’s $400 worth of useful software, all free.
It doesn’t matter if it’s stored locally or out in the cloud, maintaining a student’s records and digital security is not just a good idea, it’s the law. Skyward has some good ideas and techniques that can keep school data safe, secure and out of the hands of hackers. The recommendations range from creating strict access policies to having a disaster recovery plan and routine security audits.