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Captivate the School

CaptivateThe latest school software from Adobe upgrades a district’s Learning Management System with online learning possibilities. The key is that Captivate can turn your desktop bound curriculum into an exciting online experience with access to 75,000 materials. The Captivate Prime version also lets any connected digital device play and the app has the ability to create live teaching materials. There’s a 30-day trial of the software available and pricing starts at $350 per year for a teacher with district wide licensing available.

Financial Winner or Loser?

Catch onAre those new tablet apps better than the desktop and notebook programs they replace and are they the best around. The CatchOn beta program offers school administrators an application management and reporting program that can give them a detailed look at where they money is going and how well the new tech is fitting in. It can calculate everything from the return on investment of each acquisition to how cost-effective apps are. The online service has a 60-day trial and costs between $3 and $5 a student after that, with school volume discounts available.

Who’s Where

ESS-on-Mobile-and-TabletLenvica’s Smart School attendance software not only keeps track of who’s at school and who isn’t for state aid purposes but during an emergency, you can compile a list of those in the facility along with photographs in a matter of seconds. The program works with fingerprint readers and can alert parents via text or email messages if a student doesn’t show up for school.


Register ASAP

Asap bIf you dread the beginning of the term with the onslaught of new students that need registering and fitting into the school’s digital infrastructure. ASAP can not only allow parents to securely register online but get them to sign any waivers or paperwork required for the school year. It can put new students into existing classes and into the school’s accounting system for any fees.

Little Big Sound

Pa11_11Don’t let its diminutive dimensions fool you, because Califone’s PA11 portable public address system packs a wallop. Whether it’s for announcing bus arrivals or keeping order during recess or a fire drill, the 5-pound PA-11 delivers with a single 4.5-inch speaker and a 20-watt amplifier. The microphone uses a 213.75MHz wireless link that has a 100-foot range or you can plug in a microphone. The system’s battery pack lasts for 6-hours of use. It costs $382.


Learn by Doing

Pk12_slide_2 (1)Why practice on dangerous classroom situations when Kognito’s simulations of classroom activities can prepare you for dealing with them in real life. The interactive role-playing simulations can build awareness, knowledge and skills about mental health and suicide prevention while providing real-world supporting conversations to have with students.There are versions for elementary, middle and high school that use 3-D animation with suggested dialogue to show how to correctly deal with typical classroom situations.

OK, Class Settle Down

Administrator-dashboardAsk any teacher -- old or new -- and they're likely to say that the worst aspect of education is the time wasted with an unfocused class. Recess and gym classes everyday can help but Activate seeks to focus students with a mind-body course. Activate includes both cognitive mental and physical exercises that are aimed at focusing student attention when it’s needed. All students take NIH assessments before and after the exercises, with the results reported to teachers, administrators and parents via the Activate dashboard. It costs $150 per seat up to 99 students or $125 for 200- to 300-students and the company offers discounts for larger schools

Manage Tablets like a Pro

TabPilot-Horiz-250-gray-bgThe sixth generation of TabPilot’s Mobile Deviced Mangement (MDM) software takes controlling a variety of tablets to a new level. Available for Androids and iPads, the MDM has been designed to help manage a district’s worth of devices allowing administrators to do everything from push, license and configure apps to systems to setting online access policy and inventory all items. Teachers can not only lock student screens, send alerts and force them to a site or app, but view what kids are doing on their systems.

AV Scheduler

CrestronIf you use Crestron software to control and connect the school’s AV gear, it can now be scheduled so there’s no fighting over the videoconferencing set up. The Crestron software not only shows what’s available but lets you schedule events directly with everything from Microsoft Exchange to Google Calendar to IBM Notes or with Crestron’s TSW-732 or 752 touch screen tablets.


Freebee Friday: Messenger Rebirth

Bloomz pictureUsing Class Messenger and are out of luck because it’s shut down? Bloomz has created a way to continue using your class and parent lists so every message gets through. The directions and access to a free account are on a special Bloomz page for those making the transition. In fact, the Bloomz app adds things like the ability to push out photos and videos as well as translate the notes into other languages.

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