The new Tag School Reader from Leapfrog debuted at FETC, and it is a very cool little device. Kids log into this pen-like device and simply scan the tip over text in a series of Tag Readers to hear the words read aloud. The Tag Reader library will include popular storybooks, kids’ classics, and transition readers, including high-interest titles like Miss Spider’s Tea Party, Cars, Spongebob, and I Spy. Thanks to a high-tech pattern printing using Composer software, the pen automatically recognizes each new Tag title simply by scanning the pages. Another perk: all reading activity is automatically logged into a management system that evaluates things like time on task and which words students scanned repeatedly. Pricing is expected to be about $500 for a center pack (includes 8 readers and software); $1300 for classroom kit (includes 24 readers and software). A consumer version will release this spring; the education version of Tag starts shipping in August.
According to RB Oppenheim Associates, the PR firm handling FETC, FETC had about 8,000 attendees (about the same as last year) and 480 exhibitors (up from 450 in '07). The workshop attendance almost doubled from last year (from 950 to 1850), with impressive speakers like our own Alexander Russo taking an inside look at NCLB.
Educators can now present content from SAFARI Montage’s video-on-demand digital media management system on the Promethean Activboard. Users can freeze frame video and annotate over it by using the pen to write notes and hightlight information. SAFARI Montage lets users save, meta tags and share Promethean lessons, saved on flipcharts, on their district’s central server.
Need to notify your school community on the fly? Mass notification systems are an easy way to do this (see our coverage of this topic in Administrator). The new NetSupport Notify desktop alert mass notification system sends instant alerts across a LAN or WAN. Unlike most LAN-based messaging solutions, NetSupport Notify provides a dedicated notification gateway that allows the message to be delivered across multiple network segments without network modifications or switch configuration.
Schools are all about the research, so CTB/McGraw-Hill released a white paper that highlights the benefits of technology-enhanced formative and interim assessments, including CTB/McGraw-Hill’s Acuity suite of assessments, in supporting student achievement. “Promoting Student Achievement Using Research-Based Assessment with Formative Benefits,” delves into independent research studies to show that technology-enhanced formative assessment can be an effective solution to accelerate student performance and meet achievement goals -- including low-performing students.
Want to start a one-to-one program, but not sure how to get started? The Center for Digital Education and MPC Gateway released the K-12 2.0: A Complete Guide to One-to-One Computing in the K-12 Environment. The handbook includes expert information and real-world examples about designing and supporting one-to-one programs. K-12 2.0 features results and analyses of successful and replicable one-to-one deployments from across the nation, and offers guidance on budgeting for one-to-one initiatives and potential funding streams. Professional development and classroom management tips also included.
Teachers love to integrate video clips into lessons, but managing all that media can get unwieldy. Discovery Education’s new MediaShare web-based media management service allows administrators, media specialists and teachers to upload, correlate, manage, and distribute user-created or licensed digital content. Using MediaShare, educators can upload content to either locally hosted servers or to Discovery Education servers, allowing teachers, parents and students to access digital content from anywhere. Once content is uploaded, administrators have the flexibility to set sharing permissions to ensure users have the correct level of access to digital assets.
Were you one of 2007’s 23,000 applicants vying for e--rate funding? See how you match up with the other schools submitting in a new Funds For Learning report titled, "The Average E-rate Applicant." In this report, Funds For Learning creates a profile of the average E-rate applicant based on funding requests received for the 2007 Funding Year, looking at issues like site averages, funding request averages, and average request by category.
HP had three big announcements, but I can only tell you about two (the last biggie comes on tax day, April 15, so stay tuned).
The first is a mobile thin client computer – which means everything, even the operating system, is delivered to the thin client, but stored on the school network. This makes the HP Compaq 6720t Mobile Thin Client more secure, easy to update, and green-friendly since they require less energy than a traditional notebook. Although your IT folks will have to help get these up and running, teachers and admins should like it with a little training.
The other news is an online community being developed “By Teachers, For Teachers.” HP is asking for the help of teachers to share their lesson plans videos, projects, and more to populate the Teacher Experience Exchange site with content and develop an online community. The official launch will be June-ish, but teachers can hop on now to send their ideas.
Link to Lessons, Leapfrog’s database of preK-2 lessons, is now online. Teachers can find more than 6000 skill-based, standards-aligned activities for individualized instruction and tracking student progress. This is the news I can tell you about. There is a much bigger announcement – but I’m sworn to secrecy until Monday, so check back then!