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Power Field Trip

Pv400usbMake your next class field trip a power trip with Tripp-Lite’s PowerVerter PV400USB. Just plug its cord into the bus’s cigarette lighter and the device puts out up to 400 watts, more than enough to power a few phones and notebooks.  It has a pair of 120-volt AC outlets as well as two USB connectors and shuts itself off if it’s overloaded or the bus’s battery can’t take the stress. It costs less than $50 and is available in a version that fits into a cup holder, but it can deliver half as much power.


Classroom Learning Pod

ParagonOld and new ideas for how to set up a classroom environment mix equally with paragon’s student furniture. In addition to traditional desks and chairs, the company’s A & D Activity Pods can not only hold a display but can be arranged in a variety of configurations to suite individual work or a group dynamic. Available in 60- by 60- or 60- by 90-inch sizes, the rectangular tables have rounded ends so that kids can gather around. The tables not only can be adjusted up and down but are available in a variety of colors and finishes.

Stand Up for Tablets

Tpt_rearviewWhen it’s time to deploy tablets to classroom, the needed stand is often forgotten, leaving kids and teachers and students holding the slate. No more, because Califone’s Smartphone and Tablet Stand can firmly hold just about any phone or slate, leaving your hands free for scrolling, tapping or typing. It folds up small and only costs $11.

Fly Through Lessons

MuvoMUV Interactive’s Bird has the power to turn any display device, be it projector or screen into an interactive learning experience. Just put the Bird on a finger as if it were a large ring and go and interact with the images, pointing out items, rotating a figure or zooming-in and -out. You can flip pages of an ebook as easily as annotating the screen’s contents. The good news for collaborative classrooms is that as many as 10 can use Birds at the same time.

Ultra Deep Storage

Image001Even with inexpensive online storage, there’s still a place for a school-wide storage area network. D-Link’s DSN-6510 array can hold up to 12 drives for a raw capacity of 72GB with 6GB iSCSI drives. With larger capacity drives coming, the sky’s the limit. It all fits into a 2U size chassis that can work with a 10Gbps network for fast access via a pair of SFP+ ports per controller and the ability to use a variety of RAID or disk spanning techniques. It costs about $7,000 with no drives.

Go-Anywhere Keyboard

Kb4 aOne of the biggest gripes about teaching and learning in a tablet-centric school is the lack of a physical keyboard with actual keys to type anything longer than a Web- or email address. Small, light and easy to use, Califone’s KB4 Bluetooth Keyboard makes any tablet more finger-friendly.

 Because it uses Bluetooth to connect with a tablet or phone, there’s no software to load and it should work with just about any recent device. The 9.6- by 5.9-inch black keyboard fits nicely in front of a Surface, iPad or 9-inch Android slate. It is only 0.3-inches thick, but lacks feet to give the keys a more comfortable typing angle.

The keyboard is tiny compared to Rapoo’s E9180p and lacks its built-in touchpad. But, if you have a tablet in front of you, chances are that you won’t need one. Just reach out and tap the display to move things around and navigate through the interface. It has a range of about 25-feet, but I expect it to remain much closer to a tablet.

Kb4 vidThere are 77 keys that at 17-millimeters wide are just large enough to make for comfortable and efficient typing. In addition to the expected letters, numbers and symbols, there are specialty ones for iOS, Windows and Android hardware. The keyboard also has keys for making the screen brighter and adjusting volume, although some of these keys may not work on all types of tablets.

It takes less than a minute to connect the KB4 to a computer via Bluetooth. After that, the two recognize each other and automatically link up. Its 110 miliamp-hour battery was good for more than 6-weeks of daily use and can be recharged with a micro-USB cable.

All told, the Califone KB4 puts you in touch with physical keys that can make everything from typing a paper to recording classroom notes a lot easier. 


Kb4 b

Califone KB4


+ Inexpensive

+ Responsive keys

+ Specialty keys for iOS, Android and Windows

+ Built-in battery

+ Bluetooth


- No feet

- Lacks touchpad


Stand Up for Tablets

ChenSlates are great when you have two hands free to hold and tap the screen, but they’re often second best on the desk. ChenSource’s Ep13212 stand works with any tablet with a screen between 7- and 11-inches and attaches it to any desktop while allowing the pad to be tilted, rotated or swiveled.

Touch or Say

997e6567-99e6-42df-bf5d-9163ef627c62If your school uses Crestron’s control system, the company’s TST-902 control screen should fit right in. The system has an 8.9-inch color screen that is touch sensitive and can control a room full of video gear by either tapping on an icon or just saying what you want. It can be carried around, comes with a table stand and because it can use Crestron’s ER wireless communications protocol, you don’t even need to plug it into your network. It can connect via WiFi.    

Cool School

SRCOOL7KRM-FRONT-LGot a closet full of server racks that has outgrown its cooling needs, or maybe there isn’t any dedicated cooling at all? Tripp-Lite’s SRCOOL7KRM is here just in time for a new school year with a self-contained server cooler. At $900 it is money well spent that can prevent serious overheating damage to delicate servers. It can sit at the bottom of a standard 8U server rack, cooling an entire tower of systems and drives so that every bit and byte is protected against melt-down.

SRCOOL7KRM-OTHER01-LWhile the SRCOOL 7KRM can pump out 7,000 BTU’s of cooling upwards into the servers above, it evaporates any water it produces, so there’s no need for any special plumbing. The cooler is easy to use, requires a standard AC outlet for power and can be set to automatically restart after a power failure. With the company’s SRCOOLNET2 kit, it can be remotely monitored and controlled, so a district’s IT crew can observe the room’s temperature and adjust the unit’s cooling power.

Power Table

Endure furnitureOFM’s Endure series of tables take school furniture into the 21-st century with power to spare. The table has three AC outlets for running notebooks, projectors and a variety of STEM gear along with a a pair of powered USB ports for charging phones and tablets. The standing table is 38-inches above the floor and built on a steel frame with walnut or whiteboard laminate work surfaces and four solid wood or metal swivel seats. It costs $1,500 and can be combined in a variety of ways.




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