Large displays don’t do a school any good if they’re not where the kids are, and Displays2Go’s TV stand lets teachers wheel them into and out of classrooms. Capable of holding up to a 180-pound screen that measures 70-inches, the display is held in place at up to 5 foot 7.5 inches by 600- by 400- millimeter VESA mounting hardware that can accommodate a variety of displays in portrait or landscape orientation. It has a 15.8- x 11.8-inch shelf for a DVD player or computer as well as four casters that can be locked, making it hard for it to roll away when not in use. A single stand costs $210.21, but if you get 17 or more that drops to $176.14.
At 3.9-ounces, the 1.8- by 2.8- by 4.6-inch device is larger than most generic blob-shaped mice, so it might work better for middle- and high school students than for younger elementary ones. It feels good in the hand, slides easily on a variety of surfaces and comes with a 5-foot braided fabric USB cable that will outlast competitors. Its surface has an inviting soft rubberized coating, but is only available as a right-handed mouse, rather than an ambidextrous model.
Don’t let its name fool you. While it is sold as a gaming mouse, it has a place on the desktop because the GM2400 is well-made, easy to learn and is much more accurate than standard optical mice. There are prominent right and left actuation buttons and a striated scroll wheel that does the equivalent of a left click when you press it. I really like the buttons for going ahead and back on the side and the comfy place to put your thumb.
The GM2400 has lighted blue cut-outs and sets itself apart from the crowd by allowing users to adjust its resolution. It’s good for general use, digital art or CAD instruction by being able to be set to 800- 1200-, 1,600- or 2400 dot per inch at the touch of a button. On the downside, the mouse doesn’t show which it’s set to.
To get started, just plug the optical mouse’s USB connector into a computer and allow it to load its software. There’s nothing extra to download or install and the device works with PCs (from Windows 2000 to Windows 10) and any Mac that runs OSX version 10.2 or newer software.
Azio covers the GM2400 for three years, something that cheap mice makers can’t match. At $12, it’s a device that gamers will like and teachers will love.
Azio GM2400 USB Gaming Mouse
+ Adjustable resolution
+ Soft rubberized coating
+ PC/Mac operation
+ 3-year warranty
- Right handed
Logitech doubles the Bluetooth action with both a keyboard and a mouse. The Logitech K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard and the Logitech M535 Bluetooth Mouse let you connect to a notebook, tablet or desktop without a wire in sight. While the keyboard can be used with several different systems and has Logitech’s Easy-Switch for going from system to system, it uses a pair of AAA batteries. The optical mouse has rubberized grips, a tilt wheel, works on just about any work surface and requires a AA battery. Both cost $40 and will be available in September.
Make 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.
Old 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.
When 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.
MUV 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.
Even 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.
One 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.
There 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.
+ Responsive keys
+ Specialty keys for iOS, Android and Windows
+ Built-in battery
- No feet
- Lacks touchpad
Slates 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.