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Best of ISTE 2016

IsteWith reporters both on the show floor and making the rounds of the vendor’s suites, Tech Tools has put together our choices for the most interesting, important and intriguing educational products of this year’s show. With more than 500 educational firms exhibiting this year at the Colorado Convention Center, finding what your school needs can seem like searching for that elusive needle in the haystack.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Over the next few days, we'll have stories on a little bit of everything having to do with education. There'll be a selection that runs the gamut from charging cabinets and projectors to grading software and programming. In fact, there’s something here for every school.

ISTE HIGHLIGHTS: Making Standards Standard

AlmaThe latest in tracking a school or district’s adherence to curriculum standards is Alma’s Standards Tracker. Built on a standards-based grading philosophy, the software fits into the company’s SIS/LMS platform and can track every part of a class’s curriculum, including each student’s proficiency at any level. The software should be ready by the fall term and can be previewed at booth 1602.

ISTE HIGHLIGHTS: Ready or Not, Tech is Here

Samsung teacher techIt’s no secret that technology in the classroom can be intimidating, particularly for those of a certain age, myself included. But, don’t feel alone because 60 percent of your peers don’t feel adequately prepared for using today’s classroom tech, much less what’s coming down the road. This is based on a survey of more than 1,000 teachers by Samsung and GfK KnowledgePanel that also found that 37 percent of respondents said they would love to use more tech in their classrooms but just don’t know where to start. Samsung has created some nice infographics that summarize the survey’s results, including five ways to improve techno-teachers. You can see how the company plans to tackle this issue at booth 3002.

ISTE HIGHLIGHTS: Little Bits by the Book

Little bits bookThe idea behind littlebits electronics kits is to make the components as unintimidating as possible so that every student can explore how resistors, capacitors and other gizmos work. In the company’s new book “Make: Getting Started with littleBits,”Ayah Bdeir and Matt Richardson explain the philosophy behind the equipment as well as explain how to take it to new levels. You can get the book on its own for about $16 or with the littlebits Base Kit for $110, a $10 savings. The latest littlebits components are at booth 312.


ISTE HIGHLIGHTS: STEM without the Cables

Go Wireless LinkVernier’s Go line of wireless sensors just took a big step forward with the introduction of the Go Wireless Link. The $99 Link device not only collects and transmits data from any of more than 30 Vernier sensors to a computer but comes with an improved data interface. It connects via Bluetooth with an iPad Touch, an iPhone or an iPad and the company will have an Android version in the fall. The list of compatible sensors runs the gamut from the temperature level to measuring magnetic fields. Vernier is at booth 838 on the showfloor.

ISTE HIGHLIGHTS: Virtual Field Trips

Google cardboard expeditionsInterested in taking the class to see the dinosaur bones at New York’s Museum of Natural History in the morning then scoot off to Seoul’s National Museum of Korea to check out the ceramic artifacts and still be back for lunch and recess. Google’s Expeditions can be your virtual guide for these field trips of fancy. These digital excursions work with Google’s Cardboard phone carriers that can create virtual reality headsets out of mobile phones. They offer 360-degree panoramas of the locale along with audio; the paper phone carriers cost between $15 and $25. The best part is that rather than costing thousands of dollars, any school can afford this without even renting school bus. See it at booth 1808.


Radius 11From its low price tag to its 11.6-inch screen, Toshiba’s Radius 11 seems designed for schools. Its screen can not only fold over the keyboard to create a tablet, but it can assume several different profiles, depending on what the teacher and student need to do. It’s also one of the first systems to have what Microsoft is calling its Continuum mode, where the main screen changes when the system goes from a keyboard-based notebook to a screen-oriented tablet. It will be available at Best Buy for $330 along with a year’s subscription of Office 365 and can be upgraded to Windows 10 for free when the software is ready in late July. It’ll be on display at booth 1620.

ISTE HIGHLIGHTS: Power-Up, Lock-Down

TechguardLock your school’s notebooks up and you can’t charge them, right? Not anymore with Bretford’s TechGuard lockers. With 1-, 5- or 10-bay versions, the lockers are built of sturdy steel, with a polycarbonate window to look inside. The lockers have 10-digit electronic lock can be overridden by an administrator’s key card. Each bay can hold a notebook, tablet and phone and has an AC outlet as well as two USB charging ports. They top out at 2.4 amps of current and there’s a light that automatically turns on when the door is opened. 

ISTE HIGHLIGHTS: College Chemistry, the Easy Way

Vernier ap chemThe Advanced Placement Chemistry exam is one of the toughest tests any high-schooler will ever encounter, but Vernier has a new lab book to help kids know the difference between pipette and a P-orbital. “Vernier Chemistry Investigations for use with AP Chemistry” has 16 inquiry-based labs that build on classroom work in chemistry and is aligned with the College Board’s “AP Chemistry Lab Manual.” The activities range from investigating how marble dissolves in acid rain to acid-base titrations and are built around Vernier sensors and data logging equipment. The package includes step-by-step instructions on the use of sensors and lab gear for students, while teachers get a series of Word files so they can modify the curriculum to their specific needs. See it at booth 838

ISTE HIGHLIGHTS: The Classroom as Hive

AerohiveAlong with its HiveManager wireless LAN control, monitoring and management program, Aerohive will be showing a new concept in connecting kids and teachers to the information they need to learn and teach. HiveSchool is a new concept in school networking software that can simplify the design, deployment and management of wireless LANS at school so that the IT crew aren’t spending all their time restarting routers or tracking down printer problems. It’s all at booth 1238.



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