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Tech tools: slates and tablets

Slates and tablets that will round out your student response systems.

January 2009



Teachers can move around and control a classroom with Activslate, a wireless mini-board. The Activote responders, pictured, let students send quick answers to questions. The Activexpression responders allow students to text full sentences. Activslate, $395; 32-set Activote, $1,895; 32-set Activexpression, $1,795.

QOMO HiteVision

QIT30 writing slates let teachers and students write in any application. The teacher-control responder comes with student QClick QRF300 clickers. Slate, $499; 32 responders, $1,495.

SMART Technologies
The AirLiner slate and the 21-button Senteo responder, which displays three lines of text, all work seamlessly with SMART’s Notebook software, and can export grades. AirLiner, $399; Senteo, $1,599 for 24.



The Q7 Presenter Tablet is specifically designed to work with the Q2 or Q4 Student Response Systems and combines all tablet, presenter, and response system features. $429; $300 when purchased with the Response System.

The wireless Interwrite Pad allows for teacher mobility. The CPS RF Response Pad, with its eight alphabetical buttons, works well for quick multiple-choice answers. Interwrite Pad, $497; 24-set Response Pad, $2,245.


Classroom Guide: Slates & Responders

Whiteboardless: A wireless slate + laptop + projector = an interactive classroom.
Clicker Response: Voting or multiple choice requires a clicker with numbers and letters.
Text Response: If more than a click is needed, a text responder is the correct choice.


Sony VPL-EX50 Projector

This Sony 3LCD, XGA 2,500-lumens projector has a shape that broadens at the front to project images upwards with few adjustments, and a short-focal-length lens for short-distance use. Direct power on/off, vertical keystone adjustment, easy filter replacement, and low power consumption make this a good classroom fit. $649 suggested education price.

Optoma EX525ST Projector
Optoma’s DLP XGA short-throw projector produces a 100-inch image at a distance of four feet. The 9.6-pound, USB-equipped networkable projector has native XGA resolution with 2,500-lumens brightness. $1,499.99.



Toshiba TLP-X100U Projector
The TLP-X100U 2,200 ANSI-lumens widescreen offers closed-captioning in a slim, less than three-inch-high chasis. This four-pound projector also has a blackboard function that lets users automatically adjust the display for wall color—perfect for classrooms. $839.

Classroom Guide: Projector Questions to Ask
Get What You Pay For: Am I missing out by purchasing less?
Easy On/Off: Will it start up and shut down quickly?
USB: Can you plug and play?
Short Throw: What’s the projection distance? How close?
Keystone: Is it easy to square the image on the screen?


Our Latest Curriculum Picks :
Studywiz Spark Mobile
Designed specifically for K–12 education by Studywiz, Spark’s Dynamic LearnSpace is a place where students, teachers, and parents can access schoolwork online, in a safe and secure environment. Studywiz Mobile extends its innovative tools by interfacing with handhelds, including Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch, and the Asus EeePC. High school students can take tests, assess information in real-time, check schedules, and even have online discussions with technology that they feel comfortable using. Students get an eLocker, gallery, poll, and chat features. Parents can stay informed by accessing reports and assignments. Pricing varies.

Bottom Line: Using handhelds—especially smartphones—in classrooms and beyond is a bold move—one that students will love.

An online math and science portal for grades 3–6, StudyJams! by Scholastic really pops in a musical way—the “Jams!” part: quizzes, slideshows, animated video, step-by-step lessons, karaoke, and the Jam! Studio. Add cool characters and you have a kid hit. Teachers, parents, and library media specialists will like the home and school access to content aligned to state standards. Getting started with a free trial is easy. The pricing breakdown can be found at the site.

Bottom Line: This could be the 21st-century Schoolhouse Rock for the online-interactive generation.

Lexia Reading v5
Designed by the father of a dyslexic child, Lexia Learning’s PreK–12 software has grown well beyond the original flash cards and individual tutoring and is now for all children. There are three different products for three grade ranges within Lexia Reading v5. Teachers can assess, manage, and guide individualized reading instruction. A school can implement 25 simultaneous users on one Lexia program at $200 per user for a total of $5,000, and $500 for a teacher copy.

Bottom Line: Lexia Reading v5 is now Web-enabled, and its hosting service provides a central and secure system for schools that can’t do it themselves.

Smart School Management:
The X550 desktop virtualization kit is an inexpensive and easy-to-install alternative to mini laptops. A kit installed on a $350 PC desktop allows five additional users to run applications off one shared PC. With two kits, 11 users can be added if the PCs are close to the host computer. Run various applications with no delay, even when showing full-screen video. Many districts have already discovered the value of the X300 line for running up to seven PCs. Additionally, the L-series kit for PCs that connects across Ethernet local area networks, where users can’t be near one another, allows 30 or more computers to share. The L-series has already been furthering technology in emerging nations. The hardware and vSpace software is included (software license required). Check out the great demo at NComputing’s site.

Bottom Line: At $499, this budget-conscious technology works.

It’s impossible to miss the larger real-time screen of the new Vision 6.8 by GenavaLogic. But there’s so much more. Vision was already known as one of the most-used classroom management software solutions, but its applications, such as Surf-Lock2 and App-Control, have newly expanded capabilities and are easier to use. Surf-Lock is still one of the best ways for teachers to control Internet access during class time. But the real GenevaLogic gem is the four-button Teach-Pad classroom management assistant. This makes it possible for a teacher to manage many students with a simple click. Purchase information can be found at the site, and all products are available for a free 30-day trial.

Bottom Line: The Teach-Pad hardware and functionality make it the right choice for veteran lab teachers and beginning classroom teachers alike.

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