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Tech Tools

The Latest Look at Education-Friendly Tech Tools

March/April 2009

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Tech Tools: hardware

eInstruction Mobi .
The Mobi has a new round-edged look, and comes in separate models for teacher and student. Workspace software is standard. Student model is $349; Teacher, $399

Epson G5000 Projector.
The 3LCD Epson PowerLite G5000 is a networkable classroom or auditorium projector with features that include XGA resolution, 4,000 lumens, and a 1,000:1 contrast ratio. $2,499

AVerVision VP-1 Document Camera.
The lightweight VP-1 is easy to use and fold-up portable. This is the document camera you want for new classroom technology converts. Autofocus, zoom, and freeze. $449

One2One StudentMate.
This notebook alternative makes classroom wireless Internet possible. It comes with Web browser, word processing, and spreadsheet software, as well as a typing tutor. Text-to-Speech and MathScore are optional. $299

Fujitsu LifeBook U820.
Fujitu’s mini notebook is a full computer tablet running Vista, Bluetooth, and Garmin GPS. With a 1.3 megapixel camera, full keyboard, and MS OneNote software, it’s great for administrators or teachers on the go. Use it for classroom walkthroughs and quick notes. Its 5.6-inch display and 1.32-pound weight will have you rethinking that PDA. $1,000

Apperson GradeMaster 600.
The GradeMaster is a quick grading scanner. It can score up to 200 questions at 50 per pass, and can calculate class and student average percentile scores. $525

NEC NP500WS Projector.
The NEC NP500WS and NP600S short-throw projectors feature network control, virtual remote, and closed-captioning. ECO Mode technology, increases lamp life. $1,199

Asus Eee 1000he Netbook.
The 1000he has a 10-inch display, 160 GB hard drive, 9.5-hour battery life, and 90-percent standard-size keyboard. Its 1.3 megapixel camera is standard. Price-wise, it’s one of the most complete classroom choices. $399


Tech Tools: software

Language immersion software primarily for high school students, Rosetta Stone tries to simulate a true immersion experience—a visit to a foreign country. It combines words, images, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and voice recognition into experiential units. It has management tools and curriculum guides.
Bottom Line: It’s a big step up from old-fashioned language textbooks.

Tabula Digita
This unique online supplemental math solution will hook gaming fans. Multiplayer video games, designed for grades 3–12 by DimensionM, challenge students to traverse obstacles and navigate mazes. Students build skills and master them in a game environment that is familiar, exciting, and competitive. Students can also get help from other math players. Various licensing options are available; contact the company for details.
How It Works: Students create avatars, freeze out competitors, and advance to the next math level.
Bottom Line: It’s a big step up from old-fashioned language textbooks.

Texthelp Read&Write Gold Version 9
This software aims to make reading and writing accessible to students with special needs in those areas, students with disabilities, as well as ELL students. Version 9 contains new features, such as Texthelp Voices, Lexiflow eBooks Creator, Screen Masking, Online Fact Mapper, Online Translator, and nimas Conversion Tool from CAST. The one-click translator allows words to be translated into multiple languages, and to be spoken aloud with highlighting. Multiple pricing options are available, from single user to unlimited.
Bottom Line: It’s the complete package to help struggling readers and writers. 21st Century Skills Assessment
Here’s a 2.0 way of measuring student collaboration, information, knowledge, and proficiency through projects. There are elementary and middle school versions with online rubric scoring—aligned to the iste-nets-s 2007 refreshed standards.
Bottom Line: This is a great way to build a Web-delivered student assessment portfolio.
How It Works
Scoring student projects and following progress is done by using a familiar rubric format, but without traditional handout sheets.

STI Achievement Services
STI, a Web-based K–12 education management solution, now offers professional development at a mouse click, and at the convenience of the educator. It is a blended approach of face-to-face, Web-based instruction and best practices that are designed to increase student achievement. Educators will learn what works, what doesn’t, and how to avoid instructional pitfalls, with research-driven strategies. STI has gathered a team of veteran teachers, as well as improvement specialists, to pinpoint district needs to help with formative assessments and instructional modifications. The new Extreme Intervention coaching service helps schools successfully develop and implement essential RTI programs. Its features include RTI action plans, benchmark assessments, monitoring progress, curriculum-based measurement, and intervention resources. Pricing is based on district needs.
Bottom Line: Districts get Web-based coaching and training, as well as professional development, including RTI. Teachers control course scheduling, attendance, and their own CEUs.
• Keep Track of PD. Users get their own webpage to monitor and select courses.
• Collect CEUs. Educators collect and maintain their CEU records online.

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