The Latest Tech for Schools
The latest and greatest education-friendly tech tools
Until the smart 885ix interactive whiteboard system, most boards couldn't accommodate two users at once. Now, a teacher and student can collaborate, or two kids can race through math problems, making the board a real gem. $4,899.
Seagate's GoFlex desktop drives provide up to 3TB of data space, ready to be filled with lesson plans and student data. They can connect to a Mac via FireWire 800 or USB 2.0 ports. $200 (2TB) and $260 (3TB).
Sanyo's PLC-WL2503 does away with the whiteboard by projecting an image that a teacher can write on. The projector can put 2,500 lumens of brightness on-screen and create an 80-inch image from less than three feet away. $1,695.
Promethean ActivBoard 500 Pro
The ActivBoard 500 Pro promotes way of interacting with technology modeled on behavior and gestures. Images can be moved, scaled and rotated with a finger, in conjunction with real life "pen" tasks such as writing and drawing. It's an all-in-one solution that includes an integrated sound system and ActivInspire software. The ActivBoard 500 Pro range is available as a fixed, adjustable or mobile system with a choice of projectors. Prices vary per configuration.
RM Slate 100
The RM Slate 100 is the first to use Windows 7, enabling it to work with existing software. It's powered by an Intel Atom processor, has an 11.6-inch screen, and weighs about 2 pounds, making it perfect for backpacks and briefcases. $775.
Some slates are too big for kids, while others are too small to be of much use. Brainchild's Kineo is just right, with a 7-inch touch screen, enough power to handle the hardest lesson plan, and access to thousands of Android applications. At 1.2 pounds, it's tough enough to stand up to daily abuse by teachers and students. $300.
VTech's InnoPad undercuts iPads and Androids by hundreds of dollars, yet delivers multimedia into little hands. Aimed at K-4, the pad has a 5-inch screen and a wide variety of lessons, games, and e-books. $80.
Logitech's C910 webcam now works just as well with PCs as with Macs. It's got an auto-focus lens, a digital microphone and USB connection. It's capable of recording full 1080p videos, making 720p video calls, and capturing 10-megapixel still images. $99.
Front Row 950H
At 6 inches long and weighing less than 3 ounces, FrontRow's 950H microphone is perfect for a variety of K-12 settings and is wireless, meaning there're no cords to trip over. $305.
Just Mobile AluPen
Just Mobile's AluPen works with the iPad and a slew of Android tablets. Made of aluminum with a soft rubber tip, AluPen is perfect for writing, drawing, or just scribbling. At half an inch thick, it fits well into small hands, and is available in six colors. $25.
Dell Inspiron duo
Like magic, Dell's Inspiron duo (pictured above) weighs 3.4 pounds and can go between a touch-screen tablet and a keyboard-based notebook in a matter of seconds. Just as good for reading an e-book as for typing an essay. $550.
HP Slate 500
HP's 1.5-pound Slate 500 uses Windows 7 Professional and comes with 2GB, an 8.9-inch touch screen, and an Intel Atom processor. $800.
Samsung PC 7
When is a tablet not a tablet? When it's Samsung's Sliding PC 7 hybrid, which has a sensitive multi-touch screen with a slide-out keyboard. $700.
Having trouble integrating books with websites and other digital resources? StudySync can make sense of all the new ways to teach by offering instant access to over 300 classical and modern texts as well as television-quality video. The program works on a variety of platforms and costs $175 per teacher (for up to 90 students).
Whether it's mapping out the causes of the Civil War or how to classify plants, Inspiration 9 has the power to bring disparate ideas together so that students can make all sorts of connections. Aimed at grades 6-12, Inspiration is just as good for making sense of class notes as it is for preparing an outline for an essay.
The suite of security products from Faronics has won numerous awards, and for good cause. Faronics Anti-Virus defends against known threats, while Anti-Executable helps to prevent malware and zero-day attacks. Finally, Deep Freeze provides endpoint solutions, including easy reboots.
TS School Software
The secret to setting up school software may be half a world away in South Africa. With 38 modules that cover the gamut of school activities, Johannesburg-based Time Software's TS School gives expensive admin programs a run for their money. On top of setting up classes, schedules, and documentation, the software makes it easy to enter grades and produce report cards. And as a bonus, it's free!
NitroPDF Converter is a great program for administrators who need to not only view existing Acrobat files but to create them on the fly or from Word files. Version 6 has better security, including the ability to control whether Flash files play, and 256-bit encryption for protecting confidential documents. It's free for existing users or $100 for newcomers.
Herff Jones StrataLogica
Based on Google Earth software, Herff Jones's StrataLogica lets you rotate the globe as well as zoom in and out. $549.
Qwizdom's Qtopia offers thousands of interactive activities, games, and challenges. It's all standards based, and students can move through the material at their own pace. Free.