The Latest Tech for Schools
Tablets are invading schools—we highlight today's leading models, plus other gadgets.
Dell Inspiron R
Dell's latest notebooks, the Inspiron R family (pictured above), mix great style with a good price and the latest technology. Available in 14-, 15- and 17-inch screens, the Inspiron R have Dell's SWITCH lid design that allows the use of any of 25 different screen covers. The laptops start at 5 pounds and $600.
Smith System I~O Post Desk System
Need to outfit a digital classroom, but traditional school furniture doesn't make the right connections? Smith System's I~O Post is a standalone unit that provides access to eight power outlets as well as eight LAN or modem jacks. Pricing available online.
Quirky Mantis Light
If you're tired of teaching by the light of a projector, think about getting the Mantis light. A task light composed of 11 LEDs, Mantis can stand on its fold-out legs or clip to where it's needed. It's available for preordering for $27.
Not only is Samsung's latest Galaxy Tab thinner than Apple's iPad 2 but it has a bigger and more detailed screen. Powered by Android 3.0, it sports two cameras and provides access to 2.2 million ebooks. $500.
Smartfish Whirl Mini
The Smartfish Whirl Mini Notebook Laser Mouse is the rare combination of precision and comfort, tilting right to left and backwards and forwards. It works with Macs and PCs and is wireless. $50.
Tower PCs are not passé with the IdeaCentre M91. It offers the highest performance potential of any PC, and is perfect for video editing and creating animation projects. $729.
With budgets squeezed to the breaking point, a $194 tablet is welcome. Compared to other school slates, Califone's WT1 Wireless Tablet is basic, but delivers a 6.2-inch screen and communicates with a host computer via a 2.4-GHz data link.
There are Windows tablets, Android tablets, Apple tablets, and now BlackBerry tablets that rely on the company's business software. With a 7-inch screen, it's less than half an inch thick and weighs less than a pound. Expected later this year for $500.
The second-generation iPad addresses many of the weaknesses of the first-generation tablet. Even with its dual-core processor and cameras front and back, the iPad 2 is ounces lighter, one-third thinner, and has a flat back so it wobbles less on a desk. It still lacks the ability to play Flash interactive media and videos-a key gap in its abilities. The base WiFi-only system costs $500.
TI-Nspire Lab Station
TI and Vernier (celebrating its 30th anniversary) have joined forces to create the TI-Nspire Lab Station. Based on TI's Nspire CX color calculator and Lab Cradle, along with Vernier's DataQuest software and more than 55 sensors (from accelerometers to voltage probes), the lab suite is a great way to teach chemistry, physics, earth science, and math. Pricing varies.
Looking to explain everything from counting to quadratic equations? 3P Learning's Mathletics is better than ever with as close to a complete online curriculum as exists. It covers the gamut from kindergarten (numbers and shapes) to grade 12 (geometry, statistics, probability, and advanced algebra). $59 per student or $1,700 for a school-wide site license.
Uninstaller Pro gets rid of programs once and for all, and does it for only $40 per system. It will completely remove all parts of any installed software on a PC as well as fix uninstallation processes that have gone awry. The package also includes a program to streamline the system's start-up as well as a data shredder that's great for getting rid of sensitive data.
Is the complexity of PCs and software eating up your school's tech budget? The cloud can help by putting all the apps, data, and records on a remote server. ClassLink can cut costs while emphasizing instruction with its LaunchPad virtual desktop, the first designed especially for grades K-12. Everything is always a click away and available on a variety of platforms. Pricing varies by configuration.
MimioConnect.com's content lets teachers digitally explore some of the world's most interesting World Heritage sites. The best part is that the first two (the Great Wall in China and Imperial palaces of the Ming and Qing dynasties) are the start of several editions coming. You'll need the latest MimioStudio viewer. Good news: It's free if you register.