Administrator Magazine
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Tech Tools

Check out the latest in tablets, displays, and software.

Solid Line RightShift.
A good case can turn an iPad into a notebook while protecting it from the daily abuse it's sure to endure in a school. Solid Line's $99 RightShift case measures 9.8 by 8.0 by 1.0 inches, can prop the pad up on a desk, and has a Bluetooth keyboard inside. It's available in black, white, or red, and the company can put your school's logo or mascot on the case.

HP LD4720tm.
Often, the best way to get the word out to students, faculty, and staff is to use a central digital sign to display everything from what day it is to emergency evacuation instructions. HP's LD4720tm's 47-inch display can be mounted horizontally or vertically, and is touch-sensitive so that it can become an interactive kiosk. It costs $3,799.

Innergie mCube Slim 95.
If you're tired of having a separate AC adapter for your notebook and tablet or smartphone, Innergie's $100 mCube Slim 95 can do double duty by charging myriad classroom devices. On top of a USB power outlet, the kit includes nine power tips that work with hundreds of computer models from Acer to Toshiba.

Toshiba Thrive.
Toshiba's 7-inch tablet just might fit into the classroom better than its 10.1-inch brother. The new Thrive is thinner, weighs less than a pound, and feels better in small hands. Its high-resolution screen is bright and rich, and it uses the latest Android 3.2 software. Pricing TBD.

Tired of lugging 10-pound projectors from room to room? NEC's L50W is the size of a paperback book, weighs 2.6 pounds, yet has enough power for a classroom lesson. Rated at 500 lumens, the L50W uses an LED light source that will likely never need to be replaced, along with a tiny Texas Instruments digital light-processing imaging engine. With a two-year warranty, it costs $800.

Epson Stylus NX430.
At 15.4 by 11.8 inches folded, Epson's Stylus NX430 all-in-one printer, scanner, and fax machine can fit into a tight place yet do it all. It's fully equipped for classroom work with built-in WiFi, a 2.5-inch touch screen for previewing prints or seeing what a scan looks like, and the ability to print directly from a memory key. It costs $100.

Logitech Harmony Link.
Ever wanted to use your iPad or Android tablet as a remote control for a projector or DVD player? Logitech's $100 Harmony Link does just that with a small external device and free app that translates what you want to do, and then sends IR commands to (up to) eight separate devices.

Epson PowerLite S11/X12.
How low can classroom projectors go? With the introduction of Epson's PowerLite S11 and X12, it appears to be $450. Both use 3LCD panels, produce XGA images on-screen, and have lamps that are rated for 5,000 hours of use. While the S11 produces 2,600 lumens of light, has traditional VGA connections, and costs $450, the X12 pumps out 2,800 lumens, adds an HDMI input jack, and costs an extra $100.

Amazon Kindle Fire.
The Kindle Fire may be late to the Android tablet party, but it appears to have been worth the wait. It boasts a kid-friendly 7-inch screen, dual-core processor, and super-quick Silk browser software-and at $200, most schools will be able to afford it. As a bonus, you get instant access to Amazon's catalog of more than a million e-books, including many popular textbooks.

Logitech Wireless Touchpad.
Are you jealous that your classroom computer can't use the latest multi-finger gestures that tablets can? Logitech's $50 Wireless Touchpad is a stand-alone 5-inch-wide pad that can connect with a computer and is capable of two-finger scrolling and three- and four-finger swipes.

Cocoon Central Park Professional.
As notebooks grow and grow in size, backpacks haven't kept up. That is, until now, with Cocoon's Central Park Professional Backpack, which comfortably holds and protects up to a 17-inch laptop. The $80 bag is made of ballistic nylon and has the company's GRID-IT organizer so that there won't be any excuse for not having a pencil.

Teachscape Reflect Live.
Classroom visits are a great way to gauge the effectiveness of a teacher, and Teachscape's Reflect Live provides a common language for collecting and organizing classroom activities and securely reporting them. It works with any notebook or tablet computer.

Forget about classroom clickers because Socrative's student response system apps let kids use anything, from a notebook to a tablet to an iPhone, to participate. Able to handle true/false, short answer, and multiple-choice formats, Socrative can create engaging lessons and compile a variety of student and classroom reports. Best of all, it's a freebie!

Blackboard Learn ANGEL 8.0.
The latest edition of Blackboard Learn's ANGEL series takes the classroom software to new heights while making it easier for instructors and administrators to use. Version 8.0 allows teachers to share content, upload a variety of multimedia files, and create rubrics with criteria for classroom discussions.

Faronics Insight 7.6.
Some classroom management packages are strong on collaboration but weak when it comes to controlling classroom PCs, monitoring student activities, or performing administrative functions. Faronics Insight 7.6 does all these tasks equally well. It lets a teacher's computer watch the screen of every student, finish administrative tasks more quickly, and work with students one-on-one or in groups.

Pearson WriteToLearn 7.0.
The 7.0 version of WriteToLearn goes international with support for students who speak languages other than English. The software has the same automated scoring and feedback engine for student writing as previous versions, but now it can help students who are fluent in Spanish or Chinese.

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