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Administrator Magazine
Scholastic Administrator is a must-read resource for 240,000 of today's results-driven school leaders. Every issue features leadership for education executives, insight and analysis into what's next in education, and reporting on cutting-edge technologies in real life applications.

TechLab: 5 Notebooks

We test five notebooks for $450 or less. Plus: A tale of two laptops.

Scholastic Administrator TechLab puts the latest in educational technology—from notebooks to projectors to interactive whiteboards to tablets—through their paces at our top-secret proving grounds. Our rigorous evaluations rely on a mix of benchmark tests, comparative measures, and subjective assessments.

The Challenge: Find the best classroom notebook for $450 or less. These 15.6-inch laptops may not set performance records or have every doodad but they can teach a lot about stretching the budget.

Click here to download and view the PDF.  

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How High, and Low, Can You Go?

Big or small, in the land of laptops you end up getting what you pay for.

Apple MacBook Pro
There are a number of ways to outfit a school district with notebooks, ranging from ultracheap econo boxes to ultra-luxurious budget busters.

Sleek and silver, the 15-inch MacBook Pro falls into the latter category. It weighs 4.8 pounds, slightly lighter than the Dell Inspiron 15, and it comes with a 2.4 or 2.7GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8 or 16GB of RAM, and 256 or 512GB of solid-state storage. The centerpiece is the MacBook Pro’s 15.4-inch Retina screen, which is five times more detailed than the typical notebook display.

In addition to a pair of USB 3.0 and FireWire connectors, the MacBook Pro has audio and a Thunderbolt port. One of the best-equipped and most elegantly designed computers on the market, it costs a hefty $2,200—or roughly what all five of the machines we reviewed on the previous pages cost.

Dell Inspiron 17
At the other extreme is the Inspiron 17, a large notebook that sports a Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. It adds up to a six-pound system that is only slightly heavier than a 15.6-inch system. The payoff is a huge 17.3-inch display. With that kind of screen real estate, it’s pretty much a portable desktop.

The Inspiron 17 has a great group of ports, although, like its smaller cousin, the Inspiron 15, it lacks a VGA connection to accommodate older projectors. The system can run for almost four hours on a single charge and outperforms anything at its price point.

It may not be as charming as the MacBook, but at $450, the Inspiron 17 is a genuine bargain for the interactive classroom.

—Summer 2013—

  • Teacher Store
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    Animation

    Animation

    by Josh Gregory

    From early successes such as Steamboat Willie and the Merrie Melodies series to modern masterpieces such as WALL-E and Spirited Away, the world of animated film and television has come a long way since its beginning. Readers will trace the history of animation from its earliest roots to its most recent successes and beyond. They will also learn about the different types of artists, engineers, and filmmakers who have made this incredible blend of art and technology possible throughout the decades. The complex text in this title allows readers to determine the main idea and explain how it is supported by key details. The diagrams, charts, and graphs add clarity and help students navigate the text.

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    Bam Bam Bam

    Bam Bam Bam

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