The Latest and Greatest Education-Friendly Tech Tools
Cost-effective clickers, couches with built-in outlets, new software, and more.
Classroom clickers burning a hole in your budget? eInstruction's Ping costs $995 for a 24-count class pack that includes a receiver and software. Based on radio-frequency technology, the Ping can be used with true-false, yes-no, and multiple-choice assessment formats.
NEC MultiSync V652.
Tired of squinting at a projected image that gets overwhelmed by the sun or room lighting? NEC's MultiSync V652 65-inch display can make any classroom more visual. It shows superbright images in full 1,920-by-1,080 HD resolution and has built-in 10-watt speakers. Retails for approximately $4,500.
Go ahead, drop that iPad. Kensington's soft-foam SafeGrip cases cushion the fall and are available for the standard iPad and the Mini. There's even a Security Case that comes with a cable to keep school slates from walking away (lock is sold separately). Costs $50-$90 per case.
The latest short-throw projector for schools is ViewSonic's PJD8353s, which puts up a nearly 6-foot XGA image only 24 inches from the screen. The $1,400 unit includes an infrared interactive pen that allows students and teachers to collaborate on the board.
Epson BrightLink Pro 1410Wi.
The BrightLink Pro 1410Wi may look like other short-throw projectors, but it puts out 3,100 lumens of light, has an interactive pen, and can show split screens-all without a connected PC. It can even link with other projectors in the building or across the globe for video conferences. Starts at $3,000 (wall mount included).
Dell Latitude 3330.
Dell lowers the entry point for school notebooks with its Latitude 3330. It has a 13.3-inch screen and can be ordered with a Celeron or Core i3 processor, as well as the choice of 2, 4, or 8GB of RAM. The best part is that it weighs 3.4 pounds, perfect for small kids. Starts at $419.
Elite Screens Kestrel.
The Kestrel from Elite Screens is available in 8.3 feet ($2,500) or 10 feet ($3,000) for an instant screen in any room. The motor extends the screen, and it all packs up into three boxes. Comes with a three-year warranty for schools.
Belkin Store and Charge.
Forget everything you know about storing notebooks and tablets-systems slide into and out of Belkin's open-top Store and Charge. The $199 case holds up to 10 systems, has a surge-protected power strip, and can be mounted on a cart.
Safco AlphaBetter Desk.
While a standing desk can be a better way to learn, just about every piece of school furniture requires kids (and teachers) to sit. Safco's AlphaBetter Desk can be set to between 26 and 42 inches above the floor, and it has a footrest. Starts at $335.
Avast Endpoint Protection.
Get antivirus protection gratis with Avast's Free for Education program. Endpoint Protection software works with PCs (a Mac version is in the works) and includes a virus, spam, and adware scanner.
MimioScience Interactive Lessons.
Aimed at grades 3 through 8, the latest from MimioScience are lessons that deal with topics ranging from investigating the states of matter to reading pie charts to finding patterns in data. A slew of other lessons are coming in the spring.
Online resources like Google Drive or Dropbox can reduce the amount of data stored locally, but each has a different interface and log-in process. SkyDesktop turns it into a cohesive experience with software for connecting with 66 online services and a variety of platforms.
Serif DrawPlus X6.
By simplifying and streamlining illustration tasks, Serif's DrawPlus X6 makes sketching, working with stencils, and creating Web graphics easier. Although not Mac compatible, the $99 program can be purchased for $21 per student with the company's educational discount.
CompassLearning's Odyssey classroom content now works with Chromebooks, expanding its usefulness as schools consider Google's platform. Students get access to a wide variety of lessons that are paced to their individual learning styles, while teachers can share lessons, set up online discussions, and easily jump to just about any item with a well-designed dashboard.
—Back to School 2013—