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The Latest and Greatest Education Friendly Tools

A talking graphing calculator, a digital paint pack, top
software pick, and more. 

Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator

Graphing calculators have taken over science and math classrooms, but they have tended to leave out visually impaired students. Not anymore, with Texas Instruments' $600 Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator. It uses FonixTalk technology to speak to students, provides haptic feedback when keys are pressed, and works with Braille printers.

Netgear AC1900 Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router
Want to beef up your school's Wi-Fi network? The 802.11ac-based Netgear AC1900 router can add speed while extending any LAN's range. The $200 router uses both the 2.4- and the 5GHz bands for maximum throughput and has five-gigabit Ethernet ports and a built-in FTP server. It comes with Quality of Service software.

HP Chromebook 11
As notebooks get more complex and expensive, HP's Chromebook 11 stays true to the vision of a simple, inexpensive system for education. It may not be the most powerful, but at 2.3 pounds, the $280 Chromebook 11 is one of the lightest. It comes ready for school with a slew of software, as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi networking and Bluetooth 4.0.

Lenovo Yoga Tablets 8 and 10
The latest Yoga tablets from Lenovo are flexible! They can be used in the hand, flat on a desk, or with their foldout stands holding a 110- to 135-degree pose. The 8- and 10-inch models weigh 0.9 and 1.3 pounds, respectively, have quad-core processors, and use Android 4.2 software. The Yoga slates cost $250 and $275.

BenQ M5 Projectors
The latest in long-lasting projector lamps are now part of BenQ's M5 family. Capable of running for 10,000 hours, the new lamps ­deliver 3,000 lumens and will last for the equivalent of six years of typical school use. The M5 line starts at $429.

Acer Veriton Z2640G-UP2117X
At $580, the Veriton Z2640G-UP2117X is not only ­inexpensive-the all-in-one system has been designed to keep dust out, so it will require less maintenance over its life and potentially last longer. It's powered by a dual-core Intel Pentium processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive, and has an adjustable 19.5-inch display. 

Software Picks 2014
Crayola DigiTools Paint Pack
There are stylus pens and brushes available that can turn a tablet into an artist's canvas, but Crayola's DigiTools Paint Pack takes art gear to a new level. In addition to a paintbrush and airbrush, the $40 kit includes a stamper, paint roller, and case.

Dell Venue 8 Pro
At 14 ounces, Dell's Venue 8 Pro packs Windows 8.1, an Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage space into a handheld slate. The tablet starts at $300, includes Microsoft Office 2013, and comes with an optional active stylus pen for precise work.

WD My Cloud
Running out of space on your classroom computers? Put lesson plans, essays, and homework on WD's My Cloud external storage system. Available in 2-, 3-, and 4TB capacities, My Cloud can recall files immediately or tap into items saved on online storage services, like Dropbox or Google Drive. Pricing starts at $150.

Asus Transformer Book T100
How far does $350 go when getting a good tablet? Pretty far with the Transformer Book T100. Based on Intel's Atom processor, the 1.4-pound slate includes a snap-on keyboard so that it can also become a mini-notebook. In addition to Windows 8.1, the T100 includes Microsoft Office 2013.

Apex Learning Tutorials
To appeal to a generation of gamers and texters, Apex Learning's latest tutorials use every interactive trick in the book. The new material comes across to kids as play, but the lessons incorporate Common Core standards for grades 9-12.

Google Play for Education
Attempting to catch up with Apple's iTunes Education App Store, Google just inaugurated its Play for Education online outlet. It's got everything educational, from apps to tablets. The store is up and running with lots of free and low-cost apps, as well as management software.

NetSupport School for Chromebook
NetSupport's latest software can make Chromebooks a better fit for the classroom with the ability to show screens to all participants or monitor what's happening on each computer. At any time, a teacher can start a text-based chat to point students in the right direction.

Varsity Learning
Any class studying for college placement tests needs practice problems-and lots of them. Varsity Learning delivers more than 10,000 questions and answers for the SAT, AP, and ACT exams. The free service can track and analyze student scores.

Tabtor Math
An ingenious update on pencil and paper, Tabtor Math lets students scribble, sketch, and do their math calculations on their iPad screens using a finger or stylus. Aimed at K-6 students, Tabtor allows teachers to see exactly how each student has solved a problem and provide video encouragement to him or her.

Belkin Stage Pro: Interactive Whiteboard and Document Camera
You can still use your phone or tablet to capture teachable images, but the second generation of Belkin's Stage iPad app makes a good thing better. In addition to an easier-to-grasp interface and iOS 7 compatibility, the app lets you use more color-in presentations. The $4.99 version records and shares video.

Think Through Math
Think Through Math's online curriculum guides students from counting to elementary algebra, and features online teachers to answer unlimited questions in real time. The system delivers a variety of problems as well as a calculator, a glossary, and a dictionary of math terms. It costs roughly $16 per student per year.

Winter 2014

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