Affordable yet powerful laptop from Compaq
Educators looking for a portable computer that compares to a PC in both price and functionality should consider this new product from Compaq Computer Corp.
The Compaq Notebook 100 sells for just $1,112 and has the power of similarly priced desktop computers. This small, lightweight laptop features a 475 MHz AMD processor, 512K of external Level 2 cache, accelerated graphics, a 24x CD-ROM drive, 5.0 GB hard drive, and a 56K modem. It comes with your choice of 4 or 8 MB of memory, Windows 98, Microsoft Word, Norton Anti-Virus, Winfax software, Adobe Acrobat, and Compaq Internet software.
“It’s a really nice package, at a reasonable size and an incredible price,” said Jake Schlumpf, director of education product management at Compaq. The Compaq Notebook 100 can also be configured with a wide variety of leading productivity and utility applications, according to the company.
e-D3 web-based data warehousing system
Enterprises Computing Services Inc. (ECS), a software development and services company based in Woodstock, Ga., has released a comprehensive web-based data warehousing solution for school districts.
Called e-D3 (ee-dee-cube), the system lets superintendents, administrators, and other policymakers collect and store data in one central location, allowing them to access the data easily over an internet-based network and analyze the information to help them make numbers-based decisions. The software can be used to track grades, attendance, spending, and student demographics; discover trends; and determine learning-related costs.
e-D3, short for “Electronic Data Driven Decisions,” takes data from legacy systems and other information systems used throughout a district and organizes the data into one centralized system. Data can be collected, processed, stored, and reported in-house using any database server. e-D3 also generates internet report cards and automatically outputs the required local, state, and federal reports, according to ECS. The system is scalable to fit small or large school districts, the company said.
Lightweight multimedia projector from 3M
3M’s new MP7630 multimedia projector gives the district traveler an ultraportable projector with an above-average image, according to the company. Weighing in at just five pounds, the MP7630 is designed with digital light processing (DLP), a Texas Instruments technology that provides higher resolution and sharper contrast.
The MP7630’s projection of 700 (peak) ANSI lumens of on-screen brightness and SVGA (800 x 600 pixel) resolution ensure bright, clear color presentations. Its “intelligent image scaling” technology optimizes image quality, while its one-watt speaker adds auditory impact to presentations, 3M said. The projector has manual zoom and focus, and it also features seven different remote-controlled presentation tools: blank, laser pointer, freeze, timer, reveal, mouse emulation, and digital image magnification.
The MP7630 enables you to show presentations from your laptop’s DVD or CD-ROM drive. Additional multimedia adapters allow the projector to connect to camcorders, VCRs, DVDs, and a cable, antenna, or satellite connection. 3M also sells a variety of accessories for the projector, including a security cable to protect against theft, a carrying case, a hard shipping case, cable extension kits, replacement lamps, and a high-end display camera.
Edmark’s hands-free mouse
TouchFree Switch, by the IBM subsidiary Edmark, enables the disabled to use computers and surf the web. This “no-touch” device pairs a digital camera with switch software to let users who are unable to use a traditional mouse trigger a mouse click.
TouchFree Switch can recognize almost any movement as a mouse clickfrom a head nod to a toe tap, according to Edmark. After setting a designated movement for the camera to detect, the user watches a cursor on the monitor float from icon to icon. When the cursor gets to the right icon, the student makes the designated movement and the computer makes the selection.
TouchFree Switch, which installs quickly, comes with switch software and a high-quality USB camera. It is compatible with both Macs and PCs. The suggested retail price is $249.99
Instructional lab software from SMART Technologies
With SynchronEyes 1.1, from SMART Technologies Inc., teachers can control and monitor up to 80 computer workstations in one lab using an existing TCP/IP network. The software projects thumbnail views of each student’s screen onto the teacher’s computer to allow for easy control and monitoring.
For a closer look at a particular student’s computer screen, the teacher can click on a thumbnail to get a full-size view. The teacher then can assist the student remotely by taking control of the student’s mouse and keyboard. SynchronEyes’ “show mode” also broadcasts any software displayed on the instructor’s workstation onto each student’s monitorincluding software the teacher is controlling from a student’s computer. This lets students follow along and see the material up close. To focus the class’s attention, SynchronEyes lets teachers blank each screen, mouse, and keyboard so students must pay attention.
Pricing for SynchronEyes 1.1 starts at $999 per computer lab. Upgrades from an older version to the faster version 1.1 are available as free downloads from the SMART Technologies web site.
Catapult Systems’ web-based survey software
Inquisite 3.0, a recent upgrade to Catapult Systems’ electronic and web-based survey system, is designed to make asking questions and finding answers easy. Whether you’re giving a survey over the internet, an intranet, by eMail, diskette, or scannable paper forms, this product eliminates data entry, improves accuracy, and reduces response time, according to Catapult Systems.
Inquisite 3.0 lets you create intelligent, professional-looking surveys in just a few minutes. You can customize the look and feel of your survey by adding logos, backgrounds, images, or HTML templates. For security, web-based surveys and responses are protected by a firewall. Inquisite also authenticates the respondent’s identity, making sure that each respondent is entitled to complete the survey and does so only once.
The software’s collection and analysis mechanisms build flexibility into the survey process by letting users create customized reports. Inquisite will export data to several popular analysis software applications, such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, or SPSS. The product is available through Catapult Systems’ web site.