Seamlessly integrate technology into instruction with these activities from SchoolKiT
EDclass, a new set of K-12 learning activities from SchoolKiT International, is intended to revolutionize the way teachers and students use Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in their curriculum with hundreds of classroom-ready activities that make meaningful use of technology to enhance students’ conceptual understanding, higher-order thinking capacity, and creativity, the company says.
EDclass simplifies the technology integration process by providing activities that cover the core learning areas. These activities are presented as small, interactive electronic books–called activBooks–that open on students’ and teachers’ computers and guide them through effective, curriculum-based lessons. For example, one science question asks students to explain why the temperature changes through the different layers of the earth’s atmosphere. Students consider background information, then click on a button and are launched into a Microsoft Office template. Here, students layer graphical information over a diagram and explain the correlations, while developing a meaningful understanding of the composition of the different layers of the atmosphere.
While working through an EDclass activity, the guidance focuses students on the key curriculum concepts at hand. New technology skills are woven into this context, so students learn these skills as they are needed. EDclass pricing starts at $495 for 30-computer license.
Deploy laptops at a reduced cost with this new solution from CDI
A new offering from refurbished computer supplier CDI aims to help school leaders solve one of their most difficult math problems–adding technology to more classrooms while subtracting costs.
CDI’s new cart-based solution, Computers on Wheels (COWs), allows schools to provide an affordable set of name-brand laptops from Hewlett-Packard, IBM, or Dell to share among several classrooms. COWs consist of a lockable cabinet with a built-in wireless internet hub and eight, 16, 24, or 32 notebook computers, depending on the model selected.
Only laptops that are capable of running current office document and educational software are included with the COWs cart, CDI says. In addition, customers can select makes and models from a variety of manufacturers, even mixing and matching if they choose.
The COWs cart is manufactured using heavy 14-gauge steel, and each notebook slot has a foam lining. Pricing ranges from $9,199 for an eight-unit cart to $32,999 for 36-unit cart.
Sibelius adds composition tool to its suite of music software
Sibelius Software Ltd. has expanded its Sibelius Educational Suite (SES) of music education software by adding another program, called Compass, that helps students learn the art of composition. The suite–which now includes six titles: Starclass, Sibelius Instruments, Compass, Sibelius Notes, Sibelius Auralia, and Musition–is suitable for every educational level from kindergarten through university.
SES saves instructors hours of preparation time and makes learning about music fun and interactive, Sibelius says. The suite features more than 180 ready-to-use lesson plans; an interactive encyclopedia of instruments, bands, orchestras, and ensembles; a comprehensive software package for ear training and aural testing; and a software package for learning and testing music theory.
Each product is sold separately and, with the exception of Notes, is available in five-user Lab Packs (prices range from $360 to $450) or site-license configurations, which start at 16 users. All products, with the exception of Musition, run on both Windows and Macintosh platforms.
FileMaker’s new database software is more powerful than ever
FileMaker Pro 7, touted as the most significant new version ever released of FileMaker’s popular database software, now enables users to import, store, and export any file or document to or from the software’s database–including Portable Document Files; Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files; digital images, video, or music; and more. Also new is the ability to open multiple windows in the same database, giving users faster and simultaneous access to different views of their information.
The modern redesign of FileMaker Pro 7 uses streamlined relational architecture that enables users to simplify information management by storing multiple tables within a single file, its creators say. A new Relationships Graph presents a visual “map” of the database and lets users create and modify relationships with a simple click-and-drag tool. To keep pace with rich-media management and other sophisticated solutions, FileMaker Pro 7 has expanded FileMaker’s data capacity to 8 terabytes per file–or 4,000 times the old limit.
FileMaker Pro 7 is available now for Windows and Mac OS X platforms for $299 as a stand-alone purchase or $149 as an upgrade. With the purchase of 10 to 24 licenses, FileMarker is education priced at $125 per license and includes a year of maintenance.
Popular tools for the Palm OS now available for a fee
The GoKnow Handheld Learning Environment is a suite of task-appropriate learning tools created for the Palm OS and based on the work of researchers at the University of Michigan’s Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education (HI-CE).
GoKnow Inc., a spin-off company of Hi-CE, now sells the tools that HI-CE created and once offered free of charge. This allows the suite’s creators to better maintain, distribute, and support the software, while enabling HI-CE to focus on additional research and development, says Elliot Soloway, CEO of GoKnow and a University of Michigan professor.
The full suite, which sells for $19.95, includes a comprehensive classroom management tool and a set of lesson plans that help teachers integrate handheld technology into the curriculum. Other applications enable teachers to assign worksheets, eBooks, and quizzes to students’ handheld computers; monitor applications on student handhelds; and delete inappropriate applications from students’ handhelds. Using the suite, students can create concept maps, write text, draw and animate pictures, capture web pages, and create presentations.
“Based on four years of research and testing in classrooms, Handheld Learning Environment … provides students and teachers with truly usable and highly effective education technology,” Soloway says.
New web site offers professional development courses for online instructors
Designed to help online teachers achieve their personal and professional goals, RiverWithin is a new comprehensive, one-stop web site that provides quick and easy access to professional development, educational resources, and other key services for online instructors.
“The most unique aspect of RiverWithin is that we are working to support online teaching as a lifestyle,” said Lisa Dawley, founder and CEO of RiverWithin Inc.
RiverWithin’s professional development offerings include seminars, workshops, and short-term interactive classes taught by highly qualified online instructors. Courses cover topics such as “Getting Your Class and Students Online,” “Multimedia Design in Online Learning,” and “The Power and Impact of Digital Imagery in Online Education.” Many of the site’s resources, such as the discussion and job boards, are free, but professional development courses cost $145 each.