More than 200 ed-tech companies exhibited at this year’s T+L² Conference. Here’s a sampling of news from the exhibitors offering projectors digital video solutions:

Turning more than a few heads in Denver was Ascension Technology Corp. The company, which employed professional dancers to demonstrate its video animation technology, is introducing AnimationStar to the education field. The PC-based animation workstation lets students capture human motions and animate computer characters. The company is already known for its motion-capture technology used in film, television, and video games.

Ascension says this entry-level version of its technology has great appeal to high school students interested in 3D animation, giving them useful skills for college and real-world job opportunities. The workstation itself is based around a Pentium 4 computer connected to motion-capture sensors that attach to the human body. The system works by capturing the activity of a person wearing 8 to 12 of these sensors. It also allows users to import models created in other software programs to the motion-capture environment.

An eight-sensor unit costs $24,995, while the 12-sensor model costs $27,995. It is currently being used at South Burlington High School (SBHS) in northern Vermont. SBHS faculty member Tim Comolli says AnimationStar “is a unique and powerful way to get and keep kids engaged with high-end computing.”

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    Discovery Education, the nation’s largest digital video and multimedia-based learning provider, announced that it has released 44 new interactive video quizzes with built-in assessment tools for instant feedback. The quizzes, which combine Discovery Channel video content with questions from Sunburst Visual Media, are targeted for students in grades 4-10.

    Discovery Education bought up several competitors last summer to increase its digital library. Among the company’s acquisitions were United Learning and AIMS Multimedia. After bringing United Learning into the fold, Discovery Education announced that it would offer every district in the U.S. a free video-on-demand program that runs through the end of the school year. According to Discovery Education public relations specialist David Pendery, more than 5,400 districts have already signed up. “When we brought this program out, we knew there would be an interest, but we didn’t know how huge it would be,” said Pendery.

    Another new program sure to be met by huge demand is Discovery Education’s plan to release 1,000 copyright-cleared videos that students can use for their own editing projects. These videos cover a wide range of subjects, including biology, calculus, and literature. They will enhance learning for tech-savvy students by engaging them in the subject matter. In January, Discovery plans to add a special icon to identify editable clips so that users of its web site will know they have been cleared when performing a search but not specifying editable clips.

    Films Media Group, formerly known as Films for the Humanities and Sciences, exhibited its collection of more than 12,000 educational video programs. With 600 titles added each year, teachers can find content in health, science, social studies, English, and more. Unlike many other video vendors, the company gives educators the option of leasing the content or purchasing it outright. By owning the content, students and teachers can edit it and use it however they like in their projects and presentations. The content can be streamed in real time from the web to school computers or servers.

    Inventive Technology followed up on the release of its MediaCAST, a streaming technology that can deliver broadcast learning content to large numbers of students simultaneously. MediaCAST also features Seamlessly Integrated Modules, which are add-on software components that enhance MediaCAST’s elements. The system can store thousands of hours of easily accessible video and audio, the company says. Inventive Technology also included information on its MediaCREATOR, a mini-studio broadcasting and encoding unit that can convert existing analog video and audio tapes into digital format, allowing schools to stream content over an IP network.

    Schlessinger Media, a division of Library Video Company, demonstrated its core curriculum K-8 digital video library, which can be licensed by educational institutions that have invested in digital video-on-demand systems. More than 750 core curriculum videos have been digitized in multiple formats–including MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, QuickTime, and Windows Media–to support most digital video delivery systems. Extensive metadata are available to maximize teacher and student searching capabilities and enable the integration of video into classroom teaching and learning, the company said. Educators can view video descriptions, preview clips, and download teacher’s guides and correlations to state and national standards for all programs at the company’s web site.

    Exhibitor information compiled and written by Online Editor Dan David, Managing Editor Dennis Pierce, Associate Editor Cara Branigan, Assistant Editor Corey Murray, and Contributing Editor Laura Ascione.

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