More than 500 ed-tech companies exhibited at this year’s National Educational Computing Conference in Philadelphia. Here’s a sampling of news from the exhibitors offering multimedia creation tools:

Adobe Systems announced a new software program designed to help educators combine lesson plans and tutorials with photo and video editing software. The offering includes Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0, Adobe Premiere Elements 1.0, and a Teacher Resource Center CD. The software is available for Windows computers and is offered to qualified educators for $99. Adobe also announced a marketing partnership with Olympus Imaging America Inc., intended to deliver digital photography solutions to K-12 schools. The solutions are available on a build-to-order basis and come with Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 and a selection of Olympus cameras.

Crick Software announced a new version of its multimedia software tool, Clicker. Appropriate for students from kindergarten through fifth grade, Clicker 5 has been completely rewritten to support students of all abilities in reading and writing, the company said. Clicker offers support and reinforcement in word recognition, sentence structure and grammar, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. It encompasses Clicker Writer, a talking word processor, and Clicker Grids, a point-and-click writing scaffold that provides students with banks of words, phrases, and pictures. Beyond using Clicker 5 for writing simple documents, users can make multimedia talking books using pictures, sounds, and video. Clicker 5 offers new features designed to elicit creativity and motivate all students, including English-language learners and struggling writers. Words are highlighted on the screen as they are spoken, enabling students to follow along. New pop-up grids provide hundreds of new kinds of activities. Pricing for Clicker 5 starts at $199 for a single-user version, with special pricing available for lab packs and site licenses for multiple users. Clicker 4 users reportedly can upgrade at greatly reduced prices.

Olympus America displayed its full line of digital cameras for general classroom use, as well as yearbook, school newspaper, and advanced photography classes. The company also unveiled a series of digital camera accessory kits for the education market and a new line of voice and microcassette recorders. Products on display at Olympus’s booth included its line of D- and C-series cameras for general classroom and specialty use; its line of advanced E-System digital Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras for advanced photography and higher-education use; its D-series and C-series accessory kits for education with USB reader/writer, battery charger, and xD media card; and its line of voice recorders, including the new VN-480PC, DS-2, and W-10. Special education pricing for these and other products is available through authorized Olympus resellers, the company said.

Software Express announced an exclusive agreement with Core Learning to market Core Learning’s newest software product, corefx, to schools. Combining advanced graphical technology with intuitive controls, corefx Three Level is a creative expression suite that allows users to draw, paint, and animate their own images. corefx Three Level allows even very young or inexperienced users to create images and animation easily, the company said. The software comes with three pre-configured interfaces that tailor the program to individuals with different skill levels: Basic, for ages five and up; Junior, for ages nine and up; and Advanced, for ages 13 and up. corefx Three Level is priced at $54.95 for a single user, and volume licensing also is available.

Tech4Learning demonstrated its new user-friendly WebBlender web site design tool, which reportedly allows anyone to design web sites with text, graphics, hyperlinks, and sound to share school reports, field-trip information, photo galleries, and more. Intuitive tools and a friendly interface let users focus on their site content, not struggle to use the software, the company said. Features include background themes, clip art, and navigation buttons with predefined actions. A wide variety of import options are available, including Pics4Learning, which offers royalty-free images to Tech4Learning licensees. The company also showcased its Twist vector drawing tool. Tech4Learning said this tool makes working with shapes, drawing, and editing curves easy. It features adjustable shapes and curves, as well as text that can be filled with patterns, pictures, or gradients. Both programs are available for $44.95 from Tech4Learning and a select group of educational software resellers, the company said.

TechSmith Corp. , a provider of screen capture and recording solutions, announced the availability of Camtasia Studio 3 with Picture-in-Picture, quizzing, and other interactive features designed to help create robust, on-demand eLearning content, the company said. Camtasia Studio provides professors and instructional designers with a solution for recording lectures and online coursework without the need for multimedia or programming expertise. The software’s full-motion recording allows educators to record live, in-room lectures when using a PC, Tablet PC, or interactive whiteboard. All inking and marking is recorded, even when using PowerPoint, along with the educator’s audio and camera feed. This content then can be posted online as Flash or streaming media files for students and colleagues to view at their convenience or for distance-learning courses, executives said. Camtasia Studio 3 supports Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP with DirectX 9.0 or later. Supported digital video formats–including AVI, MPEG, MPG, and WMV–can be imported into Camtasia Studio. Camtasia Studio 3 sells for a suggested retail price of $299 but is available to educational institutions for $149.

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