BrainPOP LLC, a producer of animated educational content for grades K-8, announced that it soon will make available a new Spanish-language site, BrainPOP en Español. BrainPOP says the new site will contain Spanish-language content in science, math, social studies, language arts, health, and technology. By offering both English and Spanish versions of the content, BrainPOP says it hopes to create a valuable learning tool for Spanish-speaking students in the United States as well as in South America and Spain. The company says the product offers teachers a way to facilitate the comprehension of their Spanish-speaking students while at the same time enhancing their understanding of the English language.

Califone International, a provider of audio/visual supplemental products, in conjunction with Recorded Books LLC, a provider of audiobooks and reading instructional materials, announced the Stone Audio-Enhanced Classroom Grants project. Califone and Recorded Books say they are interested in demonstrating the effectiveness of literacy instruction with the use of unabridged audiobooks and classroom-appropriate audio equipment to improve reading ability and attitudes, particularly for struggling readers. Grant proposals should include descriptions of how the Audio-Enhanced Classroom Kit will be used to improve reading comprehension, fluency, and other reading skills and to motivate students to enjoy reading. Proposals also should address the methodology used to measure success in these areas. Three Audio-Enhanced Classroom Kits, along with recorded books at the appropriate reading level, will be awarded. Each package reportedly is a $5,000 value. Applications must be submitted no later than April 30.

Crick Software, a provider of literacy software solutions, featured its Crick Assistive Technology Bundle. The solution is designed around the company’s Clicker 5 software, a multimedia tool featuring a talking word processor that permits users to type in words with a keyboard or choose items for text-to-voice enhancement. The bundle also contains the Crick USB Switch Box for use with any switch to transfer data through different hardware, as well as training toolkits for professional development. Crick says the toolkits offer training through all the main program features, instructional content on a range of access methods for special-needs students, and lessons on how to tailor activities to address the needs of a variety of learners.

Discovery Education highlighted a new food-science learning program intended to give high school students a glimpse into the rapidly expanding profession of food science. Launched last month in conjunction with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), “The Science and Scientists Behind the Food” is a multimedia resource kit containing six food-science lessons and experiments, complemented by a three-part Science of Food DVD. As part of the program, 18,000 high school guidance counselors also will receive a multimedia resource kit called “Careers in Food Science,” Discovery said. The kit gives counselors resources for grants and scholarships available to students, professional job descriptions and salaries, and more. The curriculum is being mailed to all U.S. high schools and also is available for downloading free of charge from the internet.

Discovery also discussed its “Win a Wireless Lab Sweepstakes,” a grant program it sponsors along with CDW-G, which give schools the chance to win technology for their classrooms. Two wireless computer labs, each worth more than $40,000, will be awarded as grand prizes. Each grand prize includes 20 –Hewlett Packard or Lenovo Tablet PCs, a PolyVision calibration-free interactive whiteboard, an HP or InFocus LCD projector, and an HP LaserJet printer. The wireless labs are installed on a Bretford wireless cart with three Netgear access points, enabling educators to transport the labs easily from one classroom to another. Additional prizes include Toshiba projectors, Lexmark printers, Adobe software, Brother printers, and $500 worth of multimedia resources from Discovery Education. Public and private school teachers, administrators, and technology specialists in the United States can enter by filling out an online form. Winners will be chosen at random and will be announced in July. The deadline for applying is May 1.

ESRI demonstrated its Geographic Information System (GIS) software, ArcGIS, which has important applications for both teachers and administrators, the company says. When used in the classroom, GIS tools help foster critical thinking, problem solving, and 21st-century workforce skills among students, and when used by school leaders they improve planning and decision-making in areas such as demographic mapping, student transportation, school safety, and school construction. ESRI has a section of its web site devoted to educational applications of GIS technology.

Films Media Group (FMG), a provider of educational video, featured its on-demand digital video service. FMG ON DEMAND currently has 2,000 educational titles from leading producers and broadcasters available through digital delivery, and the company says it adds about 200 titles each month. Topics span all subject areas and include titles from media outlets such as PBS, the British Broadcasting Co., and ABC News. Titles can be chosen individually, by subject-specific libraries, or the entire library. Products can be leased for a period of one to three years or purchased outright.

GeeGuides, a company founded to help children gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for art, offers animated, interactive programs that are web-based and can run on desktop or handheld computers. The curriculum’s goal is to give children the tools needed to understand, interpret, and create art. Animated lessons, followed by interactive exercises to help strengthen retention and understanding of the concepts presented, help meet that goal. The curriculum includes three components: sayART, seeART, and doART. In sayART, children are introduced to fundamental art principles. They explore the meaning and interpretation of specific artworks in seeART, and in doART, they develop visual self-expression and put into practice the concepts they have learned so far.

GenevaLogic Inc. , a provider of classroom management software systems, demonstrated the next generation of its Vision6 version software for education. GenevaLogic says its software permits teachers to manage, control, and optimize the use of student computers in the classroom. The company says Vision6 offers teachers a simple, effective way to manage technology to support instruction. The product supports both wired and wireless networks, and new dashboard features allow teachers to customize views on all student desktops, the company says.

Imagination Station featured its new Word Masters interactive phonics card game, online storybook adventures, and teacher-directed lessons for small-group instruction. The company says Word Masters integrates an animated phonics card game with a series of storybook adventures. The objective of the game is for students to spell 10 words based on skills they are learning. When the words are spelled correctly, they are used in the storybook adventure. As students select the appropriate word to complete the adventure, a picture of the word appears on the screen. The company says this feature increases vocabulary and word meaning. At the end of the adventure, the book and 10 words are reread to the students. The card game and story, according to Imagination Station, incorporate themes that build vocabulary, model reading with expression, enhance decoding skills, and improve fluency and comprehension.

I Support Learning’s Video Game Development curriculum is based on the idea of engaging students through movies, books, and television. The curriculum involves story-based software that gives each student a first-person experience in solving problems and learning how technology, math, language, and science can be applied to real-world situations and career paths. Students use the program in the first person as newly hired interns with a dynamic company that encourages their participation in solving problems and creating fresh ideas. They receive timely eMail messages, faxes, and virtual visits from customers, bosses, and co-workers.

Key Curriculum Press demonstrated its collection of online textbooks, including books for advanced algebra and geometry. Fathom, the company’s data analysis software, gives students the ability to gather, explore, and graphically analyze data and to understand concepts in mathematics and statistics. Fathom 2, the newest version, gives students and teachers access to the entire U.S. Census database and can automatically convert from one unit of measurement to another. TinkerPlots is a software program designed to help students in grades 4-8 grasp key concepts by providing user-friendly plotting tools for making graphs.

Representatives from NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston were on hand to showcase the educational programs the center offers to educators and students. The Aerospace Education Service Program for K-12 educators is a nationwide program for in-service and pre-service teachers, administrators, and curriculum directors designed to enhance educator awareness and understanding of scientific research and technological development. The center’s Virtual Astronaut Program is an interactive, three-dimensional web site designed for students in grades 5-8 that integrates existing life-science research data and NASA educational products into a suite of instructional materials. The site contains electronic activities, teacher’s guides, and teacher briefs that include space and life science content.

Lexia Learning Systems, a provider of software and professional support programs for teaching basic reading and cognitive skills, showcased a number of reading assessment, reading skills, cognitive skills, and professional development programs. The LEXIA Comprehensive Reading Test is a modular assessment that identifies strengths and weaknesses in reading and allows for detailed reporting to assist teachers in planning instruction for the entire class or just one student. LEXIA Inicio a la Lectura is an interactive reading program designed to help Spanish-speaking students prepare to read in their native language. The LEXIA Cross-Trainer is a cognitive skills improvement suite designed to improve academic performance by strengthening fundamental thinking skills. Also highlighted was Teaching Reading: Stages and Strategies, an interactive CD that introduces fundamental principles associated with improved reading instruction.

MindPlay Inc. , a maker of reading and phonics solutions, presented the latest edition of its My Reading Coach software, a program designed to provide the benefit of a personal reading specialist and a speech pathologist to every student. My Reading Coach Platinum includes integrated assessment, multiple instructors, and a Spanish language module. It also features sound-based placement and review testing meant to reduce testing time by assigning only those lessons the software determines the student needs. MindPlay says its software features a separate and independent word databank, expanded reporting, revised grammar lessons, and all-new oral reading instruction.

Promethean, maker of the ACTIVclassroom line of interactive technology, announced that it has aligned all of its flipchart lessons and resources for teachers to state education standards. The company’s thousands of standards-based flipchart lessons will be available to all Promethean users in a searchable database that can be queried by state, subject area, grade level, and keyword, Promethean said. Created for use with Promethean’s ACTIVboard interactive whiteboard, the ready-made flipchart lessons are available in a range of K-12 subject areas, including core curriculum subjects and other areas such as technology, visual arts, and health education.

SMART Technologies, a maker of interactive whiteboards for the classroom, demonstrated version 6.0 of its SynchronEyes classroom management software for the Microsoft Windows operating system. SynchronEyes software has user-friendly capabilities, allowing teachers to monitor each student’s screen individually or many students’ screens simultaneously, SMART says. Version 6.0 offers new features and feature enhancements, including chat, game blocking, internet applications, and computer blocking.

SolidWorks Corp. , a producer of instructional engineering software, offered its SolidWorks Education Edition. The company says its Education Edition suite of applications uses project-based learning and real-world exercises to teach the fundamentals of three-dimensional (3-D) computer-aided design engineering software. The software includes features that introduce and review two-dimensional (2-D) drafting, 3-D modeling, and other design principles. The company says its SolidWorks eDrawings application permits users to send 2-D and 3-D files via eMail.

Valiant Technology demonstrated the latest enhancements to its portable, handheld MathAmigo instructional devices and software. MathAmigo 2 combines what the company calls the best math software with portable handheld computers to “bring the advantages of technology into every math lesson.” The company says that, on average, its software features 130 core math activities for grades K-8. The MathAmigo software also features a new desktop management component known as MathAmigo Manager for teachers. Manager helps educators track students, plan lessons, assess students’ work, and produce reports. The software is available on Valiant’s own handheld device, and it is also available for Palm handhelds and the Dana word-processing and spreadsheet device from AlphaSmart.