Brother International Corp., a provider of printing solutions, featured its total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis guide. The guide, called “Hidden Cost, Hidden Opportunities: Calculating the Total Cost of Ownership for Hardcopy Devices in Education Settings,” offers the reader a six-step process for beginning to do a TCO analysis of printing solutions so that schools can develop a more long-term and strategic approach to printing and hard-copy output. The guide offers tips on how to conduct a needs assessment; identifying equipment requirements; selecting the best models and determining acquisition costs; evaluating running costs and consumables costs; assessing service and support costs; and bringing the information together to determine the total cost of ownership. Brother also offers through its web site an opportunity to do a customized TCO comparison of different desktop office equipment. http://www.brother.com

Dell Inc., supplier of computer and peripheral hardware solutions, announced at NECC that it has teamed with the Jefferson Parish Public School System in Marrero, La., across the river from New Orleans, to create a three-pronged data backup and recovery infrastructure. New data centers, along with a comprehensive information-technology disaster recovery plan, will help safeguard the Katrina-ravaged district against future losses of student and administrative records, according to Dell. Dell says that by the time the district’s 40,457 students and 3,054 teachers return to the classroom this fall, information such as student transcripts, transportation routes, library records, food inventory, and payroll, will have a central home rather than being backed up on individual campuses. The district’s school board office will be the first stop, according to the company. Information will flow from all office and school servers across the parish to Dell/EMC CX 500 network storage systems and a Dell PowerVault tape library for backup purposes. A second, identical backup center located 10 miles away will automatically mirror all data in real time. In case of damage to these sites, Dell is helping the district build a third site further inland, 140 miles away in Lafayette, La. This site will funnel the other centers’ data to a Dell PowerVault tape library for backup at prescheduled intervals, according to the company. http://www.dell.com

Fourier Systems Ltd., a provider of student computing solutions, offered its Nova5000 student learning appliance. The company says the handheld solution offers schools a powerful, cost-effective solution for student computing needs in the classroom, lab, and home. The device’s open curriculum software program is web-based and facilitates a wide range of products across all subject areas and grade levels, covering both core and supplemental curricula. Fourier executives say the 2.4-pound device can be easily transported in a student’s backpack from class to library to home to field trips. The company says students benefit from a sense of ownership and empowerment as their Nova5000 accompanies them through the school day and at home. http://www.fourier-sys.com

Gateway Inc., a provider of multimedia classroom solutions, premiered what the company called a “complete strategy guide” to building digital classrooms. According to Gateway, the resource, called “Digital Designs” explores the stages of creating a digital classroom environment and the possibilities of the ideal, student-centered, standards-based classroom setting. The strategy guide is designed to help schools and districts discover new funding strategies and software solutions, and features success stories to aid in the successful implementation of digital classroom initiatives. Gateway says the handbook will help schools and districts examine their needs for a 21st century learning environment, assess areas of improvement, and provide strategies to address those areas.

Gateway also featured three new additions to its line of enterprise storage products. The Gateway E-842R storage area network (SAN), and the Gateway E-824R DLT-V4 SuperLoader 3 and Gateway E-826R LTO-3 SuperLoader 3 automated tape backups offer storage capacity and flexibility for small-to-medium-sized educational institutions at an affordable price, according to the company. http://www.gatway.com

Polycom Inc. announced the Polycom Communicator, a Skype-certified device that allows users to operate the unit hands-free or plug into the built-in stereo headphone port for private conversations. The Communicator connects and powers through an integrated USB cable. Polycom also introduced the RSS 2000, an on-demand recording, streaming, and archiving device. http://www.polycom.com

Promethean has released a new device designed to engage special needs and primary education students. Called Activwand, the 21-inch device for use with Promethean’s Activboard interactive whiteboard, makes it easier for special needs students and primary learners to reach out and touch the Activboard and enhances pupil engagement with the lesson and the development of fine motor skills, the company reports. http://www.promethean.com

Texas Instruments, a provider of education and productivity solutions, released a case study on Ohio’s Canton City School District’s (CCSD) improved math scores on state assessment exams after an initiative to integrate TI’s Navigator Classroom Learning System and graphing calculators into classrooms. TI says all four of the district’s middle schools improved their scores on the most recent statewide math achievement test after the successful initiative. The federally funded program dubbed The Genesis Mathematics Project, integrated graphing technology into the Canton City District middle schools and trained teachers on the technology-based strategies to improve performance, the company said. “We were blown away by the results,” said Pam Bernabei-Rorrer, a CCSD math coach. “Students who used TI’s graphing calculators along with the TI-Navigator system achieved at a level three times greater than students who did not.” http://www.education.ti.com

SMART Technologies Inc. announced the addition of eight new or updated products in its range of collaboration solutions. New products include the SMART Board 600i interactive whiteboard system, which combines a SMART Board interactive whiteboard and a new Unifi projector with built-in audio, as well as Sympodium ID350 and ID370 interactive pen displays, which both feature a bezel-less writing surface, two high-speed USB hubs, and more functionality. Additionally, SMART announced support for five additional languages in the latest version of SynchronEyes classroom management software. The new languages are North American Spanish, Italian, German, European Spanish, and Chinese. These languages are in addition to English and French. http://www.smarttech.com

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