InFocus unveiled a new interactive projector technology, called LightBoard. Currently undergoing beta testing, the system offers a cost-effective, flexible, and portable solution for schools by eliminating the need to purchase and install whiteboard hardware and by freeing presenters to interact with the content from around the room, InFocus says. “The limited hardware requirements of InFocus LiteBoard make it easier to install and share among classes, while also redefining how educators experience the technology. We’re extremely happy to be among the first to beta test this new technology,” said Jim Hirsch, associate superintendent for academic and technology services at the Plano Independent School District in Texas.Consisting of the LiteBoard projector and wand, the InFocus IN3902LB and IN3904LB interactive system will work on any surface, so there is no need to mount whiteboard hardware–and there are no limits to the size of the display, the company says. The wand works by detecting patterns in the projected image that the human eye cannot see, then communicating with the projector over a radio frequency to triangulate exactly where the user is pointing. All information is passed to the computer as standard USB mouse clicks and coordinates, enabling the LiteBoard to be used with any operating system and software that uses computer mice.
it’s learning, a Norway-based learning platform provider, is bringing its individualized learning system and training services to U.S. schools and universities. With nearly two million users worldwide, it’s learning provides a web-based platform, tools, and training that enable students and teachers to plan, author, collaborate, and deliver multimedia learning experiences. Users can integrate original, free, and commercial content into the it’s learning library. The platform supports different learning styles by allowing students and teachers to create and deliver text, images, sound, and video for lessons, collaborative projects, assignments, online discussions, tests, or presentations. Students can save these digital files to an ePortfolio to show their work to parents and other interested parties, and teachers can use the materials to instruct and assess students. Other features include differentiated user interfaces, plagiarism-control tools, blogs, project forums, discussion boards, audio-video conferences, secure messaging and eMail, grade books, progress reports, and a Software Development Toolkit. Pricing is based on an annual license for each student and teacher; parent and mentor accounts are free.
Key Curriculum Press introduced The Geometer’s Sketchpad Version 5, a math software program that reportedly offers 100 new features and updates to help support a hands-on, visual approach to mathematics instruction. The new edition extends its application across several curriculum topics. Expanded algebraic capabilities allow teachers and students to explore a broader variety of subjects, and improved presentation capabilities offer a faster, clearer, and more dynamic demonstration tool, the company said. A new Learning Center, with step-by-step tutorials, classroom-ready activities, and student-friendly tips delivered through comics and videos, reportedly makes it easier for teachers to use the new version. Sketchpad Version 5 starts at $70 for a single-user package, with volume discounts available.
Publishing company KidsWrite has coached elementary-school classes through the process of writing, illustrating, and compiling books that are published and made available on the company’s web site. The collaborative self-publishing effort also has a news feature: KidsCafe, a social networking site where students can chat about their latest literary works.
LEGO Education has added a new product line to its robotics solutions, called TETRIX by Pitsco. A new metal building system, TETRIX offers unlimited design and real-world application possibilities for students, the company says. The patented hole pattern enables TETRIX parts to be connected in a number of angles to a variety of elements. A special connector enables TETRIX to work with the LEGO Technic building system. The TETRIX Robotic Education Base Set includes more than 550 parts and comes with a user guide that covers building a basic robot body, wiring and using a remote control, designing gear assemblies, and building arm mechanisms and end effectors.
Lexia Learning Systems announced Lexia Reading version 6.0. The latest version of Lexia’s reading software makes implementation faster and easier, the company says. A new Auto Placement feature helps students quickly begin using Lexia Reading at their individual skill level, while new Auto Promotion functionality automatically advances students to increasingly challenging levels. There is also a new command-line installation feature for simpler distribution of the software to multiple Windows computers.
Livescribe showcased its digital pen, the Pulse Smartpen–which enables users to capture everything that is heard and written, listen to recorded audio by tapping on their notes, transfer notes and recordings to a computer to play them back, search for words within handwritten notes, and share notes, drawings, and recordings as Flash movies or PDF files. Students can use the Pulse Smartpen to record classroom discussions and lectures, review their notes, and share them with classmates. There are a variety of ways teachers can use the device, including providing notes for students who are absent, recording student presentations, administering tests, and sharing feedback with parents.
Lumens announced the availability of the Lumens DC265, the first portable visual presenter with the power of a desktop model designed for use in K-12 education, the company says. Along with a 6x optical zoom, the Lumens DC265 provides UXGA resolution, capturing up to 46 percent more image detail than SXGA–all reportedly easily controlled with single-touch, one-button auto focus.