SAFARI Montage introduced the Digital Curriculum Presenter, a new way to deliver digital content that combines video management and distribution with the functionality of a learning management system (LMS). The system resides on a school’s network between its student information system and its LMS software, and it allows teachers to create “playlists” and schedule the delivery of classroom video and related content to certain groups of students. It works with any IMS-compatible software, such as Blackboard or Moodle, and it “leverages the work that teachers do in [these systems] to drive digital instruction through a single interface,” said company CEO Andrew Schlessinger.
School Specialty’s iNeo/SCI Virtual Labs for science can be carried out on a computer, allowing students to take part in science experiments that couldn’t normally take place in a school environment. The Content-Area Vocabulary Builder allows for students struggling with vocabulary and reading comprehension to improve their understanding of science concepts.
Shmoop aims to make test prep more engaging by using pop culture references and colloquial language to reach high school students. Shmoop’s unique style of communicating to students keeps their attention while delivering big results on tests like the ACT, SAT, PSAT, and AP Exams, the company says.
SkillsTutor introduced a version of its Math Fact Fluency program that is aligned with the new Common Core State Standards in math. Math Fact Fluency is a research-based online program that helps students master basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. “The program replaces fingers and flashcards with … individualized instruction and engaging practice opportunities to lead students from procedural understanding to declarative knowledge of facts,” said SkillsTutor President Adam Hall. A division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, SkillsTutor is about to release a version of its software that is tailored for use on iPhone and iPad devices, Hall added.
The Software and Information Industry Association’s Education Division announced the release of “Don’t Copy That 2, School Version,” which is part of SIIA’s ongoing effort to help K-12 teachers educate their students about the ethical and legal use of copyrighted materials such as software, books, articles, music, and movies. The video addresses the dangers of piracy and the importance of respecting the creative output of others.
TechSmith invited one of its customers, science teacher Dan Spencer, to discuss how he has used the company’s Camtasia software to turn the traditional teaching model on its head. As we first reported here, Dan creates screencasts of his lectures using Camtasia, then posts them online for students to download and watch on their own as homework. Instead of lecturing in class, he uses this time as an opportunity for students to practice the concepts they learned at home, when he’s available to help them and answer their questions. This inverted teaching model makes content delivery the focus of homework and practice the focus of class, instead of the other way around—and Dan has seen great success as a result. “Because of the screencasts, my students are all able to work through the curriculum at their own pace,” he explained. “Since I’m not lecturing in class, and students can access the information whenever they need, I can now spend that extra time helping students one-on-one.”
Texas Instruments introduced the new color-display TI-Nspire CX handheld. The TI-Nspire CX offers a set of fully integrated tools that allow dynamic links among multiple representations of a problem. Its color display enables students to better observe patterns and make connections between math and science concepts and real-world learning, TI says. With the TI-Nspire CX and TI-Nspire CAS handhelds’ new 3D graphing capabilities, students can explore concepts from multiple points of view to develop deeper conceptual understanding.
Toon Boom, which provides animation courses and software for K-12 and higher-education students, demonstrated its Flipboom Lite application, which is free for iPad users. The company’s software is used by large studies including Disney, DreamWorks, Fox, Paramount, MGM, Universal, and Warner Brothers. It is used in K-12 schools for animation lessons and as a tool to illustrate scientific and mathematic concepts.
Vernier Software & Technology has created new probes and sensors for the devices. The Anemometer, High Current Sensor, 30-Volt Voltage Probe, and Melt Station are designed to measure and collect scientific data ranging from wind speed to melting temperatures. The palm-sized, impeller-type Anemometer measures wind speed in the range of 0.5 to 30 m/s (1 to 67 mph) and is designed specifically for students of all ages to conduct wind study measurements in the field. The High Current Sensor is used to measure current in the range of -10 to +10 Ampere. The sensor can be used in experiments that involve currents larger than 1 A, such as solar panels, hand generators, etc.
VizZle announced the launch of the VizZleGram, a new service that teachers, speech therapists, and occupational therapists working with students in the autism spectrum can use to share interactive lessons with parents, after-school programs, and tutors. Educators can send a VizZleGram to anyone with an eMail address, and the recipient can play the shared lesson.