New instructional technology for the 2011-12 school year

LanSchool Technologies—a maker of classroom-management software that lets teachers view students’ computer screens, take control of students’ desktops, and push their own screens out to students—says its recent acquisition by virtual desktop provider Stoneware Inc. will enable schools to use its software to manage mobile learning programs and “bring your own device” (BYOD) initiatives.

“Increasingly, schools want to empower students to bring their own mobile computing devices to class,” said Dana Doggett, president and founder of LanSchool, which now will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Stoneware. “With greater device management from LanSchool and the ability to create private cloud networks by Stoneware, the … BYOD movement in education can now rapidly get underway.”

With the companies’ combined solution, students can enter a classroom with their own device, join the class network, and have their device managed by LanSchool’s software, Doggett said.

LanSchool now reportedly works on the Windows 7 and iOS platforms, as well as Linux—a development that has led to a partnership between LanSchool and Vernier Software & Technology in which educators can use LanSchool’s software on Vernier’s LabQuest handheld science probes.

With this new functionality, teachers can manage all probe devices, as well as view and project any LabQuest screens, so that students can view, discuss, and interpret data in real time as experiments are conducted. As a result, science labs can become much more collaborative, according to Vernier.

For instance, if the teacher shares students’ screens with the entire class, students can see what results their peers got from the same experiment, which can spark a larger discussion. Also, teachers can monitor each student’s device and intervene discretely if they see students have gotten the wrong result.

“When I use LanSchool and Vernier’s Logger Pro software with my seventh grade students, … I give the students a data-collection challenge and project the entire classroom’s graphs as they collect scientific data in real time,” said science teacher Glen Westbroek in a press release. “My students get excited, ask questions of other students about their data, and learn from each other. The combination of LanSchool and Vernier creates a truly collaborative science classroom.”

Student response systems

As more schools are using student response systems to engage students, make lessons more interactive, and help teachers gauge their students’ understanding of the material, RM Education has introduced a new response system geared toward the youngest of students.

RM’s Easirespond uses easy-to-read symbols instead of numbers and letters for generating responses. It uses radio frequency (RF) technology with a range of more than 60 feet, so it doesn’t require a line of sight. Up to 99 Easirespond devices reportedly can be used with a single USB receiver.

A classroom kit includes 32 handsets and RM Easirespond software, which is compatible with RM’s interactive whiteboard software, RM Easiteach. Reports on student and class progress can be exported to Microsoft Excel or PDF files and then saved centrally or locally. The Easirespond joins RM’s iRespond student response system, which offers two-way RF interactive communication with a two-line display that lets teachers send scores, averages, messages, and feedback to students.

Another maker of student response systems, Promethean, has announced a new partnership with the Channel One Network that takes advantage of Promethean’s instructional technology to enhance Channel One’s content. The collaboration uses Promethean’s ActiVote and ActivExpression devices to make Channel One’s current-events news program more interactive for students.

The new service, called Channel One News InterActiv, is a daily news program produced in partnership with CBS News, delivered via Promethean ActivBoards, and enhanced with student response systems and other interactive tools. Questions mixed in with the Channel One content poll students’ opinions on issues of the day and check their understanding of key concepts.

eSchool News Staff

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