Techbooks (Discovery Education)

Discovery Education’s Techbooks are inquiry-based digital textbooks based on the “5E” model of instruction. Much more than just digitized versions of static textbooks, the Techbooks include videos, embedded assessments, and other interactive features that leverage the power of the internet, the company says.

“The online Science Techbook by Discovery Education has been adopted in our district as the core curriculum instructional material for our grade 6 students,” said Ed Short, elementary science resource teacher for Florida’s Brevard County Schools. “Our students are digital natives, and therefore they respond with great motivation and excitement when using an online program to learn science. … Components such as interactive glossaries, simulations, Science Sleuths, and Myth Busters support the many online video and reading passages.” Another reader, sixth-grade science teacher Sue Turpin of Indiana, said the Science Techbooks are “highly recommended by our science teachers.”

Time To Know

Time To Know is an innovative digital teaching and learning platform, designed specifically for one-to-one computing classrooms. It is currently available for fourth and fifth grade math and reading/language arts. Teachers can use the interactive curriculum and the digital teaching platform to manage all classroom activities and deliver a personalized learning experience for every student.

“We are using this product with second and fourth grade students,” said Chris Sosa, principal of Lee Elementary School in Grand Prairie, Texas. “Teachers are loving the results … and students are enjoying the learning that is occurring with the use of this technical opportunity. It is a great solution that helps many students with the intervention process.” Grand Prairie teacher Laura Perry added: “Students love the program, and we have seen an increase in student achievement on district assessments.”

TI-Nspire (Texas Instruments)

TI-Nspire is a whole family of handheld devices and software that can display math exercises in a more dynamic and interactive fashion, allowing students to manipulate the data and see what effect these changes have in real time.

“I’m using the TI-Nspire CX in my physics and mathematics classrooms. It has greatly enhanced my ability to do formative assessment, enabled the students to do hands-on inquiry into the mathematics, and expanded our data collection capabilities,” said Sean Bird, a teacher at Covenant Christian High School in Indiana. “We have collected and analyzed data for linear motion, rotational motion, force, temperature, magnetic field, sound, light, and more. The color and backlit screen has added to the engagement and ease-of-use of the device. It has also helped students make connections. This is the best tool for teaching and learning math and science that has ever come to my classroom.”

Ubermix

The ubermix is an all-free, specially built, Linux-based operating system designed by educators with the needs of education in mind. It takes all the complexity out of student devices by making them as reliable and easy-to-use as a cell phone, without sacrificing the power and capabilities of a full operating system, its creators say. With a turnkey, five-minute installation, 20-second quick recovery mechanism, and more than 60 free applications pre-installed, ubermix turns whatever hardware you have into a powerful device for learning.

“We presently use ubermix on about 3,500 netbooks at our school district,” said Jim Klein, director of information systems and technology for the Saugus Union School District in California. “The combination of low-cost hardware and reliable, free software has made one-to-one [computing] a practical reality for us, enabling us to transform the learning environment and engage our kids with social media tools. For us, netbooks running free software brings most—if not all—of the benefits of tablets to netbooks, without all the sacrifices.”