These 10 products—targeting school safety, interactive teaching, student creativity, and more—captured our attention this month

Reducing the time it takes to respond to a school emergency is the idea behind Panic Button.

An app that could reduce the response time in a school emergency, a device that uses the same technology guiding high-end cruise missiles to make any surface an interactive whiteboard, and online lessons that develop students’ creative thinking skills through filmmaking and other fun activities: These are among the latest ed-tech products announced in recent weeks.

Here are 10 new ed-tech products that have captured our attention this month.

Enhancing school safety

Research suggests that the average response time in a school shooting or other emergency situation is 18 minutes—but the incident is typically over in 12 minutes, says Todd Piett, chief product officer for Rave Mobile Safety.

Reducing the time it takes emergency personnel to respond could help save lives, and that’s the idea behind the company’s latest product, called Panic Button. It connects directly with the local 911 system and allows officials to share vital information in the event of an emergency.

When schools sign up for the service, they create a profile that includes floor plans, emergency response plans, a list of administrators to contact in an emergency, and a list of staff who are authorized to use the “panic button” app.

Staff members then register for the app and download it to their phones, and by tapping the large red button on their screen, they can initiate an emergency response. When this happens, the app speed-dials 911, and the caller’s profile automatically pops up on the operator’s screen, along with the caller’s location in the building.

At the same time, Rave is notified of the call, and the company alerts all administrators on the response chain, confirms that the 911 call was answered, and sends a link to a secure, private web page where administrators can view and share information about the crisis.

You don’t need a smart phone to use the service, Piett said; anyone from a school or district that subscribes can dial 911 using a cell phone or landline, and the service will still launch. The service is priced based on the number of handsets registered.

New teaching tools

A division of Interphase Corp., called penveu, has released a self-named gadget that reportedly uses the same technology behind high-end cruise missiles and smart bomb guidance to make any existing projector interactive and any surface or TV an interactive whiteboard—all in the palm of your hand, from anywhere in the room.

Dennis Pierce

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