zSpace unveils all-in-one virtual reality solution

Virtual reality learning experience moves to schools across the country

virtual-realityAt ISTE 2015, zSpace Inc. introduced its all-in-one desktop virtual reality solution for education.

zSpace for Education is a streamlined hardware and software solution that allows students to manipulate virtual, 3D objects ranging from human hearts to helicopters to learn concepts such as math, physics, engineering and biology.

Tens of thousands of students across the country are already learning with zSpace STEM labs. Previously, the zSpace system consisted of a virtual reality monitor and separate computer. To develop the new all-in-one product, zSpace collaborated with Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer.

Next page: How schools are using the virtual reality solution


Vernier Go Wireless Link helps teachers collect scientific data

Educators can wirelessly collect data from more than 40 sensors on tablets and mobile devices in science and STEM classrooms

wireless-dataVernier Software & Technology has launched the Go Wireless Link to provide a cost-effective way to wirelessly collect data from more than 40 sensors on tablets and mobile devices in science and STEM classrooms.

Using the low-cost Go Wireless Link and Vernier sensors, students and teachers can now wirelessly collect data and perform data analysis on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

Compatible sensors include the CO2 Gas Sensor, Gas Pressure Sensor, O2 Gas Sensor, Stainless Steel Temperature Probe, Dual-Range Force Sensor, Magnetic Field Sensor, Optical DO Probe, and more than 30 additional sensors.

“Go Wireless Link makes it possible to use one of more than 40 Vernier sensors to wirelessly collect data on Bluetooth Smart Ready tablets and mobile devices,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and former physics teacher. “Educators today are teaching with a variety of devices—iPad, Android tablets, Chromebooks, and computers. It’s our goal to develop innovative technology that is versatile, affordable and durable enough for the demands of classroom science experiments.”

Students plug in a compatible Vernier sensor to Go Wireless Link, pair it with their mobile device, and they are ready to collect scientific data for analysis using the free Vernier Graphical Analysis for iOS app.

Go Wireless Link ($99) is currently available for purchase. Support for Android™ devices and LabQuest® 2 will be available back-to-school 2015. Additionally, free updates to the Graphical Analysis for iOS app, planned for fall 2015, will enable support for more than 15 additional sensors.

To learn more about Go Wireless Link and to view the complete list of compatible Vernier sensors, visit http://www.vernier.com/products/interfaces/gw-link/.

Material from a press release was used in this report.


HP launches new technology and immersive computing

New technology offerings include convertible laptops, immersive computing

hp-technologyDuring ISTE 2015, HP announced new technology solutions for education that are aimed to enhance student and teacher experiences.

New products include two convertible laptops, the HP Spectre Pro x360 G1 Convertible PC and HP Pro x360 310 G2 Convertible PC.

The Spectre Pro x360 G1 is targeted to teachers and is an ultra-thin PC with the versatility of multiple modes (notebook, stand, tent, tablet) and features a battery life of up to 12.5 hours.

The Pro x360 310 G2 offers similar versatile functionality of four modes and features a durable, mechanical hinge design and a multi-touch display for more involved, easier interplay with course material.

The recently released HP Chromebook 11 G4 makes collaboration at school and work easy; the notebook quickly launches apps, optimizes Google Hangouts with noise suppression software, and keeps classmates and teachers connected through available 3G/4G LTE wireless.

Chrome’s operating system can also be seen with the new HP Print for Chrome extension, which allows for quick and easy printing to HP local network printers.

HP also announced new features to Sprout by HP, the company’s immersive computer: 3D scanning capability. Sprout allows students in multiple education disciplines to bring their ideas to life by easily capturing an object in 3D that can then be further modified, shared, and printed.

Material from a press release was used in this report.


5 reasons schools aren’t using more innovative classroom models

Research reveals educators back digital tools, but aren’t always fully-equipped to implement innovative practices

innovative-classroomNine out of 10 administrators surveyed in a new report said using technology effectively as part of instructional practice is important to educate and prepare students, but a few key challenges are delaying plans for more innovative classroom models.

  1. Seventy-eight percent of surveyed parents said using technology as a regular part of daily classes is the best way for their child to develop the skills they’ll need to succeed in college and the workforce, according to Trends in Digital Learning: Empowering Innovative Classroom Models for Learning, released by Project Tomorrow and Blackboard.

The report, the latest in a series of annual collaborations between the two groups, comes from an analysis of Speak Up survey data collected in the fall of 2014.

Next page: The big challenges for new classroom models


App of the Week: Discovering Emotions with Zeely

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated with help from Graphite by Common Sense Media. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? Discovering Emotions with Zeely is an easy-to-use app that uses guided instruction to help kids recognize and interpret facial expressions. It can benefit kids who are nonverbal or have difficulty interpreting facial expressions. Directions are clear and simple, allowing kids to navigate independently through the four familiar recreation areas and guiding them through seven emotions using different cultures, ages, and genders to understand sad, happy, disgusted, surprised, fear, anger, and pride. In between emotions, kids play a game to help them refocus and continue the activity.

Price: $19.99

Grades: K-7

Pros: Cute characters and simple layout let kids operate independently while learning about emotions.

Cons: Steep price tag might deter some users.

Bottom line: Cute characters and simple layout let kids operate independently while learning about emotions.


8 ways schools can become truly Future Ready

Advice for districts seeking to become better at digital teaching and learning

future-readyBeing Future Ready is about more than just signing a pledge or attending an event. It’s about taking measurable, sometimes scary, steps toward a digital future that is still very much uncertain, according to speakers at a recent ISTE panel discussion on the topic, “Is Your District Future Ready?

The Future Ready effort, championed by the Department of Education and the Alliance for Excellent Education, hopes to permanently intertwine digital connectivity and learning in schools by getting administrators to think more broadly (and critically) about technology, PD, and the curriculum they use.

The backbone of the project is a short pledge superintendents take confirming their commitment to enlightened digital learning and advocacy (about 2,000 superintendents have signed it so far). There are also related regional summits that delve into how schools and districts can achieve Future Ready aims, such as empowering teachers, closing the digital divide, or supporting community efforts.

From that ISTE panel, here are several takeaways Future Ready-minded leaders should bear in mind.

The pledge alone is toothless. “Signing the pledge does not mean that you have made it,” said Katrina Stevens, a senior adviser in the Office of Educational Technology. “It just means, ‘We want to start moving toward this direction.'” Karen Cator, CEO of Digital Promise, mentioned that Baltimore County Schools spent 18 months crafting their own personal plan spelling out how they were working toward a digital future and soliciting input from teachers, community representatives, and other stakeholders.

Next page: Why more ed-tech scrutiny is needed


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