www.apple.com, Hardware, $1,299
Offering the new Intel Core Duo processor, this computer also comes loaded with a built-in iSight video camera for out-of-the-box video conferencing that offers four times the resolution of its predecessor, iLife '06 the latest suite of digital lifestyle applications and SuperDrive for burning professional-quality DVDs. Also included are Front Row and Remote software, enabling users to listen to content like songs from their iTunes music library or watch popular movie trailers streamed from the company's Web site, all from across the room. It also introduces iWeb, which helps users create Web sites with photos, blogs and Podcasts.
Hardware, Starts from $419
This Windows CE 5.0 tablet-computing device was designed to alleviate the cost of 1:1 computing by filling the gap between handhelds and notebooks. Weighing just 1.8 pounds, it includes standard items, such as Internet access, word processing, spreadsheets and e-mail. It also offers a datalogger with built-in scientific probeware capabilities that allows educators to incorporate project-based, hands-on learning into the classroom, science lab, outdoors or at home. Its multimedia data-analysis software includes graphical manipulations and multiple analysis functions.
iLife '06 and iWork '06, www.apple.com, Software, $79 each
This application introduces iWeb, which creates professional-looking pages, online photo albums, blogs and Podcasts. The suite also includes iPhoto 6, which supports up to 250,000 photos and introduces Photocasting, a new way to share photos directly with friends and family; iMovie HD 6, which offers new audio-enhancement tools and sound effects and lets users preview effects in real time; iDVD 6, which allows users to take content shot with the latest HDV and widescreen DV cameras and author custom DVDs with widescreen menus; and GarageBand for creating professional-quality Podcasts.
Apple's new iWork '06 suite offers major enhancements within Pages 2 and Keynote 3 that let users create more sophisticated documents and presentations. Tables with spreadsheet-like calculations can be inserted within any document or presentation, giving users the ability to add, multiply or average numbers in rows or columns. Page 2 features mail merge with Mac OS X Address Book and 24 new templates for newsletters, flyers, posters, school reports, brochures and more. Keynote 3 offers new cinematic transitions, including vertical or horizontal blinds and revolving door, and four specially-designed themes to take advantage of HD displays.
Quickstart Music Suite, www.midisoft.com, Software, $129
One product, four different types of software: music recording, music notational, piano learning and music composition. Music Mentor teaches the history of music and music appreciation by letting students explore the world of music, composers and instruments. The Piano component includes more than 400 easy lessons that teach finger movement. With Studio, students can write music and record it in MIDI format, mix it down and print out sheet music. The digital recorder offers a user-friendly 8-track mixing/editing board that's compatible with third-party Direct-X plug-ins.
Course, $499 each
Course III has been designed for upper elementary grades 4-6 and makes reading relevant by engaging students with individualized, age-appropriate, diverse content. It focuses on vocabulary and comprehension strategies to help students apply reading across the curriculum. Course IV which targets grades 6-8 focuses on complex vocabulary and comprehension strategies. Students practice and apply skills and strategies to longer, more complex passages. The courseware is aligned with state and national curriculum standards. Teachers can use it in the classroom as the centerpiece of a flexible reading program or as the electronic component of a traditional basal.
PLUS Visions Corp.
V-339 projector, www.plus-america.com, Hardware, $1,995
Push a single button on this DLP portable projector to switch between presentation and premium-video applications. For business presentations, use the four-segment color wheel (dynamic mode), consisting of red, green, blue and white color segments. For home or other uses, use the six-segment color wheel (vivid mode), which offers a red, green, blue, red, green, blue configuration. The dynamic mode emphasizes clearness and works well in bright locations while the vivid mode is used when you need natural color reproduction.
Reading Readiness program
Software, Starts from $89.95/single user
Designed to help educators manage students' individual literacy needs, this adaptive early-reading system combines standards-based lessons, classroom management tools and school-to-home materials. Essentially, it gives teachers what they need to build phonemic awareness and phonic skills for children in primary classes. The interactive lesson sets address many of the curriculum goals for language and early literacy identified in the federal Reading First program. The classroom-management tools also help teachers track and guide student progress, communicate with parents and more.
Voyager Expanded Learning
Program, $399/teacher resource kit, $59/student math pack
This new intervention program provides struggling math students in grades 3-8 with up to 40 minutes of targeted, systematic, daily instruction to bring them to grade-level proficiency and improve their outcomes on standardized tests. Each grade level contains 10 modules, made up of seven to 15 lessons that fall into three categories: concept development, skill development and problem solving. Student progress can be tracked using the company's online data management system. A pre- and post-test component also lets teachers determine if students have mastered key skills while the test-prep component allows students to self-assess and review.
www.starlab.com, System, starts from $48,500/ digital projection system only (no dome)
This compact and manually operated digital projector produces starfield images. Features include a custom fish-eye lens creating small bright stars that remain spherical right down to the horizon. The contrast creates a black background, making the star images appear realistic. The starfield covers 180 degrees on the dome without any cutouts or blind spots along the horizon. With a laptop interface powered by STARLAB Starry Night Dome software from Imaginova, users can also choose from a set of pre-scripted lessons designed to meet national science standards or design their own presentations.
Software, $1,995/20 user license
Create and distribute video podcasts with this software. It lets users create video messages on desktops or portable computers that are delivered through streaming technology via the Internet to wired and wireless devices. You can also send messages using the built-in e-mail feature.
The Academic Edge
Harmony Island: A Tropical Adventure in Conflict Resolution
Program, $89/educator version
Aimed at middle- and high-school students, this program introduces conflict resolution and social problem-solving skills. It consists of an information- and media-rich CD-ROM about inhabitants on a rocking island prepping for an annual festival, an accompanying Web site for interclass collaboration, a classroom DVD and a teacher implementation guide. Students play increasingly difficult arcade games, participate in quiz shows, make drawings and more.