Create an interactive learning experience for every classroom or office!

Archive for May, 2012

Choosing the Right eBeam System for You!

Depending on your needs, your budget, and your existing equipment, there’s an eBeam system that’s a perfect fit for you!

Please take a look at our website at http://www.shop.ebeamrocks.com/ and find your new eBeam system!

 

Please browse through our store and shop with confidence. Our site is secure and any information shared with our website will never be used for ANY reason other than to complete your order. We invite you to create an account with us if you like, or shop as a guest. Either way, your shopping cart will be active until you leave the store.

A few notes – Many of the products offer two different ways to connect – via USB or via Bluetooth.  On our site, the products are listed separately (for example, we offer 2 options regarding the eBeam Edge Complete.  One product will be listed as “eBeam Edge Complete – Bluetooth”, and another product listed as “eBeam Edge Complete – USB”.)  Please call or email us with any questions regarding what solution will work best for you.

ALSO – we offer discounts for bulk orders (more than 5 units) and often have promotions running for schools.  We also offer discounts for buyers who would like to see our free demo, which we offer over the internet or in person.  If you think any of these scenarios might apply to you, please contact me via my blog, or call us at 314-629-3000. 

If you purchase by June 8th and mention this blog, you can get a 10% discount on any of our products!!!  So, don’t delay, contact us today!

We pride ourselves on our great customer service and are always happy to assist anyone in any way, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for any reason!  We believe in eBeam and enjoy sharing our eBeam knowledge with anyone who is willing to listen!

Changes in Technology in the Classroom

The following article offers several interesting points when discussing the changes being made in our classrooms today because of all of the wonderful technology that is now available for schools.  Of course I also really found the article awesome because it points out that an advanced math teacher in an Alabama middle school has had great success with the eBeam Engage (I’ve highlighted this section in the article below). 

I guess what I believe to be the most important aspect of technology in the classroom is that it’s only truly helpful if both the teacher and the students are benefiting from its use in the classroom.  In the article, it’s noted that Melissa Dodd with the Boston Public School District stated, “We’ve seen increased student engagement, a decrease in disciplinary issues and improved class attendance when the teachers utilize technology within the curriculum.”  That to me is true success in the classroom, resulting in happier teachers, students, and parents. 

I found the following article at http://www.peterli.com/spm/archive.php?article_id=3438.

The Technology Makeover

Karen Spring
 
The classroom environment a few years ago consisted of the bare-bones basics: desks, chairs, large chalkboards, pencils and notebooks — that is, the metal spiral-bounded books with lined notepaper inside. Compare those classrooms to the ones of 50 years ago and there wasn’t much difference. How times have indeed changed!Step inside a K-12 classroom in many school districts in the U.S. today and the differences are truly jaw dropping. Some might even feel as if, like Alice, they have fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole into another world. Instead of writing spelling words on the chalkboard, today’s teachers are now utilizing interactive “smart” whiteboard technology to make their classroom experiences intuitive and engaging, and to provide a better overall learning environment for their students. Other new offerings making their daily appearance in the classroom include Apple’s iPads, computer workstations, instructional software and web-based apps.

Technology for Teachers and Students

For students these additions to their classrooms are just part of their natural realm. Many children already use technology at home. Why shouldn’t they have the same offerings in their schools? Many experts agree that traditional methods of teaching, which have been used for decades, don’t cater to today’s students and their needs nor do they engage young minds. Students aren’t responsive to the traditional approach of sitting behind desks, listening to teachers lecture to them for hours on end and studying from old-fashioned textbooks.The teaching staff has to have the support it needs to ensure that students can reach their potential. The Boston Public School District in Boston, Mass., consists of 125 schools serving 56,000 students. Melissa Dodd, CIO for the district, says, “A teacher today needs a strong toolkit at his or her disposal to engage students. A one size fits all model isn’t working. We needed to change the way we think and teach our children. The district has a very robust network in place, and we have the system to support that.”In 2008, Boston’s public schools launched a “Laptops for Learning” program. Every classroom teacher has been provided with a laptop for instructional use. However, that isn’t where the program ends. Dodd adds, “For teaching to truly evolve, the teachers need the proper tools to prepare students for college careers and life in general. So, we’ve provided our teachers with that technology proficiency. The laptop program gives the teaching staff the training and support necessary to utilize technology to the maximum.”
 
Intuitive and Interactive
Rock Quarry Middle School in Tuscaloosa, Ala., educates approximately 600 students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades and has instituted various technologies into each classroom. Jason Burd, an advanced math teacher at the school, has found that the eBeam Engage, a portable, interactive whiteboard from Luidia, makes classroom learning easy and convenient.

“Whatever I write on the Engage is available to the students at any time via the web,” Burd says. “If a student misses details from the lesson, he or she can go back to it at another time to review the material, even if it’s a month later when an exam is coming up.” The ability for students to review material after hours and at their own convenience — for example, when a student has been out sick for a week and has to catch up with the lesson — enables teachers to spend more time teaching and less time reviewing material. In this way, kids who might have a hard time grasping a lesson the first time around have the ability to review it repeatedly at their own pace, making it more likely that that they will understand the concept.

Celebrating Technology
The Fort Leavenworth School District in Kansas is attended by students in grades K-9 who are dependents of soldiers assigned to the military post at Fort Leavenworth. The district has used various technologies to foster the learning environment. Mindy Tilley, a learning technology integration specialist for the district, involved the students in Digital Learning Day, a national event that let teachers revolve their lessons on the technologies that they had within the classroom. “Some lessons focused on allowing students to build avatars. Other classes spent the school day creating movies. The curriculum was still the focus here, as our students utilized creative writing and metric conversion, but the kids spent the day implementing technology into it,” Tilley explains.

Smartboards have been used in every classroom in Fort Leavenworth’s schools for years, and are now being replaced with Epson BrightLink interactive projectors to encourage a more cohesive learning environment. New sound systems have also proved a valuable addition to the classroom. Teachers wear pendant microphones and their voices are carried throughout the classrooms, ensuring that all the students are able to hear the lessons clearly. “I think the audio system is one of the most critical components in the classroom because it really does make a difference in student learning,” adds Alan Landever, Fort Leavenworth’s director of technology services.

Parents Pull Together to Bring Technology to Fruition

Some school administrators might be hesitant to add or update technology in the classroom because such an undertaking requires a support staff to manage it and handle troubleshooting. The parents at one Pennsylvania school took that job under their own belts. Sacred Heart School in Royersford, Penn., is a Catholic K-8 community of approximately 190 students. While the school administrators realized that they needed to update the infrastructure for the classrooms, they didn’t have to look beyond their own backyard for the technical support that they needed.The school board at Sacred Heart worked to procure the necessary grants and fundraisers were held to offset other costs. A volunteer technical committee comprised of parents who were knowledgeable in the IT field worked to obtain the classroom technologies and then implement them. Derek Loranca, a parent of a Sacred Heart student and a lead business intelligence specialist for a Fortune 1000 company, served on the committee. “The parents knew that it was critical for our kids’ school to have new technologies, so we came together to do it ourselves. We were fortunate to have one person on the committee who was well versed in hardware, while another parent had a background in software. One parent offered assistance in phone systems. We utilized all of these resources to work together,” Loranca says. “Sacred Heart never had to pay for an IT staff because the parents on the technical committee handled all of the main IT tasks like integration, implementation and troubleshooting.”The technical committee implemented a wireless network so that every Sacred Heart classroom had Internet access. In addition, a web file server was added so that students could log into the system and work on school projects from home. The committee also used a kiosk-like model for the classroom setting. This system consisted of a desktop virtualization offering that allowed for the use of multiple monitors, mice and keyboards without the purchase of additional desktop computers. One computer could support multiple virtual desktops, which boosted cost savings. In addition, every classroom has a smartboard for learning.As an off-shoot to the technical committee, it was determined that another group of volunteers would be necessary to assist with typical problems that came up from time to time. This group became known as the classroom ambassadors, a team of parents who took on the role of a traditional helpdesk. “Students and teachers both had access to these ambassadors to answer basic questions about the technology. If the classroom ambassador couldn’t answer the question or find a resolution, he or she simply brought the issue to the technical committee for the needed help,” Loranca says. The ambassadors could solve basic problems like figuring out why a particular program wouldn’t load or determine the reason a projector wasn’t working properly without the need to escalate the issue to the technical committee.
 
Excitement to Learn
Perhaps the most important aspect to updating technological infrastructures is the one thing that teachers and parents have sought since the beginning of time: getting kids interested in learning. Students take to technology in the classroom much as they would to the latest Angry Birds game on an iPod — they simply love it. Who would imagine that kids would not only like to learn their multiplication tables, but would beg for more? “We use various web apps on iPads to teach our students,” Alan Landever says. “Just one example of this is the Princess Math App for second grade girls that offers drills in addition and subtraction. It gets the girls excited to do math problems.”

“A key focus to the curriculum-driven lessons we provide is getting the students excited about learning,” adds Keith Mispagel, Superintendent of Schools, USD 207, Fort Leavenworth. “With a national focus on science, technology, engineering and math, we are harnessing the creativity and energy the students exhibit in the classroom when activities become hands-on through technology advancements and resources.”

Melissa Dodd agrees with that because the Boston Public School District has noticed benefits, too. “We’ve seen increased student engagement, a decrease in disciplinary issues and improved class attendance when the teachers utilize technology within the curriculum.”

Today’s kids might also be more apt to pick up a Kindle Fire and read a book instead of opening up a hardback. Both Fort Leavenworth School District and Rock Quarry Middle School are considering moving to e-textbooks within the next few years since the costs are cheaper than regular textbooks and kids are more enthusiastic about reading when an e-reader is involved.

The 21st-Century Classroom
The classroom environment won’t ever be the same. The chalkboards will be torn down to make way for advancing technologies that don’t keep a classroom static, but instead ensure that it is constantly evolving. It seemed unlikely that a few years ago Shakespeare might meet the iPad, but in the not too distant future, that might just be the way to get students interested in Macbeth and Othello. And these new methods show students that there’s no lesson that they cannot tackle.

Karen Spring has been a technical writer for more than 10 years. She began her career working as a marketing specialist for two computer distributors, handling projects for clients including Acer, IBM, Okidata. She also worked as a senior editor for an IT publishing and consulting firm. Ms. Spring has written technical reports on Microsoft products and contributes to a weekly newsletter that highlights network and Internet security topics.

 
 
Now that you’ve read the article and you’re wishing that you had an eBeam Engage, take a look at our website and our great prices! ebeamrocks.com.  If you mention my blog when you order you can get a 10% discount, and make me look awesome with my boss!

New Scrapbook Beta Software Available for Windows

Platform parity for eBeam Scrapbook
– now available for Windows

Following the recent launches of the Mac and Linux software betas, Luidia has just released the Windows beta version of the upcoming Scrapbook software. All three beta software releases are available for download from ebeamlabs.com. These versions are all integrated with eBeam Connect and offer a better, more consistent user experience for you!

These versions feature:

  • Simpler, consistent interface across operating systems
  • iPad and web meetings through eBeam Connect
  • Improved textbox functionality
  • New gallery design
  • Shorter learning curve with new tutorials

Please take a look!

Review of eBeam Edge in Wired Magazine

I was a little bit disappointed when I read this review, but I wanted to share it because it does describe a few of the benefits and uses of the eBeam Edge.  The review is a little mixed, but overall the reviewer does say that they would give the eBeam Edge their recommendation.  The review is also targeted at how the eBeam Edge would be beneficial in an office or business setting, where I personally believe it’s so much more effective in a classroom setting.  Anyway, take a look…

I found the following article at http://www.wired.com/reviews/2012/05/ebeam-edge/.

Draw Something:  Virtual Whiteboard Fancies Up Your Office Wall

Luidia eBeam Edge

Reviewed by Email Author  ·  May 17, 2012

Except for the spiciest bits of The Social Network and the Steve Jobs biography, pretty much everything that happens in a conference room is boring.

Meetings are boring, presentations are boring, and whiteboards are boring. But here’s a piece of technology that makes all three more exciting — which admittedly isn’t that difficult, but stay with me.

It’s called the eBeam Edge, made by Luidia. It’s a handwriting capture system that adds an interactive element to whatever you’re viewing on your wall, allowing you and your colleagues to annotate a projected image or document, or to sketch something on a whiteboard, and e-mail the results around like a memo.

The eBeam is just one entry in the “interactive whiteboard” category — devices that let you virtually draw on any vertical surface using a special pen and have it captured electronically by a combination of hardware and software. Some of these systems use touchscreens or pressure-sensitive displays, some use interactive projectors, and others use special whiteboards. Luidia’s device is simpler and less expensive than those, since it uses things you already have around the office: a regular projector hooked up to a Windows PC.

In the basic eBeam kit (priced between $900 and $1,050 around the web), you get a fat, marker-like stylus and a hardware sensor that connects to your PC via USB or Bluetooth. This sensor, which is about the size of a candy bar, attaches to the wall using a non-permanent adhesive (a couple of 3M Command strips). You just stick it next to whatever flat surface you want to use to make your presentation, then point the projector at that surface. To calibrate it, you tap the stylus on the nine points projected on the wall. The whole setup process takes less than five minutes.

Once everything’s running, you can draw images or write text with a surprising level of accuracy. The eBeam’s stylus, which has a AAA battery inside, is tracked by the flat capture strip you’ve fastened to the wall. The tracking is pretty good — there is some lag, but it’s not too annoying. It’s about the same amount of latency I’ve experienced using a stylus on a smartphone like the Galaxy Note, or a Wacom Bamboo stylus on an iPad. You just have to remember to write a little more slowly and deliberately than normal.

Since it works on any flat surface, you can project the eBeam environment onto a map, a large-scale design mockup, or a large printed image. Where it really shines is when you use it in conjunction with a whiteboard. As part of my test, Luidia also sent me its whiteboard Capture Pack ($250 extra), a set of sheaths for regular whiteboard markers that have the eBeam tracking mechanism (the same one found in the stylus) built in. This way, you can draw on the whiteboard and have your every stroke recorded and captured. The sheaths are colored to match the common colors of whiteboard markers, and the software records the appropriate color — two people can use two different markers and keep their notes separate.

Photo courtesy of eBeam/Luidia

The low point here is the software. Pressing one of the two buttons on the stylus brings up a radial menu (called the eBeam Tool Palette) that lets you choose between functions like freehand writing, highlighting, drawing arrows, erasing marks and flipping through the stack of open documents. Unfortunately, these menus are not that intuitive and take some getting used to, especially if you’re one of those people who lives and breathes PowerPoint. Also, and this is odd, the menus are not as responsive as the writing functions. I experienced too many misplaced taps of the stylus, and sometimes I had to tap twice or three times to get the software to react.

eBeam’s software suite does have plenty of options for building and delivering presentations — slideshow tools, master pages, navigation elements to move forward and backward through a deck — and it has some collaborative features like the ability to stack transparent layers on top of your presentation, or to share your whiteboard with other users over the internet. But coming into the eBeam environment cold, it wasn’t exactly clear to me how these features work (and yes, I’ve been at this a very long time). A few web searches and YouTube videos had me sorted out eventually, but it was more time than I expected to spend learning how to use a piece of presentation software.

Obfuscated user interfaces aside, Luidia’s system works well enough for me to recommend it. But it’s a very niche product with a steep price and negligible payoff. If you work in an environment where collaborative communion is the lifeblood of your organization — not just presentations, but constant prototyping, brainstorming, group critique and swapping of ideas — then the eBeam could wipe away your whiteboard woes. But for the average office, it’s a flashy, expensive solution to a problem that probably doesn’t exist.

WIRED Mark up any document or image electronically and save it for perpetuity. Works on any wall or any flat, wall-mounted object. Uses the projector and PC you already have. Stylus is easy to use, and drawing surface is easy to calibrate. Optional capture pack enhances the boring whiteboard with the addition of computer magic.

TIRED Software needs work. Any projector will do, but a projector is required. MSRP is $1,050, but it’s available for around $900 — still very expensive. Latency could be an issue for the over-caffeinated drones from sales and marketing.

eBeam Edge wins 2012 award for “Best IWB Solution”

The eBeam Edge has done it again!  In the recently released EdTech Digest Awards for 2012, eBeam Edge won for “Best IWB Solution”!  Take a look at the following article, and then check out our website ebeamrocks.com so that you can learn more about the eBeam Edge and see our great prices!

The following article was found at http://edtechdigest.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/2012-edtech-digest-awards-standing-room-only/.

EdTech Digest Awards 2012: Standing Room Only – WINNERS

Sure, it’s only spring, but it’s already hot, hot, hot! The edtech space is sizzling with activity and the sharply increased volume of entries in this year’s EdTech Digest Awards Program indicates a marketplace further heating up with innovation, creativity and solutions—all at a very frenzied pace. It’s an overflow room this year with more than double the amount of entries as last. Not to be confused with the late ’90s dot-com scene, this crowd stands in stark contrast, identifiable more by hard-won wisdom and less by hollow hype. Technology and talent are stably coming together for education in a time of great budgetary change where old models continue to crumble as a new normal yet emerges. With school budgets cut by some $20 Billion in California alone over the past three years, vapid glitz-and-glamour solutions have no place when there are plenty of authentic, tried-and-true providers (or at least stable beta startups with built-in, on-the-fly quality improvement mechanisms). The best solutions are earning their places as they build out and scale up; they deliver with ease and efficacy, and in short, they’re real. Venture capitalists seem to think so, too. Over the last few years, they’ve provided at least a $1.97 Billion vote of confidence in educational technology companies closing more than 438 new deals with no signs of letting up. Behind the quality products and services, the apps and platforms, the content and clicks—are real leaders in the space who are under no illusion as to what it takes to get things done. These trendsetters, both people and products, are making it standing room only when it comes to the palpable, electric energy in the edtech sector today—and that’s very good news for the future of education. With still more excitement to come, let’s nonetheless go up on stage, front and center, and tear open the envelopes to announce the 2012 EdTech Digest Awards Program finalists—and winners!

COOL TOOL awards

New Product or Service – Finalists (winner = *)

icurio from Knovation Learning

Qtopia from Qwizdom

EchoSystem 5 from Echo360

Algebra Readiness from Revolution K12

Insight 360 from eInstruction

SuccessMaker Speed Games from Pearson

Dreambox Learning Math from Dreambox

Alleyoop from Pearson

CommonCore360 from School Improvement Network*

Mind Leap from mindleaptech

Noodle from Noodle Education

ActivExpression2 from Promethean

Student Academic Tracking – Finalists

ClassMate from ClassLink

mCLASS Beacon AP Science from Wireless Generation*

Other Cool Tool – Finalists

LaunchPad from ClassLink* (best virtualization solution)

ClassMate from ClassLink

StudyBlue from StudyBlue* (best student study tool)

Vision Pro from Netop

DigitalMedia Presentation System from Crestron

Digits from Pearson

Curriki from Curriki* (best open education resource)

HELP Math from Digital Directions

VizZle from Monarch Teaching Technologies

TenMarks Math from TenMarks* (best blended learning solution)

eduPad Studio from edupad

eBOARD from eBOARDsolutions

PossibilityU from Cambium Enterprises

Variquest Learning Modules from Varitronics

Product or Service – Finalists

Stylus Pro 7700 from Epson

Turnitin from iParadigms

iBoss web filters from iBoss

VMathLive from Cambium Learning Group

The Geometer’s Sketchpad from Key Curriculum Press

LessonPlanet from LessonPlanet

AirWatch from AirWatch

Top Hat Monocle from Top Hat Monocle*

Inside Out from A.D.A.M.

Academic Gaming Solution – Finalists

ST Math from Mindresearch

SuccessMaker Speed Games from Pearson

Ko’s Journey from Imagine Education*

GRAMMonster! from McGraw-Hill

FriendsLearn from FriendsLearn

TNT Reading Tutor from BrainTrain

GameUp from BrainPOP

VocabularySpellingCity from SpellingCity

iTooch Elementary from edupad

Assessment Solution – Finalists

iReady CCSS Screener from Curriculum Associates

Insight 360 from eInstruction

WritetoLearn from Pearson

Naiku from Naiku

Observation 360 from School Improvement Network

mCLASS Beacon from Wireless Generation

Academic Merit from Academic Merit*

Classroom Hardware Solution – Finalists

EchoSystem 5 from Echo 360

DigitalMedia Multimedia Presentation System 300 from Crestron

QuickPack Classroom AV System Package from Crestron*

OnCue Basic Presentation Controller from Crestron

NOVA AIR from fourierEDU

Collaboration Solution – Finalists

Collaboration Tools from ePals

Insight 360 from eInstruction

EQUELLA from Pearson

My Big Campus from Lightspeed Systems

Collaborate from Blackboard

PD360 from School Improvement Network

PD360 Community from School Improvement Network

Nearpod from Panarea Digital*

myTrack from eScholar

mCLASS Beacon AP Science from Wireless Generation

Communication Solution – Finalists

Attendance Discovery from ParentLink

TeacherReach from ParentLink*

Content Provider Solution – Finalists

espresso elementary from espresso education

Class.com Algebra 1 from Cambium Learning Group

Shmoop from Shmoop

Glencoe Writer’s Workspace from McGraw-Hill

Shakespeare in Bits from mindconnex*

Digital Textbook – Finalists

iBook2 Textbooks for Algebra 1 & Geometry from Pearson

Networks: A Social Studies Learning System from McGraw-Hill*

World History, Our Human Story from K12

Miller & Levine Biology iBook2 Textbook from Pearson

District Data Solution – Finalists

Complete Data Warehouse for PK-12 from eScholar*

mCLASS Beacon from Wireless Generation

E-learning Solution – Finalists

myON reader from Capstone Digital

SuccessMaker Speed Games from Pearson

vMathLive from Cambium Learning Group

Glencoe Writer’s Workspace from McGraw-Hill

eLearnApp from eLearnApp

E3 Imagine eBooks from E3imagine

Shakespeare in Bits from Mindconnex

Haiku Learning Management System from Haiku Learning*

Education, Academy, Learning from Colorado Connections Academy

eLearning Solution from ePals

Emerging Technology Solution – Finalists

LaunchPad from ClassLink

Crestron DigitalMedia Multimedia Presentation System from Crestron

Sophia.org from Sophia*

Flow from SMALLab Learning

AirWatch from AirWatch

Mobile platform from ScholarChip

TenMarks Math from TenMarks

Green Solution – Finalists

MakeMeSustainable from Noveda Technologies*

LaunchPad from ClassLink

Interactive Whiteboard Solution – Finalists

BrightLink 485 Wi from Epson

Abrams Interactive Science from Abrams

Insight 360 from eInstruction

Class Dojo from Class Dojo

StarBoardLink from Hitachi

eBeam Edge for Education Projection from Luidia*

Learning Management System – Finalists

Blackboard Learn Release 9.1 from Blackboard

CLG from itworx

Connexus School Management System from Colorado Connections Academy

OpenClass from Pearson*

Mobile Device Solution – Finalists

Insight 360 from eInstruction

PowerSchool for Parents from Pearson*

Mobile Filter from Lightspeed Systems

Anthro Tablet Charging Cart from Anthro

NOVA AIR from fourierEDU

Mobile App Solution – Finalists

Echoplayer from Echo360

Mobi 360 from eInstruction

Mobile Filter from Lightspeed Systems

ParentLink Mobile from ParentLink

Blackboard Mobile Learn from Blackboard

MiLAB from fourierEDU

TopHat Monocle from TopHat Monocle

Featured Movie App (iOS) from BrainPOP*

Murky Reef Think & Play from Frolyc

AppPak: Safe App Delivery for Schools from Carrot App Dev

Presentation Solution – Finalists

PowerLite 93+ from Epson*

QuickPack Classroom AV System Package from Crestron

Nearpod from Panarea Digital

TechnologyWorkstand 2095 from SecurityWorks

Professional Development Solution – Finalists

OnTrack from ClassLink

LiveView from therenow

PD360 from School Improvement Network

CommonCore 360 from School Improvement Network

Fundamentals of Virtual K-12 Teaching from PBS Teacherline

PD Online from ASCD

Academic Merit from Academic Merit*

Edthena Professional Development from edthena

Social Networking/Academic Networking – Finalists

LearningSpace 2.0 from ePals

My Big Campus from Lightspeed Systems*

PD 360 Community from School Improvement Network

ASCD EDge from ASCD

STEM Solution – Finalists

Adaptive Curriculum from Adaptive Curriculum*

LateNiteLabs from LateNiteLabs

NOVA AIR from fourierEDU

Simulation Science Tools from Colorado Connections Academy

LEADERSHIP awards

Finalists

Andrew Grauer

Fred Singer

Rob O’Leary and Grant Wright

Naiku

ThingLink

No Child Held Back* (new consortium)

Randy Wilhelm

Berj Akian

Matthew Peterson

Frank Ferguson and Rob Waldron

Nic Borg* (co-founder/CEO)

Ellen Siminoff

Murugan Pal

Shawn Bay

Miles Gilburne

Kim McClelland

Rudy Crew

Barbara Freeman

Bhargav Sri Prakash

Charlene Blohm & Associates* (PR firm)

Martin Lind

Michael Parrales

Steven Engravalle

Jamieson McKenzie

Trever Reeh

Scott Devries

Brad Flickinger* (educator)

Steve Temming

Dalinda Alcantar

TRENDSETTER awards

Product or Service Setting a Trend – Finalists

studysync from BookheadEd*

Edmodo from edmodo

Adaptive Curriculum from Adaptive Curriculum

eSchoolView Content Management System from eSchoolView

Raptivity from Harbinger Knowledge

Ko’s Journey from ImagineEducation

VizZle from Monarch Teaching Technologies

GlogsterEDU from Glogster

SPARK from School Specialty

ePortfolios from Somerville, Ma., High School

Congratulations to all finalists and winners!

Awesome eBeam Deal- Time is Running Out!

I wrote about this back in March, but this deal is awesome, and good through the end of May, so I wanted to put it out there again!  Right now (thru 5/31), when you buy 4 eBeam Edge, you get a free eBeam Focus 150 document camera (msrp $499)!

The eBeam Focus 150 document camera allows users to view and digitize real-world material instantly and import the content directly into eBeam Scrapbook. Capture snapshots or video of text, physical objects, and even people and import them into eBeam Scrapbook with the click of a button. The eBeam Focus 150 plugs directly into your computer’s USB 2.0 port and makes adding high-quality images and video into your lesson or presentation quick and easy.  Very cool!

Buy your eBeam Edge today at our website, http://www.shop.ebeamrocks.com/.

Pick a winning deal on interactive classroom technology!

Get an eBeam Focus 150 document camera FREE!

Everyone wins with eBeam interactive technology.
Buy 4 eBeam Edge® and get a free Focus 150 document camera that adds great-looking photos and videos to your lessons with one click. Just follow these steps:

  1. Download Rebate Form »
  2. Purchase 4 eBeam Edge® Projection through an Authorized eBeam Reseller to take advantage of this limited offer.
  3. Read and complete the rebate form, then email it along with a copy of your original PO to insidesales@luidia.com or mail to:

Luidia Inc.
ATTN: Inside Sales – Rebate
125 Shoreway Drive, Suite D
San Carlos, CA 94070

eBeam Benefits Students With Hearing Loss

As I’ve said before, I’m the type of person that wants the “real story”.  Real examples from real people make the most impact on me.  Maybe it’s because I live in Missouri, “The Show Me State”, but I’ve always felt that a heartfelt true story means so much more than a bunch of statistics obtained from who knows where.  So, that brings me to the following article.  It’s from CNN’s School of Thought blog that discusses education, pre-K through college, from a variety of perspectives.  The following blog post was written by Charlotte Walker, a teacher in Maine who teaches students who are deaf or hard of hearing.  She discusses how technology (eBeam!) and traditional forms of teaching can be used together to provide an effective learning environment.  Take a look!

The following article was found at http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/03/my-view-students-with-hearing-loss-benefit-from-mix-of-technology-teaching/.

My View: Students with hearing loss benefit from mix of technology, teaching

By Charlotte Walker, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Charlotte Walker works in Maine teaching students who are deaf. She is always looking for new and innovative ways to incorporate technology in her classroom. She holds a master’s degree in literacy from New England College.

I grew up in an era where technology was just becoming available, and affordable, for families to have in the home. At age 4, I would sit in my dad’s lap and play Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo system (and nearly broke my dad’s nose while moving the controller to make Mario jump!) A few years later I was spending my Saturday mornings playing role-playing games on our very own DOS operating system personal computer. As I grew, so did my love for technology. Thankfully, with the right guidance, I was able to recognize the importance of traditional learning as well as learning with the aid of technology, and was able to keep a balance between the two.

Today, I work in a bilingual classroom for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, and I try to balance the use of technology for my students as well. The classroom is made up of two large rooms joined by a door. I instruct in spoken English while my co-teacher instructs in American Sign Language in the other room. Our classroom has roughly 25 students. About half those students have some degree of hearing loss and the children are able to move freely between the two rooms throughout the day.

One of the main goals of my classroom is to help my students develop the skills to listen to and use spoken language. Due to their hearing loss, a lot of my students miss incidental learning opportunities. They might know what a cow is, but they may not have had explained to them what a hoof is. That is my job, to make sure my students know what things such as a hoof, or a jewel on a crown or a polka dot are called.

How is this done? Well, it could be done using traditional methods such as flash cards, but preschool children have a limited attention span, especially for static objects. These days, my preschoolers are more technologically advanced than I was as a child. They bring their iPads to school to show me slideshows they’ve created (with the help of their mom or dad) of their trip to the grocery store the night before. Recently, while watching two of my students in our independent drama area, I noticed they were using a building block as a cell phone, and they held the block in front of them with one arm in order to take a picture! Kids these days are tech-savvy and if there is one thing I have learned in my eight years of teaching, it is that effective teaching often means following the student’s interests.

Because my students love technology, I made it one of my priorities to use more technology in the classroom. At the beginning of the year my co-teacher and I used YouTube as a way to post videos of us reading books connected to our curriculum, in both spoken English and ASL, that the students could access in the classroom and at home with their families. I also created different picture walls documenting activities such as nature walks around the island where our school is located. I hang the pictures at their eye level and ask them to tell me about what they see. I then scribe their description and post it under the photo. The students love seeing themselves in pictures and are excited to use language to describe the experiences.

As I mentioned, preschool students have a limited attention span, especially for analog tools like flash cards, so I took a cue from their enthusiasm over the iPad and searched for a more interactive way to present my lessons. Another piece of technology I have implemented this year has been the use of the Luidia eBeam, which is a small, portable interactive whiteboard device that allows me to turn any surface into an interactive whiteboard. Because this device is mobile, my co-teacher and I are easily able to share it between the two sides of the classroom, and set it up to work at a level where the children can reach and interact with it. I have used the eBeam on our dry erase board, the back of a bookshelf, the bathroom door (not the best idea!) and also on a wall.

I was excited to see the immediate impact technology had on the learning environment and on the excitement level among my students. Bringing tools to these digital natives has enabled them to explore and build farms, go on deep-sea adventures with polar bears and penguins, and even create their own working roadways using the interactive stylus. They can experience language and learning for themselves by interacting with the lesson. The exposure to new things, such as watching penguins in their natural habitat, entices my students to ask questions and use language with excitement. For example, a student with lower language was watching a penguin swim underwater and exclaimed, “Foot, foot!” and I was able to clarify that the penguin had flippers and explain what they were used for. This small discussion turned into the students walking and swimming like penguins during free-play time and talking about their flippers.

Thanks to technology, we can bring books and stories to life for our students. Many classic children’s stories can be found on the Internet, often being read by the author, and many have interactive activities for the students to enjoy after the storytelling.

Can much of this teaching and learning be done without the use of technology? Sure, which brings me back to the importance of balance between the use of technology and traditional methods of teaching. But while my students enjoy reading books, creating art and exploring our island, they have grown up with technology, and in order to reach them, we as educators must learn to adapt to meet them in their comfort zone.

My students get very excited when they see that we’ll be using technology. Since taking a more integrated approach with these tools, I sometimes catch myself getting overwhelmed with how much talking is happening during a lesson in which we use it. What a wonderful thing to be overwhelmed by in a room where eliciting spoken language is my goal!