Adobe Presenter 9 makes it easy to capture and edit video for online and flipped learning
Adobe Systems has upgraded its Presenter software for creating presentations to use in eLearning, online training, flipped classrooms, and other video communications. The latest version, Adobe Presenter 9, includes new annotation and accessibility features that should appeal to educators.
Adobe Presenter 9 makes it easy to create professional-quality videos by capturing yourself and your screen with just a few clicks. You can edit your videos with a simple, four-button interface; embed quizzes and surveys into videos; and track student progress. You can also publish your videos to YouTube and elsewhere with a single click.
“Adobe Presenter is a great tool for eLearning, because it’s so simple to use,” said Richard Jenkins, Adobe solutions consultant, in a video about the new software. “One click [and] you’re creating quizzes, surveys, and fantastic eLearning video. … We’ve made it much, much easier to do very powerful eLearning through drag and drop.”
With Adobe Presenter software, you can take existing PowerPoint presentations and turn them into dynamic video content, adding animated photos or diagrams to capture students’ attention. New to Presenter 9 is an annotation feature that lets you call attention to information contained in a slide by highlighting or annotating it as you’re recording.
A feature called “Learner Interventions” lets you track student progress using a dashboard with data analytics. For instance, you can see the percentage of activities (such as videos or quizzes assigned) that have been completed or need attention for individual students or the class as a whole; with a glance, you can also see the percentage of students who answered each question correctly or incorrectly.
Another new feature in Adobe Presenter 9 is the ability to create closed captioning for videos automatically, by pasting your script into the video creation tool. The software also includes support for viewing presentations with mobile devices.
Adobe Presenter 9 works with Windows computers. It regularly sells for $499, but educators can buy the software for $150 per license—with volume discounts also available.
Google for Education announced a number of new education resources at SXSWEdu, according to Google’s Enterprise Blog. This event brings together educators, innovators, startups, content providers, large companies and hackers, all focused on the same mission: providing the best learning experiences for students. As our team talks to educators and developers alike, we keep hearing the same thing — people want better ways to connect with each other and discover the best tools. Developers need feedback to make great apps, manufacturers want to understand what Administrators need from devices, and teachers need easy ways to find the right content. Today, in collaboration with many partners, the Google for Education team is announcing new tools that will help bring the best of edtech to schools…
School networks must be able to meet teaching and learning demands
Capable networks are an essential part of even the most straightforward school technology program, and now school technology leaders can follow seven steps to build strong and reliable school networks.
The guidelines offer a look at education networks in general and examine how data, devices, and connectivity all impact networks’ performance. The guide, which offers examples of how different districts are creating and sustaining strong networks, is part of the Consortium for School Networking’s (CoSN) Smart Education Networks Design initiative (SEND), released in conjunction with Qualcomm Technologies.
“Smart education networks must be resilient and durable, and are a critical investment in maximizing student achievement and ensuring continuous progress in classrooms across America,” said CoSN CEO Keith Krueger.
(Next page: 7 suggestions for school networks)
These seven tools were on display at major education conferences in the last month
You can find our full coverage of TCEA 2014 at this link, but here are some leftover announcements from that show—along with new ed-tech tools and products that caught our eye from SXSWedu as well.
(New tools are listed in alphabetical order by company name)
Amplify makes its education tablet more rugged
During SXSWedu, Amplify announced a partnership with Intel Education to offer a more ruggedized tablet built for K-12 schools. The new Android-based tablet will be available for the 2014-15 school year and will feature a more durable design that can withstand drops and spills; a break- and scratch-resistant screen made of Corning Gorilla Glass; an advanced, dual-antenna Wi-Fi radio; front and rear cameras; and a tethered stylus.
The new device is part of the Amplify Tablet System, which also includes instructional content, device management software, and support.
The tablet will come preloaded with third-party education content and tools, including eTextbooks from the CK-12 Foundation, a graphing calculator, Encyclopaedia Britannica, EverFi’s digital literacy curriculum, Geogebra, Google Apps for Education, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Project Noah science tools, public domain eBooks, and the Gooru education search engine.
Tools like Eyes on Teacher and App Blocker make it easy to manage student devices during class, Amplify says.
Pricing for the Amplify Tablet System—including the tablet, software, content, and support—will be $199 per year for three years.
Brainhive eBook library requires no startup costs for schools
While Brainhive technically isn’t new (it launched in 2012), we thought it deserved a mention here because of its innovative, “buck-a-book” model for giving students access to thousands of eBook titles: Schools pay a dollar for every eBook that students “check out” of its online library, with no annual subscription fee required. That makes it easy for schools to start using the service right away.
Saying that it has always been this way, doesn’t count as a legitimate justification to why it should stay that way, ingvihrannar.com reports. Teacher and administrators all over the world are doing amazing things, but some of the things we are still doing, despite all the new solutions, research and ideas out there is, to put it mildly, incredible. I’m not saying we should just make the current system better… we should change it into something else. I have compiled a list of 14 things that are obsolete in 21st century schools and it is my hope that this will inspire lively discussions about the future of education…
Getty Images has single-handedly redefined the entire photography market with the launch of a new embedding feature that will make more than 35 million images freely available to anyone for non-commercial usage. The controversial move is set to draw professional photographers’ ire at a time when the stock photography market is marred by low prices and under attack from new mobile photography players. Yet, Getty Images defends the move, arguing that it’s not strong enough to control how the Internet has developed and, with it, users’ online behaviours…
The last two days at Digital Media Strategies have been amongst the best that I have spent in a conference hall in a decade, David Worlock blogs. And I have wide experience to call upon! But Neil Thackray and Rory Brown and their team at the Media Briefing company pulled out all the stops to advance the game on their inaugural effort last year, and in the process pulled over 340 delegates and some first class “big names” and an even better class of “previously unknowns” from this diverse industry. And they really set me thinking: where were all these newspaper bosses and magazine tycoons during the long years when “it will never happen here” was the rule…
Manufacturers such as Dell, Lenovo, and ASUS have introduced new laptops in recent months
With so much recent focus on tablet computers and Chromebooks, it might seem as if traditional laptops have become passé for education. But that’s not the case, as manufacturers have continued to make laptop innovations designed to appeal to schools.
On March 6, Dell announced a new series of laptops for students. Dell’s Latitude 13 Education Series features a durable design, a 13.3-inch screen, and a full-size keyboard—making it ideal for content “creation as well as consumption,” said Jon Phillips, director of worldwide education for the company.
The Latitude 13 laptops include rounded corners and a rubberized, shock-absorbent trim. Phillips called the laptops “student friendly and backpack tested,” but he said they stop short of meeting the fully “ruggedized” specification—allowing them to be lighter and less costly for schools.
The devices’ keyboards feature a fully sealed design, so they can withstand spills—which “happen commonly” in schools, he noted.
Schools can choose from among Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating systems and touch-screen or non-touch options. The touch-screen version includes scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass, and the non-touch version includes a choice of red or blue trim as well as black.
Another innovation in the Latitude 13 laptops is a more “robust” hinge, Phillips said, that allows for flexibility beyond 180 degrees.
Through field observation and customer input, he said, Dell had determined that many of the screen breakages schools were experiencing came from students trying to open their laptops beyond their intended range of motion.
With the Latitude 13, however, students can push the device fully flat on a desk or other surface.
(Next page: How the Latitude 13 can help teachers make sure their students are on task—and new laptops from Lenovo and ASUS as well)
SmartBlogs reports: Educational technology should not be intrusive in the classroom. It should be designed in a way that makes the most of the real world of teachers, families and students, according to SXSWedu keynote speakers Vivienne Ming and Norma Ming, co-founders of educational technology startup Socos. “We can build technology that provides amazing support without you ever realizing that it was there,” Vivienne told attendees. “Technology does not need to be intrusive.”
Six hours a day. That’s how much time the average teenager spends online, according to a June 2013 study by McAfee, Forbes reports. These are “digital natives,” a generation that has grown up online and connected. Just think about it: students born in 2007, the year the iPhone was launched, are already in first grade. Students born during the dot-com boom of the late ’90s are in high school. These students have never known a world without the Internet. They’re communicating 140 characters at a time, establishing completely new ways of consuming news and information. Clearly, dictating to digital natives that they “power down” in school is a huge turn-off…
Remember the good old days when a gigabyte was considered a lot of space? Improvements in hard disk technology have allowed the humble magnetic drive to reach the dizzying heights of multiple terabytes of storage, but Cisco foresees a future that’s a few orders of magnitude more impressive, Engadget reports. Pinpointing 2015 as the commencement of what it calls the zettabyte era, the company has put together a handy infographic to show us just how much data can be fit into one: you can alternatively think of it as the equivalent of 250 billion DVDs, 36 million years of HD video, or the volume of the Great Wall of China if you allow an 11oz cup of coffee to represent a gigabyte of data…
One in five devices sold to schools last year were Chromebooks; that’s a huge jump from the year before
Education sales of Chromebooks, the lightweight laptops that run software from the internet instead of a local hard drive, have skyrocketed in the last year—and Chromebooks now account for 19 percent of the devices sold to schools last year, according to Futuresource Consulting.
That’s up from 1 percent of education sales in 2012, Futuresource says.
Chromebooks run on Google’s Chrome operating system, and applications are delivered to the devices through a Software-as-a-Service model. All information is saved continuously as students work, and software updates occur automatically.
Chromebooks come with built-in access to the Google Apps suite of web-based software, including Search, Gmail, Docs, and Drive. Chromebooks are solid-state devices but offer Flash storage, so students and teachers can work offline as well. What’s more, the devices boot up very quickly, so little class time is wasted waiting for the machines to operate.
For many school IT personnel, the central management capability of Chromebooks is a key advantage. Using a single interface, IT staff can create user groups, push out applications to students’ devices, blacklist or whitelist applications, track assets, manage logins and passwords, and change network and device settings. The management console allows IT administrators to change or upgrade every Chromebook at once, or to target groups of them or even a single device.
This central management capability is “a very attractive option for IT departments in schools,” said Kelly Kovnesky, supervisor of network operations for the Mukwonago Area School District (MASD) near Milwaukee, Wis., in a case study. “The management console saves time and effort.”
With Common Core testing looming next year, MASD officials began looking for affordable technology to deliver the online exams to their 4,700 students. They chose Samsung Chromebooks, purchased through CDW-G, and are rolling out 900 of the devices via carts at each school.
Education sales of Chromebooks could see another boost as Samsung unveils its second-generation Chromebooks today. The Samsung Chromebook 2 doubles the amount of RAM contained in the company’s first-generation device and increases the battery life by up to two hours, among other enhancements.
(Next page: More details about the Samsung Chromebook 2—and a special offer on Chromebooks from Acer as well)
STEAM advocates and supporters can share these tips with curriculum directors and teachers
The need for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and proficiency is nothing new. But a movement is growing for STEAM education, in which the “a” stands for Arts. Cultivating scientific and mathematical viewpoints and experiences through arts education is a critical need in today’s schools, STEAM advocates say.
Each of these tips, resources, or tools will help you as you attempt to integrate arts education and arts experiences into STEM education.
Do you have a favorite resource or tool that doesn’t appear here? Share it in the comments, or find me on Twitter @eSN_Laura.
(Next page: STEAM resources for you to use right away)
A lie detector for social media is being built to try to verify online rumors, the BBC reports. The system will analyze, in real time, whether a posting online is true. It will also identify whether social media accounts have been created just to spread false information. The aim is to help organizations, including governments and emergency services, to respond more effectively to events. The project grew from research based on the use of social media during the London riots in 2011. The data being analyzed will include posts on Twitter, comments in healthcare forums and public comments on Facebook…
Not content with voice, visual, or gestural input, Google cofounder Sergey Brin reportedly tried to buy a Toronto-based startup that makes a brainwave-tracking headband, VentureBeat reports. On Thursday, TechCrunch cited an unnamed source close to InteraXon, which makes the Muse headband. The source reported that Google approached the company, which said it was not interested in getting acquired. Founded in 2009, InteraXon has already attracted $7.2 million in funding, including a Series A Round led by Horizon Ventures last summer that netted $6 million. An Indiegogo campaign through the end of last year pulled in almost $300,000…
ClassFlow is a software program that ties together lesson planning, instruction, and assessment—creating a more personalized, collaborative learning environment
While technology is having an impact in the classroom, teaching with technology is often a fragmented process, especially in “bring your own device” classrooms or other environments where not everyone is using the same device or platform.
Now, a new software program from Promethean aims to simplify teaching with technology—regardless of what devices teachers or their students are using.
Called ClassFlow, the software was introduced in a beta version earlier this year. It’s a cloud-based platform that helps teachers create and deliver lessons in a digital environment.
An updated version will be released later this year and will include tools for assessing, monitoring, and analyzing student performance with the help of easy-to-use analytics, Promethean says.
(Next page: How the software works—and how it can streamline digital instruction)
Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho shares his district’s experiences and priorities when it comes to supporting school technology
And while no time will ever be the perfect time to make the digital transition, any time is the right time, said Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of the Miami-Dade Public Schools, a 2011 eSN Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards winner, and 2014 American Association of School Administrators Superintendent of the Year.
The need for technology-rich school environments that mimic the environments in which today’s students will one day work and compete becomes evident “when we acknowledge the fact that, from zip code to zip code…there are significant gaps. There are literally and figuratively digital deserts in our communities,” said Carvalho, speaking during Discovery Education’s second annual Future@Now event on Feb. 26.
Before school leaders address how they’re going to enable a digital conversion, though, it’s much more important to define why they’re going to do so.
(Next page: How to effectively launch a digital technology conversion)
Don’t mock the beleaguered Nook owner. That could have been you, the New York Times reports. Five years ago, when the nation’s largest chain of bookstores released an e-reader that it promised would best Amazon’s Kindle, could you blame the poor souls who bought in to Barnes & Noble’s vision of the future? In 2011, Consumer Reports proclaimed the Nook the best e-reader in the land, saying it surpassed the Kindle in just about every way. Well, that sounds pretty definitive, doesn’t it? No wonder your aunt bought you one for Christmas. Things haven’t played out well since. After failing to douse Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble has spent the last year refashioning its Nook strategy, and with its recent reductions in e-reader staff, the Nook’s end looks nigh. If you own a Nook, the fate of your books may now be up in the air. Sorry, you bet on the wrong horse…
The move to digital can be overwhelming, but the rights steps lead to success
Planning, enlisting stakeholder support, and identifying the “why” are chief among the most important steps when it comes to moving from traditional classrooms to digital, connected classrooms. In fact, according to ed-tech experts and school leaders, technology decisions and purchases should come later, after those crucial steps.
A number of influential educators, stakeholders, and policymakers gathered for Discovery Education’s second annual Future@Now forum, which this year focused on steps and policies necessary to support and enable the nation’s transition to digital classrooms.
Transformational change, speakers and attendees agreed, requires strategic planning.
“We have to build awareness for ‘why,’” said Dallas Dance, superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools and a 2014 eSchool News Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards winner, as he discussed his district’s steps in planning for its digital transition.
(Next page: Educators’ digital transition tips)
At least one thing is certain about today’s educational system: change is here, Getting Smart reports. Change is every day. In fact, keeping up with educational technology seems to be an insurmountable task at times but one worthy of all educators’ best efforts. One aspect of teaching, however, that hasn’t changed is the amount of negativity heard amongst us hard-working professionals, and the constant evolution of this educational technology seems to have increased some educators’ anxiety and negativity…