SMART Announces New Generation of Interactive Whiteboards, New Student Edition of SMART Notebook
SMART introduced the third generation of SMART Board 600i interactive whiteboard system in widescreen (16:10) and standard (4:3) formats. The two models come with a whiteboard and one of two new boom-mounted, short-throw projectors, the UF55 and UF55w, respectively. The widescreen version is SMART’s first widescreen interactive whiteboard.
Improvements from the previous generation include added network functionality, for diagnostics and asset management. The company says the new projectors have a longer lamp life of 3000 hours in standard mode, an improvement of 50% over the previous generation’s lamp, and the redesigned projector and boom reduce shadows and glare compared to typical ceiling- or table-mounted projectors. The projectors deliver 2,000 lumens and a 2000:1 contrast ratio.
The suggested education list price starts at $3,079 and the MSRP starts at $4,399. They will be introduced at BETT 2009 in London in January, but you heard about them here in rAVe, first!
For more information, visit http://www.smarttech.com
SMART also recently announced a new student edition of SMART Notebook, the collaborative learning software used with all SMART Board interactive whiteboards and displays. The software allows students to organize projects, notes and due dates and complete assignments in a personal nonlinear format. It is also integrated with http://www.tutor.com, an online tutoring and homework service.
Currently the software is in beta and only works with Windows XP. Considering the number of Macs in schools these days, we encourage SMART to get a Mac version soon.
For more information, go to http://smarttech.com/notebookse/index.asp
Good to see products, with a strong focus on education user needs, expanding and adding new features. In my experiences, computer training rooms (with dedicated instructors) have had the strongest adoption of electronic whiteboards.
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A SMART Table!
Meet the world’s first multi-touch, multi-user table for K-12. The SMART Table interactive learning center lets students get hands-on with collaborative activities – and the more hands the merrier. This is a cool looking product with a lot of potential to make public school instruction more like Montessori school interaction.
The SMART Table is a versatile learning center where groups of students can create, explore and discover together on the durable screen. The interface is so intuitive that even the youngest child can play games and plunge into learning activities in no time.
SMART Technology says you will be able to choose from a wide variety of ready-to-go lesson activities, or customize them to suit your own lessons.
You can watch a YouTube video demo of it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_FRmYXtneQ
I know a few “kids” that would like to get their hands on this multi-user table! While it’s of interest to see how the unit’s hardware performs, this looks to be a rich new “platform” for software innovation.
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Hitachi Debuts Large Auditorium Projector
Hitachi has announced a new professional projector, the CP-X10000. It uses 3LCD technology and has 7500 ANSI lumen, a 2500:1 contrast ratio, and XGA resolution (1024×768).
Featuring 10-bit video processing, native 720p capabilities, a plethora of analog and digital video inputs (including HDMI), RS 232 and IP-based control, the CP-X1000 even claims that it has a 10,000-hour lamp! The CP-X10000 is a very flexible projector, with wide range lens-shift and six different bayonet-style lens options to offer different throw distances for different audience sizes.
Hitachi says the projector will be available this month, but pricing has not yet been announced.
For more information, go to http://www.hitachi.com
Certainly, in this current market, price will matter. While it’s somewhat a mystery how one gets “native 720p” on a XGA resolution projector, the systems integration features listed point to a potential fit for larger classroom and lecture hall applications.
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Unique USB Duplicator Copies ED Materials
Forget all the handouts and unnecessary paperwork, teachers and professors can now distribute lessons and class materials in a fast and efficient new way.
Hamilton Electronics has started shipping the EduCast USB Duplicator System with MP3 Players, a brand new stand-alone flash drive duplicator system. Sleek and compact, EduCast streamlines the duplication of your classroom materials so students can learn at home or on-the-go.
The EduCast USB Duplicator System duplicates things such as audio lessons and class assignments, and makes it easy to duplicate any lesson or podcast on to USB media players and flash drives. The company says with just one button, teachers can copy 15 USB2.0 Compatible Data Devices simultaneously, including flash drives, SD/CF cards (with adapters), USB2.0 Hard Drives, MP3 players and more.
Featuring an average transfer rate of three minutes, the EduCast USB Duplicator System handles content distribution so teachers can concentrate on work in the class. In addition, the EduCast unit can be daisy-chained to copy up to 30 drives at once. The price is $899.
You can learn more about it at: http://www.hamiltonelectronics.com/
Reading this, I reflect back to working on high speed audio tape duplication systems. It strikes me, this is a modern version of that duplication gear for the media de jour. In the “old days” you worried about a bad mechanical assembly ruining a master tape; I’d imagine “today” you worry a software virus could ruin a master file!
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Tannoy Launches Vandal-Proof Loudspeaker
Although not specifically aimed at the education market, the Tannoy i9VP (VP for Vandal Proof) will find its way on campuses with the number of athletic venues requiring loudspeaker systems. A member of the Tannoy i9 family, the i9VP is a tall, slim but ruggedly built loudspeaker equipped with four 100mm (4") low frequency direct radiating drive units and three 25mm (1") titanium dome tweeters, partially horn loaded and arranged as a line source.
Designed for use in acoustically challenging applications where wide but controlled coverage is required, the dispersion characteristics of the i9VP direct sound into the desired space while minimizing ceiling reflection from above. This makes it ideal for high quality speech reinforcement in highly reverberant or expansive spaces such as transportation hubs, convention centers , arenas, stadiums, and open area meeting spaces. The solid metal housing and protected cable run make this product especially suited to outdoor/public spaces where there’s easy access to the mounting position, offering maximum protection from malicious damage.
You can specifics at: http://www.tannoy-speakers.com/s.php?product=320
The single most important aspect of installed AV in education is intelligible audio. So while we can appreciate the tamper and environment resistant features, the primary focus needs to remain on matching the acoustical properties for a given space. It could be argued that the absence of large lettered branding on the product helps them evade the “vandal’s” notice.
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Sharp Expands DLP Line
Sharp is expanding its suite of WXGA projectors with a new DLP BrilliantColor model aimed at corporate and educational applications. The projector can display 720p resolution from HD sources, pixel perfect 1280 x 800 (16:10 aspect ratio) WXGA resolution from the newest generation PCs, and also provides an expanded color palette for more realistic and lifelike images, utilizing BrilliantColor technology with multicolor processing.
The new PG-F255W WXGA projector features a brightness of 2500 ANSI Lumens and 2200:1 contrast ratio. TI claims BrilliantColor can enable up to a fifty percent increase in mid tones and expands the color palette beyond red/green/blue to include yellow, white, magenta and cyan for more realistic and lifelike color reproduction.
Ironically, you can learn more Sharp's new DLP line at: http://www.sharplcd.com
I’ve been harping about (including last month’s AV Club on 16:9) the importance of widescreen. But, as part of the broader discussion on the influences consumer HDTV’s and current computers are having, higher color performance expectations are emerging. The emphasis of color with these projectors, seems to be well founded.
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