The E-Z Cinema Floor Pull-Up Projection Screen by Elite Screens may seem cumbersome at first due to its large size, but this portable screen weighs around 20 pounds. The matte white screen, designed to be durable and easy to clean, contains a 160-degree diffusion angle so a presentation can be clearly viewed by all in attendance at an event, even those sitting on the side. There are two versions. The EZ Cinema has single boom support for its 60- to 120-inch sizes, while the 135- to 150-inch sizes are double boom; it comes in 4.3:9 and 16:9 aspect ratios. The EZ Cinema Plus is designed with a scissor-back cross rising support that allows for it to stand on its own; it has 1.1:9, 4.3:9, and 16:9 aspect ratios, and screen sizes range from 60 inches to 100 inches. Pricing starts at $699. Visit www.elitescreens.com.
The Adobe eLearning Suite, a set of nine main software applications, gives users specific tools to develop and deliver rich learning experiences via web, mobile device, desktop PC, or learning management system. Each application aids in authoring specific visual or audio effects. Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended offers new features for working with 3D imagery and motion-based content, while Adobe Soundbooth CS4 helps with polishing voiceovers and adding sound effects. Other tools include Adobe Flash CS4 Professional with Learning Interactions, Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 with CourseBuilder, Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro, Adobe Bridge CS4, Adobe Device Central CS4, and Adobe Presenter 7. Also, Adobe Captivate 4, the suite’s cornerstone, aids in creating interactive content such as scenario-based training, quizzes, and video demonstrations and in customizing a table of contents. Educational pricing for the suite is $599. Adobe Captivate 4 is also sold separately, available to educational users for $249. Visit www.adobe.com.
The HD-compatible NP62 digital projector from NEC Display Solutions can be used solely with a USB thumb drive, thus eliminating the need to have a laptop on hand for operation. Images can also be sent directly from a phone or computer using an optional Bluetooth adapter. Weighing just over 3 pounds, the projector offers 3000 lumens of brightness and a 1600:1 contrast ratio. At 1024x768 XGA native resolution, it projects sharp images while, at the same, remaining quiet while in use. Its automatic focus instantly detects a blurry image and fixes it, while the AutoSense feature can sync the projector with most computer signals. Automatic vertical keystone correction instantly projects a square image, even when the projector is set up at an angle. It costs $1,999. Visit www.necdisplay.com.
Hobsons’ Early Alert software enables users to gather data about at-risk students from faculty and other campus sources in one location. Users then can quickly identify those students for early intervention. The software’s communications module stores this information and can also send automated e-mails to recipients that list the academic challenges a student is facing. The solution also has a built-in survey that can assess and address student challenges. Pricing varies based on need, but base offerings can start at $17,500. Learn more at www.hobsons-us.com.
The HP dx9000 TouchSmart Business PC from Hewlett-Packard is an all-in-one PC with touch screen capability. Having a wireless keyboard and mouse, users can conduct video chats through a built-in webcam and microphone, access e-mail and internet, and manage contact and photo files and calendar items. It has Windows Vista Business 64, an Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor, 4GB of memory, a 320GB high-speed hard drive, and a Virtual LAN driver. Users can configure their machine’s power settings without any interference with their work. A five-in-one Media Card Reader transfers over photos, files, and videos from memory cards. The PC starts at $1,399.
Also new, the HP Mini 2140 Notebook PC starts at a weight of 2.6 pounds and runs on less power due to an Intel Atom processor. It offers Wi-Fi certified WLAN and optional Bluetooth 2.0 capabilities. It has a 10.1-inch diagonal LED display screen available in standard or high-definition resolutions. HP’s 3D DriveGuard feature sends a signal to shut down the hard drive upon sudden movement or shock. A VGA webcam can take still images and conduct web conferencing or video-enhanced instant messaging. Pricing starts at $499. Learn more at www.hp.com.
Release 9.0 of Blackboard Learn is a platform that has a range of built-in capabilities—from course management to content management—but can also serve as an open foundation for supporting technologies that support and enhance student learning. The new version of this course management system features Web 2.0 and “social learning” tools, such as blogs and journals, notification dashboards (when an assignment is due), and a redesigned, customizable user interface. It integrates with Facebook so students and faculty have access to course information, updates, rosters, and alerts, plus allows for open source or homegrown course management systems, such as Sakai and Moodle, to be accessible within Blackboard with a single login. SafeAssign plagiarism detection software is bundled in. Institutions with Blackboard licenses can upgrade to this version at no extra cost. Learn more at www.blackboard.com.
AVerMedia Technologies has unveiled the AVerVision VP-1 Portable Visual Presenter. The document camera is designed for first-time users or those who just need a basic camera for presentations. It has a plug-and-play design and offers basic but key features such as auto focus and an 8X digital zoom. The 2-megapixel camera has a head sensor that produces sharp images, displaying text so that attendees sitting in front can read it just as clearly as those sitting farther away. Weighing just under 3 pounds, the camera’s mechanical arm is set up so it can be easily folded over for easy storage and portability. The camera is available for $449.99. Visit www.avermedia-usa.com/presentation.
Apple’s iWork ’09 has new features and functions for creating presentations, documents, and spreadsheets. Users can now open and save Microsoft Office documents, save iWork files in Office formats, and e-mail documents in iWork, Office, or PDF formats. Magic Move, a feature in Keynote ’09, automatically animates any image, graphic, or text by choosing a slide transition. Objects can change position, scale, rotation, and opacity. New styles and animations for 3D charts are available. Sold separately, a Keynote Remote application lets users control their presentations and view slides and notes with their iPhone or iPod touch. The full-screen view in Pages ’09 reduces distraction by blacking out desktop clutter from open applications and revealing menus and the format bar only when needed. Data from Numbers ’09 tables or an address book can be added to documents. Numbers ’09 offers new formula writing, charting, and analysis tools, an expanded browser, and new chart options.
Educational pricing for iWork ’09 is $71, or $41 with the purchase of any Mac. Volume licensing is available. In addition, the new service iWork.com, available as a public beta, enables iWork ’09 documents to be shared online. Visit www.apple.com/iwork.