Chris Drage gets a briefing on Dell’s Connected Classroom
Dell short-throw projectorDell short-throw projectorDell recently announced the next evolution of its Connected Classroom learning environment which incorporates a number of new services and products. Central to the whole concept is the Latitude 2110 netbook (see review of 2100) and  Dell Mobile Computing Station. However, in addition, the S300wi interactive, short-throw projector has had a face lift and a range of multi-function printers completes the picture.

Dell's aim is to provide schools and teachers with the necessary technology and understanding to transform the traditional classroom into an environment in which students can be  prepared for life in the digital age.

Chris Drage finds that Dell listened to schools for its Latitude 2100 netbook

Dell Latitude 2100Dell Latitude 2100The nifty Latitude 2100 from Dell is clearly aimed at education users and, for me, that looks like a sea change from a company that, I must confess, had always looked like a rival box-shifter to HP.

I remember when the Acorn laptop caused a stir in education in the late 1980s, when laptops were as innovative as the current netbooks. Today however, netbooks, as popular as ever, have settled into a fairly routine existence, sporting thin plastic shells, Intel Atom CPUs, Linux OS or Windows XP and 10-inch screens. Dell has taken these foundations and incorporated extra, unique features in its Latitude 2100 model (typical price from £200).

Chris Drage reviews Lifelines software from Rising Stars
Screen LifelinesLifelinesScreenshot from Lifelines' 'I am Rose' aims to stimulate writing and develop speaking and listening skills with nine innovative, short "movies" based on historical and geographic themes.

Aimed at key stage 3, the resource comprises a Lifelines CD-Rom and teacher's book and has been designed to be viewed via an interactive whiteboard. Described by publisher Rising Stars as a compilation of "filmic shorts", the resource blends audio, video and still images to create nine engaging stories told from children’s perspectives.

John Galloway reviews ClozePro 2 from Crick Software
ClozePro 2Cloze procedures – providing a text with spaces for missing words which students  have to fill in to give correct, coherent, meaning – have long been recognised as a useful way of assessing pupils’ understanding of what they have learnt.

However, they can be fiddly to create, particularly if you want to differentiate them to reflect the different levels of ability in a class. Unless you have ClozePro 2 from Crick Software that is. This program is easy to use and flexible enough for a teacher to use on a whiteboard with a whole class, or by a teaching assistant to quickly create a  meaningful, differentiated, activity.

A holiday in the USA gave teacher James Cross an early opportunity to use an iPad with his students

Apple iPadHands-on with the iPad at High Storrs SchoolI showed the iPad to my headteacher the other day, boldly proclaiming that this could be the future of handheld learning in schools. "They've been saying that for the last 10 years," he replied.

True, pretty much every handheld device from the PDA (personal digital assistant) to the iPod has been the subject of this claim, yet they've failed to make a dent in how the majority of students learn in schools. Having used the iPad in a secondary school for the past few weeks, it's clear that this device is likely to make an impact on teaching and learning. The real extent will be discovered following its UK release on May 28.