Top Ten Trending Tech Tools!

I am going to get right into this. There were a number of apps and new tech at #ICE16 that came up so many times and were mentioned that I decided to come up with a quick list of the top ten that were buzzing around the conference. In no particular order here is my compilation of tech that is trending.

10. Periscope

Periscope is a live-streaming app for iOS and Android Smart Phones. With the app you can live-stream and share with your followers what you are doing at that moment. Streams can be public or you can share it privately with select people. Video can be streamed in either Portrait or Landscape view. Followers are able to interact by giving hearts that show up on the stream. Periscope users are able to share their periscope on Twitter and any tweets sent to the Periscope user appear on the stream. Periscope streams (or scopes) only last 24 hours and then are deleted; however if you sign up for Katch you can automatically save your scopes.

9. MakeyMakey

Makey Makey was all over the place at this year’s ICE Conference. Makey Makey is a combination of toy and invention gadget. You can attach Makey Makey to just about anything to use as an input device. This woman made a fruit drumset. Can be used to interact with most websites and programs. The limits of Makey Makey are as big as ones imagination. It’s simple design and ease of use make it great to use with students of all ages.

8. Sphero

I saw this little guy all over the place. Ryan Read was even so kind as to let me give his BB-8 a test drive at the EdCamp: ICE after Dark session using the Tickle program (See Below). Although I saw the coolness in having a BB-8 or Sphero in the classroom I did not quite see the educational value in it instantly but had a burning desire to see it! Thankfully Ryan told me about how teachers can use BB-8 to help students learn about coding and programming. He has students set up a maze and then write a program to get BB-8 through the entire maze without hitting the walls. My principal now has an email where I am begging her to buy me some of these awesome devices.

7. Tickle

The BB-8 by Sphero would not nearly be as educational without the Tickle App which is currently only available on iOS. Tickle uses visual programming to write code, where users grab blocks of code to create a sequence. This is a great way for students who are new to coding. Tickle App can be used to interact with a large list of devices. Here is a video of Adam Bello using Tickle to fly his parrot drone during his KeyNote at #ICE16.

6. Google Cardboard

Can I say that I was pretty tired of hearing about VR in general. I mean don’t get me wrong I have been waiting for it ever since viewing the Lawnmower Man at a young age. It was similar to not being able to see the education side of Sphero, I had to experience it first hand to really understand it. Luckily I was able to try a Google Cardboard out at the ICE conference and it ! With the classroom set the ‘teacher’ was able to control the ‘students’ view and lead them on a virtual tour of different destinations around the world. I was able to view both Rio de Janeiro from an aerial view near the Christ the Redeemer statue as well as San Fransico from atop the Golden Gate Bridge and yes I am afraid of heights! The response of the VR app to my head movements was considerably spot on. The only critique I have with it was that the picture was a little blurry, but I’m sure this will only be a temporary problem as the tech gets better.

5. 360 Youtube

Youtube 360 is exactly how it sounds. You can upload and watch 360° spherical videos on Youtube. A cool feature that I was unable to check out is that you can view these videos with Google Cardboard. If you don’t have Google Cardboard you can watch it on your PC or Mobile Device and just navigate with your finger or mouse. A great one that I watched was MythBusters: Shark Shipwreck. I can only imagine this triples the number of views, I had to watch it a few times because I wanted to view it from different angles.

4. Ricoh Theta

I cannot talk about Google Cardboard and Youtube 360 without having the fabulous Ricoh Theta on the list. For those of us who want to create 360° videos and pictures, the Ricoh Theta helps do that. It takes full HD (1920×1080) pictures and video (up to 25 minutes) with a 360° scope. Stores anywhere from 65–175 minutes of footage depending on the quality setting of the video you are taking. More than just an awesome camera the Ricoh is able to live-stream the video you are taking. Michael Jaber gave a demonstration at EdCamp: ICE after Dark and took a picture of the room. The Ricoh sent the picture automatically to his phone for us to see. I would love to get my hands on one of these for my yearly camping trip to the Michigan Sand Dunes *hint hint*

3. Tag Board

I first heard about Tag Board during the workshop Effective Tech Tools and Twitter Tips for Teachers by Maggie Maslowski. The website is very easy to use, you simply type in a hashtag that you want to follow and it will pull up all tweets and posts with that hashtag. What was impressive to me was that it pulled up posts from multiple social media sites including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Vine and Flickr. You don’t need an account to use Tag Board but I created one and linked it with my twitter and facebook account. This way I was able to reply and like posts without leaving the site. With Tag Board it was very easy for me to follow the hashtag #ICE16 during the conference and follow along with multiple conversations. Another great feature is that you can embed a Tag Board into your website/blog. hmmm….

2. French Girls

Ok so I’m not entirely sure how this is educational (someone help me out here) but it’s ok to have fun sometimes (besides Adam Bellow used it in his keynote!). I have yet to try this out because I am not an Apple person and this app is only available on the iOS. The app is fairly simple, you upload a picture of yourself to the app and some artist will draw that picture. The fun about this app is oftentimes the artists will add things that are not in the picture. I tried the Google App equivalent Draw Me! and am awaiting an artist rendition of my selfie. Look out for it on Twitter!

1. Voxer

Alright so Voxer just made the cut last night thanks to Sean Thom who I just met on Twitter last night. He talked about using Voxer in his blog post The Struggle to Stay Connected. Apparently this app has been around for a very long time and I have just been out of the loop (It’s my first year as a Tech Coach what can I say?). So Voxer is like texting only instead of sending text you are blasting short clips of audio. What’s cool is that you can set up the app so that you can hear new messages as their being recorded by your friend. I’m a new user and so far I’ve had fun sending my wife’s phone messages. My wife asked me how this is supposed to be better than texting, a great question. Oftentimes we can mistake what people are saying in a text because it lacks tone and inflection and if you are like me and my wife: sarcasm. With Voxer the meaning of the message is much more clear. It is quicker to record a short audio message than type out a text message. One of the great features that teachers use Voxer for is with their PLN. You can create groups and everyone can hear all of the voice messages sent to that group. I have yet to try this feature out but I am very excited about it!

What Are You Using?

What new tech are you trying out right now? Have you tried the technology on my awesome list? What did I leave out? Comment below or join me on Twitter! Thanks for reading.

Periscope on Android picture taken by Jim Makos

MaKey MaKey Kit Photo on Grey by jayahimsa

Sphero BB8 by LatestStarWarsToys

Ricoh Theta Front by 之乎

You can read the original post at the Tech is Yet to Come Blog