Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Christmas Brought Me Many Techy Gifts

Greetings friends,
I've missed you! With taking on several new adventures in November and December, I have not had the chance to blog lately. I taught a technology course for our local cohort and also became a technology online coach for ISTE and the VMLA (Verizon Mobile Learning Academy). Along with these two weekly commitments I also attended and presented at a local conference (SLATE) and kept up with the daily tasks of being a technology integration specialist which includes managing Chromebook issues, creating and maintaining a high school Makerspace and often teaching in classrooms. Thanks for understanding my absence from blogging lately.

The holidays are over and they sure were good to me. I received many fabulous technology related gifts that I would like to share with you.

First off, I am now the owner of the Amazon Echo Dot. Thank you Santa! Echo is a hands-free, voice controlled device that uses voice recognition to perform commands. I ask my Echo Dot to play music on Spotify (more about that next) and to tell me the news and weather each morning. I'm looking forward to connecting other items in our home to transform it into a smart home with controlled lights, switches and doors. There are many possibilities available. For now, my sons are enjoying playing Simon Says with Echo. It is quite entertaining. 

Spotify Premium for Family - This is a music streaming service that provides digital rights management-protected musical content from record labels and media companies. In other words, I pay for this service ($14.99 a month for up to 6 family accounts) and my husband, kids and I can all create playlists, listen to stations and podcasts and stream music legally and commercial free from anywhere. Yep, I think it is worth the cost and I know we are being good digital citizens.  And my teenage sons LOVE IT!

I also received a notebook from my friend Naomi Harm.  But this is not just any notebook. This is the future of notebooks.  It is called a Rocket Book Wave.  This notebook looks just like a normal notebook (it does come with a special pen) , except that when you are ready, you use an app on your tablet or smart phone to scan and send the page to a place of your choice such as your Google Drive, Dropbox, email or Evernote etc. And the really amazing thing is that when the notebook pages fill up you can microwave, yes microwave, the notebook to delete all of the writing on the pages to start all over again!

Dremel Idea Builder 3D printer - This past September I wrote a grant for a 3D printer to place in our high school makerspace and was awarded that grant. I am so thrilled to have this Dremel 3D printer in our high school and to be able to bring the technology of 3D printing to any student or staff member in our school that wants to give it a try! Stay tuned for future posts on how we will use this awesome gift!

Essential Oils Air Diffuser - Ok, this may not be real technical, but is was a gift from my dear husband, so it gets included in this post. He gave me this air diffuser and these essential oils . If you have never used essential oils, think of it as the experience when you smell the wonderful aroma of a fresh bouquet of flowers. Essential oils can enhance your health and quality of life. They are sometimes used for cosmetic or dietary purposes. And the diffuser acts as a humidifier as well as a night light.  I simply love this gift and recommend it as a nice gift for any loved one.

As you can see, I am one lucky gal to have received so many techy gifts.  What type of tech gifts did you get this holiday?  


Anonymous said...


It sounds like you had a GREAT Christmas! I am very excited to learn what you are going to do with the 3D printer and more about that cool notebook from Naomi. It sure sounds like you have been busy lately but I know you like it that way. I too love my essential oils.


Naomi Harm said...

WOW- sounds like you had an incredible Fall and holiday season with all of your tech goodies- how wonderful Deb. Thank you for the detailed reflection to help me better understand how Amazon Echo and Spotify Premium can work together- I find this fascinating! I too have been dabbling with the Rocketbook and think this could be another essential learning tool for students, especially when the tech of WIFi Internet fails in schools -as it is an amazing backup plan for everyone involved- and they can still sysn all their notes and drawings to the cloud into their cloud service of choice :-) NO learning or earning minutes lost :-)

Happy Happy New Year!

Jill PBecker said...

Lots of fun Deb. Our most fun family techy gift were Sonos speakers. They are connected to an app we have downloaded on our phones and we can control the speakers all over the house from the app. They can connect to pandora, apple music as well as other services. The sound quality is excellent! You can group the speakers so the living room and dining room can play one playlist while the bedroom speaker is playing something else. I will be anxious to hear how you are using the 3D printer at school.