A few weeks ago, I started a new series of blog posts focused on five emerging technologies that have caught my interest. The list will contain a combination of technologies that can potentially impact the classroom, IT infrastructure, and gadgets we use everyday. Here is my second installment of the fabulous five technologies. To check out my original Fab 5 Tech, click here.
Google+ – There has been no other technology in recent weeks that compares to the hype Google+ is receiving, good and bad. It is the latest attempt from Google to enter the social media realm after failures with products such as Buzz, Wave, and Orkut. Can this be finally their sustaining social media strategy. From initial reviews, it has sparked a lot of positive interest. Of course, Facebook is closely watching and has announced new features like Skype with their service. I am still waiting for my invite…
Xirrus Wi-Fi Array XN16 – If you are looking to boost your classroom with some serious bandwidth, try installing a Xirrus Wi-Fi XN16 in your network. This unique AP has an embedded controller with integrated 16 access points. The access point can deliver up to 4.8Gbps of bandwidth covering a range of 125,000 sq ft. Talk about letting your student bring as many devices as they would like to the classroom.
Lytro Field Camera – If you thought cameras couldn’t evolve past megapixels and aperture, you haven’t seen what this new photo technology can do. Lytro is transforming light field technology and giving pictures an entirely new dimension. Imagine taking a picture with a particular focus, yet having the ability to refocus the shot way after the picture has been taken. That is how cool this technology is changing the game of taking pictures. You have to see it to believe it.
Kingston Wi-Drive – Frustrated that you didn’t purchase the iOS device with larger storage space. Not to worry, the Kingston Wi-Drive hopes to address this issue by offering a content server that links through wireless to your iOS device. You can buy up to 32GB of storage and store all your media from your iOS device all in the size of your pocket. Wait…I already have too many devices in my pockets, do I really have to carry another device.
Socrative – I had to put this one on my list simply because of its name…Socrative…Socratech, just had too! However, upon further investigation, it is actually a pretty valuable product for classroom teachers. With a plethora of web 2.0 tools available of teachers, how does this software differentiate? This web 2.0 tool focuses on features that give teachers simpler ways to garner student responses. Socrative gives teachers the ability to use exit tickets, quick quizzes, and team challenges in a fun educational game environment.
We have recently upgraded one of our campuses with XN4 wireless devices to help support the several student netbook mobile carts being used. It was important to find a wireless solution that can sustain “wire-speed” connections to a dense area of mobile users. The XN4 differs from your traditional access point because it contains 4 integrated access points with the ability to channel bond to provide up to 300Mbps bandwidth for users. The wi-fi array will load balance your 1:1 classroom intelligently amongst the 4 radios and will coordinate with other XN4 devices in the network without the need of a separate wireless access controller. The XN4 operates in a/b/g/n frequencies with a maximum bandwidth of 1.2Gbps. Xirrus offers four different models with XN16 being their flagship wi-fi array which integrates 16 access points on single device to support a maximum bandwidth of 4.8Gbps. It is important to note however, that if you use the Xirrus product, that your mobile devices support all abgn frequencies. Another recommendation if possible, is to provide a gigabit ethernet connection instead of 10/100MB to the XN4. We cannot wait to test these beefy wireless devices with students ready to pummel it with packets. Reviews will come on the second posting. http://xirrus.com/