click here to print or email

Tech Conference

I went to the ISTE - International Society for Technology in Education at the Colorado Convention Center and it was huge - there were so many people. They had lots of really cool interactive demonstrations. It was fun and hands on, but it was mainly for teachers, so I felt a bit in the wrong place. 
There were lots of things there like Google glasses, but I want to focus on three companies.
When I got there, I went straight to the Zspace booth. I interviewed Amanda Astin, the Marketing Manager. She told me: "Zspace manufactures special computers that make objects appear to float above the screen." Then she let me try their product and it was a computer with sensors and a special pen. The pen had a marking on the screen and if you hover the marking on the screen over a object and hold a button, you can pick it up, turn it over and drop it. It was cool because you put on special glasses and the image looked 3D. It could let me move and turn a heart on the screen, look at it from different angles and when I picked it up I could feel it beating with the pen. I could also change how fast the heart was beating by pretending the person is running and see the impact on the heart right on the screen. It was really amazing to see the object float above the screen and play around with it - total virtual reality. 

The next thing I went to was the Otter Box booth. I interviewed them and found out that they started in 1998 in Fort Collins making boxes for shipping things, since they didn't have mobile phones yet. But when mobile phones became popular, they switched to making phone cases. They have almost 1000 employees. All the devices have a certified drop protection, they put each phone case through 230 hours of test to make sure that if you drop your phone, it won't break. They are the number one most trusted brand in smartphone protection. To prove the protection, the person I interviewed showed by dropping a phone in one of their cases. Nothing happened! They make a Defender series for hikers and bikers and they have a Symmetry series which is less protective, but more stylish. 
Then after that I went to the Bitsbox booth, another Colorado company and I interviewed Christie Veltch. She said that Bitsbox is two things: "A website, where kids can write real lines of javascript and projects that help kids write those lines. It's like a recipe of code, then they can customize and change it to make a zombie dance or Abraham Lincoln dance." She also told me that there are only 6 people working on Bitsbox. They also told me that the company was made so that the owner could show his daughter what he did all day. He was a programmer and he tought it would be great to teach his daughter how to code by herself. You can buy boxes that are shipped to your house and have books and codes inside or you code directly on the website. The codes get you started, then you can change it up. Christie showed me the new app where she used a code to make a zombie, dance then she changed the background color and instead of dancing she made it explode. I think I might try to convince my parents to subscribe to Bitsbox for me.

Overall I was impressed and it was really fun to try out new technology that teachers will work with in a few years. I sort of got to go into the future and see things that most classes aren't using yet. My class already uses Google docs every day, but I am hoping that my school will start looking into virtual reality with products like what Zspace is offering.