Tech Trends to Watch in 2014

Which technologies are likely to gain more traction in the new year? Some modest predictions about the tools and trends with appeal to teens and the librarians who serve them.

leo

Really ephemeral social media
Adults, like teens, are grappling with finding self-destructing social media which won’t haunt them into adulthood. First came Snapchat, with its associated imperfections, now Leo is all of-the-moment, but the platforms will likely change over time as adults cotton on to them. But, as TechCrunch points out, that need is not just about privacy:

Yes, its messages self-destruct after a few seconds, but the rationale behind doing so isn’t necessarily about privacy. For Leo co-founder Carlos Whitt, the ephemeral nature of the app is more about getting rid of the “cognitive load” that comes with photos or videos being saved or shared in public. People act and share differently when they know that a photo or video will live forever, the thinking goes. One need only look at Instagram and the all-too-perfectly filtered photos that appear there to know what Whitt is talking about. The impetus behind Leo, then, is to be able to share what you’re doing without having to worry too much about what happens to it.

Fuss-free augmented realities
This was the year augmented realities finally got some traction in the edtech world. Right now, most augmented reality is still a bit clumsy through interfaces like Aurasma and Layar. For now, augmented reality too ofter requires you to run a specific app to pull up applicable virtual content when you happen upon associated places in the physical world, kind-of like QR codes, which I find way too fiddly. I like Chirp, which uses an auditory, rather than a visual clue, to signal availability of digital resources.

Pebble Watch
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App of the Week – ARSoccer

ARSoccerTitle:‘ ARSoccer – Augmented Reality Soccer Game by Laan Labs

Cost:‘ $1.99

Platform:‘ ‘ iOS 4.0 or later.

As I sat down to write this post, I reflected quite a bit on what 2013 will bring to the app market. ‘ Teens will of course continue to be interested in apps designed to kill time and connect with their peers, but augmented reality apps may be one of the most interesting and fastest growing trends. ‘ “Augmented reality” is a view of the real world modified by some ‘ technology enhancement. AR augments our physical experience with music, data, video, and other media.

Research cited by the FierceDeveloper blog estimates that AR sales may reach $5.2 billion by 2017. Many of these apps will be marketed to teen audiences. ‘ The same post mentions a great example; the new Taylor Swift AR app allows fans to scan an image of her latest album to launch videos or hear background information about songs. ‘ Last week, Linda posted about Dimensions–another app that augments reality. Other AR apps blend the real world with fun games. ‘ ARSoccer, the App of the Week, falls into this category. Continue reading

App of the Week: Dimensions – The Sonic Adventure Game

dimensions logoTitle: Dimensions-The Sonic Adventure Game
Cost: Free (with in app purchases)
Platform: iOS 5 or greater

Before this week’s App of the Week review, a reminder to vote for your favorite app for teens in 2012.

I learned about Dimensions when reading through a list of the 12 most beautiful apps of 2012. (There are a lot of great apps in that list by the way.) The Dimensions app caught my eye because it integrated several features that I thought would be of interest to teens – music, augmented reality, and being able to play with others across devices and locations.

It is a beautifully designed app and the play is also intriguing and fun. First off, anyone who plays has to make sure to be using headphones. The music in the app (it is a sonic adventure game of course) is key to play. If you don’t have headphones plugged in the app will remind you that you should. As a matter of fact the app reminds you regularly of what you should be doing – which is helpful. The reminders come by way of text and the voice of the woman who narrates the game and gives information on how to play.
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Five Tech Trends for 2013 that Every School/YA Librarian Should Know About

So I am turning on my crystal ball and attempting to take a look into the future, 2013, to give you a heads up on some trends that I think are going to appear in the coming year. The list is below and they are in no particular order.

1. Augmented Reality: We have been scratching the surface with this but sites and apps like Marqueed, Thinglink, Aurasma, and Starchart are making the use and creation of augmented reality for our classrooms and libraries even easier. Augmented reality is simply taking computer graphics and placing them into our field of vision. For instance in Marqueed, users can take an image then embed information, links, videos, and more into that image while collaborating and sharing with others. Augmented reality is super cool, many of the sites and apps are free or cheap and the added layer of information and what it could lend to the field of education could be extraordinary.

2. MOOCs: Also known as Massive Open Online Courses. These are already becoming very popular and they will continue to be into 2013. There is, of course, a mixed reaction to classes that can have 100,000 students enrolled. But I added this to the trend list specifically for teachers, librarians, and our students at the high school level. These courses are an option for high school students looking to gain some experience before entering college and MOOCs can also aid teachers and librarians in professional development and also those looking for practice before starting a second masters or doctorate.
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