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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28 Days of Teens & Tech #15: Keep It in the Cloud

Google’s Cr-48 Chrome Notebook pilot program generated a lot of buzz in the tech community when, late last year, laptops started appearing on people’s doorsteps–laptops with solid-state hard drives, no capslock keys, and built-in WiFi and 3G capabilities. The laptops were sent to people who, as Google put it, were “living on the web […] doing everything in the browser, from using web apps to storing all your files online.”

You can take their quiz to find out if you’re living on the web–but teens most definitely are. As adults, I think we get pretty settled into having our own computers at home, our own computers at work, and moving back and forth between them. But teens may be sharing a family computer at home, using computer labs at school, and doing homework and playing games on the computers at the library; they lead much more fluid technological lives with fewer fixed points. We need to be familiar with websites, apps, programs, and services that allow the user identical access from multiple devices–with things that keep their data in the cloud.

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Living in the Cloud

Lately I’ve had a few computer malfunctions in my life. The laptop I used for work was stolen, and the hard drive on my computer at home had a crash that even spin rite couldn’t fix. I lost some documents I was currently working on, but thankfully I’d been saving most of my important documents to a shared work drive. Since these debacles I’ve been making sure I save in multiple places and even invested in a service called Mozy to back up my files at home.

I wanted to share with you what tools I’ve been using to help offset another computer disaster:
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Dollars & Sense #8: Doing Your Tech for Less (or for Nothing!)

Having a snazzy web presence doesn’t have to cost a lot. One of the great things about the Web 2.0 environment is that so many tools are available for free. What’s more, you don’t have to have particularly sophisticated technical skills to create something that looks great and is fully functional. Sites like Wikispaces, Pageflakes, and Animoto provide the templates, the underlying coding, and the storage. You can even build your entire website using a free service like Google Sites. When you use tools like these, you are taking advantage of cloud computing, meaning your content lives on externally hosted servers and is accessible to anyone who has web access.

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Life in the Cloud

Last week the Pew Internet in American Life Project released a report on the use of cloud computing by adults 18 and up. The Pew study describes cloud computing this way:

For everyday users of the internet and computers, cloud computing is any online activity, such as accessing data or using a software program, which can be done from different devices regardless of the on-ramp to the internet.

While 13 to 17 year olds were not surveyed for the study, the researchers did discover that younger adults, 18 to 29 year olds, were more likely to use cloud computing than older adults.’  The Pew report states: Continue reading