Educational Trends

Technology to Ask Santa For

Written by Lori Gracey

Give Santa this list of the tech gadgets that you must have this holiday season. It’s got everything from a fantastic flashlight to a virtual assistant to programmable bracelets!

If you’ve been good this past year, then you are probably busy creating a wishlist of what you hope Santa Claus (or one of his human helpers) will bring you this holiday season. Here are some ideas for tech gadgets that the TCEA staff recommends you add to your list.

Amazon Echo – If you have an Amazon Prime account (and why wouldn’t you?), then you really need an Echo. The Echo is a cylinder that connects to your home WiFi and can change your life. It is voice-activated and it really works (unlike other voice-activated services). You can ask it to play music through its amazing speakers, give you the weather, turn off your lights, create a shopping list, research a topic on the web, play games, tell you a joke, give you the latest news and sports scores, and so much more. And the Echo has new features added to it weekly. I love this device so much that I have now purchased two of them for my home. The Echo is $179.

Tile – Do you constantly lose your keys or your wallet or your remote control? Tile (Gen 2) solves that problem. It is a quarter-sized device that can be fastened to any item.Then you use the companion app to find whatever the device is attached to. You can set the app to alert you when you venture too far from the item and can also use it to find your phone, even if it is on silent. It works with both iOS and Android and is available for $25. A four-pack is $70.

Koala Tablet Wall Mount Dock – If you own a tablet and spend time watching movies or TV shows on it, you realize how heavy it can get after a while. The solution is this amazing dock. It uses damage-free 3M Command adhesive strips for mounting, allowing you to place it virtually anywhere in your home without screws or nails. It works on iOS and Android devices and is only $15.

Satechi LightMate Emergency LED Flashlight – I keep one of these handy gadgets in the trunk of my car in case of problems. It is a long-distance, super-bright, LED flashlight and contains a 2200mAh portable power bank with a USB charging port and cable for emergency cell phone charging. It’s also waterproof and highly durable. It is $30.

Flux Capacitor USB Car Charger – Go back to the future and keep your devices charged with this fun car accessory. With its two ports, you can charge two devices simultaneously and look cool while doing it. The capacitor is $25.

View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack – Remember looking at slides from around the world with your plastic View-Master? Well, the View-Master has now gone 3D and is even more fun. Download the free virtual reality app, drop in a smartphone, and you will instantly be transported somewhere else. The Starter Pack, which costs $25, includes one preview reel, but additional sets can be ordered for just $25 more. And the app will provide lots of views at no cost.

Petzi Treat Cam – If you worry about your pets while you’re at school, this WiFi pet camera and treat dispenser is for you. The audio link allows you to talk to your pet and make sure it’s behaving. If it is, you can give it a treat. The camera unit is $169.

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard – This wireless keyboard works with any device, including smartphones and tablets, and is just $45.

Dancing LED Water Speakers – Hook these beautiful 9″ tall speakers up to any device with an audio jack and watch the show as the fountain spray increases with the volume of the music and the beat. With four colors, these two speakers are $30.

Gemio Friendship Bracelet – Purchase one of these stylish bracelets and anytime one of your BFFs is nearby, custom “light tones” will appear and you can send private messages between the bracelets. You can also set the bracelet to flash to the beat of the music. This truly is “high-tech jewelry for the connected generation” and you can have one yourself starting at $80.

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About the author

Lori Gracey

Lori Gracey has 28 years of experience in education, with 22 years as a curriculum and technology director. She currently serves as the executive director of the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) and is responsible for training technology directors, administrators, curriculum supervisors, and teachers across the country. During her eight years in this position, she has led TCEA in membership and revenue growth, helped to pay off their building and purchase a new, larger building, and implemented new conferences, partnerships with other associations, and professional development opportunities for members and non-members. She serves more than 17,000 members and oversees a staff of 21. Lori is also on the board of the Texas Society of Association Executives and SXSWedu and recently served as the Regional Program Chair for the ISTE 2017 Convention in San Antonio.

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