Are people asking you what gift you want for the holidays, or maybe you’re struggling to find the right thing for the nerdy someone in your life? Tim & Brent share some ideas for things that a techie teacher might enjoy at the end of 2023.
This is the HigherEdTech Podcast Season Five Episode 9: 2023 Gift Guide for Techie Teachers
Tim Van Norman 0:21
welcome to today’s HigherEdTech Podcast. I’m Tim Van Norman, Instructional Technologist at Irvine Valley College.
Brent Warner 0:27
And I’m Brent Warner professor of ESL here at IVC. We both enjoy integrating technology into the classroom, which is what this show is all about.
Tim Van Norman 0:35
Welcome. We’re glad you’re here with us… It’s December.
Brent Warner 0:38
All right. So yeah, it’s December. We’re wrapping up. We’re getting close to wrapping up this semester. But Tim, one of the things, so last year, and we’ve done this, less officially in previous years, as well, but last year, we did a 2022 gift guide for techie teachers. Right. And, and then we said, well, let’s do another one. But last year, we did it. I felt a little too close to the deadline. Like it was like, you know, all the holidays, people have already done their shopping. And so we thought, let’s do a little bit earlier, let’s get out for the first episode December, share a few things that people might be interested in.
Tim Van Norman 1:20
I don’t think any of these quite hit some of the dollar amounts we saw last year.
Brent Warner 1:23
We’re trying to be a little bit more reasonable, a little bit more frugal in 2023. So So yeah, let’s, let’s just get right into it. Let’s jump over and then we’ll start sharing what we came up with. Okay, so Tim, I’ve got we both have a few we’ll just jump back and forth. Not a ton of choices. People can I think people last year’s recommendations still stand for the most part. But But we found a few new things, I think things that people might be interested in. And again, if you are the techy person, and maybe you’re looking for something or people are asking you or if you have someone in your life that might value get some value out of some of these, we’ll share a bit. So my first one is, there’s a company called Peak Design. Tim, are you familiar with this company?
Tim Van Norman 2:14
I haven’t heard of them.
Brent Warner 2:15
They make a lot of really like good quality, bags, accessories, phone cases, whatever. And so the first one that I’m going to share is actually a case. So it’s called the everyday case or everyday carry case or something like that. We’ll have links to all these in the show notes. But the thing that I like about these cases is that they all have a little it’s a phone case, whatever phone you use, they probably have a case for it. But it has these little kind of non obtrusive snaps in the back. So if you want to attach it to your to a like a mount in your car, you can get it for that if you want to attach it to your bicycle, you can attach it for that if you want to just put in like a ring on it, you can attach to that. And from I haven’t gotten one yet because it didn’t they didn’t have it for my phone, like my older phone. But when I get my next new phone, I want to get one. And the the the reviews are really good. People just say that they’re super solid, like people attach them to their motorcycles and everything and you know, even with the vibration and everything they just stay on. And there. It’s not like a big clunky extra part to your case. It’s just a kind of a smooth attachment system that locks everything in and so. So good reviews, good protection for your phone. Sleek, not a not a not a fancy ugly looking design. It’s just kind of clean and clear. So the everyday case is one that I am hoping to get in the future.
Tim Van Norman 3:52
Yeah, looking at their website peak design.com. They got a lot of really cool stuff. I see what you mean. Yeah, definitely, definitely. So I’m actually going to give one that I recently bought. So we’ve got a wireless network at our house. At any given moment, we probably have 20 devices on our wireless network. And because your cell phones, your gait, your everything and some of them bet work best if they’re plugged in. So we got a Wi Fi mesh network, we happen to get the tender a x 3000. It’s like 160 bucks on Amazon right now. And there’s a whole lot of different mesh networks, but go for the go for the Wi Fi six or higher and stuff like that. It’s worth it. This’ll handle like 5000 square foot house. It says well we’re nowhere near that but with three devices. Now my son can plug in his gaming computer, and he has one gig internet to his gaming computer. My daughter can plug in her to her PlayStation or computer or whatever she’s got in her room. And she’s got one gig internet to that device, even though we didn’t run any cables throughout the house, it looks great. And then I get to benefit from it. Because now I can walk around the house and not drop calls or, or whatever. So it’s really for 160 bucks. It’s really worth worth getting.
Brent Warner 5:25
Awesome. Tim, I’m not sure if you heard this, but at the moment, you said we’re not going to drop calls your voice when a little robotic (laughter)
Tim Van Norman 5:31
Oh man! We’ll blame that on zoom! Laughter.
Brent Warner 5:36
Yeah, that’s zoom! Awesome. But that sounds great. So I love the idea of being, you know, like, I always when possible, I love that hard plugin, right? Like, it’s just so feel so much safer, especially when you’re teaching or whatever else you’ve got going on. So awesome. Okay, so I’m going to follow up with a second peak design choice. So mine is this one is a strap for a camera strap. So if you’re if you’re a photographer, if you like taking pictures, I was kind of really debating over these camera straps, because I bought a camera strap before I left for Japan, and it was way too short. And so then I was like, Okay, well, what am I gonna get here and this one is called the slide light strap, they have a couple of different versions. So they have a kind of a heavy duty one, which is just the slide slide strap, and then they have the slide light strap. And then they have like one that’s like a, like a kind of very thin one for the which would be more for like a just a point and shoot camera. So if you have a if you have like kind of a mid level, you know, DSLR or mirrorless camera like I have, it’s the perfect size because it basically the the design this really cool strap system. And so they you put on these little separate tabs that hook to the strap separately, and so you can hang it down at your waist, and it can kind of stay there comfortably and then you can pull it up. And then you can readjust the straps so that it can either be holding on to the straps on the top of the camera. So you know, like the typical hooks at the top on the two sides of the top of the camera. Or you can kind of put in a little an attachment plate on the bottom where you would screw in your tripod or whatever. And so it can hold it different angles that match your body a little bit more. And then when you slide the camera, it’s really cool because the strap is just canvas, but one side is one side, just canvas and the other side kind of has these little rubber grippy bits on it. And so it will either slide with your movement or if you want to flip the strap over, then it will hold it in place on the kind of the grippy side and so when depending on how you’re moving with your camera and everything, it’s actually like really, really functional. And so I was very happy and I was like, I don’t know, do I want to spend 60 bucks on this strap, just a camera strapped but actually it turned out to be a good investment and I’ve been happy with it every time I’ve gone out with my camera. So that one is the Peak Design a slight light strap.
Tim Van Norman 8:09
Nice. Nice. Sounds good. So I’m gonna stay a little bit more expensive. This is an oldie but goodie, this has been one that I’ve mentioned. I’ve talked about for years, the Logitech spotlight presentation remote. So if you are presenting, even in your classroom, anything like that, it’s Bluetooth, you plug into USB plug and then it’s live, advanced the slides, it’s got all of the different things, it will go to a website that you click on. It will if you’re doing recordings, it will record what you’re pointing at stuff like that. It’s a really quality piece of equipment from Logitech, it’s still about $100 Although I saw one earlier today, that was like 80 $90 or something like that from Amazon. I’m gonna leave it at the quote of 100 Because it seems to be what I can find. Yeah, regularly is still 100 bucks but every almost everybody I’ve talked to that’s gotten one loves it.
Brent Warner 9:13
Yeah, well this I think we’ve been talking about this this remote since the first days of the show. It’s like this is always it is the map or the presentation remote to have and it’s also so simple to because it’s like doesn’t have a ton of different buttons on it. It just really kind of has the the forward and the backward but then depending on how you hold it and program it like it will do all this stuff. So I love that one. It’s great find
Tim Van Norman 9:37
And it feels good in your hand. It’s not like this cheap thing that you know, it feels like it’s got a like a metal feel. It’s a quality feel, which I love when I’m presenting
Brent Warner 9:49
For sure for sure. Okay, so my next one is I found this on IndieGoGo and Kickstarter, so it’s not out yet – kind of – It’s in the middle of production right now. But it’s called the MyAir foldable mouse. And so, Tim, what this is, it’s kind of like a, it’s, it’s kind of based on origami design, right. So it’s a, it’s like a piece of leather. And I showed you the link there too. So it’s kind of like a piece of a little bit of thick leather paper kind of, and it folds together. And when you, when you fold it together, it snaps into place, and it becomes a bluetooth mouse. And then you can fold it flat. So it can be it can go in your laptop bag, or whatever else you’re carrying with you. I don’t know if it’s going to be great yet. Because you know, it’s one of those risks you get when you kind of pre purchase and you’re kickstarting or whatever else it is, but the award like it’s getting awards, like good design award. And basically, I was interested in the idea of having a mouse that I could take with me for one day to a conference, right or, you know, hey, I’m just going to be jumping out and doing something and I want to have a mouse available to me. So I probably I wouldn’t use it as my everyday mouse. But I would use a you know, kind of in connection, maybe link it to maybe link it to like an iPad or something if you’re really kind of trying to get a little bit more work done, rather than tapping done. And so this just seems like an interesting possibility. And then Tim, what would when we did pre show, you said that there are a couple of other flat mouse’s that are out and about these days, too. So. So it seems to be a thing that people are looking for. Yeah,
Tim Van Norman 11:28
Microsoft Surface has a mouse that is curved. But when you make it flat to throw it in your pocket, and then when you take it out and you curve it again, it becomes the mouse that you can use and a little feels a little ergonomic and it looks kind of neat. I love that concept, because I’m sorry, but I’m not gonna put a mouse in my pocket. No. Now what do I do with it? You know, do I have to throw it in a backpack? Well, what if I don’t have a backpack right now? Yeah. So no, I love that flat type of concept. And I’m very interested in when when you get that I want to see it. Yeah,
Brent Warner 12:05
I’ll tell you how it goes. Because me to my regular mouse is a is a vertical mouse, which I love. But it’s super bulky, right? Like you can’t you can’t put it in anything. Right? It’s got to have its own whole separate thing. And so. So yeah, definitely for certain purposes, it could be great.
Tim Van Norman 12:21
Yeah, absolutely. So thinking of portable that I found on Amazon, our Zopa portable monitor, it’s a 14 inch 2k monitor that you plug into your laptop or whatever with USBC. And it’s right, right now, we’ve got it at 80 bucks. I don’t know how long that’s gonna last or whatever. But it wasn’t that expensive. But it was a really high quality looked like a very nice quality monitor that you can take with you on the laptop. I don’t know how many times I’ve been sitting there on a laptop, and I just wished I had one more screen. It doesn’t have to be a 17 inch screen, although they’ve got those too. But just to have just that little bit extra, but not have to carry around a monitor.
Brent Warner 13:17
That’s great. Actually, I like that a lot. It looks like because it looks like you could just lay it on top of your laptop and slide both into your laptop sleeve if you had it too. Right.
Tim Van Norman 13:26
And it’s powered by USBC. So you don’t have to bring separate power or anything for it.
Brent Warner 13:32
That’s a really, really great little and for 80 bucks cheese like, yeah,
Tim Van Norman 13:38
I almost want to just get it.
Brent Warner 13:42
Like, I don’t know if I’m gonna wait, I’m just gonna buy it. Yeah.
Tim Van Norman 13:45
So, so that’s why it’s like, you know, that was a really cool, portable, because whenever you’re someplace, it’s would just be nice to have that other monitor. Yeah, for sure.
Brent Warner 13:57
Okay, so back to me. I now I’m gonna start bringing the price up a little bit. So we, you know, it goes that way. So, but I think this is a great gift. And you don’t have to necessarily do it in the full it a full year. But I just think a chat. GBT Plus subscription would be something that anybody would be stoked to. To have, you know, whether whether you say, Hey, I’m gonna, it’s, it’s 20 bucks a month, right? And so if you’re getting someone for a year, it’d be 240. If it’s, you know, you could get it for three months, you get 60 bucks, it just depends on what you want to do. And I don’t know if they have an actual, like, get this as a subscription for someone as a gift. Or you could just give someone the money. But all I’m saying is, that would be a really nice way for some for a lot of teachers to be able to look at it and see especially to see what the real difference in power is between GPT chat CBT four and chat GPT 3.5 The free version because the more and more I play with it, the more I’m like, Oh, I cannot go back to 3.5 Like there’s just so much nuance that the the higher version understands not to mention. Now you can do image generation inside of it with, with the dolly three and it can do coding and it can do you know all these different things inside of your own. Now, by the way, you can upload documents directly into it. So you can upload like 300 page, PDFs right into it, and then work with it out of that you can, you can upload pictures into it on the phone version, you can talk to it directly, and we’ll have conversations everything so. So the price is 20 bucks is actually reasonable from what I understand they’re losing money every time they they charge someone only 20 bucks, because it’s apparently 80 bucks worth for everybody, but, but it’s just great. So. So I would recommend if you have someone in your life who’s like, kind of into the AI stuff, or trying to like figure things out, but wants to really get a little bit of a deeper dive chat and CPT plus would be a really thoughtful gift for them.
Tim Van Norman 15:58
Absolutely, yeah, that’d be a really nice one. So I’m not gonna go quite that high. But think about your classroom, you’re going to record a lecture, maybe you’re in high flex, or something like that, if you don’t already have built in microphones in the ceiling like we do. Or something that’s going to be a really high quality mic. There’s a Phoenix Pro, wireless microphone for channel set, that’s two handheld, two body packs for 150 bucks that Amazon’s got it. What this is, is it’s literally two handheld microphones. And you hit you have the lapel mic on you. And you’ve got another one too. So you got four microphones available throughout the class. So think about those times when you’re doing a presentation. And somebody needs to ask a question. Well, now you got two mics that can be out in the audience. And you don’t have to have separate connections to the computer or whatever it is that you’re using to stream. And so it’s I want to play with it and see how good the quality is, and make sure that the quality is there. But it’s been something that I’ve been really looking at the last couple of months, because more and more often I’m in that situation where I’m presenting to a class. And there’s somebody else who’s got a question, and now I have to walk over and hand them the mic or something like that. Versus it would be so easy to just have a mic kind of stand. Yeah. And have them walk up to it. Because they’ll also think about it. Yeah, versus versus when I’m not when I’ve got it on me. I’m nobody’s thinking about it. And so the people online can’t hear it.
Brent Warner 17:41
Yeah, that’s a great setup. I mean, this is really a college friendly setup, because the professor and you know, depending on the setting, maybe have a TA both of the body, you know, the the lapel mics on that are kind of permanent, and then the students could pass around the other one. So, yeah, that’s, that’s great.
Tim Van Norman 17:59
Yeah, and it all feeds on one connection. Yeah. So you’re not having to have four channels into your computer or, or somebody switch something, it’s all one zoom would see it as one microphone.
Brent Warner 18:11
Nice. Nice. Nice. Okay, so I’m gonna go so I am going on the most expensive, I think here with this wash. So this is the Insta 360 x three camera. So I think you know that I have one of those 360 degree cameras, I have the first version of this, which was the Insta 361. And I love it. Like you know, you can do all these cool photography things and taking videos of unique places. Because what this does is it take it has two lenses on it and one lens on the front, one lens on the back. And then you know, as you you lift up the camera, it stitches them together into a full 360 degree view. And so you can do all sorts of interesting effects with them. But you can also get front and back view and the reason why I kind of am interested in this is because I saw someone on YouTube recently. And they turned this into their dash cam, right and so a dash cam by itself like a good dash cam. I mean the some of them are cheap, but like, like if you want like the good quality ones, they’re like $200 or more, right? And so I’m like, well at 450 if you’re paying twice as much money, but it’s not just a dashcam it’s an everywhere travel use. You can you know like you can do interesting filming and photography. And so if you’re traveling, like I am doing some traveling right now, this seems like a really cool way to kind of bring everything together and and you can also use it as a dashcam as well. So I’m kind of interested in while we’re driving around the country, plugging it in having kind of some safety or if you see something weird or unusual, you can actually program it to kind of keep on a 10 minute or 15 minute loop so it’ll just kind of cycle through and not not save everything but you can have if you see something then or if you get an x And then of course, you could do that. But the Insta 360 community, these 360 cameras, you’ve probably seen some videos online that like, show what people do with them. They’re very cool. The one that I have is just kind of getting a little bit long in the tooth anyways. And so I’m like, maybe maybe like this is, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, I’m really hesitating because it’s a little bit more expensive than what I want to pay. But, but at the same time, I’m kind of thinking of like, well, this is kind of my last chance to make memories here and be able to keep all these things. And so maybe the investment is worth it. But the Insta 360 x three camera is just worth looking at and seeing what it can produce because it’s really quite powerful. But it is 50 bucks.
Tim Van Norman 20:45
Yeah, no, it sounds really neat. So I’m gonna go the opposite. I’m gonna go really inexpensive, so Well, at least compared to all these. So you guys all know, I love rocket book. I’ve used that for a couple of years. One of the things that I found is some of the pens don’t work really well, some of the off brand depends. And so rocket book has a Smart Notebook accessory kit, that’s two pens, spray bottle cloth, a pen station, so that literally attaches to the rocket book. And you just put your pen in it. So it stays with the rocket book all the time. And it’s 15 bucks. Oh, nice. So like I said, going to the other end of this nice, inexpensive, it’s, it’s something that it’s just nice. The pens write very, very well. And it’s black. That’s the only color that they have on those, but they really do a nice job. And it’s got everything you need to work with a rocket book for 15 bucks.
Brent Warner 21:54
I love it. Yeah, that’s great. So perfect, we got we got a good selection, kind of run the gamut of the pricing. We didn’t go into the 1000s of dollars for this year. And so, so at least, you know, there’s choices in here. But I think we have a pretty good range of things that would help different teachers in different settings. And so links to all of these in the show notes if you’re interested. Hopefully we got this episode out early enough that it’s maybe it’s, you know, peeking your interest a bit, or giving you a couple of ideas. And but we’re not going to be done with this semester. We’ve got one more one more episode before this semester. And so Tim will have to work on that one one more episode before we take a little break. Absolutely.
Tim Van Norman 22:43
Thank you for listening today. In this episode, we took a look at 2023 Gift Guide for techie teachers. For more information about the show, please visit our website at the higher ed tech podcast.com. There you’ll find our podcasts and links to the information we’ve covered.
Brent Warner 22:58
As always, we do want your feedback. So please go to the higher ed tech podcast.com and let us know your thoughts. And if you have ideas for future shows. There’s a link over there where you can give us your topic ideas, or everyone
Tim Van Norman 23:09
at IVC. That’s listening. If you need help with technology questions, please contact IVC tech support. If you have questions about technology in your classroom, please stop by the IVC training center and a 322 or contact me Tim Van Norman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brent Warner 23:25
And if you want to reach out to me about the show, you can find me on LinkedIn at @BrentGWarner.
Tim Van Norman 23:31
I’m Tim Van Norman,
Brent Warner 23:32
and I’m Brent Warner and we hope this episode has helped you on the road from possibility to actuality. Take care everybody
- Peak Design Slide Light Strap
- Peak Design Everyday Case
- MyAir Foldable Mouse
- ChatGPT Plus Subscription
- Insta360 X3 – $450
- Tenda AX3000 Wifi Mesh Network
- Logitech Spotlight Presentation Remote
- Phenyx Pro Wireless Microphone 4 Channel set – 2 handhelds and 2 body packs
- Arzopa Portable Monitor – 14” USB-C
- Rocketbook Smart Notebook Accessory Kit – 2 Pens, spray bottle, cloth, pen station