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Tech Review Thursday: Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Educational Tools

The Consumer Technology Association hosted the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show early this January. (Photo/file)

Technology is a driving force in today’s higher education landscape.

Taking paper notes, reading hardcover textbooks and turning in physical copies of term papers are becoming traditions of the past. Students are now relying on technology to navigate the pressures of higher education.

For most, this is an easy transition, however, technology can bring an entirely new set of problems and complexities.

Luckily, new technology is coming to the consumer market every day. With it comes advances in productivity and new ways of maximizing efficiency for students of all backgrounds and skill levels.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the largest technologies showcase in the world. According to their website, the 2019 convention which took place January 8-11 in Los Vegas showcased over 4500 companies, 24 categories of technology and over 1100 speakers.

Emerging from the show were thousands of innovative products that will hit the market in 2019 or 2020.

Of these thousands of products, there were several which caught my eye as educational tools.

Splitting the categories even further for the purpose of this article, I focused on a creative tool, a language assistant tool and a desktop organization tool.

Creative Tool

If you are like me and have switched over to an IPad for most of my note-taking, you understand the frustration of using Bluetooth pencils to write on the pads.

These pencils and their producers have not figured out the textures and accuracy that can be achieved by using a real pencil and paper. Until that day, we will have to rely on aftermarket products to assist our note taking and sketching efforts.

However, using pencils and paper causes unneeded clutter and can be difficult to organize and store. Using a digital method for sketching and note taking makes sense.

iSKN Slate Repaper is one of several new products which solves this problem.

The device takes your hard paper drawings and converts them into a digital medium by using motion tracking technology. It has small rings that fit over your already owned pens and pencils and track your line stroke movements to accurately transfer your notes or drawings into their cloud-based app.

If you are a creative-minded student or can’t seem to part ways with good, old-fashioned paper and pencil but need a more efficient organization method, the iSKN has some serious upsides.

Language Tool

The importance of classroom communication is more evident now than ever before.

At Ohio Northern University, we have the benefit of hosting several international student looking to expand their education and gain experiences here in the United States.

However, these students can have a challenging time adapting to the communication difficulties that studying abroad can bring about. Likewise, native English speaking student deal with this barrier as well.

Building relationships between classmates is a key component to the classroom atmosphere and establishes a constructive learning environment.

Google is attempting to break down these language barriers with their newly designed, Google Assistant Interpreter Mode. While the platform is not magic, says Shannon Liao of the Verge. The service will continue to learn and act as a real-time translator between individuals who speak different languages.

In Theory, Google’s AI has improved to the point where the interpreter mode will be able to recognize what language you and your friend are speaking and translate the conversation flawlessly.

The classroom impact of this technology can help form better relationships between professors and their non-native English speaking students who may feel more comfortable speaking in their primary language.

Desktop Organization Tool

With great knowledge comes great clutter.

Keeping organized and clutter-free is a challenge that plagues almost all individuals participating in higher education.

Textbooks, laptops, papers, pencils, lamps, monitors, sticky notes and more clutter our personal desks and cause stress to millions of students. Clearing up space on a desk can settle a student’s mind and foster a more productive workspace.

Samsung is taking the minimalist approach to desktop organization by re-imagining the computer monitor. With their new Space Monitor, desktop users will be capable of keeping their screen off their desk opening up more space writing or other educational tools.

Or if you are a minimalist like me, you just like how it looks!

The screen is mounted on a lay flat clamp arm that can attach to any desk allowing you to reclaim your desktop.

The monitor itself is sporting a 27” display and almost bezel-less screen to maximize pixel usage making it great for gaming, video and photo editing, or dual screen note taking.

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