Not a day passes that I’m not reading about some new nuance to social networking. New sites and mobile apps that will increase our connectivity to community abound. At the same time, I often reflect on those early days of my career as a morning news anchor at a radio station in Evansville – madly typing out the morning’s broadcast on a manual typewriter that sat next to the “AP Wire” machine that spit out reams of paper with the latest news (complete with the loud clacking of actual typing and bells if it was “breaking news”). Yes, it’s a trip in the “way-back machine,” Sherman. (Don’t remember Mr. Peabody and his “Improbable History”? Really? Sigh. Follow the link …)
But I digress. Yesterday, three things made me go, “WOW.”
First, close to home, Center Grove Middle School Central in Johnson County received a $10,000 state grant that funded 20 iPads loaded with 30 applications that will help those English-as-a-second-language students translate classroom work. As one student simply put it, “It helps you with speaking and learning the language.” Aside from the translation apps, students are engaged by the tactile nature of the programs like the “encyclopedia” that allows them a closer look at works of art. Trust me, this is absolutely a glimpse into the future of education.
The iPad translation applications are of particular interest as Pickett&Associates’ client DuoChart will be launching a mobile translation app next month geared toward healthcare professionals and first responders. It’s been extremely exciting to see this awesome concept developed by an Indianapolis entrepreneur that was previously a static hard-copy with an accompanying CD “come to life” with the slide of a finger.
And then there’s Swipely, a site where users can share their purchases. After three-months of beta testing through invitation only, the site shows what you purchased and where you bought it. Along the lines of “Yelp,” it’s a chance for consumers to share their shopping experience. “Prize badges” awarded for using the site are tied back to the retailers as “reward points” for consumers. TMI? Maybe … but also a way for retailers to connect to consumers.
Yes, I know Facebook announced its own Foursquare-style location features yesterday, dubbed Places. In addition there’s Shopkick that launched yesterday as an iPhone app. This is a little creepy … reminiscent of “1984” (the book, not the year) and big brother (from the Orwell classic, not the TV show). When users have the app open in a store, Shopkick’s technology will check in customers, uploading a menu of discounts and offers. So much for window shopping and browsing. Nonetheless, both Best Buy and Macy’s will be rolling it out in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.
And that’s the Thursday tech round-up. Hey, I’d love to hear about YOUR new favorite “app,” tech gadget or social site! Please SHARE!
Already enjoyed early morning yoga and ready for another full day. OOOOhhhhhmmmm.