All hail the flash drive, a stroke of practical genius beloved by teachers and their students. A clear majority swore allegiance to this portable hard drive, which goes by various names -- pen, thumb, and jump among them. Many other gizmos were honorably mentioned, including digital cameras, personal digital devices, and the wireless mouse. Other respondents, in an endearing snub of the word technology, listed sentimental favorites such as the boom box and paper and pencil. A favorite response? "Blocks. Yes, blocks are technology -- low technology. The best kind."
The One-Time-Use Video Camera
We could debate whether it makes sense to bring up an item that not one of our survey respondents mentioned, but that would be dull, and we could lose the argument. Instead, we alert you to a nifty unsung product -- costing less than one-hundred dollars -- that has educational and pure-fun applications: the one-time-use video camera. Think disposable camera, only video, and don't throw it away. Instead, you make a twenty-minute film with this user-friendly fella -- a handheld gizmo that looks a bit like a personal digital device and costs thirty dollars -- and bring it back to the store where you bought it (CVS on the East Coast; Rite-Aid everywhere else), and for thirteen dollars you get a DVD of the film to keep and watch online or send to friends.
Made by Pure Digital Technologies, the wee 4.8-ounce camcorder may not yield footage of the highest quality, but in our house we never get tired of the Jaws parody a trio of preteen girls made at the lake last summer.