Today's Newsletter: Hooker Holiday Gift Guide

An open empty gift box wrapped in shiny red paper and wide white ribbon
(Image credit: gojjump)

The holidays are a combination of stress and joy. Stress in making sure all the lights work around my Griswoldian-like household to the joy of seeing my kids’ faces on Christmas morning. Being a tech guy, I also get an added layer of stress in that many friends and family ask me for advice on buying whatever tech gadget of the month is out there. Since it’s hard to keep up with everything, I decided to phone some friends (actually text them I should say) to crowdsource some holiday techno-gadget ideas. 

Here are the top 5 suggestions (not all are for kids): 

1. Bloxels Build Your Own Video Game - ($40 for kids) - This kit allows you to physically build your video game world and then make it come to life on the accompanying app.

2. Sphero Bolt - ($149 for kids) - The latest edition of Sphero comes with a fully programmable 8X8 LED matrix and audio components. Program it using Scratch!

3. Chibitronics - ($30 for kids) - The Chibitronics kit is the perfect blend of art and engineering. Draw and design, then light up with circuits!

4. Ring Door Bell camera - ($100 for adults) - Either the Ring or Nest options are good. One word of advice, get the extra solar power mount unless you don’t mind changing batteries every couple of months

5. Nebula Capsule Smart Mini-projector - ($300 for family) - I absolutely love my Nebula Capsule. It’s got a built-in OS, HDMI connector, and Airplay capability. All this with a great image and sound that lasts for 2.5 hours on a single charge.

Happy shopping!

Carl Hooker has been a part of a strong educational shift with technology integration since becoming an educator. As Director of Innovation & Digital Learning at Eanes ISD, he has helped spearhead the LEAP program, which put one-to-one iPads in the hands of all K-12 students in his 8000-student district. He is also the founder of “iPadpalooza”- a three-day “learning festival” held in Austin annually. He's also the author of the six-book series titled Mobile Learning Mindset, a guide for teachers, administrators, parents and others to support and embrace mobile learning in our schools. Read more at Hooked on Innovation.