Ed-Tech Observer

The ISU EdTech Observer series provides concise information on various topics and products within educational technology and related practices. Each brief focuses on a single technology or practice and answers the following eight questions for software and hardware, respectively:



  1. What is it?
  2. How does it work?
  3. Who's doing it?
  4. Why is it significant?
  5. What are the downsides?
  6. Where is it going?
  7. What are the implications for teaching and learning?
  8. Where can I find out more?
  1. What is it?
  2. How does it work?
  3. What are the key features?
  4. What are the potential uses on the ISU campus?
  5. What are the implications for teaching and learning?
  6. What are the downsides?
  7. What are the key technical specs?
  8. Where can I find out more?

The format for EdTech Observer is inspired by the 7 Things You Should Know About ... ™ series published by EDUCAUSE but seeks to target topics and issues of specific relevance to the ISU community.


The Newline TRUTOUCH X7 is a collaborative touch screen, whiteboard, and video conferencing system with built-in Android operating system and Microsoft Windows compatible PC hardware. Read more...

Myo Armband

The Myo armband is a touchless input system for controlling applications on both Windows and Apple computers. Applications are also available to control various physical devices via gestures. Read more...


HapYak is an interactive video platform which allows teachers to incorporate features such as overlays, chapters, quizzes and links in order to create an interactive learning experience. Read more...

Mersive Solstice Pod

The Solstice Pod from Mersive is a wireless content sharing device that allows students and teachers to share media and mirror their mobile device and laptop screens onto a classroom projector screen. It supports screen mirroring from Windows and Mac laptops as well as Android and iOS devices. Read more...

Extron ShareLink 200

The Extron ShareLink 200 is a wireless content sharing device that allows students and teachers to share media and mirror their mobile device and laptop screens onto a classroom projector screen. Read more...

AMX Enzo

The AMX Enzo is a wireless content sharing device that allows users to share media and mirror the screens from Mac and PC laptops and Android and iOS devices onto a projector screen. Read more...

Intel Compute Stick

The Intel Compute Stick is a fully functional Windows 8.1 computer in the shape of a large HDMI dongle that costs only $130. Read more...


Aurasma is an augmented reality application that lets you use a poster or picture as a trigger to load additional interactive content on a user’s mobile device. Read more...


OneNote is a free note-taking application compatible with all major platforms for computers and mobile devices. Read more...


ARIS (Augmented Reality for Interactive Storytelling) is a free online platform that allows you to create educational experiences such as mobile games, tours and interactive stories that can be accessed on iOS mobile devices. Read more...


Doceri is a tablet-based presentation tool with desktop computer remote control and Power Point/Keynote control and annotation. In addition, it may be used as an advanced virtual whiteboard. Read more...


Trello is a web-based organization and collaboration tool that students may use to manage group and project work. Read more...

Google Drive

Google Drive is a free, online storage space for electronic documents and files that users can share and edit together. Read more...

Top Hat

Top Hat is a student response system that allows instructors to conduct class polls, quizzes and text-based, online discussions. It leverages technology that students already have such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. Read more...


Legal Information

The Ed-Tech Observer publications provide general information about educational software and hardware. If you wish to use the software, you are encouraged to work with Procurement Services. If you accept the software’s terms of service, then there may be a contract between you and the vendor, which means the vendor could file a lawsuit against you if a dispute arose and that lawsuit could be filed in another state where the vendor has its headquarters.  If Procurement Services handles the contract with the vendor, then any disputes would be handled by the University instead. In addition, Procurement Services may attempt to negotiate the issues highlighted under “What are the Downsides?” and require the vendor will comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).

Please note that many of the services described here store information outside of the country; consequently, export controlled information should not be used in conjunction with these services.  Nor should these services be used in connection with medical information. 

If you wish to use the hardware, you are encouraged to work with IT Services to research and plan implementation. This helps ensure that the hardware will work with existing audio,- video-, and network infrastructure and that it is feasible to support and maintain. In addition, IT Services may be able to negotiate better prices with vendors or obtain demo units for testing.

As noted in the write-ups, accessibility must always be a consideration when using educational tools.