Smart speaker interpretations

Can Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s Siri understand your child?

Young children, who are just learning to articulate, often end up laughing at the way smart speakers interpret their language.

Reviewers indicate that Amazon’s Echo Dot might be better at responding correctly through accents and mis-pronunciations.


TV borrows from video games

Virtual and augmented reality TV is coming to Nickelodeon.

A new television series will attempt to create the “immersive experience” kids like in their video games.

Roll-out date has not been set.

The security arsenal expands

I’m surprised that conversations about school safety have barely touched on what promises to be a huge issue: school use of facial recognition technology.

Some question the accuracy of the technology, requesting testing across demographics, but the biggest concern has focused on privacy. Future discussions will undoubtedly include the potential of federal oversight, but it’s definitely a potential tool to consider in a school security arsenal.

Birth of a new toy catalog

Kids who spent hours pouring over the annual Toys’R Us Big Book will soon have a new visual wish list.

Amazon is gearing up to print a holiday catalog to fill the gap. Look for the toy catalog at the end of this month in Whole Foods (conveniently owned by Amazon.)

Shrinking the school support gap

As a PTA president, I was on the frontline as our parents worked diligently to sell groceries, sponsor a gigantic carnival and support their children’s sale of magazines. Earnings contributed to making our school healthy and vibrant.

Some parent teacher organizations are being asked to donate their hard-earned funds to other schools, often in lower economic areas.
Often, these moms and dads can’t invest time or money to support education through school parent organizations. As a result, some of these initiatives are causing friction.

Sharing the wealth has always been a sensitive issue without easy answers, but now it’s even hitting parent organizations in our schools.

Gender blur

As an children’s author, I have a front row view of the trends in popular names.

During a recent book signing, I noticed that Charlie, Parker and Jordan can be names for boys or girls. It was obvious that the swing toward gender neutral names continues.

Foodies go to school

The foodie trend has entered schools, as fashion-conscious students wear t-shirts that feature favorite foods.

Even fast food brands have become walking billboards! All that free publicity is welcomed by ad execs who watch the budget.