Back to School with the Best Tech

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It feels like it was only a few weeks ago that summer just begun. Yet somehow that dreaded time of year is once again upon us. The time where our young must return to the classroom to continue cultivating their brilliant minds to one day takeover the world. While some might argue that all students need to succeed are pencils, paper and textbooks, technology is where it’s at to maximize learning in today’s classrooms.

Students now learn on tablets and laptops, download ebooks, submit papers online, connect with their professors and peers via social forums and networks and sometimes even meet with their teachers using Skype or Webinar, just to name a few. Times have certainly changed. These days, students are coming out of college with increasingly more understanding of the worlds’ most up-to-date gadgets and technologies available.

So here are a few ideas of the most useful things to pick up in order to set up your students for success and get them excited about going back to school …


The MacBook Air is a cream of the crop laptop and rightly so. With a price tag around $1,000.00, this laptop not only features dual-core Intel possessors and a battery capacity that will last all day, it is super sleek and lightweight in design so it doesn’t break your back hauling it around from class to class. It’s built to last and easily syncs with accessories. There are a variety of other laptops to choose from starting from around $500.00. These sleek and lightweight laptops can easily be scratched though. You’ll want to pick up something to protect them like the OtterBox Clearly Protected Cover for Macs.


If buying a new laptop is too far out of your budget, a tablet is a great alternative with a lot of options to choose from. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 has a quad-core processor that makes it exceptionally fast and comes with a stylus pen that makes taking notes for class super easy. Not to mention, with the price starting at just $450.00, it’s a hard deal to beat. Either way, a laptop or tablet of any kind is essential for writing papers, doing research, taking notes, getting work done at any time (or place) and ensuring your student never has to worry they forgot an assignment at home. 



Remember when cellular phones first came out and their only function was to make ridiculously expensive phone calls on the go and they looked like this?

Back then, the only people that carried these phones around were wealthy businessmen as a way of showing their status and making business calls while traveling. Well a lot has certainly changed. Phones are now not only MUCH more functional but even the absolute best are much more cheaper  when compared to the Brick. Nowadays, cell phones are more like computerized body appendages to the point where when people lose them, they go into full-on panic mode because their “whole life” is in that phone. Smarphones definitely have many extremely useful features and come with all kinds of apps that are helpful in and out of the classroom; from waking you up when its time for class to helping take notes during lectures. And here’s the best part: if you don’t already have one or are in need of an upgrade  there are tons of two-for-one deals going on for back-to-school so you can snag one for your student while picking something up for yourself!


There’s nothing worse than slaving away on a big project or paper and right as you’re starting to see the light at the end of that tunnel your computer crashes and you lose everything. Not all professors are too forgiving either, especially after they warned their students at the beginning of the year to BACK EVERYTHING up! Computers crash and technology DOES fail so avoid the problem now and make sure you get some sort of back-up system. While Apple devices automatically back up work internally to TimeMachine, it’s a good idea — if you don’t want to get those sobbing, frantic phone calls in the middle of the night after your college student has just lost all their hard work and can’t get it back — to get your student a hard drive of some sort. Seagate offers a portable backup drive for under $100.00 with 1TB of storage — that’s 1000GB!


This pocket sized data storage drive makes transporting data easy when your student doesn’t have the time, or portable workdesk already on them to get their work in on time. It easily connects to any computer and is a great place to store work when you need to print something out on campus. Basically, you can have the work you need with you at all times! Best of all they’re super inexpensive starting around $5.00 for 4GB, and can hold up to 128GB of storage. The PNY Micro Hook Attache is available in a great mid-size storage capacity of 32GB for $25.00 and can attach to any key chain so your student can make sure to never misplace it.

If your feeling exceptionally generous …


Livescribe has come out with a smartpen. This ballpoint pen is embedded with a a computer and a digital audio recorder that enables it to upload any notes that were taken onto your computer and synchronizes those notes with any audio that was recorded. This allows users to replay portions of recordings just by clicking on the relevant portion of the page on screen making studying a breeze! Prices range from about $150.00-$220.00 with back-to-school deals, depending on which capacity you choose so get. Snag them while the deals are hot!


If your student doesn’t already have a solid set of headphones, picking up a pair is not only a great way to block out any noise that may be cluttering their thought process (meaning annoying roommates) but also encourages strong study habits so that they can put to use that Mozart Effect. The MEElectronics Air-Fi AF32 Bluetooth set is comfortable with good sound quality yet is affordable starting around $60.00. These headphones have a built-in mic for making phone calls, sync easily to any device and have 12 hours of battery life off a single charge.

And if you want to be REALLY sweet …

pob-blog-img-08Coffee Machine

Not to say this item is an absolute must-have, but college students spend A LOT of time reading, studying and pulling all-nighters for whatever big assignment they have coming up. And it’s no secret that most college kids are BROKE. Too broke to be hitting up Starbucks every time they need another cup of joe. So one really sweet way to set them up nice is with a small coffee machine they can keep handy for all those nights they’ll be up into the wee hours of the morning working on those As you’re breaking the bank for. Keurig makes a nice little mini plus brewing system that goes for about $100.00 and makes just one cup at a time so you can be sure nothing goes to waste. Or you can always go for the tried and true regular 12-cup makers that start at just $20.00, to support the massive amounts of coffee your little hard worker will be consuming.

About the author

Jacquelyn Rickard

Jacquelyn Rickard

Wanderer. Animal lover. Foodie. Photographer. Amateur do-it-yourselfer and cook--it’s hard to say what I obsess over the most. I love challenges and learning new things. Born and raised in Colorado, other than the 2 years I spent getting in touch with my Filipino roots. I love good beer, adventures and doing anything outdoors. When I’m not obsessing on something, at work or off getting lost somewhere, you can probably find me barbecuing with friends or family, working in my garden or curled up on the couch with a movie and a glass of wine.

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