It’s August, and while I’d say a good deal of people actually go back to school in September, our school district only starts a couple weeks from now! So with all the school supply lists making their way to your shopping list, I’m going to let you know the things that won’t exactly be on the list, but could definitely be beneficial for your back to school needs.
High School and College Age
A Tablet/Laptop Hybrid – Something like the Lenovo ThinkPad 10 (which is very similar to the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 that we are giving away right now!) is a perfect device for students. It’s more like a tablet making it super light and portable, but you can purchase an additional keyboard to make it just as functional as a laptop for all those papers you need to write. The best part for a student about the Lenovo is that it comes with a digital pen, which will make taking notes of diagrams from teachers and professors so much easier!
High Tech Calculator – You know at some point in your children’s educational career a graphing calculator will end up on the list. The good news it’s a great investment. Heck…. I STILL have my TI-82 from when I was in high school (almost 20 years ago), and it STILL works! There is a great little comparison chart on the Texas Instruments webpage to help you decide which calculator is right for your student’s needs.
A Student Planner App – I’m sure your high school bound or even college bound student already has a phone, which is why it’s not included here as a “new purchase” need. What they may NOT have though, is a killer student planner app. The My Homework app is the BEST student planner available. One of my favorite things about it, is that it’s available cross platform (meaning they have Apple, Android, Windows and even web based ways to access your information)
Portable Power – With all these high tech devices, power is something we are always trying to get more of. A portable charger is basically an essential now. You could chose something super functional and powerful like the myCharge, or something stylish and fun like the Halo Pocket Charger.
For All Ages
Storage – As you create papers, and do research projects, you are going to start amassing files. Lots and lots of files. I carry a USB drive on my keychain to have my important files available to me at all times. Even if you use a service like Dropbox or OneDrive, it’s nice to have physical copies, just in case there ever is a reason you can’t access the files from the web. USB drives are very in-expensive now, and you can get 16 GB for around $20 or less! Once you get into college though, and you need more storage (maybe your entire ripped DVD collection, or your vast array of music?) something like NetGear’s ReadyNAS might be just the ticket. NAS stands for Network Attached Storage, meaning exactly what it sounds like.
For the Younger Folks
A Computer – Now you don’t have to go out and get your child their very own computer, BUT I do recommend having a computer that is mainly for the children’s use. Many schools have homework that is online. For example my daughter’s math assignments are located on a website and she does all the problems through the web. When you have several children, and they all need to get online to get their homework done… one family computer just isn’t going to cut it. I recommend something smaller, so in case they need to spread all their books out on the kitchen table, the computer is able to come with them. My favorite right now is the Lenovo Yoga 11s. You can stand it up in “tent mode” while you are looking through books, use it as a tablet, or just use it as a regular laptop go write a paper. It’s a great little device that will be powerful enough to handle all of your kids’ needs.
A Form of Communication – Parents these days get really nervous about when their child isn’t in their care. I guess parents were probably ALWAYS nervous, but now with constant access to technology, we want to know their every move… because we CAN. If sending your child off to school all day, or to sports practice, or to any other extra curricular activities (even just going to a friends house after school) makes you break out in hives, then maybe it’s time to get them a way to communicate with you. Sprint offers a great little device called WeGo that will definitely help ease your mind. Gone are the days of carrying a quarter with you “just in case” (do payphones even still exist??)
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com