Back To School Tech Checklist

With that time of year coming up sooner than kids would like to think about, parents should start to think about the items their kids will need to go back to school. To help with the process, below is a checklist of tech items to consider for your child as they head back to school:

1. Laptop

It’s almost impossible for students to get by without a computer these days. As a parent, I understand that cost is an important consideration when shopping for school supplies. As such, I always try to look at tech purchases for my kids as investments. For this reason, I recommend getting your child a laptop instead of a desktop computer. A laptop will give them more flexibility as their educational needs change and they need to be more mobile.


To provide further flexibility, I recommend looking at laptops that can convert into tablets. The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga is just one example of a convertible laptop.


 2. Tablet

Tablets great tools for students, as they’re easy to transport and offer a wealth of educational tools. At just a pound or two, students can easily put these devices in backpacks or messenger bags. In fact, they also fit in purses—if you happen to have a teenage daughter.


With productivity applications such as Office 365, which are optimized for tablets, a tablet is an important tool in a student’s arsenal.


3. Tablet keyboard

Having a laptop that converts into a laptop is great—your student gets the best of both worlds in one device. By the same token, being able to give your student’s tablet laptop functionality can come in handy. That’s where a tablet keyboard comes in. Having a tablet keyboard can give your child the functionality of a computer in a tablet. Of course, the applications loaded on the tablet will determine how useful this keyboard proves to be for your child.


 4. Smartphone

Like most other parents, I don’t love the idea of smartphones in classrooms. That being said, a smartphone can be a useful tool for teenage students. For starters, there are many educational apps that students can take advantage of. For example, several years ago parents had to invest in graphing calculators for advanced math courses, such as Mathematics 12 in British Columbia. These devices were not only expensive, but they frequently went unused after students completed the course. These days, students can download an app on their smartphone that will perform the operations these calculators were designed to perform.


In addition to useful apps, smartphones offer parents peace of mind. It’s nice to know that your child is just a phone call away when they miss curfew or you’re running late to pick them up from soccer practice.


5. Portable charger

With all these devices in tow, something is bound to run out of juice when your kids least expect it. That’s where portable chargers come in handy. These little devices allow you to plug in and top up your battery on the go. With on of these gadgets there won’t be any excuses for not being able to answer the phone.


6. Office 365

Microsoft’s new Office 365 gives your student all the useful applications older versions of Office offered. The key difference here is that Office 365 lives in the cloud and gives your kids access to all their applications and files anywhere. It also means that they won’t have to download updates to the software.


Are there any gadgets you’re considering picking up for your kids for back to school? Tells us about them in the comments.

By Mike Agerbo

August 12, 2014