Back to school supply lists are featuring more technology items than ever. Whether you’re shopping for elementary school or college, we’ve rounded up a list of useful tech gear perfect for learning, growing and connecting all year long.
USB Storage Devices
You’d think this is for the college crowd, but school supply lists all the down through elementary school are listing USB storage devices as essentials. Depending on the age of the kids and type of files they will be storing, this is a relatively inexpensive investment with prices ranging from $10 to over $50. (Helpful hint: Buy them in pairs, especially if they are small and easily lost in the depths of a cluttered backpack.)
Headphones and Earbuds
Noise-cancelling headphones are useful for college kids sharing dorm rooms. Earbuds allow kids to connect with Bluetooth devices and listen to podcast, audio lessons, and call mom when they are running late. They are also excellent devices for promoting exercise (no couch potatoes here!), alleviating stress, and giving kids a way to relax after an extra-long study session.
There is a tablet for every age kid and every size budget these days and they have definitely become a staple for learning. Starting at around $40 and ranging up into the multiple hundreds, tablets can be used for access lessons, watching instructional videos, reading ebooks, accessing instructions, taking tests remotely, and pretty much anything else you might need. Classrooms around the country are stocking them as essential gear and companies are making a wide variety of versions to fit every child’s (or adult’s) needs.
Smartphone batteries only last so long, and long days in college classes can drain laptops. But luckily backup battery options are inexpensive, easy to fit into pockets, purses or backpacks, and have enough power to charge a cellphone up to three times. There are options in all sizes and strength, ranging from around $20 to multiple hundreds. If you’re just looking to keep a smart phone charge for a long day of classes, a small charger like the Anker PowerCore Slim 5000 will do the trick. For powering laptops on long trips or during marathon weekend business retreats, look into chargers like the Mophie Powerstation AC.
You won’t see this on any school supply list, but an essential for any learner is sleep. Science has proven that our brains need sleep to function, it’s non-negotiable. Lack of sleep causes forgetfulness, irritability, brain fog, and reduces the ability to learn. It also reduces creativity and productivity. Technology can come to the rescue even with sleep by investing in devices that support a more restful environment. White noise machines, apps with meditative sounds, or health trackers that give us a deeper view into our nighttime patterns are all a great investment for learning at any age.