While it’s hard to believe just how fast summer has flown by, the new school season is finally here and in full swing for students of all ages. With millions of teens, tweens, and school-aged kids returning or preparing to head back to classrooms nationwide, now’s the perfect time to consider giving your family’s learning experience a 21st century upgrade. Offering a more engaging and interactive approach to lectures, lessons and guided instruction, technology provides a great hands-on complement to traditional teaching methods, helping kids get more out of every learning exercise. Here, we’ve teamed up with some top tech companies to highlight a number of great gadgets that can enhance education both inside and out of the classroom.
Right off the bat, one tip to keep in mind when shopping for a new computer, laptop or tablet is to start by picking an operating system that offers students lots of learning tools. With Windows 8 devices, for example, you get support for programs like Office 365 University, multitasking tools like Snap, study apps like Flashcards Pro, and free online backup and sharing with SkyDrive. There’s a wide range of Windows 8 devices for every need and budget as well: The OS is available on desktop, portable and tablet PCs alike. Right now, Microsoft is currently running a “Chip-In” program where friends and family can contribute money towards the purchase of a Windows 8 PC as well: Microsoft will actually chip in a 10% discount with free shipping and no tax – a great deal, especially if you’re on a budget.
One of many great laptops that runs the operating system and comes highly recommended for college and high school students is the HP Pavilion 11 TouchSmart Notebook, which is powered by the latest AMD A-series dual-core processor. In plain English, that means that students can enjoy a super-powerful, touchscreen laptop that’s well-suited to education or entertainment purposes. Lightweight and portable, the system also happens to be surprisingly affordable, clocking in at under $400. One feature you’ll especially enjoy about the HP TouchSmart notebook is that it can also resume from sleep mode in seconds for fast access to email, social media, music and more, given built-in AMD Start Now Technology. A fun and user-friendly study tool, it’s also an unexpectedly cost-conscious solution as well.
If your student is one of many who uses their iPhone to access educational apps and study, organize and learn, then you also know that battery life can be a concern as well. Thankfully, Duracell’s Powermat iPhone 5 solutions offer a way to more than double your iPhone 5’s battery life so you’re never caught without power. Its handy AccessCase protects your device, while snap-on, snap-off battery attachments let you pack as much power as you need and a portable TravelMat allows for easy to-go wireless charging. The company also just came out with its new wireless backup battery line called Go Power which works with both micro and regular USB port devices – i.e. many popular mobile gadgets. It offers three backup battery power options, so no matter how long students are away from power sources, they can keep their devices from dying.
If you’re looking for more awesome educational apps and gadgets, you might also check out the following solutions, just a few of many high-tech learning tools now available to students.
- Evernote – Clips and stores text, photos, web pages and more so you never lose track of your thoughts.
- PBS Parents Play and Learn – Offers fun games and activities that teach kids about math, reading and more.
- Graphing Calculator – Saves you from buying a standalone scientific calculator.
- Learn With Homer – Introduces children to the magic of reading.
- Studious – Helps with planning and organizing homework assignments.
- Kindle Paperwhite – The popular eBook reader offers on-demand access to thousands of textbooks, books, and periodicals.
- Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case – Protects your tablet PC while adding a travel-friendly physical keyboard, great for typing longer documents.
- Microsoft Surface Pro – Provides a powerful and versatile hands-on portable computing experience, marrying the best features of tablet PCs and traditional laptops.
- Parrot Zik Headphones – In addition to awesome audio quality, these critically-acclaimed cans also offer noise-canceling capabilities, handy when studying in shared spaces or during late-night cram sessions.
From massively online open courses to learning apps, it’s clear that technology is quickly reshaping the face of education. The good news for kids, parents and teachers alike: You can’t find a better tool to instantly grab and engage students.