We want our kids to have every advantage when it comes to their education, and these days, technology is one of the things that closes the gap between good and great. I have a college student of my own, and these are the tech tools that are on our wish list.
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It has been proven that you retain more information when you write your notes rather than type them, but your student may have become used to typing notes already. College is expensive, and they can’t afford – and you can’t afford – for them to miss a single thing. A smart pen and tablet essentially allows them to take notes, and sends those notes to their phone or computer. It also records the lectures simultaneously, so with the professor’s permission of course, your student can sync his or her handwritten notes with the professor’s lecture, then go back and tag your notes, organize them and convert them into digital text.
- Writing notes is better than typing them
- Smart pen records professor and syncs audio with handwritten notes
- Converts notes to digital text
- Livescribe Smart Pen starts at about $180 and has free shipping with Amazon Prime (Prime is a must have for your student!)
When I was in school, I was one of a very small number of students who had a desktop computer in my room, and THAT was the extent of the learning technology that I had. Now, you can’t do anything without a laptop that you can carry with you. You need it to register for classes, housing, to access the syllabus, type and submit papers, get feedback from professors, everything. A lot of kids don’t take televisions to school anymore because they watch movies and tv shows on their laptops as well. Getting a great, reliable laptop is key. A crash is devastating for a college student. When you are shopping, consider a laptop with a solid state drive or SSD. They are really quiet, fast, and while more expensive your student may find it more reliable. They aren’t always ideal for gaming, but you might be okay with that – not sure about your student – but I hope my son spends most of his time studying.
- Replaces the TV
- Required for most activities from class to registration
- More reliable
- But – more expensive
- Lenovo Yoga touch screen with SSD starts around $675 and with Amazon Prime… FREE SHIPPING!
Small printer/portable wireless printer
We all hope that our student will be prepared for everything, study ahead of time, write papers for the three weeks they are assigned, not at the last minute, but most will have at least one paper or assignment that they saved for the last minute.
Having a printer in their rooms will give them an advantage when they computer labs are packed with other kids who also waited til the last minute, or the printers or down, or they have used their printing budget and the paper is due in an hour.
There are also wireless portable printers that your student can carry just in case they get to the lab and there is an issue with the printing. I like to say that technology can be the difference between life or F when it comes to school.
- HP sprocket – prints fun mini photos, about $129, Free shipping with Prime of course…
- HP mobile printer, wireless, battery powered – $250 to $300, I had this for law school, it is a lifesaver…
- HP deskjet – comes in several colors, compact, prints photos and documents – You can get the 3752 model which is instant ink ready with wireless printing for under $50, or go up to the 3755 model for under $70.
Believe it or not, I had a cell phone in college. Back then there were two types – the type that was actually connected to your car, and one that you could carry around in a bag called a “bag phone.” Mine was connected to my car, so it was only a mobile phone if I was actually in the car and moving. Today, of course, kids have phones that fit in their pockets and that do much more than make phone calls. Most likely the school has an app that allows them to take care of a lot of administrative things for themselves.
If you have a student who is into photography and does not want to take their DSLR camera with them, you can give them the new Samsung S8 or one similar to it. The camera is phenomenal. We actually took some of my son’s senior portraits with it, and people swore I used the big camera. Even if they aren’t into photography, they can capture so many wonderful college memories and share them with you and their friends. The phone is a great way to keep you connected to your kids. Not too connected though, we have to let them go a little.
- Good camera
- Lots of storage for photos and apps
- Long battery life
- Samsung S8 edge, buy for 750 dollars or lease for about 25 dollars a month depending on the carrier
When he or she has stayed up all night working on a presentation only to get to class and find that the professor doesn’t know how to connect the projector, or the projector isn’t working, you can make sure they have a back up plan. You may need to invest a little more if they will be doing presentations that use text, because resolutions vary, but college is more expensive and competitive than ever, so if you want that A, you’ll have to find a way to have that edge. There are portable LED projectors that are a little larger than a cell phone that will allow your student to project there presentations on to a wall or screen.
- Great extra gadget to have
- Good backup plan to reduce anxiety at presentation time
- Can project movies and tv on the wall instead of buying a TV
- Various brands from 150 to 500 dollars.
Are you thinking about getting any of these for your student? Which ones do you think will be the most useful to them (or to you)? Share your thoughts in the comments.