Aug. 9, 2011 -- Gearing up for back to school has never looked so cool.
The days of clunky backpacks and heavy Trapper Keepers are long ago and far away. Today’s students are more tech savvy than ever, so to keep them on track with their studies and up to date with their tech tools, we break down this year's must-have back-to-school gadgets.
Content provided by FoxNews.com/SciTech
The Smartest Pen You'll Ever Use
If you're frantically writing notes on every word your professor says in a class, you're likely to miss something.
The Livescribe smart pen is essentially a ballpoint pen with a tiny computer, microphone and digital audio recorder. The pen records what you write on its special paper and synchronizes those notes with any audio it has recorded.
To hear what a professor said when you jotted down a particular note, all you have to do is tap the note with your pen to listen to that section of the lecture again.
“Smart pens make excellent tools for students who have difficulty taking accurate notes,” Steve Kovach, a gadget editor with Businessinsider.com, told FoxNews.com. “It’s probably the best way to make sure you’ll never miss a thing while you’re busy scribbling away in class.”
The Hottest E-Reader
School textbooks don’t come cheap. The national average a student spent for books and supplies at a four-year public college in 2010-11 was $1,137. A Kindle, Amazon’s wireless reading device, is a smart and practical purchase for just $139.
The Amazon Kindle comes with a free built-in 3G connection that allows you to download thousands of books from Amazon.com. Kindles are used just like any regular textbook in that students can make bookmarks, highlight and make notes on text.
“The Amazon Kindle is one of the best ebook readers on the market. And now you can even rent textbooks from the Kindle store,” Dan Costa, Editor-in-chief of PCMag.com, told FoxNews.com.
Mobile Alarm Clocks
We all struggle to get out of bed when our alarm clocks go off. And the snooze button becomes our best friend, conveniently helping make us late or rushed to class.
Mobile alarm clocks, such as those that fly or jump up and roll around will get you up and out on time -- snooze button not included.
When the alarm goes off on the Flying Alarm Clock the propeller-like top charges up and flies into the air. The only way to turn off the alarm is to jump out of bed, find the flying top and return it back to the clock base.
Clocky and Tocky, from Nanda Home, jump off your nightstand and roll around on the floor until you turn them off.
“If you're late for class a lot because you hit the snooze button too much, moving alarm clocks are probably your best bet," advised Kovach.
A Smorgasbord of Apps for That New Tablet
Although smaller than bulky laptops, tablets still offer just as many applications and features. We'll leave the choice of tablet up to you (and your budget); but remember that most provide downloadable applications that can help you cram for your next big test or paper.
For example, the FlashCards Plus app lets you do away with stacks of paper index cards. With this app you can quiz yourself by creating fill in the blank, matching, multiple choice and true/false questions on digital flash cards.
The Study Buddy app keeps track of your actual study and break time to help you manage your time and study sessions. And the Essay Planner app is great for student procrastinators. It creates your own “plan of attack” based on an interactive self-assessment to help quickly organize your paper when crunched for time.
The Ultimate Backpack
Sending your kids off to school can be nerve-wracking. So any extra safety measures your kids take can help and comfort a worried parent.
The Ultimate Laptop Backpack -- which has a built-in siren and strobe light -- provides students with an extra level of mobile personal security. In seconds, you can activate two high decibel sirens and a high intensity strobe light to attract immediate attention to a dangerous or harmful situation.
“When we look at predators, bullies or anyone that wishes our young harm, we see that they are afraid of getting caught and getting hurt,” Steve Kardian, a school safety and security expert, told FoxNews.com. “I’m a strong believer in go to people, be with people, attract as much attention as you can when you are confronted,” he said.
Whether you’re buying someone their first tablet or looking for some ideas on essential gadgets, these high-tech necessities will be what every student needs to succeed at school this year.