Going high-tech for back to school

August 16, 2010

When it comes to back-to-school shopping, pencils and composition books are sharing the shopping cart with school supplies that are a lot more high-tech.

Starting with computers for many high school and almost all college students.

"You really do need a computer, if you're writing papers, if you're writing, if you're doing any type of online research, it's really necessary to have a computer," Steve Silver, E-Gear.com online editor, said.

The Apple iPad with its $500 starting price tag gets points for being cool, but thriftier students are opting for mini netbooks which are hundreds of dollars cheaper or traditional laptops.

For students who don't want to carry a laptop to lectures, there's the LiveScribe Smart Pen. It records audio while you take notes and when you tap the note, it'll play back what the professor said.

Smart pens start at $130 and the special notebooks cost $8 to $24 each.

But high-tech isn't just for higher-ed.

Middle school math students are buying graphing calculators, the newest of which connect to a computer.

Students of all ages are carrying their work between school and home on flash drives instead of paper.

And the big trend on all these gadgets is color.

"You don't have your basic black and grays anymore, you have your hot pinks, your blues, all different colors," Lucy Browoleit of STAPLES said.

Even backpacks have gone high-tech, such as one from Microsoft that has a special padded pocket inside to hold your laptop and special pocket of your cell phone or MP3 player.

Even lunch is getting an upgrade: $10 will buy you three reusable plastic containers. The lids contain gel that you freeze overnight to keep your snack or sandwich cold in your locker.

LINK: http://www.livescribe.com/en-us/smartpen/index.html

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