9 tech gadgets for teenagers headed back to school

Teens love tech. Their connection is virtually unbreakable.

As the first day of school looms large, there is no reason why high school students need to leave their treasured tech gadgets behind.

In fact, today’s technology isn’t merely about social media and games. Many apps and devices can help students study better, stay organized and even track down scholarship opportunities for college.

Here are nine technology must-haves for any high school student:

Memory flash drives

There’s nothing worse than staying up all night working on an assignment and not being able to turn it in. Maybe it’s printer problems or an email to the teacher didn’t send properly. A memory flash drive quickly stores any paper, slideshow presentation or even video project and makes it portable to anywhere. Students can start on a project at school and then pick right up where they left off at home.

Starting at less than $10, memory flash drives are an inexpensive option to keep students’ work right in their pocket and always ready to go.

Portable chargers

One of the biggest challenges teenagers face with their smartphones is keeping them charged. Nothing freaks them out then seeing a low battery warning and not being able to find a place to plug in for a charge. Portable chargers take away that anxiety. Most chargers fit nicely into a pocket or a purse and can charge a smartphone battery within a couple of hours.

Prices for these life savers start at less than $10.

Printers

With today’s cloud technology and portable storage options, printers may sound like a reverse step. However, most teachers still require the classic printed pages for a paper or project.

Advances in printing technology has made color and photo printers affordable for almost anyone and small enough to fit easily on a desk. Students can find printers just for photos, but the best bet is to find a wireless model that prints, scans and (yes) even faxes. These options all come in handy throughout a school career.

Khan Academy smartphone app

Khan Academy offers lessons in every subject, from basic arithmetic to chemistry. The interactive lessons allow any student with a smartphone or tablet to get the extra review they want or need to get to the head of the class.

The app saves students’ progress as they go, so whether they log in to their smartphone or move over to another device, they can pick right up where they left off.

Khan Academy can be purchased through Apple or the Google Play store.

Backup drives

A backup drive is the next step up from a memory flash drive. These devices are meant to save entire computer systems in case of a catastrophic failure.

The massive difference between these drives and their memory stick little brothers is size. Where a memory stick usually averages between 8GB and 128GB, backup drives now go all the way up to 4TB, which means multiple computers’ data can be stored safely. Many drives can be scheduled to run a backup, making the process simple.

With students creating bigger and better projects every year, every one should have a backup drive next to their computer to save on major headaches in the face of computer disaster.

Scholarship finder apps

Every student from freshmen to seniors can use a scholarship app to help track down money for their post-high school education. The earlier they start, the more money students can potentially find and secure before graduation.

Students can use apps like Scholarships.com (Apple/Google Play) and Scholly (Apple/Google Play) to start their financial search and start applying.

SAT/ACT prep apps

Two tests that rattle even the most dedicated students’ nerves are the SAT and the ACT. These test results can mean the difference between getting into to a favorite college and even how much scholarship money a student can earn.

Students can carry around a test-preparation handbook in their smartphones by downloading a variety of apps including ACT Up (Apple/Google Play), Daily Practice for the New SAT, Prep4SAT, SAT/ACT Flashcards and SAT UP.

Smartphone tripods

Teens take photos and video with their smartphones. And, while most use them for social media, there are more scholarly applications for these mini tripods.

Some students may want to record class lectures or group discussions (ask the teacher first!). Others may be working on a project that requires photos and videos; using a tripod significantly improves the quality of product by reducing shaking and blur.

These tripods can be tucked easily into a backpack and set up in seconds. Note: some smartphones require an adapter to use a tripod. Make sure to read product descriptions to learn about what your phone needs.

Portable speakers

All work and no play makes students seriously sad.

Teenagers need their tunes to let loose and relieve a little stress. Many also use music to keep them focus during study and homework sessions.

A portable speaker keeps the tunes going no matter where a student goes. Look for a small, but durable speaker for active teenagers. Many speakers are even waterproof, so singing in the shower is much more fun.

 

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