Six must-have gadgets and tech for student success this fall

Must-have tech gadgets

Must-have tech gadgets

What will the well-equipped student be carrying this fall? It used to be enough to have books, paper and pencils in class. If you were a techie you might have a souped up calculator or (wow!) a small voice recorder. Now, college students are more likely to carry a tablet or smartphone instead of a shoulder bag stuffed with books. Many student resources are located online and student success depends even more on your ability to access the Internet at any moment. What are the gadgets and tech resources that you should have for the fall? Let’s take a look.

Smart student – smartphone

The smartphone is quickly taking on the role of communication, research, GPS, shopping and reading device. For this reason, the well-equipped student should consider having a smartphone with Internet access. You’ll be able to text fellow students and teachers, read your online textbook, and access student resources online.

Just don’t fall into the trap of overusing the phone in the classroom. You could lose out when it comes to classroom success. Could smartphones make you stupid? Brittany A. Harman and Toru Sato researched that question and reported their findings in a 2011article, “Cell Phone Use and Grade Point Average among Undergraduate University Students” for the College Student Journal.

In doing the background research for their article, Harman and Sato found that frequent cell phone use among high school students led to school failure while another study showed that texting in class resulted in lower grades.

“Finally, a study by End, Worthman, Mathews, & Wetterau (2010) found that students who experience a cell phone intrusion are often unable to identify the lecture material discussed during the disruption and suggested that these intrusions could potentially impair the learning process,” Harman and Sato said. Their own research confirmed previous studies that showed a relationship between texting in class and lower grade point averages.

Laptop

They say that small is beautiful, but if you find your smartphone too small to do all that you would like, then the next gadget on your shopping list will be a lightweight laptop. Whether you decide on a Mac or PC device pretty much depends on what you want to do on the computer and what software you want to run. Or maybe you’re just a confirmed Mac user and that’s the end of it.

The great thing is that now, you can run both Mac and Windows programs on your Mac as explained in a May 22, 2012 article for HeraldStandard.com titled, “Five must-have tech gifts for the college bound.”

According to the article, “Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac allows users to run both Mac and Windows apps at the same time on their Mac, without the need to restart the computer. The software allows users to copy, cut and paste between Windows and Mac apps, and run other systems like Google Chrome or Windows 8 Consumer Preview. It also works with the Parallels Mobile app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch so users can access and run everything on their Mac from anywhere.”

Take a tablet and call me in the morning

You’ve got a smartphone and laptop. Do you really need a tablet? According to an article posted by Jignesh on May 22, 2012 on Elta Learning.com, the answer is, “Yes.” In his article titled, “Top 10 Gadgets Students Need for Success in Higher Education,” Jignesh listed gadgets that students should consider using and explained why a tablet is on the list when he said, “With a laptop and a smartphone, isn’t a tablet a bit superfluous? This same sentiment was echoed when the tablet was first introduced, but its consistent popularity in the tech world has proven that tablets do possess unique value for its users. Students who want to maintain access to the Internet, apps and important files for school can do so without having to bring their heavy and expensive laptops to class each time.”

Other gadgets and resources

These apps and gadgets can help students be more productive and efficient. Yeah! More time for Angry Birds!

Evernote Peek for the iPad:  create a digital flashcard system when combined with Apple’s Smart Cover. The app is free but Smart Cover could cost about $40.

Google Drive: Google’s new cloud computing site will give you 5 GB of data space that you can use to store your files and share with your Mac, PC, or Android device. You’ll also be able to link to your iPhone or iPad soon.

Smart pen: A smart pen such as the one from LiveScribe allows you to record notes as you write; it will also record audio that can be played back when you’re ready to study.

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