Back-to-school tech gadgets

August 26, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Cat Schwartz, eBay gadget and toy director, and better known to us as "The Hi-Tech Mommy," returns to show you the latest back-to-school educational tech toys.

Now if you're shooting for Dean's List - this is going to be a must-have in the classroom. This is the Pulse Smart Pen from Livescribe and it's not only changing the way we take notes - but it's also helping kids prepare better for exams. Here's how it works. It's a computer in a pen - and what it does is record live audio and links it to what you write. So when it's time to review - just go back and tap on your notes and you'll hear everything that was recorded. You'll never miss a word. And what's cool too is that you can transfer the recordings and notes to your PC or MAC to share and e-mail around.

Ok moving on to K-12 - we know those kids are going to need some help with homework and Mom isn't going to always have the answers! A great resource to check out is Verizon's Thinkfinity. Verizon has teamed up with National Geographic, the Smithsonian and other who's who in education to create a fun website where kids can learn and get homework help. There are thousands of FREE interactive activities, videos and games - and kids can get help on writing that book report or science fair project. All material is teacher approved so Moms, you know it's a safe place for your kids to go online. Check it out at www.thinkfinity.org/backtoschool.

Make it fun - and make it relevant to their tech savvy lifestyle. For example, check these out -- these are the Barbie B-Smart and the PC Trainer Learning Laptops from Oregon Scientific. They are packed with tons of educational games that are fun for kids - this one (Barbie B-Smart) has over 70 games and activities in math, spelling, logic and memory - some even in Spanish. But what's fun for them is they get to play them while having the "grown-up" feel of a real laptop. Look this one even comes with a mousepad and headphones. Just like Mom and Dads!

Back to School isn't just about the kids - it's def about us Mom's too and we all know how busy and stressed out this time can be. And of course this year, we are all tight on budget. Well DisneyFamily.com has created a great new resource for moms at family.com/backtoschool and you'll want to check it out. You'll find all sorts of tips and info - including cost cutting ideas and coupons for Moms - and ideas for budget friendly after school activities. A great resource for parents. There's even a spot on there for you to enter the college savings sweepstakes and enter for a chance to win $2500 towards your child college education. family.go.com/sweeps/college-savings/

Mentor InterActive, Inc., the children's interactive "edutainment" company born out of the University of Colorado at Boulder, is entering the fast growing educational products and services market with their new product line. After years of research and development, Mentor InterActive has partnered with 1st Playable Productions, LLC to develop My Virtual Tutor? Reading Adventures-a series of educational interactive electronic learning tools-from the proven Foundations to Literacy? software.

Netbooks, notebooks, little laptops, whatever you call 'em, they're hot! These little powerhouses pack in the techno strength of a regular sized computer and are the one tool every student needs to stay ahead of the learning curve. These ultra-portable systems allow students to work from anywhere, whether it's in the classroom or at the library.

The size is perfect for small dorm rooms, the webcam is great for keeping in touch, the inputs are essential for connecting to printers and phones, and the sub $500 price tag is the bow around this perfect package. I'm seeing a huge variety of netbooks on eBay and because they are already priced so well you can score some great deals on new, like new or refurbished so check it out!

Digital Message Board

When students set up their dorm rooms they always set up a message board outside their door for fellow students to leave homework assignments, schedule updates, set a study date or just to say "hi".

This version is for the next generation of students who are used to a hi-tech lifestyle. Not only can you leave an "old skool" white board message, but with the Home Base Message Center, friends can also leave pictures and even video messages!

Solar Powered Backpack

Often students leave their room first thing in the morning for class or work and then don't get back until after dinner. If they have all of their gadgets running, the batteries can get pretty drained. This backpack gets is charge from solar energy and keeps all your tech power juiced up!

For more information, visit www.hitechmommy.com


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