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Should I Buy That Gadget?

What Works for Students?


These days it's hard to justify a big-ticket purchase if it's not really useful for fun and for education. But the good news for parents is that most gadgets will do both! Find out which supplies and gadgets are really helpful for students, and which you might want to pass over.

1. Apple iPad

What is it you really want to do? Because whatever it is, you can probably do it on the iPad. With the many thousands of educational applications that are available, this product is the most versatile and useful for students from grade school to college. There is absolutely no reason to put this one off--except for the price. The good news? The least expensive version of this gadget is still better than the competition.

2. Livescribe Pulse Pen

Livescribe’s Pulse© smartpen is an actual ink pen that records what you’re writing and what you’re hearing as you take lecture notes. Anyone who has ever struggled at the back of an auditorium trying to make notes will love this product. If you can spare $150-200 for a pen, and if the student is willing to take the time to use it right, this product could make a monumental difference. Is it worth the purchase price? Yes.

3. Wacom Bamboo Tablet Pen

This gadget is a great tool for doodling and drawing, but it's also a great device for marking up PDFs with circles and highlights. That ability alone makes this a great gift for college students, who receive many reading assignments in the form of PDFs. 

4. Doxie Portable Scanner

Slip this portable scanner into your book bag, and it will be a lifesaver when you need to capture an image for a presentation--or it will be your best friend on those days when you lose your lecture notes and you have a test coming up. Share notes and images with your study group using this handy gadget.

5. iPod Touch

The iPod Touch  could be one of the best study tools ever invented, if students want to use it this way. This little gem can do anything a laptop can do, with the right applications loaded. It can quiz students with thousands of flashcards, it can hold tutorials and games, and it can become a document editor. Students can email, chat, work on projects--just about everything a student needs to do. This is a definite yes to the question, "Can my child use this tool to study?"

6. Amazon Kindle

This e-reader didn't start out as a good choice for students; it was much too limited and too expensive at first. But it's getting better and better with each model. It's also coming down in price!

Students can download thousands of books and read them or store them for later--and many classic books that students need to read are available for free. With the new Kindle, students can also mark up PDFs and textbooks with highlights and notes. 

What's more, students can listen to textbooks as they relax, with the new text-to-speech option. E-readers are finally becoming totally student friendly!

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