‘Digital Must-Haves’ for Back to school

For parents everywhere, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. By now, everyone is probably stocked up on their notebooks, pens, pencils, markers, you name it. And while kids of all ages are using technology more and more in the classroom, college-age kids, especially, employ technology in virtually every aspect of their academic and personal lives. So, if your youngster is either back on campus, or on their way, here are five must-have digital devices to round out your back-to-school technology shopping list:

• Tablets: Tablets are the “it” gadget this season, and make perfect sense for a college student. They’re light-weight and are incredibly portable. Their sleek, stylish design and touch-screen interface appeal to college students used to a touch screen phone.

Even if your college-age child already has a netbook or laptop he’ll be taking to school, a tablet can be a useful addition to his technological toolbox. Tablets like the ViewSonic ViewPad, which uses the Intel Atom processor , provide convenience, speed and the ability to integrate and communicate with other popular handheld electronics. The ViewSonic runs Windows 7 and Microsoft applications, and you can run Android on top with fun Android applications.

• Smart TV: Your kid will be the envy of all of their dorm mates with a smart TV system as it takes the entertainment experience to a whole new level. Devices like Boxee Box, allow you to watch shows, films and Internet content on your TV, using an included HDMI cable and your wireless or Ethernet Internet connection. The device allows users to play on their TV virtually any media they can play on their computer, including video, music or photos.

• Netbook: For times when a keyboard may be more convenient than a tablet, but you still don’t want to lug a full-size laptop, netbooks offer convenient, reliable Internet access. The hottest thing in operating systems is Google’s Chrome, and the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook, powered by a dual-core Intel Atom processor, is one of the options for Chromebook (the other option is from Acer). The combination of leading-edge processing speeds, the flexibility and convenience of a netbook, along with Chrome’s browsing power, gives users access to more than 10,000 online applications, including popular games and productivity apps.

Another noteworthy netbook is the Asus Eee PC X101, which includes a solid-state drive (SSD) and a three-cell battery that make it thinner and ligther than other netbooks on the market.

• GPS: If your student is unfamiliar with their college town, a GPS can be a saving grace. They can find their way easily to the grocery store to stock up on important items like ramen noodles and Easy Mac, and other local supply stores, restaurants and more.

• Digital camera: College is a time to make memories and friendships that last a lifetime, so what is more necessary than a digital camera. Also, a digital camera can come in handy for various school projects that require visuals and media.

Here are two other good back to school gadget lists that provide more options worthy to consider: