Andrew Harmon



As the Alice Cooper “School’s Out For Summer” starts to fade and everyone starts to get used to waking up early again for that yearly battle with academics. We compiled a list of gadgets that you will definitely be needing for the coming year. Now we won’t focus too much on the really young ones more towards the 4th and 5th graders who will need these gadgets more and more everyday.


Flash Drives
Now with schools moving closer and closer to an all digital age it is getting even more important to keep all the work you do and with a flash drive you will get just that. A small simple USB connected device that now-a-days can hold over 64GB worth of memory. That should be more than enough memory for the year. The reason I am putting this on the list is very simple. School kids need to be able to have all their work readily available and plus you can take it home and show it off and not have to riffle through a backpack and grab your notebook and thumb through papers. Just pop it in and bring up the folder. Simple as that, plus they are easily found in WalMart and at a great price.


IRISNotes 2 - Smart Pen
Last time I did this list I mentioned the Echo Smartpen, which records audio while you write on a special notebook and all your writings are stored and then can be uploaded to the computer later. Well this time I take a look at a device that will challenge that device. It is called the IRISNotes 2.

As simple as putting pen to paper, the IRISNotes 2 captures notes and drawings anytime, anywhere without a computer. Using a battery-powered pen and receiver clipped to the top of a standard sheet of paper, hand movements are tracked and recorded. No special paper needed! The receiver stores up to 100 pages of text, downloads the information to a computer and then I.R.I.S’ Optical Character Recognition application converts handwriting into electronic text that can be sent to Word, Outlook, Notepad, etc.

It’s available in two different versions: Express and Executive. The IRISNotes Express 2 is a battery powered pen that comes with 4 replacement batteries and aluminum carrying case. The IRISNotes Executive 2 has an executive style finish and comes with rechargeable battery, leather carrying pouch and 30-pin connector to share notes directly to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. With IRISNotes Executive 2, users can write and draw on photos taken with their iOS device and can be shared immediately on Facebook or Flicker.

The IRISNotes 2 Express and IRISNotes 2 Executive are now available for $99 and $149 respectively at


Scribe - $32.99

Work smarter, not harder. Scribe is a modular desk for your bed that hangs when it’s not in use. Sleek features that hold your books and keep pens from rolling out of reach help you stay organized, while the unique hanging function keeps everything close at hand. College just got a little easier!

-Designed to hang securely on standard dorm room bed frames
-Two work surfaces to alternate writing and working on a laptop
-Convenient carrying handle
-Five elastic loops for pens and pencils (three on each side)
-Two elastic straps to hold a laptop, books or binders safely
-16" width x 13" height x 3.5" depth
-Satin finish plastic body
-Nylon elastic holding straps and handle


IRIScan Book 2

This is another fun little product. This device allows you to scan pages of text (textbooks, magazine, newspaper) and download it back onto your laptop or computer to save for later. So if you have this device you can take it to the library and just copy pages of text so you aren’t carrying around a few books when all you need is just a few bits of information.

Extremely lightweight, and is cost effective at $129. Runs on 2 AA batteries and from there you scan the pages you want to copy, then download them onto your laptop or PC using the USB cable and then you can transfer it to your tablet, or iPad.

The scanner stores all the pages on the microSD card and it also comes with a SD card reader for you to plug in the microSD card so it can be read by your computers Media Card reader. The scanner can import pages and papers as PDFs, Word documents, or Excel spreadsheets are fully editable and searchable.


The Amazon Kindle is a great back to school gadget as it can store an entire library and has built-in Wi-Fi. You can download books or even borrow books for a short time PLUS they have also expanded into downloading textbooks. The Kindle has a 6” E Ink Pearl display which has one of the most advanced displays around.

Battery life is fantastic as this isn’t bogged down with a lot of other bloatware that other tablets have so you really get a get bargain. Plus I have heard you can “jailbreak” the device to run Android OS and make it an even better investment.

Come across a word you don't know? Kindle includes The New Oxford American Dictionary with over 250,000 entries and definitions for free. Kindle lets you instantly lookup the definition without ever leaving the book – simply select the word with the cursor and the definition will automatically display at the bottom of the screen.

So you get a complete tablet and e-reader that is able to surf the internet all for a great low price of $79, you really can’t find a better deal anywhere.

These are really just a starting point and a way to give you some ideas. I left off the list Laptops, PCs, Smartphones, Tablets, and I did that for a reason. If I were to include those things I would be writing for days and days. With this I am giving you an insight into some devices you might not have known about or never heard or in some cases just giving you a heads up on what is out there. As always find the technology and gadgets that work for you and what you are trying to do, and most importantly do some research on them before you purchase no one likes buyers remorse.



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