Back-to-School Tech: From Note-Taking to List-Making

dv740069Around this time of year, there are a lot of different products that are marketed to students as “must-haves.” Because students make up such a specific demographic, and it’s easy to prey on their desire to do well in class, it can be hard to distinguish what pieces of technology could be a game-changer for learning and studying and which ones will collect dust.

As much as you probably don’t want to hear it, Google Glass isn’t exactly the most important tool for learning facilitation. There are, however, a few pieces of tech that could help to lighten your load, keep you organized, or even just make studying more enjoyable. Here are a few.

A kindle, or an app on your iPad, or a Nook — there are lots of options when it comes to e-readers, but all of them share a pretty useful purpose. With e-readers, you can often find texts for class at a lower price than you’ll find at the bookstore. Simultaneously, you’ll have less weight to carry around in your backpack and can organize your highlights in an easy-to-study way. You can even download PDFs and other class documents onto them so that you don’t have to worry about losing them.

Laptop Locks
Yeah, we’re referring to that thing that your totally lame roommate’s dad insisted on buying her. You don’t know what true devastation is until your laptop has been stolen, and while your dorm probably isn’t the most unsafe place in the world, it’s entirely possible that a break-in could happen. Perhaps more importantly: do you want to have to drag your laptop to the bathroom during every late-night library study sesh? Didn’t think so. They’re relatively cheap and save you a lot of trouble.

Flash Drives
A lot of college students have this recurring nightmare: you get up to discuss your senior thesis in front of all the students and staff in your degree program. The projector is already displaying on the screen, and you’ve e-mailed the slideshow to yourself. Do you run the risk of opening your e-mail in front of everyone? Or do you attempt to give the presentation without it? Flash drives make sure that all your school work stays in one place and make it easy to hand off information. Just don’t forget to back yours up.

External Hard Drives
Speaking of backing up… just like you don’t want your laptop to get stolen, you don’t want it to crash, either. Periodically back all your data up onto an external hard drive so you don’t have a mini-heart attack when your computer won’t boot up when you go to put the finishing touches on your final paper.

Noise-Canceling Headphones
Some people don’t understand the concept of being quiet in the library. You don’t want to have to find this out the hard way. With a good study playlist and some high-quality headphones, you can avoid distractions and get in the zone.