Technology makes back-to-school a breeze
OKLAHOMA CITY — As the kids head back to class, a little technology at their fingertips can go a long way. We've got the must have gadgets and apps for little ones all the way up to college students. Back to school tech isn't just for the classroom. Kids who are home alone after school can still have your watchful eye. The experts at Verizon recommend the Dropcam Pro. It wirelessly connects to your phone or computer and has a 2-way microphone built in."So while you're at work, and your kids might get home an hour earlier than you, you get motion alerts when the door opens when they walk in," said Verizon technology expert Tom Nix. "So you can monitor them. Make sure they're sitting down and doing their homework and not goofing around. So really, you can parent while at work." And for kids who have a habit of losing their backpack or homework, you can attach the HTC Fetch. You can use your phone's GPS to track down the missing item.Speaking of phones, your older child will love the brand new Mophie Space pack. The case boosts your phone's battery and storage. "It not only doubles your battery life, so you get an extra 8 to 10 hours of using it, you also get 32 gigs of extra storage space," said Nix.Kids are all about wearable technology these days. Fitness and lifestyle trackers like the Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up 24 sync to your phone as they count steps, track calories, and keep you moving. It could be helpful if you want to avoid the freshman 15.Nix said the Jawbone Up 24 can be specially programmed. "If you're being inactive for more than 15 or 30 minutes, AKA no motion at all, it will start shaking and vibrating to basically prompt you to get up and start moving." And now students don't have to lug around heavy textbooks. They can turn them into ebooks on the new Sony Xperia tablet. It's extremely lightweight, and it's water-proof."You're covered," said Nix. "You don't have to worry about it getting ruined, and you're not spending a ton of money on something that will need to be replaced in 6 months because college kids are college kids."Students of all ages can stay on top of their assignments with the free app My Homework. Another free app, Super Card Flash, makes studying a breeze. And finally, for the little ones, you can put a digital spin on the classic chore chart. Kidspointz lets you assign points for tasks like studying and doing homework. Nix said, "Once they get a certain amount of points, they can go to mom or dad and say, 'Hey, I got my 10 points. Let's go get pizza.'"