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Back to School: Technology for your student

Technology is appearing in classrooms as young as pre-K. (KOKH)

From bags and books to pencils and paper it is time for back-to-school shopping. But the back-to-school essentials are getting some high-tech upgrades.

But what technology is right for your student?

“There's a lot of technology available to us these days and kids of course need to learn how to use technology appropriately and safely,” said MomRN Tamara Walker, a pediatric nurse turned blogger and speaker about all things family.

“A lot of schools are actually using technology in the classroom,” Walker said.

For Pre-K through the early elementary years tablets, Walker recommends making sure you have tablets designed for little ones, which can keep them from getting online, but still let them engage in learning programs.

“Some good ones that are kid friendly and filtered so kids are not accessing things on the internet they should not be, are the Nabi Junior and Nabi also has a line for kids all the way up to age 9.”

What about a phone; you may want your child to be able to stay in touch, but is a smart phone a smart buy for a child?

“There are phones that are made specifically for younger children that can allow them to contact you in an emergency, maybe even to communicate with their friends via text or have education or fun apps on them, but still limit what they're able to access on the internet,” Walker said.

MomRN believes waiting until high school for an internet-enabled phone is a good idea.

For middle schoolers, a tablet or laptop could be appropriate.

However even if you have filters to keep out unsafe content, Walker says talking to your child is the most important tool a parent has when teaching technology.

“We need to be teaching them along the way and letting them know that, yes, there are some dangers out there they need to be aware of to protect themselves from.”

Walker reminds parents that even if you have filters on your home computer, your child may be able to access inappropriate material at a friend’s house. That is why she believes communicating with your child and checking on their online activity is so important. “You still need to be checking their devices and monitoring what they are doing. And talk with them, have open communication, it is so incredibly important for teaching your children.”

If you have a high schooler or college student technology is a must on the shopping list.

However as technology changes you may not have the time or know how to pick the right product.

“Back to school is a wonderful time of the year, that's when Best Buy really gets to show its stuff,” said Walter Holland who works at the Quail Springs Best Buy.

Yes, Best Buy does want to sell you technology but, more importantly they say, the company wants to make sure you know what you're getting and that you're getting what you need.

“If you're going to a field where you're doing a lot of presentations you may need something that is going to do a two in one, so at one point it is a laptop but it can also become a tablet,” Holland said.

The line between tablet and laptop is becoming thinner and Holland told FOX 25 what your major is could determine what tech is best for you.

There are also a few items that might not be on the top of your mind or on the back to school shopping list that Best Buy says they often see people rushing back to buy.

“It is always that mid-semester rush for printers,” Holland said.

He also recommends cases for your big ticket purchases because no matter how careful you think you will be, accidents happen. And making a small investment in a case could save hundreds of dollars down the road.

Holland also says digital backup is important to remember before classes begin. External hard drives can keep all your files safely backed up and some even operate wirelessly, so you have access to your records without plugging anything into your device.

Best Buy also says backup batteries and portable chargers are an item in high demand as we all turn more to technology.

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