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8/19/2013
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10 Cool Back-To-School Tech Tools

College students tote a ton of technology when they head off to school. Here are 10 more gadgets and apps worth throwing in the backpack.
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Students everywhere are getting ready to head back to school. For most college students, there's plenty to consider when it comes to what to bring along: How long are the dormitory mattresses? How many outlets are in each room? How much stuff will fit under the bed? Will my roommate bring a coffee maker or should I?

But some of the most important decisions concern the technology they'll use in their day-to-day studies. Mac or PC? Laptop or tablet? iPhone or Android? Flash drive or cloud-based storage?

According to IT professionals at higher-ed institutions who spoke with InformationWeek Education, students are bringing multiple devices -- and high expectations -- with them to campus. Most are accustomed to having easy, fast access to the Internet and having Wi-Fi available anywhere they can get a latte.

In this slideshow, we recommend some extra hardware, software and services that students can use to complement the arsenal of technology they plan to pack for school. In today's education environment, learning is dynamic and often collaborative. Therefore, tools such as Podio for Students, which lets users collaborate on projects using familiar Facebook metaphors, and Join.me, which lets users share their desktop with up to 10 other people, are key.

Student life can be turbulent, especially for young people away from home for the first time. When "Mom! Have you seen my iPhone?" doesn't work anymore, tools like the StickNFind -- a tag you stick to valuables so you can find them via Bluetooth and a mobile app -- will be most welcome. (You might have seen an ad on Facebook for another device like this, called Tile.)

Of course, portable devices are no good when their batteries are dead. Enter portable power sources such as the Justin Power Case. Other options include rechargeable backpacks and teeny-tiny chargers from Halo available in colors from stainless gray to pink animal print.

In the following slides, we cover these and other tech products that will help make the lives of college students -- and by extension the lives of their parents and professors -- easier.

But the tech choices for students, parents and faculty are endless. What has helped you and your kids? Share your back-to-school tech experiences in our comments section.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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OtherJimDonahue
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OtherJimDonahue,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/21/2013 | 9:28:21 PM
re: 10 Cool Back-To-School Tech Tools
My parents sent me to college with an abacus and a quill pen
Alex Kane Rudansky
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Alex Kane Rudansky,
User Rank: Author
8/21/2013 | 8:53:50 PM
re: 10 Cool Back-To-School Tech Tools
Podio sounds a lot like Lore.com, a similar platform used for education.
pbyrne
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pbyrne,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/21/2013 | 5:50:09 PM
re: 10 Cool Back-To-School Tech Tools
It indicates that join.me is free, but their website indicates otherwise. Did I miss something?
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/20/2013 | 10:49:06 PM
re: 10 Cool Back-To-School Tech Tools
I wish that all of these things had been around when I was in college. I don't want to date myself by naming the IT available to me at the time. (Let's just say I needed corrective ribbon.) How have things changed since you've been in college?

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, InformationWeek
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
8/20/2013 | 7:08:52 PM
re: 10 Cool Back-To-School Tech Tools
Never mind back to school, I want some of these for myself ...
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
8/20/2013 | 3:44:39 PM
re: 10 Cool Back-To-School Tech Tools
Podio student edition has apparently been around for years, but as far as I can tell instructors who wanted to use it in a course would still be bound by terms that apply to business users.

Announcement from 2011
http://blog.podio.com/2011/11/...
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
8/20/2013 | 3:10:00 PM
re: 10 Cool Back-To-School Tech Tools
I had no idea Podio had a free edition for students. Usually, their free accounts are limited to 5 users (plus "guest users"). Does that apply here?
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