Back to school season no longer means buying pencils and a plastic maths kit that never gets used. Helping children excel at school is all about tech now, and it’s not confined the classroom anymore. That’s great, unless you don’t know your RAM from your CPU, and then the high-tech learning can a little daunting. To help you through this wired maze of motherboards and microchips, here’s our guide to the best tech for education.
Trusted Laptops for Education
Laptops have quickly become essential in our day to day and school life is no different. They make research a thousand times easier than using the school library’s ancient machines. With all the work kept in one compact place, the back-breaking bag crammed with books will be a painful memory. And the coronavirus pandemic has made them even more essential with remote classes and home learning becoming the norm. But with so many top laptops to choose from, where do you start?
There are four key things you need to look for in a laptop that will take care of school days.
- Battery life – If the battery runs out in a few hours it won’t matter how much you spent on your system. Make sure you check the battery life before you buy. Up to 10 hours battery life can be misleading and it’s best to check reviews before you make up your mind.
- Weight – One of the perks of switching to a computer is cutting down on what goes in the school bag. Make the most of that by choosing a compact machine that is extremely portable and lightweight.
- Wi-Fi – There’s few things as frustrating as sitting there like a lemon waiting for a every page to load. Kids today don’t know about dial up and watching the strips of a picture load. These days we demand everything instantly and wi-fi performance is a key factor to a top system. Check specs and reviews to ensure you’re getting the best for your money.
- Performance – Pick performance to suit your needs. They don’t need a top of the range Mac Book to write essays. Equally you don’t want to too cheap and have them waiting all lesson for the thing to start up. It’s about balancing needs with budget.
Anything between £150-£250 should sort you out with a laptop that’s up to the task. You certainly don’t need to spend any more than £300. A Lenovo Idea Pad Chrome is £229 and has everything one of the best laptops for education needs. Alternatively, the HP Stream is available for under £200 and delivers all the basic computing to aid students throughout school.
Suggested Shopping for Laptops:
HP Store – https://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/hp-store
eReaders for Education
eReaders are perfect for education but they’re often overlooked for their fancier cousins, iPads and tablets. This is perhaps unfair, and probably down to better marketing, when you consider that these portable libraries are geared up for learning. There are loads of superb features that make them ideal for the school bag and here’s our favourites.
- Cost – iPads might have a ton of features, but you’ll pay for every one of them. eReaders are designed with one thing in mind so not only do they do it incredibly well, but costs are kept low. You can pick up basic ones from £35, but even the top ones won’t get near tablet prices.
- Massive Library –The library available to eReader uses is incredible and much of it is available for free too. Project Gutenberg has a collection of over 60,000, including many of the classics that find themselves onto the English curriculum, ready to download free of charge. And if you can’t find the title they need for free, eBooks are usually much cheaper than traditional paperbacks.
- Note Taking – Taking notes on an eReader is super-fast and easy to do as you follow the text. They’re easy to organise and locate to make essay writing simpler. You can also pull up definitions of words with one click and search the internet for more context right from the page. They are a dream to study from and will save many trips to the library and scrawling notes in the margins.
- Long Battery Life – The battery life on eReaders is massive and you can easily get 20 hours of use from one charge. You should be confident it will last the day with that.
eReaders definitely deserve to be in the best education tech discussion because they simplify studying and minimise distractions. Best of all, the average prices represent superb value for money.
Suggested eReader Shopping:
Smartwatches for Safety
Smartwatches are something of a controversial subject when it comes to school. On one hand they have features that will help students and give parents peace of mind. On the other, people have argued that it’s another device distraction that is taking a child’s mind from the classroom, and they’re difficult for teachers to spot.
Ultimately, that is a decision for individual parents, and we’ll focus on whether they will enhance your child’s learning experience. In truth, these high-tech time pieces will have little impact on your child’s time in the classroom. They include calculators and features like that, but it’s doubtful that they would get used regularly.
The value with these nifty machines is in safety and putting you mind at ease when they start walking to school on their own. Most of the Smartwatches on the market offer GPS tracking that will help you locate you kids if they stop off on the way home. There are also models that let you program and only allow calls to a limited amount of numbers.
These might not be packed with educational features, but they deliver a safer alternative to a first smartphone and they’re an excellent option for slightly younger students.
Suggested Shopping for Smartwatches:
John Lewis – https://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/john-lewis.com
Ao.com – https://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/ao
Education at Home
When it comes to giving kids the best start, it doesn’t end in the classroom and if you want to help your kids find their passion, it’s important to make learning at home fun. There are a number of educational products available that will help get them excited about learning without even knowing it.
Raspberry Pi is an affordable computer that’s the size of a bank card that can be plugged into a monitor or TV and works with a standard keyboard and mouse. These versatile little systems are extremely capable and give an excellent introduction to the world of computer programming. This is vital in today’s world and playing with Raspberry Pi will help foster an interest in all things tech. They are undoubtedly one of the best educational products around today because there is so much you can do with them.
STEM toys are a fantastic way to go if you want to keep your kids learning while they play. Whether your thinking of robotics or bug collecting, there are tons of super fun options that kids love to play with. And best of all these toys will grow with your child and could realistically set them on the way to a career in engineering or science. The best learning develops passion for a subject and the quickest way to do that is by having fun.
Whether you like it or not, tech is an intrinsic part of everyone’s lives now and short of the machines rising up, it’s not going to change anytime soon. Embracing technology and using it to educate is a no brainer and it’s a sure fire way of keeping kids interested as a teacher drones on. Check out these incredible education gadgets and see if they’ll help your child reach their potential this year.