Once again, it’s time for back-to-school shopping. After you’re done finding the perfect backpacks, pencil sharpeners, lunch boxes, and blue jeans, it’s time to take a look at your technology situation.
More and more, students will be depending on computers to facilitate their learning at home.
Homework, research assignments, and even educational games all take place on the home computer. Here are a few things to consider before you finish your back-to-school shopping:
Despite what your kids say, you don’t have to run out and buy a laptop when they enter the third-grade. If you do choose to purchase a laptop for your older students, be sure to set some ground rules.
Keeping laptops in the house, for example, is a good rule to have. How many times have your children left a coat, lunchbox, basketball or backpack at a friend’s house? Or worse yet, at the park? It will be no different with a laptop. A laptop kept within the walls of your home will minimize the risk of catastrophic damage and/or misplacement.
If a laptop is out of your budget, spend a little of your back-to-school budget upgrading your current computer. A new processor or increased memory can dramatically increase speed and performance. If your child will be creating videos for class, consider adding additional hard drive space, too.
Software doesn’t have to be expensive, especially for students. You can find Microsoft Office for special educational discounted prices. Or if you prefer to save as much money as possible for other supplies, go to www.openoffice.org or www.docs .google.com for free alternatives. You can create files that are .doc and.xls compatible.
Another software solution to consider is www.evernote.com. Your students can organize notes, store useful information, and jot down ideas in a single, easy to use application. Since it is all online, your kids can access the information wherever they have Internet service, including cell phones.
Remember the old days when you stored your files on a 3.5 inch floppy disk? Well, today’s storage solutions are much more robust (and compact). A flash drive is a great way to keep all of your kids’ assignments organized and accessible. But be sure to save papers and projects on your home computer, too. Your student can carry the flash drive to and from school, just in case of a printer emergency or the traditional “dog eating homework” episode.
Call Computer Problem Specialists at (928) 468-0000 if you have any questions. We can help get your system ready for the increased workload of the school year. As far as making sure the homework gets done, however, you are on your own ...
Daniel Taft is the senior network administrator and member/owner of Computer Problem Specialists, LLC with a degree in applied computer science. His career spans more than 20 years.