Back to School 2019: A Tech Guide

It seems like the grill has barely cooled off from your Fourth of July celebrations, and already the back-to-school deals are everywhere. And while yes – technically – it is still summer, it can’t hurt to get a jump on good deals. Luckily, the older your student gets the fewer supplies they seem to need. No more 64-pack of crayons? No more glue sticks? Thank goodness.

But while it may seem like a simple task to get your high schooler or college student ready for the fall semester, there are a few important items that may not have made your list.

I was fortunate enough to have a mom who did not trust in my ability to shop for myself when I first departed for college. Left to my own devices, I would have surely ended up sitting in my dorm having forgotten clean socks or extra laundry detergent.

But what’s the fun in socks and laundry detergent? Your student needs the gadgets that will make their busy lives more enjoyable and productive. Luckily, we have a short list of items that just might make all the difference come fall.

1. WeMo Mini Smart Plug

A smart dorm means a smart student, right? According to CNet, with WeMo’s tiny little powerhouse plug, users can connect right to the school’s Wi-Fi and automate whatever is plugged-in. Want to have the lights on right when you open your eyes? Simply plug your lamp into the WeMo Mini Smart Plug and sync it with your phone’s alarm. How about waking up to the smell of a freshly brewed cup of coffee? Plug that coffee maker into the WeMo Mini Smart Plug and automate it with your phone. You can even pair it with Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa to control your electronics with your voice! The best part of this gadget is its versatility, so get creative! Amazon currently sells them at $69.99 for a pack of three so you can smarten up your student’s whole dorm! (Or maybe even keep one for yourself.)


2. Lenovo Smart Clock

It’s inevitable that your high schooler or college student is going to have a few late nights. Whether it’s projects, fun with friends, or a sports game – the Lenovo Smart Clock will make sure they’re on-time the next day. Recommended by CNet, this little clock includes Google Assistant as well as a touchscreen display. It can even update you on the weather, your calendar, and your commute! And while it will try it’s best to get even the most morning-averse students out of bed, it can be snoozed by giving it a good smack. The Lenovo Smart Clock includes many customizable features, including a Sunrise wake-up, which gradually increases the brightness of the screen to ease your student into their day. At $59.99, it’s a decent deal for a gadget that that will get used daily!

3. Tile

If your student is anything like I was, they tend to forget things – important things. Luckily for them – and you – technology has a solution; and its name is Tile. By simply purchasing a Tile device and downloading the app, you will have the ability to locate whatever you choose to attach the little gadget to, whenever and wherever it may be. Whether it’s a purse/wallet, musical instrument, backpack, laptop, keys or a phone, Tile has the ability to help your student locate whatever they left behind. Simply log onto the app, locate your item, and worry no-more! TechRepublic recommends the Tile Sport and Tile Style. And for prices starting as low as $15, it’s a no-brainer!


4. Oral-B White Pro 1000

If there ever was a time where first impressions mattered most, it might be high school and college. Being able to flash those pearly whites is just as important as getting good grades, in my opinion. The writers over at Business Insider must agree with me, because they gave the overall best electric toothbrush award to the Oral-B White Pro 1000. A full charge enables twice-a-day brushing for a whole week! Conventional toothbrushes go bad after a few months, and they aren’t exactly cheap either. At a price of $49.94 on Amazon, if this deal got any sweeter, you’d probably have to worry about cavities!


5. Amazon Prime Membership

Every college student knows there’s always that one thing you need that you just can’t find on campus. Maybe it’s face paint for game day, or that brand of granola bars your mom buys. Whatever it may be, there’s no doubt that an Amazon Prime membership comes in handy. For college students, Amazon offers a significant discount on free, one-day shipping, streaming services; which is great, students are often strapped for cash. Maybe the most important aspect of Amazon Prime is the ability to quickly ship textbooks for much lower prices than are offered at the school bookstore. I myself used Amazon Prime throughout college and the savings on shipping costs alone paid for the price of the service. Regularly priced at $119 annually, the college student discount brings the price down to $59 a year!

By Joe Pueschner, TDS Communication Intern, and a senior at the University of Wisconsin Madison who loves to cook, hit the gym, and listen to podcasts.

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