• Cat Schwartz

Back To School Tech & Gadgets - TODAY

As sad as we all are that summer is over, I’m thrilled to get the ball rolling again with HiTechMommy and DGTL work! SO much so that I went ahead and created this post for you all on gadgetry for students headed BACK TO SCHOOL!!


Alarm Clock That Teaches

“Teach Me Time” ($40)

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed can make or break a student’s, or parent's, day. For the little ones who are just learning to tell time, this clock helps with the process by showing the hands of time yet vocalizing the time at the touch of a button. Even cooler it has interactive time telling games, turns green when it’s OK to get outta bed (or into mom's room), and also doubles as a night light!

Cool Gun & Target Alarm Clock ($15 - $30)

Trying to wake up a teen boy? This is the hi tech alarm clock I suggest. It can be set to only turn off its sounding alarm by shooting an inferred gun at its mounted target. Full disclosure I have not

tried this product yet but my son is OBSESSED and swears he will use it every day. According to the description there are 2 shut off modes, one does the trick with one shot to the target, the other you have to hit that sucker 5 times. Hahahaha. You can also record your own own alarm sound so I'm sure you can have some fun with that...



BoogieBoard Tablets

JOT 8.0 ($29) | Play N Trace (35)

These are really fantastic educational tools that help save trees while they teach! The company's modo is "No other product in the world creates a natural pen on paper experience like Boogie Board eWriters" and that pretty much sums up the concept for ya.

For the little ones who are just learning to write they offer a few products including the Play N Trace (featured to the right), which, like most of their products, can work in conjunction with their free iPhone App. In this case the app was designed to encourage children 3 to 10 to use the unique lesson plans and translucent surface to write, trace and draw.The app features 3 levels of difficulty with each of the following segments: Tracing, Games, Directions, Numbers, Colors & Shapes, Feelings, Letters & Writing.

For the older kids they have the "Jot" line (version 8 shown above), the Sync

which can push your notes/drawings over to another device, and for the kids who are in college or the adults in the casa they are coming out with The BlackBoard (shown to the side) which is described as Liquid Crystal Paper and features different types of lined "paper" to choose from.



Boxes/Bags/Accessories ($5-$20)

Soooo technically this next product doesn't exactly fall under my "all items must have an on/off switch" rule of thumb, but I know tech went into their designs and they've literally innovated the brown paper bag into something modern, so shhhh!This company makes some of the coolest looking lunch containers, lunch boxes and lunch bags I've ever seen.

IMO, they have done so well because:

  • They saw an item every kid is in need of and enjoys picking out to help express their style

  • Took a long hard look at what they could do to improve on the traditional, boring old bag - a concept they new this generation would respond to if done right

  • Applied some seriously smart design logic around how they could take this opportunity to help fight childhood obesity, reduce the amount of food that gets wasted each day and create an eco-friendly product that's dishwasher friendly!

  • AND BOOM! A slick looking product line that presents food to kids in an appealing yet portion controlled way that easily fits into their bags and stays cool looking because it can actually be cleaned.

I must say, it's REALLY great to see how far this brand has come over the years - a true indicator that they're doing something right! I can't wait to try the whole line.



Coolest Backpacks Around, ($30 - $250)

Here I go again with the posting of non-tech items, but like with the lunch containers, these backpacks are an innovative approach to a very traditional yet important item - the backpack!

Yeah, sure, it's important to us parents because it's how they get their homework home, but to some kids it's a key component to individualizing and expressing themselves . Like these two above - check them out!!

Although the image features 2 really little munchkins, and they are sporting packs designed with age appropriate images , I must warn you that some of the designs they sell are not for our little ones and they display inappropriate content for elementary school. And while this may offend some people, I see it as an innovation to backpack design and therefore you will see them below.

Four of the most truly innovative spins this company has put on the world of backpacks has to be the following:

1- The Addition Of Wings:

This concept was later duplicated

2- The release of backpacks dawning designs featuring mature, violent, illegal and inappropriate for elementary imagery ... I think they're pretty cool looking though...

While the one the girl is holding here at the end may not display a mature design, they are made specifically to aid in the illegal activity of defacing property with, you guessed it, SprayPaint.! I call it art.

3- The "Color It Yourself" Blank Canvas Pack - Comes with pens

(hit play in the center of the box, it's a video)

4. Placing Design Inside The Flap

And for the heck of it - here are some more design for you to check out. Which do you like?

You can check out the rest of my gadgets here on the TODAY Show website.