Back-to-school tech trends that keep kids in touch

(BPT) – Chances are your young kids love to play games on their tablets or even your smartphone, and your teens and college students rely on technology to stay in touch with friends. But as they head back to school, keep in mind technology can also help students discover the joy of learning, and keep them on track with their schoolwork.

“Technology is a natural part of learning for kids today,” says Conor Kearney, vice president of computing for office supply giant Staples. “And where once teachers might have viewed technology in the classroom as a distraction, today they are finding ways to integrate it into lessons – and helping students connect with material through the technology they already love.”

As your children head back to school, here are a handful of tech trends that can help make the school year more productive and fun:

Chromebooks put the shine on learning – Chromebooks are easy-to-use, lightweight laptops that run the popular Google operating system. Their portability and ease of use make them perfect for youngsters just learning how to use technology in the classroom. Samsung, HP and Acer all offer Chromebooks, and you can find them in Staples stores across the country or online at

And talking about tablets – Smaller, lighter weight and powerful, tablets are a great alternative to full-sized laptops, fitting easily into backpacks and totes. Tablets such as the Microsoft Surface, Google Nexus, Samsung Galaxy, Samsung Note 8.0 and Kindle Fire HD help students stay connected online and in and out of the classroom.

There’s an app for that – No conversation about technology is complete without the right software to complement your hardware. Learning apps abound, so start out by consulting with your child’s teacher to see if he or she will be working with students using a specific app or website this year. Then head over to for reviews and information on the best learning apps for children.

Accessories make the tech – Although technology is becoming more durable every year, most kids can still use some help keeping their tech tools in good shape. Jansport sleeves combine fashion and function in a wide assortment of tablet sleeves and laptop cases. Kids can choose from animal prints to plaids and even neon accents. For those who want to combine the roominess of a backpack with the protection of a laptop case, the Jansport Superbreak Sleeve is a durable and fashionable option.

Free university learning – Parents who purchase a qualified touchscreen laptop from Staples can also enroll their college-age students in Microsoft Office 365 University for free. The program (usually sold for $79.99) provides students with four years of Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote and Outlook for free. To be eligible, purchasers must show valid college/university identification or an original acceptance letter to a post-secondary school along with their photo ID.

Making it all easy – Wireless networking, cloud backup, data protection – it can all get pretty confusing for a parent. Fortunately, Staples EasyTech associates have the expertise and answers to help. They offer a variety of tech services for just $99 each, including setting up your student’s PC, getting your data vault (including cloud backup, Internet security and virus protection) up and running or coming to your home to make sure your wireless network is functioning properly.

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