Back-To-School Gadgets That Can Help Your Student

Aug 14, 2019, 9:28 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 11:18 am

Shopping for school supplies no longer means just pencils, binders and notebooks. Parents across the country are expected to spend $3.6 billion dollars on back-to-school tech this year, according to retail services firm, Deloitte.

“This is our life now. You cannot not use technology,” said tech columnist Amy Iverson of “And, so it’s just part of education.”

We asked Iverson to look into some of the best gadgets that can actually help your student.


Sure, headphones are great for listening to music but a college student might also want to use a set to drown out the noise around them.

“They’re going to be in a dorm and if they are going to study, which fingers crossed (they do), they’re going to want to concentrate and so the noise-cancelling headphones are really the best option,” said Iverson.

She said headphones that have been well-received by audio equipment reviewers include the Bose 700 and the Beats Studio 3, but those top-of-the-line can run as high as $350 or $400. So, Iverson recommended checking out Amazon’s “renewed” options for headphones or any gadget.

“The Amazon renewed program comes with a 90-day warranty,” Iverson explained. “They have professionals go in, totally look at products to make sure they look and act like new. And, so we actually ended up getting some Beats for $200.”

At $50, Taotronics ANC noise-cancelling headphones is a budget option that Iverson said several critics have found to offer decent sound quality for the price.


Students entering college may need a laptop of their own. For Mac users, Iverson suggested buyers look into Apple’s education pricing. Couple that with an Apple-refurbished MacBook and you can save over $200 on a $1,000+ laptop.

“Don’t overlook the refurbished options from Apple,” Iverson said. “They are like new. You’re going to get a one-year warranty on these from Apple.”

For around $500, she said Lenovo’s Yoga Chromebook offers a 15.6” screen, fast performance and 4K resolution college kids might need, and it can be used as a tablet.

There are more affordable options Iverson said, but it will likely mean a less memory and slower speeds.

But for $200, an Acer Chromebook 11 Spin offers decent enough performance and durability that can make it a good option for middle and high school.


If your teen carries a phone, for around $40 you can find them a quality battery charger they can keep in their backpacks or even in their pockets. Because, they may not always be able to find a power outlet in between classes.

“That way, you just are never at a lock for power,” said Iverson. “Because, what good is your gadget if it’s dead?”

We found a $34 charger manufactured by Ventev that includes a built-in charging cable. A $40 charger from Anker can charge a phone twice, maybe three times depending on the phone model.

Iverson likes the $130 Tylt Lifestyle Power Bag backpack that can charge up to three devices, simultaneously.

“They keep the wires separate, so there’s no tangling,” said Iverson. “And, this battery can charge a phone four times and you can charge your iPad once.

She said for around $30, you can find smart backpacks that have charging cables laid out inside for easy access but in many cases, you will still have to buy the actual charger, separately.


Back at home, consider a smart speaker such as an Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home Mini.

Students can use the devices for fact checking their homework and parents can set them to announce helpful reminders such as homework time or when it’s time to head out for the bus.

“This came in handy in my life when my younger son wasn’t quite ready for a phone but sometimes he would be home alone,” Iverson recounted. “That was a perfect way for us to be able to keep in touch with him without having a data plan because you can call people on it.”

Both the Echo Dot and Home Mini are selling for around $25 right now, about half of their usual price.

KSL 5 TV Live

Back to School

Holly Duke teaches all-day kindergarten at West Kearns Elementary....

Deanie Wimmer

High stakes of kindergarten readiness; what Utah schools are doing to improve student performance

Ready for kindergarten used to mean a child turned five by the cutoff date. But as the stakes and expectations get higher, teachers are encountering some surprising behaviors.

3 months ago

This week KSL+ looks at what school districts describe as “chronic absenteeism” in Utah’s sch...

Braden McElreath and Michael Houck, KSL TV

8 Utah schools have been placed on lockdown since the start 2023-2024 school year

In just two and a half weeks, seven Utah schools have issued seven lockdown protocols. 

3 months ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Dan Rascon

Bingham High seniors petition due to school parking shortage

Some Bingham High School seniors in South Jordan, say a new parking policy for students is now preventing them from finding open stalls.

3 months ago

The outside of Ella Vista Elementary School. (KSL TV)...

Shelby Lofton

Bella Vista Elementary starts school year without air conditioning

Another Utah school is starting its school year without any AC.

3 months ago

McKinley Elementary School, Box Elder County School District. (KSL TV)...

Karah Brackin and Mary Culbertson, KSL TV

Box Elder School District among the last to head back to school; largely due to the County Fair

Box Elder School District heads back to school as one of the last districts to do so in the state. While they have unique factors to consider, students and administration are pumped for the new school year.

3 months ago

The Timekettle Translator earbuds that Herriman High School uses for their international students....

Karah Brackin and Michael Houck, KSL TV

New translation device helps international students in classes and studies

As Herriman High School continues to see the number of international students increasing, the school is turning to a game-changing device that is helping break down the language barrier.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Back-To-School Gadgets That Can Help Your Student