Computer gadgets like personal digital assistants and portable Internet devices are not just for grownups anymore. The big trend this year is connectivity, according to Raskin. Teens want to feel connected to the world of technology, and there are several new products created with students in mind as well as Internet sites and software designed to aid young people in scholarly pursuits.
Language Your Way
A new CD-ROM series of foreign language software, Language Your Way, offers complete language courses in Spanish and French. Using this software is definitely more exciting than listening to cassette tapes, Raskin says.
Similar to Palm Pilots, Handspring Visors are handheld personal digital assistants designed with teens in mind. They come in several different colors and allow students to download word processing, email research from one computer to another, and store to-do lists, contacts and notes. Raskin says they are great for lightening a kid's load of notebooks.
Suggested Retail Price: $149
Approximately half of U.S. households do not own a home computer. The MSN Companion is Microsoft's attempt at bringing affordable Internet service into every home.
The Companion is about the size of a laptop and offers stand-alone portable Internet access. It allows parents to give kids Internet access without paying for a full computer.
Price: $199, if ordered on the Web site
This Web site offers special student-only discount prices on textbooks, phone and Internet services, and computer hardware and software. Edu.com also lets you type in a college to locate the Internet and phone service for the area Edu.com recommends.
All these high-tech tools and services enable students to start on homework - before they get home. Also, Raskin adds, kids will pick up valuable computer and organizational skills by using the devices to enhance their efficiency and productivity.