(09/04/13) - The new school year will feature fewer pens and notebooks, and more tablets and smart phones in the classroom. That's brought big business to the Kochville Township Verizon Store.
"Absolutely, it's everywhere. Our store sees this everyday, parents coming in, getting their kids hooked up to technology," said Mike Leiter, of Verizon Wireless.
Leiter says several new and improved student-friendly apps have emerged, and many of them are free.
"'Evernote' is the big one. It lets you take notes on any device and access those notes in a searchable database. If your child is doing homework on Shakespeare, they can type in that search criteria, and then bam, all their notes on that subject are coming up," he said.
'Dropbox' is another popular one among students and teachers. It eliminates the "I left my homework at home" excuse.
"Kids need to access their homework assignments at home or at school, so they can drop a Microsoft Word document or Power Point presentation, anything like that into the 'Dropbox'. It saves the file right in the cloud, so they can access that file from their phone, home computer or their tablet," Leiter said.
One of the biggest trends were seeing with the new school year is that districts are creating their own apps. This pretty much ensures that kids can no longer pull one over on their parents."
"It's a great way that parents can keep track of grades, attendance, and things like that. It basically helps parents stay in the know," Leiter said.
For parents, saving money is the main assignment, so products like the 'Otter box', reduce worries about kids accidentally smashing their smart phones at school. And for another serious mishap, "'Lifeproof' case, waterproof up to six feet. Great protection, great peace of mind for parents," Leiter said.
Here's more peace of mind - many providers offer websites that allow parents to monitor, limit and even cut off data use during the school day.
"Just like that, they can set up times that the devices can be used, and they can shut it down if they need to," Leiter said.
That means fewer school day distractions - and lower bills.
ABC12 Main Station