The 5 Best Educational Gadgets for Your Middle-Schooler

These gadgets put serious power in your child's hands

In a world full of technology, some gadgets and tools can help children in the learning process and even encourage them to excel in their school work. Here are the five best educational technologies you might want to consider for your middle schooler.

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Smartphones: Not Just for Texting Friends

Child in blanket holding smartphone.

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Purchasing your little scholar a smartphone might seem as though it would only cause distractions. Smartphones can take over your child’s time without proper management. However, manufacturers have made it easier for parents to control the type of content their children access, and when they can access it. Set up device restrictions to enable them to access only the content you approve.

Once you have limited your child’s device, you can begin exploring the vast library of educational content available. Has your child started learning a new language at school? Enhance their development with an app such as Duolingo. Perhaps there is a bit of difficulty with math classes. Use Photomath to take photos of equations and see how to solve them.

The library of available educational apps is continually expanding, and we recommend checking out the top education apps for more suggestions to get started.

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Smartpens: More Than a No. 2 Pencil

Smartpen being used with a tablet and smartphone.


How could a pen possibly be smart? Your children don’t only have access to the old ballpoint pens and yellow No. 2 pencils that you had in the past. Modern smartpens can make backup copies of the content that your child scribbles down in addition to recording class notes using a microphone and much more. One of the latest additions to this category of products is the Livescribe Smart Pen.

Using a smartpen such as the Livescribe enables your child to take notes and then quickly upload those notes to their computer or smartphone. If your child has trouble focusing in class, they can quickly jot down notes in their notebook and, with a simple tap, replay what their teacher said. Smartpens can enable your child to work more efficiently and retain higher amounts of information after each class.

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Tablets and Laptops: A Modern Staple of Education

Children using iPad in the classroom.

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Even in elementary schools, children bring tablets into class. Tablets and laptops present great ways for your child to take notes, perform research, and create content for school courses. A collection of educational software available for computers, paired with office suites such as Apple iWork and Google Docs, offer new ways to learn for modern students.

We recommend checking with your school for their policy on computing devices within the classroom, but many will suggest purchasing either a laptop or tablet device. Talk with your child’s teacher to see what might be the best option for them. Affordable Google Chromebooks cover the basics, Windows and Mac machines provide full rounded experiences ready to tackle any task. Tablets, such as the iPad Pro from Apple, offer an excellent solution for taking notes in classes.

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Noise Canceling Headphones: Block out Distractions

MIddle schooler listening to headphones in a car.

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​​The world is full of distractions. Even in a child’s room, they might hear their siblings running around, a neighbor blasting music, or the television downstairs. A pair of substantial noise-canceling headphones allows students to get work done while blocking out potential distractions. Your home isn’t the only place where they are viable options either. Such headphones can be used in the library or on the bus.

Some students are also able to concentrate better when listening to music. With a pair of noise-canceling headphones, your child can choose whether they prefer to work with absolute silence or the smooth sounds of classic—or Drake—whichever genre works for them. Best of all, noise-canceling headphones no longer break the bank.

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Virtual Assistants: Get Help From a Digital Friend

Outlines of different virtual assistant speakers.

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Virtual assistants are an excellent addition to your child’s bedroom or study area. While you might know that you can ask Google Home or Amazon Echo devices about the weather, news, and sports, you may not realize how much of a homework helper these gadgets can be. Have questions about when the Civil War took place? Just ask. If your child needs help in English or another language, these assistants are great spellers. It can even double-check your arithmetic.

With select devices, such as Amazon’s lineup of Echo speakers, you can expand upon your assistant by adding new skill sets. Current options include skills that share historical events, help assist the process of learning a new language, or improve your child’s vocabulary.​

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