The 5 Best Educational Gadgets to Invest in For Your Middle Schooler

These gadgets put serious power in your child's hands

When it comes to sending your child off for another year at school, you'll want to ensure that you are giving them the best possible start. 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.
Help expand your child's world with a smartphone and educational apps.

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Purchasing your little scholar a smartphone might seem as though it would only bring distractions to the table. There is no denying that smartphones can indeed take over your child’s time without proper management; however, manufacturers such as Apple have made it easier for parents to control the type of content their children access and when they can access it. Merely set up device restrictions to enable them only to access the content you approve.

Once your child’s device has been limited, perhaps not allowing entertainment and social media apps during school hours, you can begin exploring the vast library of educational content available. Has your child already 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 our roundup of 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.
Smartpens can help your child keep up with their class notes.


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

Using a smart pen such as the Livescribe enables your child to take notes and then quickly upload them 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 of, play back exactly what their teacher had been saying during that moment. 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.
Allow computers and tablets to expand your child's note taking and research abilities.

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You can no longer escape the world of computers making their way into classrooms. Even in today’s elementary schools, children are being recommended different tablets to bring into class. Tablets and laptops present two great ways your child can 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’s iWork, Google’s Docs, and Microsoft Office, 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. Google Chromebooks are typically affordable machines that cover all the basics, Windows and Mac machines provide full rounded experiences ready to tackle any task, and tablets, such as the iPad Pro from Apple, offer a great solution for taking notes with a pen in classes such as mathematics and science.

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Noise Canceling Headphones: Block out Distractions

Girl listening to headphones in a car.
Allow your child to focus anywhere with noise canceling headphones.

 Getty Images/Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury

​There is no denying that the modern world we live in is full of distractions. Even in a child’s room, they might hear their siblings running around, a neighbor next door blasting music, or the sound of the television from downstairs. A pair of solid 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.
Different virtual assistants can lend a helping hand to your child.

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Now, nearly showing up in every other home, virtual assistants are an excellent addition to your child’s bedroom or study area. While most individuals are familiar that you can ask Google Home or Amazon Echo devices about the weather, news, and sports; some don’t realize how much of a wonderful homework helper these little gadgets can be for the budding scholar. Have questions about when the civil war took place or when another significant event in history occurred? If your child needs a bit of help in English or another language, these assistants are also great spellers. Heck, it can even double-check your arithmetic. 

With virtual assistants becoming cheaper every day, they are an excellent way to give your child a bit of extra help when needed. 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 can share historical events, help assist the process of learning a new language or improve your child’s current vocabulary.​