You may think its all too late, but gee wiz the questions are still coming thick and fast – which laptop do I buy?  how do I get the best deal for back to school?  So – fortunately – here’s a little something I prepared earlier!

I’ve teamed up with Officeworks to ensure that parents have the right knowledge to make some informed decisions about the technology you’re putting in the hands of your kids – and frankly there’s a lot to take in – so lets start with my top tips:

  1. Check your child’s school list. Some schools will provide technology for certain classes, so make sure you check this before you buy anything new. Once you know what’s required, write a pros and cons list for each item. You might think a laptop is necessary, but could discover a tablet will do the job just fine. Using online tools like the Officeworks’ new online Tech Selector tool can help you decide which devices suit certain needs. Having a budget in mind is also extremely useful when making tech decisions, as costs can vary.
  2. Make it personal. To help your child differentiate their new tech device from other class members, encourage them to choose a protective cover they love. There are so many options available with bold designs and bright colours. Alternatively, encourage your child to personalise a plain cover. Officeworks has created a DIY video on personalising stationery, which you can view here.
  3. Be smart about software. Different software is needed for different projects. A Microsoft Office software package with PowerPoint, Word and Excel is probably what your child will need initially, so don’t go overboard and load their device up with programs they won’t need. Also, don’t forget to familiarise yourself with the program before your child starts a project, so you can help your child navigate all the tools.
  4. Accessories matter. It’s not all about devices – tech accessories can be really helpful study tools. For example, a pair of Noise Cancelling Headphones can really help your child focus on the task at hand, especially in a busy classroom or household.
  5. Keep them active. Wearable tech is a really useful tool to remind students to stay active during the day. Sync a fitness tracker to their school laptop so they can keep an eye on how much they’ve moved throughout the day and challenge them to complete a set of fun, energetic games. The fresh air and blood flow will help them remain focussed in class and sleep better at night.
  6. Everything has a place. With the introduction of cloud computing and the ever-evolving external hardware ranges, it can be difficult to know where and when to store your child’s work. High-capacity portable external hard drives are for keeping a backup of your entire computer. USB drives are more suited to saving presentations or smaller files and the cloud is for file sharing, be it group documents, video or audio content.
  7. Ask for help. If you’re struggling to set-up new devices, don’t guess and hope for the best – call on a professional. Officeworks offers a remote Tech Service to help customers navigate installations or fix tech glitches. My advice is utilise these services and avoid last minute tech problems when your child has a deadline looming.
  8. Get them ready. Six weeks holiday is a long time off from school, so it’s important to keep your child’s brain active as we hit school time again. I recommend familiarising your child with their new tech device in the in the early days of the school year, so perhaps give them a touch more “screen time” than normal so they can get familiar with their new device.   Additionally, Officeworks has recently updated its ‘Growing Minds’ app which contains a series of brain training games that test memory, attention and knowledge. Another great app to check out is QuickMath – it’s entertaining and educational all at the same time.

If you wanted to chat about your buying worries or question, you can be part of my weekly podcast.  I love chatting to people about buying technology – so simply email me, and I’ll be in touch!


Disclosure: Yes, as I said at the start, I teamed up with Officeworks on this one, these are a bunch of great tips I’ve written and used the power of the Officeworks network to distribute widely, hopefully this commercial arrangement has helped you with your Back to School questions!