Back to School Shopping a High Tech Adventure

back to school goes high tech

It's that time of year when parents begin filling shopping carts with mounds of college-rule spiral notebooks and a wide assortment of other school supplies that have been deemed essential by your child's new teacher.

Back in the day, careful consideration went into the purchase of just the right lunch box, pencil case, 64-count Crayola box with built-in sharpener, black and white Composition notebooks, folders with inside pockets, a backpack with a great graphic, cool pencils, pens and markers, and a slide rule, compass and protractor for the brainiacs who aspired to become mathematicians and engineers.

Surprisingly, many of those purchases are still on the 2013 version of "the list."  As parents, we all know that it doesn't stop there.   Your kids will be wanting a good many items that the teacher never mentioned.

Remember when classrooms of kids gathered in the cafeteria to watch a movie on a pull down screen -- in the dark?  Smart Board technology has totally revolutionized the way kids view information without ever leaving the classroom. There's no surprise that a survey from Microsoft found that 97% of teens say the tools and tech they have today are far better than the ones their parents used when they were their age.

The survey also said that 93% of parents feel that computer software is an important tool in helping children achieve success in school. Perhaps that’s why many parents are navigating the new high tech options with equal parts shock and awe. It is now all about the perfect laptop, printer and bag, Smartphone, every computer App known to man, gadgets, and tablets -- not the paper kind.

One must-have item this year is the NEW Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium, an amazing new subscription service that includes Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and more.  The best thing of all is that schoolwork is stored in the cloud with SkyDrive for easy access and sharing from any location.

When it comes to note taking, we discovered that OneNote allows the student to capture and organize research, notes, web clips, photos and even embedded Excel spreadsheets that update the original spreadsheet when changes are made.  Later the student can search his/her notes for a keyword, tag or date.  Easy!

If your child is struggling for some creative inspiration when faced with that first report this school year, no need to stress.  Simply head right over to to view thousands of free templates online that will give even the most bewildered student a jump start.

Be sure to enter Microsoft Office 365's Back to School Throwback Sweepstakes between August 15 (on throwback Thursday!) and September 27. To enter, all you have to do is submit a “throwback” picture of yourself from back in the day.  Submit your picture here on the Office Facebook page and share it on Facebook or Twitter with your friends! (#tbt + #officebts)
-Contestants are entered for a chance to win either a one-year subscription of Office 365 Home Premium (to be given away every weekday) or a Surface Pro (to be given away every Thursday).