(ARA) - When you were a kid, the high-tech items on your back-to-school shopping list probably consisted of nothing more exotic than a pocket calculator and the latest leading-edge running shoes. Times have changed, and back-to-school technology has kept pace. Today, technology is an integral part of school life for students from kindergarten to college.

College-age kids, especially, employ technology in virtually every aspect of their academic and personal lives. If you're sending your youngster off to college this fall, for the first time or the fourth, here are five must-have digital devices to round out your back-to-school technology shopping list:

Tablets

Tablets are hugely popular and for college life they make sense for several reasons. They're light-weight and their portability surpasses even that of netbooks. Their sleek, stylish design and touch-screen interface appeal to the technologically intuitive tastes of today's college students.

Even if your college-age child already has a netbook or laptop he'll be taking to school, a tablet can be a useful addition to his technological toolbox. Tablets like the ViewSonic ViewPad, which uses the Intel Atom processor, provide convenience, speed and the ability to integrate and communicate with other popular handheld electronics. The ViewSonic runs Windows 7 and Microsoft applications, and you can run Android on top with fun Android applications. Not sure what "Android" is? Ask your college kids!

Internet-connected TV

Long gone are the days when you could only access the Internet from a desktop over a slow, clunky telephone landline. Today's college kids want - and need - to stay connected, and Internet access is everywhere. Internet access also takes entertainment experience to a whole new level.

Devices like Boxee Box, allow you to watch shows, films and Internet content on your TV, using an included HDMI cable and your wireless or Ethernet Internet connection. The device allows users to play on their TV virtually any media they can play on their computer, including video, music or photos.

Netbook

For times when a keyboard may be more convenient than a tablet, but you still don't want to lug a full-size laptop, netbooks offer convenient, reliable Internet access. The hottest thing in operating systems is Google's Chrome, and the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook, powered by a dual-core Intel Atom processor, is the leading netbook to offer Chrome. The combination of leading-edge processing speeds, the flexibility and convenience of a netbook, along with Chrome's browsing power, gives users access to more than 10,000 online applications, including popular games and productivity apps.

Another noteworthy netbook is the Asus Eee PC X101, which includes a solid-stat drive (SSD) and a three-cell battery that make it thinner and lighter than other netbooks.

GPS

Whether they live on campus or at home and commute to school, today's college students rely on global positioning technology to help them navigate through their academic lives. Hand-held GPS devices provide instant access to the most up-to-date maps and real-time traffic updates. A GPS can help a student get around in a new town or even on campus. You can also find GPS technology and apps for many of today's smartphones too.

Digital camera

College is a time when young people make memories and friendships that last a lifetime. Your college student will want to record those memories and experiences, and a digital camera makes doing so easy and convenient. What's more, a digital camera can come in handy for various school projects that require visuals and media.

While most phones now have at least a basic camera function, a good digital camera can offer more storage space and versatility than relying on a phone alone.

Technology is a must-have for today's college students. Sending them off to school with the right mix of high-powered devices can help ensure your children get the most out of their academic experience.Must-have digital devices for back-to-school season
Parent Category: Science & Technology
Category: Internet