Depending on where you live, the next couple of weeks might be filled with gatherings of relatives. Some of these dear people may actually want to know what your child would like for Christmas or some other special occasion (lucky you, by the way). If your child’s school is talking about BYOT or bring your own technology, why not mention a gift of technology or the apps that go with it?
Here’s how to know what to recommend or purchase:
1. Get what you can afford. If the school insists on a particular brand or model of technology, they should either pay for it for every student themselves (just don’t hold your breath) or give you a discount.
2. Include the device, applications, data fees, a protective case, and added insurance as you count the cost.
3. Remember each of your children (and you and your spouse) will want their own device, so plan accordingly.
4. Know the technology you buy now will become more outdated with each new generation of the device. What you are investing in is the ability to use technology to find answers. This is a skill we never outgrow.
5. Look for deals. I’m already seeing ads proclaiming prices “as good as Black Friday.” Black Friday—the shopping madness immediately following Thanksgiving Day in the United States—and Cyber Monday—online shopping the Monday after the fourth Thursday of November—are a chance to get some good discounts. If you must pay close to full price to get a particular brand name, see if you can purchase it where they are offering a store gift card with purchase (provided you’ll use the gift card).
6. If you can’t afford new technology, consider purchasing a used device from someone you trust who is upgrading to a new device. An old smart phone can still be a Wi-Fi only device, which is what many students need in the classroom.
7. Look for free (or temporarily free) apps. Ask your child’s teacher, search educational technology blogs like Adventures with Technology (thanks, Lisa, for also suggesting AppShopper.com), or do a Google search for “free apps device name” for suggestions.
What else would you suggest?