Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Today's Back to School; digital textbooks, apps, gadgets.

Forget pencil boxes and backpacks.  Today’s back to school student is digitized and with the right equipment can be a lot more productive and put together.

Digital Textbooks

Purchasing textbooks is not only extremely costly (on average of $2,400 in undergrad years) but it can also weigh you down (students carry around 20+ lbs on a typical day).  Digital textbook solutions are abundant and can save you $.

A few options include: CourseSmart, Kno, Textbooks.com

Kno, for example, offers 100k of the 300k textbooks.  Kno also offers interactive features like  in-book quizzes, stickies and digital note-taking.  Available for the iPad and also available online (if you don’t have to have a tablet.)

Just make sure to do the math on any book before making a purchase -- as per this article in Mashable sometimes a paper book can be cheaper to rent.

College Jobs – there's an app for that.
Forget trying to juggle a part time job or two.  It's all about working on your own time and taking jobs that are right up your alley. And there’s an app for that.

GigWalk.  Gigwalk is a free app that pays iPhone users to complete a variety of on-location tasks (Gigs), such as verifying a street name for mapping companies, photographing a menu or simply confirming product placements for brands.  Gigwalk notifies you when there is a job in your area and most jobs typically pay from $4-$7 and take about 20 minutes to complete.

TaskRabbit.  Task Rabbit, an already popular site, has come to the iPhone.  It allows people to name their price for tasks ranging from putting furniture together, taking care of dry cleaning, or make a shopping trip.

FieldAgent.  The premise is to earn money by visiting nearby in major stores.  Since the app works off GPS, users that have the app installed can receive push notifications if a task becomes available in their area.   There are over 60,000 available “agents” ready for work that have completed a manual screening process.  Most jobs from “clients" range from $3-$8.  A typical example of a gig is to fill out a survey on their business or to check and see if a particular in-store item has a sale sticker on it.

Dorm Gadgets

Here are some of my favorite back to school gadgets for the dorm room.

Blik, prices vary
Designing your dorm room defines you and we all know there is not a lot of space to work with.  This is an amazing site for choosing hundreds of cool re-usable wall decals.

Lamp in a Box, prices vary
Let's be honest one of the few things you can fit in your dorm room is a light.  Why not customize your own or choose a really cool branded one like a Marvel Comics theme or The Beatles.

USB Mushroom Lamp, $10
An easy and cool way to add some nerd.   Just touch to light on and off.

There's not an app that can help with that expense.  However, there is a coupon.  Groupon recently announced a partnership with National Louis University to cut the cost of a graduate class by 60%.  Hey, maybe its not the most mainstream college but it could be the start of something very interesting in terms of impulse deals.

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Copyright © 2012 Katie Linendoll