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While this back to school season may not look like any other, there’s still a new year ahead and plenty of opportunities to learn and grow from wherever students will be hitting the books.
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“It’s just such a different back to school than the one we had last year. One that we did not anticipate and certainly one that we do not want, but you have to pivot and adjust,” admitted Winy Bernard, tech expert and technology camp Créateurs Z founder.
Having the right tools and technology to get ahead this year is more important than ever, which is why we turned to Bernard to get some of her top picks for devices that will have students of all ages ready to learn this fall.
Whether it’s a return to the classroom or distance learning from home, Staples Canada is the back to school headquarters with top picks for every age group. In addition to essentials like pens, pencils, notebooks and backpacks, they’re also a go-to destination if you’re looking to stock up on the latest in technology.
Embrace STEAM technology
Since things like coding are not often taught in the classroom, introducing it to kids as young as six years old can foster a lifelong interest in the industries that are paving the way to the future.
“One of the things that I really push for is tools that have to do with STEAM education – science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics,” said Bernard. “What it does for these young people is that it really teaches them learning through experience – how to solve a problem in a creative fashion, and how to collaborate with others.”
All of these aspects of learning complement what children are already being taught in the classroom, and can help supplement their development if they’re distance learning at home this fall.
This build your own computer kit comes with everything a child needs to assemble their own working desktop device, and includes illustrated instructions for easy construction.
SHOP IT: Staples Canada, $200
Kids can program this mechanical robot to do five cool actions, including shooting a ball, holding objects, drawing and more.
SHOP IT: Mastermind Toys, $40
With commands in both English and French, this interactive robot can help kids work on both their STEM and their language skills.
SHOP IT: Staples Canada, $200
Students of all ages can appreciate the way that music transforms any study session, but his year, having the right audio equipment is especially important for connecting with classmates and teachers from afar.
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Whether they’re tuning into lectures from home or just need a moment to decompress at the end of a long day, speakers and headphones that offer top notch sound quality are a must to get through the coming school year.
This pair of affordable wireless headphones was designed for young users in mind — and they’re shaped specifically to fit smaller heads. As an added bonus, it features a 13-hour lifespan on a single charge.
SHOP IT: Staples Canada, $40
These dustproof, shockproof, waterproof and sweatproof earbuds are durable enough to stand up to anything that students can throw at them this school year.
SHOP IT: Jaybird, $240
Available in five fun colours, this bluetooth speaker connects to any device to provide crisp, clear audio for listening to your favourite songs, podcasts, or audiobooks with ease.
SHOP IT: Staples Canada, $130 (originally $170)
When it comes to staying on top of assignments and working efficiently, a laptop that’s powerful yet completely portable can make a huge difference in online learning.
“I think one thing that’s super important is just to have a good laptop or a little Chromebook that is affordable, not too big, something that [kids] can use whether at school if it’s not provided to them, or at home,” shared Bernard.
You’ll find plenty of options currently on the market that fit those requirements, with many even priced under $300.
This sleek and stylish Chromebook has an easy to use interface and an all-day battery life, plus an ultra lightweight design that’s great for students who may be commuting to and from school.
SHOP IT: Staples Canada, $300 (originally $400)
This classroom-ready laptop is budget friendly and comes with built-in access to Google Classrooms and G suite for Education.
SHOP IT: Lenovo, from $289
A compact 11.6” screen is ideal for younger kids, and its rugged, spill-resistant keyboard is great for less-than-careful students.
SHOP IT: Amazon, $229 (originally $329)