Going New School

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By Myra McElhaney

Back in the day the start of school required a couple number 2 pencils, a three-ring binder with notebook paper and maybe, if you were fancy, a pencil bag and sharpener. These days there are countless gadgets and gizmos to make your school day go more smoothly.

Rather than a writing tablet of ruled paper it”s cool to have a tablet computer. Small enough to fit into your fancy schmancy, ergonomically-designed backpacks, these little computers do it all. At the tap of your fingers, you can use the touch screen or virtual keyboard to create Word documents, download books or generate spreadsheets. No need to sit in the library with the World Book Encyclopedia; all your research can be done right on the Internet.

Want to make sure there”s Internet coverage in the spot where you want to do your homework? Don”t bother flipping open your laptop. Just wear your wi-fi detector shirt. The black T-shirt has glowing bars on the front that display the current wi-fi strength. A battery pack that holds the three AAA batteries is concealed in an inside pocket. The animated decal is removable for easy washing. These amazing shirts are available at

Of course, you must have a smartphone. Not only will it allow you to be connected to anyone, anytime, anywhere, but also it can tell you the time or weather and serve as a calculator, timer or alarm. You can take a photo and upload it to your Facebook page right in biology class or amuse yourself with Angry Birds or Words with Friends while you wait for mom to get through the carpool line.

Check out these latest products to hit the market:

”   #Flying alarm clock – Make it to class on time. This digital clock sounds a shrieking alarm then a propeller flies into the air. To be retrieved, a key must be replaced in the base in order to stop the alarm. Available at

”   #Four Function Ruler Pen – This thin pen doubles as a ruler and includes a pencil, orange highlighter and a PDA stylus. Available at

”   #Crocodile Staple Remover – It looks like a crocodile head with the teeth acting as staple remover. Available at

”   #X-Shaped Rubber bands – These bands fit over books and papers horizontally and vertically. Featured in the 2004 exhibition of Humble Masterpieces for the Museum of Modern Art, they come in a set of sixteen with an assortment of sizes and four colors. Available at

”   #Unique USB flash drives – Designed to look like a wide variety of animals, cartoon figures and other novelty items including a guitar, fire extinguisher or a human thumb. Available at
“### #Sneaker Pencil Pouch – This pouch looks like a lace-up sneaker and keeps your erasers, pens and other small items zipped up and ready to use. It comes in several solid and sparkly colors. Available at

OK, these uniquely styled school supplies may not make you the cool kid in class but they help you express yourself. Sort of like a tool with an emoticon!

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