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This guest post was provided by ICDC

Modern students have a lot to think about. Obvious choices like “What education provides the best career options?” and “What is employment like in my chosen field?” weigh heavily on their minds, but no matter what answers they come up with, they’ll need the right tools to help make their dreams a reality. Students are usually on-the-go, so they’ll need an electronic device that compliments their lifestyle. So students might ask “Should I get a laptop? A tablet? A cell phone?” These devices are all high-tech and helpful, and each has a distinct set of pluses and minuses, should you choose to invest. So here is a brief rundown of how they would factor into the student learning experience.

The Laptop Lowdown:

Laptops, by far, have the most functionality. They can easily run complex problems, have a lot of memory and because they have a keyboard like the ones students are used to on regular computers, it’s easy to write papers, conduct research, browse the web, take notes, send e-mails and do anything else you would do on a PC. However, they typically weigh a lot more than tablets and cell phones, and take a little more time to set up than those devices. So if you only have 5 minutes to work on something, a laptop might not be the most efficient tool. That said, there is a growing number of colleges that provide laptops, so there is a big value in not having to buy something new.

The Tablet Tip Sheet:

In the past few years, tablets have become popular devices, and most recently, they’re catching on with the collegiate crowd. They’re pretty lightweight, are convenient to carry around and use, and are web-friendly. Students can turn them on quickly, can easily access e-learning portals, view a variety of documents in different file formats, and perform online research. However, tablets aren’t great for running massive programs on them, and typing could be difficult because the keyboard is on the screen, meaning you don’t have the same “feel” as on a proper computer, and it’s typically smaller than on laptops or PCs. Some tablets, however, might have an outlet where students can plug in a keyboard. Bear in mind that while some tablets can get an internet connection using just Wi-Fi, if that type of connection isn’t available, then doing anything online will be impossible. Students can invest in a monthly data package, but that would be an added expense, which could be a problem if money is tight.

The Fix on Phones:

The last device we’ll discuss is a cell phone. These products are such a dominant part of society that students of all ages probably already have one. It is usually pretty easy to add a college e-mail accounts to a cell phone, and neither laptops nor tablets can be used to call instructors or school administrators. However, cell phones aren’t great for research. They aren’t as powerful as the above devices, screens are small, and unless e-learning portals are optimized for cell phones (or come in app form), accessing school-related files may prove to be very difficult.

Does all this information seem a little daunting? Is there a lot to think about as you choose how to invest in your education? Totally normal. The good thing is that there is no shortage of websites dedicated to reviewing tech products, so you’ll have the chance to look at what your school will require you to do, and measure that with the capabilities of each device. Should you prefer to buy these products in a store, feel free to ask as many questions as you can. The more time you spend preparing, the more you’ll know what to ask, and the more effective your purchase will be.

So good luck!