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Back to school tech, apps for teachers

There's gadgets and apps out there which can lighten the load and help you work with the digital natives in your classroom.
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1 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

A wireless laser pointer

The Targus Wireless Presenter with Laser Pointer is a handy tool for the classroom which saves teachers needing to stand by the board when they need to emphasize a point. Instead, the handheld device can be used to highlight areas of interest from up to 30 feet away. In addition, the presenter can be linked up to a PC system in order to point and force a page up, down or switch applications.

Price: $33

ViaAmazon

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2 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Abdtech 130" Mini LED Projector

Projectors in class can be difficult to find, outdated and may break down -- so for teachers in the industry for the long haul, a product such as the Abdtech 130" mini LED projector allows you to project movie clips, films, presentations and notes without the need to rely on school resources. The projector itself is small and light enough to fit into a bag comfortably and can either be hooked up to a laptop via HDMI or plug-and-play media through flash drives. For the price and size, you get a good return on your investment with a clear picture -- it won't be the full HD experience, but for the amount you pay there's little to complain of.

Price: $103

ViaAmazon

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3 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

EasyAcc Classic 10000mAh Power Bank

Many teachers now rely on digital tools to enrich their lessons, but if you forget to charge devices overnight, the day's plans can be ruined. Therefore, stashing a portable charger in your bag in case of emergencies can be valuable for teachers. The EasyAcc power bank is a lightweight, powerful option to keep your smartphones and tablets charged on the go and is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

Price: $17.99

ViaAmazon

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4 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Anker Bluetooth speakers

I used to use smartphones and my MP3 player in class when I needed to play my students a clip of a conversation or song -- and pairing this up with a Bluetooth speaker made my life far easier (and kept students from complaining they could not hear). The Anker Premium Stereo Bluetooth speaker pairs with your smartphone or tablet and has a range powerful enough to cover you across a classroom. While you can keep the speakers powered via a USB cable, the portable system can be used for up to 10 hours on a single charge.

There are cheaper ones available on the market, but this speaker's power is surprising considering its size -- and can be used at home when the working day is over.

Price: $59.99

ViaAmazon

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5 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Livescribe 3 smart pen

Lesson planning, a time-consuming process which needs to be constantly repeated and updated, can be made a quicker process by using digital pens. A popular device is the Livescribe pen, a product which converts your handwritten notes into a digital format which can then be tagged, printed, added to lesson plan templates or synchronized with audio files.

Price: $149.95

ViaLivescribe

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6 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Sandisk 8GB Clip Jam MP3 Player

While you can use your own smartphone or MP3 player in class, there will always be the sticky-fingered student or possibility of your device being accidentally damaged. Instead, I used to keep a cheaper MP3 stashed in my work bag which contained uploaded clips I needed for lessons -- and digital music players such as the Sandisk 8GB player can fill this need. The MP3 player is very light and plays DRM-free audio including MP3, WMA and AAC.

Price: $35.99

ViaAmazon

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7 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

App: TED

There are not many teachers around who do not know of TED talks. From business leaders to educators, TED talks are conducted to spread new ideas across different industries. If you're interested in keeping up with the latest news in education, consider downloading the TED talk app so you can stream and download talks to watch on your way to work.

Price: $Free

ViaGoogle PlayApp Store

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8 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

App: Too Noisy

Keeping a class focused and noise to a manageable level is now half the job in the classroom. If you're dealing with younger students and to save your throat, the Too Noisy app can help. Loaded on to your smartphone or tablet, the app allows you to set an acceptable level of noise. If sound goes above this level, an alarm sounds.

Price: $2.99

ViaGoogle PlayApp Store

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9 of 9 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

App: ClassDojo

ClassDojo is a valuable classroom management application which lets teachers keep track of student behavior. It's not easy, when you have hundreds of students looking to you, but this app can help you come report time to refresh on any behavioral issues which need work or mentioning at parent's evening. The app can be set to private to keep these notes secure. It can also be used to help students recognize where improvement is needed.

Price: $Free

ViaGoogle PlayApp Store

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