New School Year, New Gadgets

Shopping for back-to-school supplies isn't like it used to be. Paper, pens and pencils usually have company on parents' lists: hi-tech gadgets.

Best magazine Senior Editor David Gregg gathered some of the latest gear designed to help kids in the classroom and displayed it on The Early Show on Thursday.


This is the perfect off-to-college gift. The tableside clock radio was designed with a class schedule in mind. Have a 9 a.m. class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays? A late lab on Tuesday? No classes on Thursday? No problem. The Neverlate 7-day Alarm Clock accommodates your schedule. Set it once and forget about it all semester. Never sleep through class again. An individual alarm for each day of the week enables you to enter your weekly schedule once, and the days of fussing with setting the alarm every night before bed are over. No class on Thursday? Class canceled just this Friday? No problem. Turn the alarm off for just that day without affecting the rest of your wake schedule.

Cost: $35


The Firefly phone is about the size of a small pocket calculator, weighing just two ounces. And it feels good to hold. Kids love the Firefly because it's cool and fun to use. Young users can choose ring tones, animations and background colors. The cell phone also satisfies parents' concerns about unrestricted mobile phone use and monthly costs. With just five keys instead of a regular dial pad, parents use a PIN to program up to 22 outgoing numbers into the phone, including speed-dial keys for Mom and Dad. Kids place calls by pressing the Mom, Dad or phone book keys, and then send. The patented phone lights up like a firefly when in use and intermittently when in standby mode.

Cost: $99 (minutes can be bought in $10 increments)


Improve your child's reading and writing skills with this interactive speaking dictionary. Over 40,000 easy-to-understand definitions are pronounced for effective vocabulary learning. The automatic phonetic spelling corrector turns "nolij" into "knowledge," while an animated handwriting guide demonstrates print and cursive styles. Includes a rhyme finder, five word-building games, and a vocabulary list that can be created by the user. Works with headphones (sold separately) for privacy. Ideal for ages 6-10.

Cost: $59.95


Dell has a $299 desktop that includes a monitor. If a reliable desktop computer without all the "bells and whistles" is what you seek for your little scholar, Dell has one of the best values in today's marketplace. The Dimension 2400 is just the ticket for writing term papers, doing homework and surfing the Internet.

Complete systems start at $299


Add a monitor and live the digital life in stylish simplicity. Just six-and-a-half inches square and two inches tall, the Mac mini provides what you need to have more fun with your music, photos, movies and of course, school stuff, right out of the box. The Mac mini now boasts 512MB of memory as well as models with built-in wireless and SuperDrive.

The most affordable Mac ever still starts at $499


The new Gateway M250 series delivers performance without any tradeoffs. Get all the screen space you need in an ultra-compact, 14-inch-wide screen design. Watch DVDs. Work in multiple applications side-by-side. Ideal for students, the M250 series is slim enough to slip in a backpack or use on an airplane tray table.

Cost: $799


The HP PSC 1410 All-In-One Printer, Scanner, Copier produces vibrant photos with exceptional fade resistance, using HP paper and inks. The HP PSC 1410 All-In-One also delivers 4,800 optimized dots per inch (dpi) color and laser quality black text. A convenient control panel with one-touch buttons enables users to easily make color copies, reprint photos, resize originals and scan documents, all without a computer. In addition, users can organize, edit and share photos using the HP Image Zone and HP Instant Share Software (included). Has fast print and copy speeds of up to 18 pages per minute (ppm) in black and up to 13 ppm in color. Also offers four-by-six inch borderless prints and up to 8½ by 11 inch prints with borders.

Cost: $79


Can't Type? No Problem. The Logitech io2 Digital Writing System is used the same way as a ballpoint pen. You activate the pen by removing the cap, and deactivate it by replacing the cap. There are no extra steps required. Simply write down your information just as you would with pen and paper, up to 40 pages at a time. When you write with the pen, a tiny camera with an optical sensor captures your work and registers the pen's movements, while a processor digitizes your words and images. After placing the pen its cradle (included), all your information gets transferred to your computer.

Cost: $199.99