By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many of you have likely shopped for things like notebooks and glue sticks but if you are looking for something extra to pick up this school year, here are a few tech ideas to spice up the pencil box. Don’t worry, we have ideas for parents too.

WCCO’s Erin Hassanzadeh walked through Best Buy with an associate and picked out some of the products that stood out to her.


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Fitbit Ace 2: This is basically a Fitbit with a child-friendly look. It can help parents and children track activity and sleep levels. Cool features: Parental controls to view child’s activity and sleep levels, challenges that inspire activity.

Gizmowatch: This smart watch is available for Verizon customers only.  It is also an activity tracker but has a calling feature in case children need to call parents, etc. Cool features: Calls to approved numbers only. 

Middle/High School

Sphero BOLT: The young coders in your family will love the Sphero BOLT; they learn to program this robot by drawing or writing JavaScript.

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Anki Cozmo Robot: Program this Cozmo by Anki robot to move cubes and speed through mazes. It comes with challenges and games that will get your kids to think creatively.


Nanoleaf Lights: These are perfect for sprucing up a dorm room. You can arrange the panels in different shapes and customize the colors to create the perfect ambiance. Cool feature: If you purchase the Rhythm Edition, you can sync the lights to your songs.

HP Tango Smart Printer: This one is for the practical college student. It sends you ink cartridges on a subscription basis — all you have to buy is the paper! Cool feature: printing photos from your phone is free.


Chamberlain Smart Garage: This device allows you to connect your garage to your phone. Cool features: You can see when your garage door was opened last, you can open and close it remotely if you need to let someone in or if you forget to close the door.

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Nest x Yale Smart Lock: This is a secure, tamper-proof lock that is keyless and utilizes a password. Cool features: You can unlock the door from anywhere on the Nest app.

Erin Hassanzadeh