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Banish the back-to-school blues with gadgets

It's time to go back to campus, and there are thousands of hi-tech goodies to choose from. eBay's Cat Schwartz reveals the most popular student-centric hi-tech goods.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

It's time to go back to campus, and there are thousands of hi-tech goodies to choose from. I've been watching some great deals fly around on eBay for student-centric goods and here's what I've found to be most popular.

Notebook
Netbooks, notebooks, little laptops, whatever you call them, they're hot! These little powerhouses pack in the techno strength of a regular-sized computer and are the one tool every student needs to stay ahead of the learning curve.

These ultra-portable systems allow students to work from anywhere, whether it’s in the classroom or at the library. The size is perfect for small dorm rooms, the webcam is great for keeping in touch, the inputs are essential for connecting to printers and phones, and the sub $500 price tag is the bow around this perfect package. I'm seeing a huge variety of netbooks on eBay and because they are already priced so well you can score some great deals on new, like new or refurbished so check it out!

Digital message board
When students set up their dorm rooms they almost always add a message board to the outside of their door so fellow students to leave homework assignments, schedule updates, set a study date or just to say "hi". This version is for the next generation of students who are used to a hi-tech lifestyle.  Not only can you leave an old school white board message, but with the Home Base Message Center, friends can also leave pictures and even video messages! 

Micophone and iPhone
Recording a lecture can be useful when studying, and there are two tools that make this really easy to do. First up is an external microphone from Belkin that attaches to the bottom of your iPod and records high quality audio as an MP3 file. The file can later be recalled, shared or edited just like any other file.

Second is the new iPhone 3GS. On the phone there's an application called "Voice Memos" that has a stylish large microphone icon which records great audio then shares the file with your iTunes. In addition to this application, the phone itself can be used in many other ways to help students excel in school. Some of my favorite, aside from recording your lectures are: keeping everything organized from class times via the calendar to assignment deadlines with a To Do List app, working on the fly with flash card apps, looking at class notes from anywhere, and of course, keeping in touch with family and friends.

Solar-powered backpack Often students leave their room first thing in the morning for class or work and then don't get back until after dinner. If they have all of their gadgets running while they’re out and about, chances are they're running on empty by the end of the day or they're fighting for plug space between classes. A solar-powered backpack can be a life saver! The pack has panels on it that catch rays of light all day long and then store a charge till the device is ready to be plugged in. The pack comes with several adapters for all types of gadgets as well as a car charger to start the day on full juice.