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09/06/2011 07:57 EDT | Updated 10/24/2011 05:12 EDT

Back To School Tech Gadgets: Tablets, Laptops and Smart Phones Top The List For 2011

Back to school shopping used to be about new notebooks, pencils, and crayons. These days it's still about that, plus all the new-fangled gadgets that are now must-have additions to backpacks.

Elliott Chun, communications manager of Future Shop says this season there are three key trends shoppers should keep an eye out for: tablets, laptops and smart phones.

“What’s exciting is that every year it’s never the same, today’s student wants to be everywhere,” he says.

Shoppers should keep in mind that every student has different needs and understanding these needs will result in better purchases, Chun says.

“Peel layers back a bit and look at the type of courses and programs. Understand what the core needs are going to be for the school year and look at your options,” he says.

Sticking to a budget is also important, especially if you are shopping for more than one student. Even though most gadgets are available at affordable prices, shoppers should know what their cap is on spending.

“Think long-term. Technology does move quickly, but the nice thing about that is that the fact products can have software upgrades,” Chun says.

Check out some of this season’s must-have back to school tech items that will help your student stay connected at school (and to you too).