School supplies have evolved significantly over the years. Items that appear on today's school-supply lists may be quite different from yesteryear.
It used to be that teachers required a relatively standard set of supplies for classroom and homework use. Folders, pencils, and spiral-bound notebooks were often the items of choice. As more schools embrace the digital age, school supplies tend to evolve to meet the demands of new technology.
* Dry erase markers: Schools are increasingly moving away from traditional chalk boards, which tend to be messy. In rooms where computer equipment is located, dry erase boards are often the preferred choice for teachers. As such, teachers tend to ask students for a steady supply of dry erase markers to use on the large whiteboards. Some classrooms also employ individual dry erase boards.
* Laptop computers or tablets: A personal computer can store a wealth of information and connect students with tons of information through the Internet. Instead of spreading school budgets thin equipping classrooms with computers, some schools encourage students to purchase their own devices for use at school and at home.
* Flash/thumb drives: Students who want to transfer files from school to home can use convenient thumb drives. These small storage devices can hold a significant amount of information.
* Copy paper: Tightened school budgets may force teachers to ask for donations of supplies, like reams of paper. These will be used to print out the different worksheets and notes sent home to parents and students.
* Cable television: In many classes, particularly those that deal with history or current events, teachers assign homework that require watching certain programs and then reporting back what they learned. Although cable or satellite television is largely universal in today's homes, it may require a few people who don't have the service to sign up.
* Newspaper subscription: The same way assignments are given to watch shows on TV, some teachers prefer to utilize newspapers when teaching current events. Having a weekly subscription or at least purchasing the paper a few days of the week enables students to keep abreast of what's going on in the world.
* Graphing calculator: Although computers can perform many of the tasks of handheld calculators, it's easier to carry graphing calculators around school than it is to cart around a laptop. Graphing calculators perform many different types of math. They may be required for algebra, calculus and geometry. They are also useful for plotting lines. Once purchased, a graphing calculator can be used for years.
* Planner: Students once wrote down assignments in a paper planner or on a calendar. Although many choose to do it the same way today, some opt to go the digital route, entering reminders and tasks into a PDAor a phone with these capabilities.
* E-reader: Students taking a foreign language or avid readers may opt to invest in an e-reader. This way they can store a dictionary, thesaurus, or even some of their favorite books in one place.
* Scanner: A scanner can be an invaluable tool for copying material from books or scanning in photos and other items for use in projects. Many scanners come in all-in-one printer/fax/scanner machines, which can be a good investment.
* Printer: A desktop printer will enable students to print out homework assignments or reports.
* Internet access: The Internet has proven an invaluable resource for today's students. Students frequently have to go online to do assignments. Many teachers also have Web sites where they post a syllabus or assignments. Some teachers prefer students contact them through e-mail.
* Standard supplies: Pens, pencils, staplers, folders, binders, notebooks, rulers, protractors, compasses, and the other traditional school supplies are still in demand.
School supplies have evolved over the years. Parents and students may have to adjust accordingly to get the items they need to do well in the classroom. Considering some of these supplies can be costly; parents may want to investigate refurbished devices that are often backed by warranties.