Last updated: August 28. 2013 1:49PM - 975 Views
Devon Hailey, Clinton store manager

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As students throughout North Carolina head back to school, it can be a hectic time for parents, students and teachers alike. The latest wireless technology tools can help make the school year run smoother. Turn your smartphone or tablet into a “Back-to-School Command Center” with everything you need to plan, prep and navigate your child’s school year.

Your smartphone can help simplify your life, save time and enhance learning according to a recent U.S. Cellular customer survey. Half of the U.S. Cellular customers with children who participated in the wireless carrier’s online survey¹ said that they used educational activities on a mobile device with their children. Of those customers, 33 percent use math apps, 22 percent use reading apps, and 20 percent use pre-school learning apps.

There are so many ways that your smartphone can help you kick off the school year, from capturing the first day of school, to organizing school activities and assignments, to helping reinforce key homework concepts in an engaging way. At U.S. Cellular, we’re here to help you make the most out of what technology can do for parent and students, during the busy school year and all year long.

U.S. Cellular offers these tips to get your “Back-to-School Command Center” ready:

Organize the Family Schedule – Apps like U.S. Cellular Family Organizer by Cozi (free) allow a busy family to put all of the detailed family schedules into once centralized place for quick and easy access. School assignments, after-school activities, medical appointments, vacations, holidays, and work obligations can all be viewed in one calendar.

Homework and Study Helpers – There are a wealth of resource apps available to help reinforce basic educational concepts for elementary students. Use your smartphone or tablet to help your younger students by downloading Math Practice Flash Cards (free) which allows students to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems and Political Maps (free), which shows kids the countries of the world with their capitals and the languages spoken within those areas.

First Cell Phone Milestone – Back to school also marks a time when many parents might buy their child their first cell phone. U.S. Cellular discovered that while 91 percent of parents either already set or plan to set mobile phone usage guidelines for their children, 63 percent indicated they would find it helpful to have a parent-child agreement to guide their ability to supervise children’s usage and behavior with mobile devices. As such, U.S. Cellular has created a Better Moments Parent-Child Agreement, which is a document to guide the conversations parents and children can have in determining guidelines for using a mobile device safely, courteously and appropriately. You can download the free agreement at www.ChildPhoneAgreement.com and customize it for your child based on your family preferences.

Keep on Top of Assignments– Parents can also help their kids get their devices ready to go back to school with apps that can simplify and enhance their studying and homework. Older students can self-manage their homework, schedule study time, homework and tests using the handy HomeWork (free) app. It will list all of a student’s homework assignments, exams and due dates in a handy checklist so that students can track when tasks have been completed and progress has been made.

Catch Notes– An app called Catch Notes (free) is great for older students to capture important study or research notes, jot down text, snap a photo or record voice notes on the go, then sync across all devices with a Catch.com account. Students can use the app to share their ideas and collaborate with friends or classmates with a device like the 4G LTE Samsung Galaxy S 4 that allows you to share photos by simply touching phones together.

Know the Rules – Making sure that children know what rules pertain to mobile phone usage within their school district is very important as well as setting appropriate phone guidelines for the new school year. Parents can have even more control than they think when it comes to kids’ cell phone use with a service like U.S. Cellular’s Family Protector App ($9.99 per month for up to five devices with a 30 day free trial). With this app on your child’s smartphone, you can set restrictions on when and where kids’ phones will work. For example, you can set the app to prevent your child’s phone from working during school hours or to only work for emergency numbers. You can also restrict access to certain websites and phone numbers, or even create a geo-fence so that you receive an alert when your child has left a designated area.

We hope these recommendations help your family make the transition back to school more organized and make it easier to enjoy better moments together.

¹ Between April 1-5, 2013, a total of 527 online interviews were conducted among U.S. Cellular post-paid customers by Consumer Insights, in partnership with Directions Research Inc.

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