It wasn't all that long ago that students typed their papers on manual typewriters. Think 1970s. The first computers made life a little easier, but they were gigantic.
Today, some electronics are small enough to carry in your book bag. How great is that? And many are affordable whether you have a little money or a lot.
We have five electronic gift ideas, from expensive to cheap, that will make life easier for the adult student on your list. Which one will you choose?
A laptop computer is a must-have for the serious student. It is so much faster to type notes in class than it is to try to keep up longhand.
But a laptop does more than serve as a word processor. Students can look up words they don't know, pull up websites being discussed and actually see the information, bookmark sites for use later when writing assignments.
Make sure you know if your student wants a PC or Mac, and take into consideration that laptops come in different sizes. Some of the keyboards are small. That can be a good thing, or bad.
If your student doesn't want to lug around a laptop, a tablet is the next best option. Tablets are small, flat-screen computers, either Mac or PC, that students can use to read books, search the Internet, send email, and do just about anything else they can do on a desktop or laptop.
The keyboard, however, is very small. I, personally, would not care to take notes on it. But you can't beat the size. It pops right into a book bag or purse. I love my own Kindle Fire. See 5 Ways to Study with Your Kindle Fire
I know, almost everyone has a cell phone already, but there some adult students out there who have resisted that particular call to adventure. Haul your student into the future with a cell phone and calling plan, and you'll worry less about them on the road at 9:30 p.m. when class is finally released.
Add bad weather to the equation and you'll be extra glad you gave this electronic gift.
If your favorite student is driving to and from school on winter nights, you'll find some great gift ideas here, too: 10 Car-Related Gift Ideas for the Student Who Drives in the Winter
Check out About Cell Phones for help choosing a phone.
An external hard drive can be a life saver for the adult student working on a thesis, a book, or any other project that generates massive amounts of information, especially if it involves a lot of images.
The issue isn't space. It's loss.
Imagine the heartache of losing the work of many years because something happened to the computer on which it is stored. Give your student the gift of a secure backup of all their data.
Check out Before You Buy an External Hard Drive from Guide Lisa Johnston.
5. Flash Drive/Jump Drive/Memory Stick...the Perfect Stocking Stuffer
There are a lot of different names for those little USB memory gadgets that allow the easy sharing of information. You'll see and hear them called flash drives, jump drives, memory sticks, pen drives, thumb drives, and other names. Now you can add "stocking stuffer."
Flash drives are tiny little things, most of them about 2 inches long by 3/4 inch wide. When you hear about different sizes, the reference is to how much information they hold. They hold anywhere from 2 GB all the way up to 256 GB.
Your student will appreciate a smaller, less expensive version. 16 GB is probably the most he or she will need, and they're easy to find and afford.