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The Back to School 411: Stay in the Know, on the Go

I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade and have been compensated for this post, all opinions are my own.

Back to school can be exciting, but also an overwhelming time for students, family members and teachers. Getting back into the swing of things always takes some adjustment, whether you have kids or not. Technology can help transition you to getting back into the groove of your fall and winter routines.

Staying connected at home and on the go

One of the things that my husband and I have been able to do is set up a family calendar through our Gmail accounts. I set up the calendar, added him as a contributor, and we can access the calendar anytime, anywhere through our U.S. Cellular mobile devices. I have the Samsung Galaxy S5 which makes accessing all of my Google cloud apps a breeze!

google cloud

Having reliable 4G LTE service through U.S. Cellular makes it simple for us to stay connected, know what events are going to be coming up for the kids and our family, and know where will have to be on any given day – because with three kids things can get pretty crazy busy!

I have younger kids, but if you have children who are a bit older and ready to sync their own devices to the family calendar, it might be a good idea to set up a Parent/Child Agreement and have rules put in place as to when, where, and how they can use their phone. Making it a rule to check the family calendar would be a good one to add!

parent child agreement

Staying connected in and out of the classroom

Whether students forget to check for homework assignments or miss class due to illness, students don’t want to fall behind.  Access to information and connecting with teachers and other students is just a click away with the help of smartphones and tablets.

According to a recent survey by U.S. Cellular, 74 percent of households with children under the age of 18 have at least one tablet. Tablets and smartphones are becoming a simple tool to ensure students keep making the grade.

According to a recent Student Mobile Device Survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 87 percent of students would like to use digital textbooks so they don’t have to carry so much in their backpacks.  And half of those students surveyed use their pocket-friendly smartphones instead of tablets.

Technology in the classroom

Tablets are also being used in the classroom; learning apps, eBooks, online educational videos and internet access can all enhance the learning experience.

With reliable mobile access to the internet on a robust network such as a 4G LTE network/high-speed network through U.S. Cellular, teachers and students can effectively harness the full capability of this technology.

Students, teachers and parents can optimize their connected learning experience with the help of the following apps recommended by U.S. Cellular:

  • Skype (Android) / Facetime (iOS): These free Internet video calling services allow teachers and students to collaborate wherever they are.  Teachers can bring guest speakers into class to discuss their expertise, thereby demonstrating how school subjects are relevant to real life.  Students can take virtual field trips anywhere in the world.  No permission slip required.

  • Teacher’s Assistant Pro: Featured in USA Today as one of the best teacher apps, Teacher’s Assistant Pro ($5.99 download) allows teachers to keep track of student actions, behaviors and achievements in the classroom. Using an iPhone or iPad, teachers can record student infractions and accolades, create a detailed written description of the event, and communicate with parents, reducing time consuming paperwork.

  • Notability: This powerful note-taker app is free and allows iOS and Android users to complete worksheets, sketch ideas, keep a journal, integrate photos and record a lecture, and keep it all in one place.  Use the search feature to quickly locate notes by title or content.  Share with others using iCloud or Google Drive.


  • DropBox: This cloud-based file sharing and storage free app lets users circulate files from different locations over different networks.  Turn in and return assignments, provide up-to-date syllabi from different locations quickly, and post grades securely and easily.

dropbox image

Calling All Teachers

U.S. Cellular is donating $1 million to fund teacher classroom projects through its Calling All Teachers program. Last year, the company contributed $500,000 towards educational materials for improved classroom experiences.

Let U.S. Cellular help your classroom!

  • Register as a U.S. Cellular teacher on DonorsChoose.org
  • From August 11 to September 21, registered public school teachers can post a project
  • Teachers within the U.S. Cellular retail footprint are eligible for funding
  • One project (valued between $100 to $1,000) per teacher will be considered
  • This fall, U.S. Cellular will fund projects up to a total of $1,000,000

All projects must be submitted by September 21 to be eligible for this year’s funding.  Selected projects will be in announced in October.



So tell us…

How has technology improved your or your child’s learning experience?


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