PORTLAND Kids may be telling their parents about all kinds of gadgets they need for school this year, but one expert says a tablet may be the most important tool to help them succeed.

It's a small, sleek device, doesn't cost a lot of money, many can get Internet access or connect them up to Wi-Fi, said technology expert Brian Westbrook.

Some school districts see the value of tablets and try to provide them for students while they're in school, but having one at home may make a difference with homework.

I think it could really help the student be organized and better equipped to learn and grow, Westbrook said.

He said the best option for students is the Kindle Fire.

A lot of the other tablets have a lot of apps and games and distractions, he said. The Kindle Fire may help focus on reading and focus on that technology.

A smartphone is the second-most important gadget, Westbrook said. He recommended something waterproof and durable for teens.

His final tip: Be sure students have a thumb drive or backup hard drive for storing all that hard work they re doing.

Related: Teachers' advice on helping kids with homework

Click here for the KGW Back-to-School Survival Guide

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