The only problem with summer vacation is that it gets shorter and shorter after the first day.

With a new school year quickly approaching, it's time to soak up the last hours of the long summer sun, and prepare for nine months of hard work that will give birth to another freedom-filled summer.

One of the best ways for students and teachers to start off on the right foot is by picking up "technology built to learn."

That's why we put our thinking caps on a little early, coming up with a Back to School gadget list that will make reading, doing homework, and paying attention in class a bit easier during the 2013-2014 school year.

The Dean's List Trivia Game app

Dean's List trivia game app
'You get the ole 23 skidoo, see?'

Price: $3.99 in the iOS App Store and Google Play

Before your teacher hands out a syllabus for the upcoming semester, prep with some brainy questions by downloading the appropriately themed Dean's List Trivia Game app.

This iOS and Android quiz game has 200 question sets of 5 questions each. In case your brain isn't back from summer vacation just yet, that's a total of 1000 questions.

The questions are extremely challenging, even for trivia buffs. You either know it, or you don't even know the jargon it's talking about.

Luckily, most of the answers in the Dean's List include source links to the web, allowing you to do a little more research if you find a question's answer to be questionable.

Acer Aspire S7-392

Acer Aspire S7 2013 update
Lasts longer than your attention span in math class

Price: Starting at $1,449.99 on

Start the school year off with an Acer up your sleeve by considering the company's impressive second-generation ultrabook and the follow-up to the original Acer Aspire S7 we liked so much.

This year's model has school spirit and a Haswell processor at heart thanks to Core i5 or i7 depending on the configuration. Intel's new battery-sipping CPU means the computer can last all day long.

The Aspire S7 battery has improved by 33 percent so you can achieve more productivity from the hardware, and it boasts quieter fans that adhere to the library's strict "no noise" rules.

These improvements go along with the ultrabook's sleek and lightweight design that make it just 2.87 pounds. The stylish auto-light-sensing electroluminescent keyboard doesn't hurt either, especially if you have a roommate and you're plugging away at an all-nighter in the darkened dorm room.

LiveScribe Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen

Best back to school tech 2013
Live and let LiveScribe

Price: $135 on Amazon

You're smart, but your pen is stupid. It hasn't changed much since the fountain to ballpoint pen transition in the 19th century, which makes life a Bic.

LiveScribe smartpens will point you in the right direction when writing down and reviewing notes, thanks to the integration of an audio recorder. As you jot down handwritten notes on special paper with microdots (that you can hardly see), the pen remembers what was being said.

Go back, tap any area of the notes, and hear what was being said at the moment you wrote something down. This contrasts with normal audio recordings in which you're hunting through a 50-minute timeline for a particular section of a lecture.

While the LiveScribe Echo model is still available, the company added the LiveScribe Sky in the last academic year so that notes transfer wirelessly to a computer or device and sync with Evernote.

Microsoft Windows 8 / Office

Best back to school tech 2013
Still the teacher-prefered OS and software

Price: $69.99 / $79.99 at Microsoft

Microsoft's software is a little less relevant on campus every new school year compared to a decade ago, as you can get away with lots of tasks using Google Docs or OpenOffice.

However, there's no getting through a semester without one teacher requiring Office-based formats, and really Office is the most reliable word processing program out there.