It's back-to-school time, and it's no surprise that smart products are trending for both educators and students. Overall back-to-school spending, including college students, is expected to rise 10 percent to $83.6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

Schools are gearing up for an exceptional year in which they can successfully incorporate more digital products into the curriculum. New apps are being introduced to impart knowledge and manage classrooms at the same time.

Students and parents are anticipating these changes. It is interesting to see that shopping lists include a lot of tech items that will help students assimilate all their subjects and accompanying tools for comprehensive management.

Ed tech trends have changed from the BYOD days to each student being given tablets at the beginning of the school year. According to "Today," the best back-to-school tech gadgets for kids are smart products designed to make life fun and simple across age groups.

These include the Osmo game system that teaches students to write code and an interactive talking "smartglobe" to experience augmented reality. Wearable buddy headphones that can be worn on wrists and come with a built-in audio splitter for sharing are popular, too. There is even a program like Essay Dog for high school seniors to help them write essays for college applications.

Microsoft's Back to School Live Event is a perfect example of how enmeshed education and technology are today. It offered an array of products for educators, but these are gadgets that students will enjoy using, too.

Some of the tools included Microsoft Teams and OneNote Class Notebook to facilitate collaboration between teachers and students. Then, there is the innovative use of "Minecraft: Education Edition with Code Builder" to help students learn to program through Minecraft game play.

Cortana will be their digital assistant, which will help them explore the realms of artificial intelligence along with the other K-12 curriculum. They rounded off with Intune for Education which will work as a background IT department and manage all the other ed tech tools efficiently.

Digital lifestyle experts are not surprised to see the strong focus on smart tools and gadgets this year. These are as much to keep up with the times as they are to facilitate proper learning in the digital age.

What may be surprising for some is that even clothing this year is trending with tech in mind. Jeans, cargo pants, school uniforms and even hoodies are being redesigned to make it easy to carry cellphones and tablets around. Function and fashion have merged well, and we see this in the array of laptop-friendly backpacks with cord compartments and headphone ports.

Among the array of gear and tech products, nearly half of shoppers bought a laptop. It is interesting to note that the video-game-friendly laptops that are both lightweight and high-performance are in demand now.