This post is sponsored by Logitech
When coronavirus closed schools in March, every teacher did the best they could to transition to emergency schooling. This fall educators across the country reimagined their teaching spaces and got creative to engage a new group of students. They’re using new online teaching tools and tech essentials for virtual classrooms that make online instruction easier.
My job as a teacher is to cultivate a thriving classroom. I rely on tools that let my 8th grade computer science students see, hear, and understand me whether in person or online.
Now that we’ve settled into the school year, gotten to know our kids through Zoom, and become more comfortable delivering online instruction, it’s time to take stock of what’s working and what isn’t.
5 Teacher Tech Essentials for Virtual Classrooms
Every single teacher has a pain point when it comes to virtual learning. Some pain points can be fixed by investing in better tech accessories that will allow your students see, hear, and understand you better. If you’re not sure where to start, I’ve identified certain challenges and identified five teacher tech essentials for virtual classrooms.
Put Yourself in the Best Light and at the Best Angle
The best place for teachers to work is facing a window. The natural light will illuminate your face so students can see you but if you’re still not happy with the image quality, a webcam can do wonders!
Last spring I taught from my laptop which was ok, but I could never get the angle right. Having the camera below eye level made for some really unflattering angles but propping my laptop up on a stack of books made typing difficult.
Since I’ve always plugged my laptop into an external monitor for easier viewing, investing in a webcam that has made all the difference. These days I can keep my laptop plugged into my external monitor to teach because my Logitech c922 HD Pro Webcam is always ready.
Whether I’m teaching my 8th graders, participating in staff meetings, or engaging in a professional development session via Zoom, my C922 camera is always perfectly positioned to put me in the best light and capture the most flattering angle.
Eliminate Background Noise
Since background noise can be a distraction for students, a headset can help provide clear conversations and great sound quality while teaching. Search for a lightweight headset that provides echo cancellation, a noise-cancelling mic, and digital signal processing (DSP) to block out unwanted noise. In-line controls also make it easy to adjust the volume so students can hear you while providing clear conversations and great sound quality.
Logitech’s H570E Headset is comfortable and built to last. It features a stylish, lightweight design that makes it comfortable for all day wear while teaching. Leatherette ear pads, plus padded headband with metal reinforcement provides strength and flexibility, with a fit that feels just right.
Multitask with Multiple Devices
Teachers are the ultimate multitaskers during distance learning. Online classes require us to teach our lessons virtually and monitoring chat rooms for questions. Having multiple devices open and running applications makes lessons easier.
In addition to the school issued Chromebooks, some of my colleagues are using tablets too. This allows them to teach from one device while monitoring Zoom chats on another simultaneously.
Having an iPad as a secondary device during lessons is a great idea, especially when housed in a Logitech keyboard case. The Combo Touch features a backlit keyboard case with a trackpad and a Smart Connector that makes it easier and more comfortable to use an iPad for instruction.
Deliver More Effective Lessons with a Digital Crayon
According to my students, math is one of the most difficult subjects to learn online. We’re doing our best to use document cameras, interactive tools like Quizlet flashcards, and the annotate feature in Zoom but it’s just not the same. Nothing will ever replace a teacher delivering live-in person instruction but having a Logitech Crayon can certainly help until that day comes.
The Logitech Crayon is perfect for students and teachers thanks to its durable design. Use it to unleash creativity in your virtual classroom by using it to write, draw idea graphs, illustrate, and take visual notes as you teach. With 7.5 hours of writing time on a single charge and the ability to shut off automatically after 30 minutes of idle time, you can teach all day without the worry of it running out of juice mid-lesson.
Cut the Cord in Favor of Wireless
One of the best gifts you can give yourself for your virtual classroom is a wireless mouse. I’ve been using various models of Logitech wireless mice for years. They’re ergonomically designed for all day use and fit perfectly in my hand. Plus, I love having the freedom from a cord!
I always feel tethered to my computer when using my classroom desktop but when teaching from home with my wireless mouse, I never have to worry about the length of the cord or getting it caught up in the papers on my desk.
A wireless mouse like the M585 Wireless Mouse provides freedom for movement, tends to be more compact than traditional corded mice, and helps reduce the clutter in my workspace.
We’re all doing our best to deliver the most effective instruction to our students online, but any one of these 5 technology tools can enhance daily lessons in your virtual classroom and are worthwhile investments in you as an education professional.
For more tips and resources, check out Logitech’s Teach From Home portal.