How to Choose the Must-Have Equipment for Virtual Classrooms

We’ve put together a list of items for your virtual classroom that teachers have approved.

Gear for networking

There is no standard way to use remote learning right now. Some teachers only communicate with students through email, while others Livestream lectures or post assignments online. Teachers sometimes use a method that combines online and in-person learning. No matter how these examples are done, they all have one big thing: they all need the Internet.

You need to be able to get online if you want to join an online program. So, you’ll need reliable networking equipment like modems, routers, connector cables, and so on. If you’re reading this article at home, you probably already have some of the necessary tools. And if your gear is still in good shape, you probably won’t need to make a big change.

If your home has dead spots for Wi-Fi or other signal problems, you might want to look into mesh networking. There are a lot of good choices, and the Google Nest is one of our favorites. The Nest is a scalable system that brings fast, reliable Internet to your house. It’s easy to set up and use, and, as routers and access points go, it looks pretty cool. Pretty much any wireless access point from Aruba is also a good choice. Overall, Aruba access points are easy to set up and use and work very well. Plus, they have a good selection of devices that can cover different areas and connect different numbers of devices.


Computer stuff

Like networking equipment, you must use computer equipment to learn remotely. No matter if it’s a desktop, laptop, tablet, or something else, you won’t be able to get online without a network interface, which is a computer. Getting online is a key part of online education. Many people already have at least one computer ready for the network and can be used for remote learning. As with your networking equipment, you should be good to go as long as it’s in good shape and can handle your different tasks.

If, on the other hand, your computer setup doesn’t meet your needs for remote learning, you might need to think about an upgrade or a different device. But before you buy anything, you should ask yourself a few questions. First, think about what you desire to get out of remote learning.


Apple 11 “iPad Pro

We have some suggestions for you if you need a new computer, especially a laptop. The first would be almost any Microsoft Surface product. The Surface series is known for its power, performance, and other good things, but one thing we like about it is that there’s a Surface for almost everyone. There’s probably a Surface for you, no matter what you need to do to learn from afar. If you don’t believe it, check out this Microsoft Surface Buying Guide, which breaks down the different models, specs, and best users.


The Microsoft 10.5 “Surface Go 2 with Touch Screen

We also like a few laptops from Lenovo, such as the new ThinkBook 15 and 500E Chromebook. One of the reasons we like Lenovo so much is that, like the Surface series, it has a wide range of high-performance products for almost everyone. On top of that, many of its laptops have pretty low prices, making them some of the best bang-for-the-buck deals you’ll find among the top computer brands.


Equipment for teleconferencing

Some online classes need more than just a computer and the Internet to work. We talked to a creative writing teacher who holds weekly workshops via webcam. At first, he used the built-in camera on his laptop, but neither the video nor the sound quality was good enough for him. So, he decided to get an external webcam. We’ll talk about that choice in a minute. For now, let’s look at why a good webcam is important.

Avaya IX Huddle HC020 Web and Video Conferencing Camera

Webcams aren’t as much a “must-have” for remote learning as networking or computer equipment. Unlike these two categories, not all small classes require a webcam, and those that do can usually be accessed just as easily using the camera on your smartphone. Even if you need a webcam for your remote learning situation, it’s likely that your computer already has one, so you probably don’t need to buy, upgrade, or do anything else.


Webcam Logitech C920s HD Pro

For extra credit: Many of the gear, platforms, and best practices for teleconferencing and live streaming are the same. Jennifer Hahn’s introductory article on live streaming is a good place to start learning about it.


Unique Equipment

Once you’ve set up your network, computer, and any teleconferencing equipment you need, you should be able to handle most problems with remote learning. There are always things that don’t fit the rule.

For example, students in specialized programs might need extra equipment that isn’t part of the basic remote learning setup. Another example is anyone who works in a field with a lot of art or graphics. Because of what they do, they might need special gear or tools to do certain things.

Your basic needs for learning from a distance are pretty simple. You will need a computer, the Internet, and maybe a webcam. But what about the stuff that isn’t so clear? Or the specialized equipment? What’s the one thing you can’t live without? Tell us below what you need to do your best work from home.

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