We’ve forgotten the true purpose of back to school shopping. Every year, we strut into an office supply store or the ginormous school supply section (that seemed to appear overnight) in our favorite department store, to purchase the finest supplies for the new school year. While we’re busy choosing between colors and scrolling through coupons, we forget just how truly useful and important these supplies are. Although we take them for granted, we’d be lost without our school supplies, everything from extra erasers to colored pencils. So, in the age of virtual learning, what supplies might meet our students’ new needs?
As students will likely be spending a lot of time on their computer, it’s perhaps unsurprising that three of our five recommended supplies revolve around computer use. Below are the top 6 virtual back to school supplies ranked:
1. A Printer
Depending on your student’s instructor, it may be worth investing in a printer. Although online classes often are structured so that students can do everything digitally, printers offer students a familiar somewhat easier way to do schoolwork. When students complete worksheets in class, they tend to require more space than is allotted for their scratch work and answers. While working online, writing outside of prescribed white space can become tricky. With access to a printer, students can create their own space and fit their ideas more comfortably.
2. Scanner Application or Appliance
If you’re frequently needing to share print-documents your child has been working on, a scanner might be worth looking into. Many of the newest models of scanners are small and compact enough to keep on your child’s desk. Alternatively, you could always just invest in a scanning app for your smartphone. Even the Notes App on the iPhone can be used to quickly scan documents and export them via Google Drive, Gmail, or AirDrop.
3. Laptop Lap Desk
Even though it’s best for students to do their schoolwork in the same place at the same time each day, that’s not always possible. A simple laptop pad with a cushioned underside allows students greater portability of their work station. Moreover, students can use the pad surface as a desk.
USB drives can be quite handy for children to split between more than one household. USB’s allow students to save and transport files with ease. Consequently, they’re perfect for students who are occasionally changing their workspace. For instance, if a student works on a desktop computer at both their mother’s and father’s homes, then they couldn’t transport their computers easily. However, with a USB, they can download, transport, and transfer files between computers. Bonus: USB’s are pretty much foolproof.
Zoom has a feature called “Annotate” which allows you to write and draw on the screen when the screen is being shared. The feature is a favorite amongst students, and it gives them an opportunity to interact with the class and one another. Trackpads on your child’s laptop do the job, but if your student often needs to draw on the screen, a Bluetooth mouse is a worthwhile investment. Using drawing tools with a trackpad can become difficult, especially for younger students. A Bluetooth mouse offers students a more ergonomic means to participating in class.
Mic’d Headphones are the single best investment you can make this school year. Aside from reducing noise in shared spaces, it also eliminates distractions for your child as well. At-home, students are much more likely to become distracted away from their studies. Headphones don’t allow for the sound of a TV, noise from the street, or any other auditory distraction break your students’ focus. That’s not even the best part, your child will be able to communicate with their classmates and teacher much more effectively. Not only do headphones ensure distractions aren’t in earshot, but they also allow our child to be heard much more clearly.
Bonus Supply: This year, consider creating a reward system for your child. Reward systems are shown to motivate students immensely, and can help reinforce study habit ideals. Check out how you can design your own!
Distance learning certainly feels eons different from our traditional classrooms. One thing they have in common though, are the fun gadgets we buy each year to help us move mountains each school day. Although this year is a little different than most, there are plenty of instruments we can equip our student with to make their school day that much easier. When putting together your school supplies this year, try to take a minute to celebrate all the hard work and formative experiences sure to happen over your child’s tools.