Must-Have Teaching Gadgets to Get NOW
| Reuben Howe
The end of this academic year is, as always, a mixed bag of relief, joy and the looming inevitability of the next. Make sure your teaching gadgets are sorted now so you can relax for the rest of the holiday, starting the next academic year with a head start of gadgets and gismos for teaching!
Find the full list of must-have teacher gadgets to prepare for next year below!
1. Mobile Phone Stand for Desks
The real-estate of a classroom is serious business. Hiding things away in drawers and shelves is a solution many turn to, but utilising desk space efficiently can transform the feel of your space. A simple, foldable phone stand is tiny and can be deployed or retracted anywhere. This makes it perfect for teachers, who most of the time will not have their phone visible to students due to policy. By having a little flip-out phone stand you can quickly set up your phone hands-free during lunches, staff room visits and more.
The stand is also great for times you need to record a conversation for an oratory exam or disciplinary meeting, and can simply prop your phone up recording in the centre of the table.
2. Laser Pointer and Presenter
A laser pointer is an invaluable tool for lecture halls and college classes where directing attention across large spaces is vital. In earlier education, some laser pointers might be banned due to the danger and close proximity of students in the class. Luckily, there are PowerPoint Presenters that don't have laser pointers next on the list!
For those of you that can use a laser pointer at work, getting a presenter with smart hotkeys and solid connection is paramount. You don't want time wasted on setting up a device or it disconnecting, especially in a room full of students. The LP range all use RF receiver dongles to directly connect your remote and the PC / laptop. This means no Bluetooth or Wifi interference, just a unique direct Radio Frequency communication for stable and long-range control.
You can present, teach and react to the class in real time even away from your desk or gesturing naturally, with no need to angle your wrist directly at the receiver which makes classes more natural, authentic and engaging.
3. Remote Air Mouse and Keyboard Presenter
Now, as promised, the version without a potentially code-breaking laser pointer. The PCR500 is designed as a remote for smart TVs and android devices, but in a classroom could be absolutely game-changing. The remote connects via RF just like the laser pointers, and contains a front-side of various hotkeys and controls. However, it's the backside of the remote and the internal gyroscope that make this thing tick.
The remote uses "Air Mouse" technology which enables direct control of your PC mouse from range, via gestures. What this means is you are no longer restricted to pre-set inputs or app changes, and can instead interact with your PC as if you were sat at it. This makes multimedia and teaching resources easy to use, which helps you relax and helps keep lessons flowing.
On top of that, the backside of the remote has a full QWERTY keyboard. You can search for video resources, type in answers on a sheet or PowerPoint, add to a brainstorm or mind map all while walking about the class and engaging with students on their level. Remove the disconnect between your desk and the rest of the room!
4. USB Adapter HUB
Not every teacher is lucky enough to be in the same room and using the same PC or Laptop for all their classes, so quickly moving and adapting to a new PC is a stress factor we can do with reducing. By having a versatile USB hub you ensure you can hook up laptops, PCs and projectors no matter what room you're whisked off to!
A USB hub will not only enable fast, direct data transfer through USB 3.0 from USB sticks or data cables, but also offer bypass modes for multiple other connections.
For example, the HUB05 has an in-built SD Card reader, in the hub itself. This means you can connect a USB device and access the SD card. A USB SD Card reader is hugely important for moving data quickly, especially if you are taking professional images on school trips, assemblies, productions and more. Those pictures can be easily transferred to any USB 3.0 PC or Laptop the moment the show or trip ends!
Alongside the SD card reader is a series of USB 3.0 ports, a HDMI high-speed passthrough and a USB-C Fast-Charge port. HDMI ports for passthrough like this can be used for projectors and presentations, making technical difficulties with one PC easier to work around.
5. Chromebook / Tablet USB-C Adaptors
More of an honourable mention off of the back of the USB hub, but a USB-C to USB-A adapter can be a lifesaver for teachers wanting the slim design and portability of a Chromebook or Tablet without losing the practicality of a proper USB port.
You can change a USB-C port to a single, or even double, USB-A port with these two adapters. Once again small and subtle but offering a huge array of utility for teachers, especially out of the office on trips. Enjoy the portability of a tablet with the storage of a USB stick for the event.
6. Lavalier Microphone
From assemblies to sports days, "technical difficulties" or "IT issues" are buzzwords we love to use to buy us some time to get everything working. In the case of something like an oratory exam for languages or awards ceremony assemblies, as well as music class performances, a Lavalier lapel mic is an easy, simple way to get a high-quality 360 degree recording for your records and exams.
Supplied as either USB-C / USB-A or as 3.5mm AUX variants, a lapel mic is an out-of-the-box gadget which nonetheless is exceedingly helpful for teaching. Even if you don't use it daily, the times you need it and can easily connect to any audio desk or sound system in seconds flat you will be the saviour of the day!
7. Portable Projector Tripod
A popular choice for offices and meeting rooms, the portable desk tripod that supports secure screw-mounting for projectors, phone holders and more is a great tool to have in the staff room or classroom alike. Being able to quickly solve potential tech issues is a part of being a teacher, and having tools at your disposal increases your options in a crisis.
When you need a new projector set up asap or need to set up a projector in a usually unused room then a little tripod can save the day. They can also support cameras which is perfect for filming student presentations and language exams, simply set the tripod on the font table and student can stand in front to present, before moving back to their chair so the next student can present.
8. Bluetooth Beanie Hat
While we've been through 30+ degree heat recently and still have some warm climate to go, the return to school we're preparing so diligently for is in September! Being prepared is what this list (and teacher discount code) is all about, so let's not all freak out when I suggest getting a Bluetooth Beanie.
Bluetooth Beanie hats are fantastic gadgets with warm, soft hybrid wool and little speaker units tucked by each ear. They even have a well-disguised control panel for your music, taking the appearance of a brand label made of leather. For commutes to school in the early hours and the darker, colder nights starting these hats can alleviate the cold and get you ready to relax after a long day.
They're also machine-washable by removing the speaker units and then tucking them back in afterwards, so you can use the beanie all winter.
Give a practical and meaningful gift with these products!
For yourself or the teacher in your life, help alleviate a little stress with a truly useful, practical gift. Gadgets for teachers are small and nifty, but most importantly they carry an actual day-to-day or work-related use. Teachers have a lot on their plate, and while making the plate look nicer is certainly appreciated, a new fork would be more helpful...
Have an incredible Summer holiday all you teachers, IT Techs, school councillors and everyone else that contributes to looking over the future of our world.