This year, many classrooms look different. We work from kitchen tables or makeshift offices in our spare rooms. We teach on Zoom and make videos instead of handouts. So it makes sense that the “school supplies” we’re using look different than those in the traditional classroom. A good laptop with a webcam and strong internet are non-negotiables, but some extras can make you an even more effective online instructor . Here are five inexpensive items that can improve the quality of both your life and your lessons:
Blue Light Glasses
Blue light glasses are nonprescription glasses designed to filter the blue spectrum light emitted by computer screens. Screen strain on your eyes can cause fatigue, sleeping problems, irritated eyes and headaches. These glasses are a cheap way to negate some of the negative effects of all that online instruction time.
Video quality is key to engaging your students in video content. The most common thing I notice when looking at my colleagues’ videos is improper lighting. To students on the other side of the screen, this can make a joyful teacher look ominous. An easy fix is getting a ring light and setting it up in front of you so it casts the perfect amount of light onto your face and your instructional materials.
Is your desk a sea of cords? Get rid of one with a wireless mouse. In addition to freeing up some space, a wireless mouse also allows you to control your computer from a distance. So if you are teaching away from your desk, you can still navigate your screen if needed.
Insulated Drink Cup with Lid
In the classroom, I always had a drink close by to keep myself hydrated. I still want that now, but the stakes feel higher when I’m surrounded by expensive technology. A good thermal cup with a lid allows you to keep hot and cool drinks in your teaching space without the fear of spilling.
Flexible Seating Options
You know the benefits of having multiple seating options in the classroom for your students. It’s time to apply those principles to yourself. Maybe you have an area where you can stand to work, a comfortable chair to read aloud from, or a ball chair to sit on as you answer parent emails. Give yourself the ability to move around as much as possible even when you have to be by your computer for hours.
Share these helpful remote teaching ideas with your colleagues and consider reaching out to your school district or parent association about the possibility of offering teacher grants to help purchase home teaching items. They will make virtual instruction feel much more comfortable.