3 underrated tech that every Back-To-school student should know about
It’s back to school time – but with a difference. As COVID-19 continues parents and kids are facing the fact that starting the new school means more ZOOM calls instead of the usual drop-off at the school door. Clearly, this is not an ideal situation but we are not living through ideal times so thankfully we have remote-learning through video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype.
Whether it’s remote-learning or in-person classes, having tech gadgets at your side is beneficial for education, especially during an ongoing pandemic.
Not only are our kids stuck at home but so is the rest of the family. Therefore, the house tends to sound like one of those busy-coffee shops with stuff going on everywhere. While one kid is logging onto their ZOOM session, I am brewing some coffee in the kitchen, while another child giggling loudly with her group project allegedly discussing their “school project”. I am still skeptical.
All this cacophony is really distracting and therefore I highly recommend a pair of noise-canceling headphones or earphones. These are critical.
The active noise-canceling feature allows you to drown out the rest of the activities happening at home while you focus on whatever work you are trying to achieve.
While it will not be 100% silent, it makes a huge difference.
My personal go-to headphones are these Shure AONIC 50 which are Bluetooth, have that amazing noise-canceling feature that works almost TOO well, and they are so comfortable that you can wear them for hours.
[Not a bad pic I snapped on my TheTechieGuy Instagram if I say so myself]
While on the topic of focus, some people can study with their music on while others tend to sing instead of focusing on their work. If you fall into the latter group you know that if you have too much silence, that can be a bad thing too.
There is a middle ground.
You can check out several websites and YouTube channels that play music designed to allow you to focus. Typically this type of music has no words and the beats are designed in such a way that they are enjoyable but are almost monotonous. The logic behind this is that your brain processes the beat but its repetitive so it doesn’t need you to focus on it. Therefore, you get the audio distraction from the silence but can still focus on getting your work done.
My favorite website for this is focusmusic.fm – it is free and has several styles of music to choose from. Actually it is playing right now as I type this.
Timetable and Collaboration Tools
Being at home doesn’t mean that collaboration with other students needs to stop. In fact, it is highly encouraged to create study groups and even just private social zoom sessions so that you have some semblance of normality.
There are many great tools out there that allow groups of people to work together on the same document with the most common one arguably being Google Drive.
A great tool that I would recommend is Trello. This allows you to create “boards” where you can add your ideas in the form of cards and move them around from board to board. There is even a school timetable template that you can use so you can plan your school day, activities, homework, and see your week at a glance.
What is great about Trello is that you can include friends who will get notified whenever there is a new item that appears. Using this system, the group can brainstorm ideas and then divide their project into responsibilities. As soon as one person is done with their bit, they move a card onto the next person’s board who then can take over.
Besides great tech, you will also need some good old fashioned stationary as our kids still need to have that tactile feel of a highlighter and hand-written notes. However, as parents, we do tend to fall for all those Back-To-School Specials in the various stores.
Before you rush out and spend a small fortune on items that you don’t actually need, check out this handy back-to-school guide on The Ohana Adventure which will keep you on track!