Schools have been shut down in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, and students are expected to attend classes from home.
What are the things needed, and how to set up my kid’s home environment to take online classes?
It is pretty easy, as you already have home essentials. You need to set them up correctly.
However, you may need to add some gadgets or accessories to the existing environment to make the online school experience fruitful.
Let us dive into the topic!!
Here are six must-have ‘School from home essentials’ :
01. Laptop, Desktop, or Smartphone
This is one of the essentials you will need. You would either need to purchase or use the existing one at home.
Academic schooling does not need very high-end laptops device. Any standard Windows Laptop/Desktop or Mac book will do.
The online trainer would ask you to join using video-conferencing software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet. We will talk about this later below.
The laptop config – Minimum configuration of i3 processor, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB Hard Drive with an inbuilt camera would suffice. You can even use a lower configuration PC for children in nursery or early education, or a simple smartphone would also suffice.
02. Head Set or external USB speaker with Mic
Going for a Headset or external speaker depends on your kid’s preference and how noisy the ambiance or surrounding sound is. For noisy places, a headset would give you more focused learning. The best option is an external speaker with a mic if you have a dedicated room.
Types of Headsets
1. Circumaural headphones – also called over-the-ear headphones. It is a circular earpad that covers the complete ears. The sound is more immersive and preferred compared to the other two types mentioned below.
2. Earphones – Like your cell phone wired earphones, this earphone fits directly in the ear cavity. These are portable and fit easily in your pocket. These earphones are uncomfortable to wear and are not suggested for a long classroom session.
3. Wireless Headphones – These are wireless and typically meant as sportswear or when you are traveling; however, they can be used for online learning too. The sound quality experience may not be as good as wired headphones or earphones and is not recommended for online sessions. Irrespective of which headset you choose, always go for echo cancellation headsets as they provide better sound quality, reduce the external ambiance sound, and give your kid-focused, attentive listening. Echo cancellation comes in all the above three variants. It could be a few dollars more, but worth it.
The printer is optional, as it is typically required for homework or assignment. You don’t need to invest in a printer. You can get the printing done after class from your neighbor or friend or gets it done at some cyber cafe.
If you choose to invest in a printer, you should go for a Multifunction printer with printing in the back and color and a built-in scanner. A printer is a handy device that can be used for other purposes, so it is not a waste of money.
04. Environment setting
It is recommended that you arrange for a table and chair in a dedicated room so that the learning experience is immersive.
Sometimes this can be difficult for those living in a small apartment or with many family members. In this case, choose a small corner in the room with headsets (with echo cancellation).
If possible, you can build a small partition with a curtain or sliding door. A table with a drawer will make it convenient to pull our books when required.
05. Video Conferencing Software
There are many video conferencing software being used by schools today. These are mainly free, therefore preferred most.
Here are some of them. Get yourself familiarised with this software before attending class. You can do this by watching Youtube videos on how to toggle on the various options on the screen.
Google Meet – Since the service is from Google, the experience is fantastic. This is the most popular video conferencing software as it’s totally free for up to 100 participants and 60 min duration.
They have paid plans too. It works on all devices, i.e., smartphones, Laptops, Mac, iPad, etc.
Zoom Call – Zoom has taken the world by storm. Almost everyone has either joined or heard about Zoom calls. They allow up to 100 participants for 40 min duration calls in the free plan.
Most schools and companies use their free version. However, the paid version is also quite popular. They, too, work on all devices and are very user-friendly. Zoom also has a paid plan.
Microsoft Teams – Microsft Teams (earlier known as Skype for Business) was earlier only providing enterprise solutions to companies. But now, they have also provided a free version for 100 participants for 60 min call duration. We love the Microsoft team’s interface, and schools have started using it for online studies, and it works on all devices. They have a paid version too.
06. Some basic etiquette when attending the online class
- Ensure to face the camera always – Too many movements or fiddling with items on the table can distract the trainer/teacher and other students.
- Smile you are on camera – Always be conscious that all are seeing you. You may unconsciously do some stuff that will be published to all and can be very embarrassing. I hope you know what I mean.
- Mute when not speaking – This is a common irritant. Students forget to keep themself on mute, and all the ambient sound is transmitted to all, disturbing the class. Ensure to mute when not talking and unmute when you need to speak.
- Wear sober clothes – Camera tents to amplify the colors and stripes on your clothes. Do not wear too bright clothing or has dots or stipes; this will look shabby to other participants.
- Camera control – You may want to turn off the camera in the washroom. The empty seat does not look polite when the trainer is speaking.
Some other School’s home essentials are
Having a nice coffee Mug will be prudent as your kid will continuously be on Laptop and online training. Good to keep one handy and ensure that too much caffeine can be harmful.
If you are someone who studies in the dark, a desk lamp can help reduce eyestrain. If you’re going to buy a desk lamp, Why not opt for one with built-in wireless charging? Check online for suitable options.
This may seem simple, but having a water bottle handy will undoubtedly be an excellent suggestion to keep in case your kid feels thirsty and wants to take a sip of water.
Conclusion – School-from-home essentials include having a laptop, a good headset, video conferencing software, an optional printer, space with a table and chair, and some basic etiquette when attending studies online. All of these should be already available at your home. It would help if you had an attentive student as a good trainer is efficient only when the participants are focused.