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Essential Gadgets for Remote Educators

by Miguel Guhlin
essential gadgets

Have a teacher in your home and you need to give them something that will make them smile? Consider these pre-holiday season gifts to ease the strain of teaching online. These essential gadgets will make their remote teaching a breeze. One of them is bound to catch their eye.

essential gadgets

Essential Gadget #1 – Face Tracking Swivel Mount

Whether you are in the classroom or the home office, a swivel mount may be what your teacher needs. For less than fifty dollars each, these face-tracking swivel smartphone mounts follow you as you teach. Some of the benefits and features of these include:

  • Face or target tracking. These rely on auto face recognition and target tracking. Sure, you can use them for selfies and videos, but they’re also fabulous for teaching.
  • Phone holder. The mount doubles as a phone mount that you can use to perch your phone on.
  • 360 degree rotation
  • Remote control. Some more expensive models come with a remote control you can use.
  • Multi-stream so that you can stream your video to the web.

If you’re wondering what the pricing looks like, the lower end models start at $40 at Amazon. The high-end models with a three tracking sensors and wristband cost more ($760). Here’s a quick list of some of the ones that came up in a chat with TCEA members:

essential gadgets

  • Move N See Pixio Robot Cameraman ($760). What appears to an expensive, top of the line tracker that comes with sensor beacons to lock in on your position.
  • Pivo Pod Silver ($199). This auto-tracking smartphone mount comes with lots of features, including voice commands. With a 10-hour battery life, you can stuff your phone into it without worries.
  • Auto Tracking Smart Shooting Holder ($45.98). This offers a lot of functionality.
  • Apai Genie Cameraman ($39.99).   This mount comes with most of the features mentioned earlier and includes LiveStream, YouTube, and TikTok support.

There are many options available on the market. You’ll need to find something in your budget that does what you need it to do.  How many times could you have used something like this in the last few months?

Essential Gadget #2 – Document Camera

essential gadgetsWhen the pandemic sent most educators home in March 2020, some took equipment home. Whatever document camera you had, you took. But there were a lot of teachers caught at home who had no document camera available. The pandemic made it impossible to go back to the office and they needed something reliable. Enter the home document camera.

There are many wonderful document cameras available. Here are a few that are reliable, inexpensive, and good for at home remote teaching. Let’s take a quick look at them below:

As you may imagine, these are eight megapixel cameras that work well for showing a sheet of paper. One teacher I know uses her HUE USB document camera to write on small whiteboard as she demonstrates her math. The built-in app displays the document on her computer screen. It’s a simple matter to share the document camera app via Zoom so that students can watch. For teachers engaged in remote teaching, the document camera is a must have.

Essential Gadget #3 – Headset with Microphone

You would think a gadget round up wouldn’t be complete without a headset mic. Many educators have taken to relying on earbuds and yelling. That laptop microphone never quite does as good a job as you think. For that reason, my first buy for any teacher is a USB headset and microphone.

If you’re using the microphone on your laptop to record, you may want to spend a little money to get a better mic. A BIG tip is to avoid acoustics headphones or microphones like this one. Instead, get a USB  headset/microphone. While there are many expensive options, get a headset/mic combination that you can use for webinars, as well as screen recording.

essential gadgets

My favorite headset/mic combination (shown) is the Logitech H390 USB headset. It features a noise canceling microphone. Due to pandemic, the cost has risen, but it is dropping again.

Some less expensive USB headset/mic options:

Trust me, getting a headset/mic combination is worth the investment.

Those are three of the must-have gadgets for 2020. If  you don’t have them, you’ll wish you did. If you do have them, you will appreciate them all the more. That’s especially true if you bought them before the holiday rush. What other essential gadgets would you recommend for remote teaching?

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