Teachers are an essential part of our community, so why shouldn’t they have the best possible technology to make their jobs easier and more enjoyable? Whether you’re a teacher who buys these items for yourself or a kind parent who gives them away, these neat little gadgets make the best teachers even better at what they do.
Show documents to the whole class: Document Camera
In the past, teachers used an overhead projector to show a piece of paper or some other document to the whole class. The largest manufacturer of overhead projectors stopped producing them in 2015, and certainly some are still in use in schools, so some of the newest generations might have experience with them.
Now, teachers often just use their computer connected to a projector hanging from the ceiling. But what if you have a document that you don’t have a digital copy of? Or do you want to show the whole class an outstanding piece of student work to demonstrate a point?
Fortunately, you can use the modern version of an overhead projector: a document camera! This particular camera from IPEVO has an 8 MP camera with a Sony CMOS image sensor that helps to display documents clearly, even in dimly lit rooms. It can record up to 30 frames per second in full HD resolution or 15 frames per second at a maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448.
If you have a macOS computer, it needs at least an Intel Core i5 (2.5 GHz or higher) and OS X 10.10 or higher. Or, if you have a Windows PC, you’ll need at least Windows 10 OS and an Intel Core i5 (3.4 GHz or higher). Then all devices will need at least 200 MB of free storage space and 256 GB of dedicated video memory.
Show the documents to the whole class
Having a document camera makes it easy to show answers to the whole class after a test or papers that you just don’t have digital copies of.
What time is it?: Math class
This neat math lesson from Decodyne is such a simple concept, but incredibly clever in the classroom. At 11.5 inches in diameter, it’s about the same size as regular watches and easy to read from a distance.
Instead of traditional numerals or Roman numerals, this unique watch uses mathematical equations to represent each hour. For example, instead of the clock saying “12” at the top, it reads “6 x 2,” so students have to do a quick equation to figure out that it’s 12 o’clock. It runs on a single AA battery (not included), so there will be no unsightly wires or cables to distract from the clean design of the clock face.
What time is it?
Telling time is already a learned skill in school, but now students can learn more by solving math equations to tell time.
Don’t strain your voice: wireless microphone
Teachers already do so much for children; they should not lose their voice while teaching, especially when it is so unnecessary. A simple microphone like this helps teachers speak clearly and loud enough for the whole class to hear without having to shout. This is useful when teachers are actively teaching, as well as when they simply need the class to calm down.
You can use the microphone as a headset or as a handheld microphone, and with a range of 160 feet, you can easily walk around the classroom. It doesn’t have Bluetooth and doesn’t work with most laptops, desktops or smartphones; instead, you’ll need a speaker with a 3.5mm (or 6.5mm) audio jack to connect the UHF wireless receiver.
One charge lasts about five to six hours, which is enough for a whole day of classes. Then, when you’re ready to charge it, you can do so using the included dual micro-USB cable, which will charge both the transmitter and receiver at the same time. Fully charging both transmitter and receiver takes about two and a half to three hours.
Don’t strain your voice
Talking to the whole class strains your vocal cords, but this wireless microphone helps you come across clearly without the strain.
For comfortable typing: wireless mouse and keyboard
Most teaching and grading work is done manually, but teachers also spend a lot of time at the computer. And with Logitech’s combination of K350 and M705, typing during the day will be super comfortable.
Logitech’s K350 full-size keyboard features a unique wave design that helps your fingers and hands fall into a naturally comfortable position as you type. For an even more comfortable experience, there’s a padded palm rest attached to the keyboard and dedicated media control keys and programmable keys on the top.
The mouse is curved to fit your hand perfectly, creating a more comfortable position for your wrist and palm while using the mouse or just resting it there. Next, there are a few buttons on the mouse that you can customize using the Logitech Options software, which is available for Windows 10 or later and macOS 10.15 or later.
There is a unifying receiver that you plug into your computer’s USB-A port to connect both a keyboard and mouse. You shouldn’t have to replace the four AA batteries in your keyboard and mouse for about three years. This comfortable keyboard and mouse combo works with Windows 10 or later, and may work with macOS, but you may not be able to use all the available keyboard buttons.
For comfortable typing
Wireless mouse and keyboard
Entering grades and typing new test builds is much more enjoyable with Logitech’s keyboard and mouse combo.
Walk around the classroom while you teach: a graphics tablet
This graphics tablet from XP-PEN is especially useful for those who teach math, but all teachers could benefit from it! Basically, a graphics tablet would take the place of you drawing or writing on the board or typing things on the computer for the whole class.
After plugging the USB stick into your computer, you can use the graphics tablet wirelessly, walking around the room while solving a math equation for the whole class to see. With a 1000 mAh battery, it has more than enough juice to last you through a full day of studying. It can last a little over 10 hours between charges and only takes about two hours to fully charge.
There are customizable shortcut buttons on the left side of the tablet to make mobile teaching even easier. Both the tablet and the included stylus work with most major software, including Photoshop, Painter, Clip Studio, Blender 3D and more.
It’s compatible with most computers and even smartphones, as long as they have a USB-A dongle port. PCs must be running Windows 7 or later, while Apple devices need macOS X 10.10 or later. Next, Android smartphones need version 6.0 or higher, and Chrome devices need OS 88.0.4324.109 or higher.
Walk around the class while teaching
Instead of being stuck behind a computer, you can walk around the room and actively help students while you teach.
Use color to control volume: LED light bar
Buying good LED strip lights for your classroom is surprisingly one of the most useful pieces of technology. Using specific colors to indicate the appropriate volume level for your class is a game changer. For example, you can assign red to mean that students should be quiet and other colors to mean that students should whisper or talk in an inner voice.
Since these lights can be controlled via an app (Android/iOS), you can also use the lights as a timer for test days. You can change the lights to blue while testing is in progress and yellow when students have five minutes to complete.
Different lengths are available depending on how big your classroom is or how much of the classroom you want to use for lighting. Setup is incredibly easy; all you have to do is lightly clean the surface, tear off the backing from the light strips, press it firmly onto the surface, and then cut off the excess length.
Use color to control volume
LED light strip
LED light strips are fun for the home, but they’re also super useful in the classroom!
Fuel up for success: the smart travel mug
Many professions practically require coffee just to function; teaching is one of them. For someone who’s constantly on the move around the classroom, it’s easy to forget to drink your coffee, but Ember’s smart travel mug keeps your drink at the perfect temperature for as long as you need to drink it.
You can set your desired temperature—between 120°F and 145°F—via the app (Android/iOS) or on the mug itself; it will remember the last temperature it was set to. If you’re placing it on a mug, you can simply tap the Ember logo on the front and it will reveal the touchscreen controls.
The travel mug comes with a charging pad, and with the built-in battery, you can leave the coffee out of the charger for up to three hours. Battery maintenance is one of the smart features of the mug; it wakes up when hot liquid is poured inside and goes into sleep mode when not in use. And when it’s time to clean, Ember’s mug is easy to wash by hand and is IPX7 rated, meaning it’s fully submersible up to one meter deep. Do not put it in the dishwasher.
Fuel yourself for success
Smart travel mug
No matter how long it takes you to finish your coffee, it will stay at the perfect temperature with Ember’s smart travel mug.
For hassle-free presentations: the wireless clicker
The best thing about the DinoFire Wireless Clicker is that it is easy enough for both teachers and students to use if student presentations are something that happens regularly in your class. It uses USB-RF wireless technology to connect to your computer (Windows 10 or later and macOS X or later) and has a long range of 98 feet so you can walk freely around the classroom.
With the clicker, you can control volume levels, switch slides in a presentation, and even open hyperlinks. Although there are several programs that the clicker works with; the most popular options include MS Word and PowerPoint, Google Slides and ACD See. There’s also a built-in red dot light that you can use to point to specific things on the screen, though it’s not recommended for use with LED or LCD screens.
For hassle-free presentations
Like many of these items, this wireless clicker allows you to be more mobile in the classroom instead of being trapped behind your desk.