Depending on where you’re from, your children might have already returned to school or will soon! But will they return to their classrooms, or will they continue their classes online? That much is still uncertain in most parts of the world. Even if they have returned to their classrooms currently, that doesn’t mean they won’t be sent back home to learn remotely in a month or two. That is why you should think ahead and prepare everything your children might need for a smooth online learning experience.
With the above in mind, we’ve decided to help! We have prepared a handy list of everything you need to get to prepare for your child’s potential online lessons proactively. So let’s jump straight into it!
Here is everything you need to consider when preparing your child for remote learning:
Let’s look at all of these points in more detail!
When it comes to recommended PC specifications, you’re in luck — you don’t need a beast of a machine to have a trouble-free remote learning experience. Quite the contrary — most people already likely have strong enough PCs at home to meet the requirements.
Whether you settle for a desktop or a laptop is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the computer’s specifications. However, do keep in mind that providing a laptop might be more practical because it’s easily transportable, so your child would have more flexibility in choosing their learning environment.
When it comes to computer specs themselves, here are some recommendations, according to Ryerson:
|Processor:||Intel Core i5 or higher|
|Memory:||8 GB of RAM or more|
|Storage:||20 GB of free storage after all applications are installed or more|
|Peripherals:||Ability to connect to various peripherals like webcams, microphones, headsets, etc.|
If your computer doesn’t meet the above specifications, it might be high time to consider upgrading it!
When it comes to the quality of your headphones and microphone, they are imperative. The last thing you want is for your child to have issues hearing the teacher, or even worse — the teacher not being able to hear them!
Establishing a reliable line of communication is essential to any successful lesson, be it online or in-person. With that in mind, you must ensure you have a quality and fully functional headset with a quality microphone. You could buy a microphone separately, but that is unnecessary. Microphones that come with quality headsets are more than good enough for your child’s remote learning needs. The difference in quality between a headset and mic combo and a stand-alone microphone is minor, while the price contrast can be quite steep.
So what is a sound choice for a quality remote learning headset? There are plenty of options out there, but our favorite is likely the Plantronics Voyager 4220 UC wireless headset.
This USB wireless headset is comfy, has a quality microphone, is incredibly practical due to its lack of cables, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. That is why we believe this product is ideal for anyone attending remote classes. You can find this product on Amazon for just $219.99.
If this headset comes at too steep of a price for you or you dislike it for whatever reason, most mid-level gaming headsets would be excellent replacements. They put great emphasis on sound and microphone quality, making them particularly suitable for online learning too.
Most online classrooms use video conferencing to emulate the feel of the real thing. That is why having a webcam is essential for most students. However, not just any camera will do — the image has to be clear. That should come as a no-brainer, as who wants to look at a laggy or blurry image? No one!
With that in mind, you have plenty of choices on the market. Depending on how much you are prepared to invest, you have various budget options as well as high-end webcams. One of the best premium choices you could go for would be the Razer Kiyo webcam.
This webcam provides a clear and sharp image and even has an autofocus feature. This camera also records at 60 FPS and can capture video of up to 1080p quality! If you don’t mind investing a few extra bucks, this product is an excellent choice for all online learners. You can find it on Amazon for $169.99.
If you find this price too steep for a camera, there are some budget variants out there as well. Perhaps the best one, in our opinion, would be the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000.
This device is an excellent budget webcam that you can buy on Amazon for as little as $71! Despite its price being on the low end, it still offers exceptional quality for its cost. You should have no blur issues whatsoever, and it can still record at 720p consistently, which is nothing to scoff at!
Remote learning would be impossible without access to the internet, so ensuring a stable internet connection should be a no-brainer! But how fast does your internet need to be? You’ll be glad to hear that it doesn’t have to be that quick!
The absolute minimum you should aim to get is 5 Mbps. With it, you can ensure a lag-free online learning experience. Also, that speed is enough to support smooth video conferencing, so it also has you covered in that regard!
Do note that the higher speed you have, the better! So try to aim for faster internet, at least 10 Mbps if you can. Better safe than sorry!
Although you might be able to get away with it, we wouldn’t recommend using mobile internet for remote learning. Such a connection is way too unstable to be reliable.
Last but not least, try to avoid connecting to your internet over Wi-Fi. Such a connection is prone to interferences and tends to break at times. If that happens, it could hamper your child’s learning experience significantly.
The final thing you will have to do is ensure you set up your child’s online learning tools on your PC. Although you won’t know in advance what your child’s teachers will decide to use, there are plenty of popular tools for online teaching that you could look into preemptively; the chances that the teachers settle for one of them are pretty high.
Some of the first ones that come to mind are:
Having these tools prepared and tested in advance can be a significant time-saver in the future! So better do that now than on short notice in the future.
Because we currently live in such uncertain times, adapting to sudden changes and being prepared is of the utmost importance. The same foresight is required for providing a smooth online learning experience for your children. So if you’ve gone through our list and noticed that you don’t tick all the boxes, what are you waiting for? Address that sooner rather than later!
Best of luck to you!