With remote learning becoming more the norm both students and educators are finding that they need, or could enhance their experiences, by using various types of hardware—like headsets for students—to enhance the virtual classroom learning experience.

Student Learning Tools Changing

As time goes by, says Bobby Chernev, founder of MarkInStyle, and an education expert, students’ tools are mutating. “Pencils and backpacks have turned into audio recorders and a laptop,” he says. Both students and educators, he says, “should focus on using the best tools out there to help them during this e-learning process.” The most important hardware, he says, is a headset for school. Students and their parents obviously know this because headset sales are soaring.

School Headsets Are a Must Have

According to Headsets.com, more and more headset sales these days are being made to consumers in home settings, rather than offices. Purchases are for both work and school-related activities. Their best selling at-home headset is the Leitner SmartSet—although it’s not an inexpensive option. While low-cost headsets that plug into a computer can be had for as little as $20, the Leitner is priced at $359. Somewhere between those two extremes is likely to be an option that will work for your children or students. Like the Plantronic Blackwire C5220 Headset, which Chernev recommends. 

“The C5220 headset provides students and educators with many benefits, such as an extremely comfortable fit, compatibility with a great software range, and a completely crystal-clear HD audio,” says Chernev. “By being a wired headset, it provides its users with a smooth and lag-free performance, unlike many wireless headsets that sacrifice this aspect to provide you with some more versatility.” It is, he says, perfect for both online classes and video conferences. 

Annie George-Puskar, PhD, is an assistant professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Education. “Noise cancelling headsets are a necessity for both teachers and students alike,” she says. George-Puskar says she works with many educators who “quickly traded in their typical headsets when they experienced inevitable background noise of a typical household.” Students, often dealing with siblings who are also learning at home, as well as pets and working parents, are experiencing these same issues. “Furthermore, students with special education needs are even more susceptible to being easily distracted by aspects of their environments,” she says.

In addition to headsets, there are some other learning tools that can help students be most productive while engaging in remote learning.

Beyond Headsets: Additional Tools Today’s Students Need

Allen Koh is the CEO of Cardinal Education. He offers a number of suggestions for the learning tools that today’s students need to succeed at home and elsewhere.

  • A laptop, says Koh, “is one of the most important educational gadgets for the student.” In addition, he says: “We recommend a tablet for STEM courses, in addition to a laptop. It helps the others in a virtual meeting see what you are writing.” A stylus pen also can be very helpful for use with a tablet, he says.
  • “A Kindle e-reader is another useful gadget as it eliminates the tension of carrying all the student’s books around,” says Koh. “Students can read the book anywhere, anytime.”
  • Smartwatches, says Koh, are another gadget that “cannot be neglected—it updates you with reminders or notifications for time management.” In addition, he says, students can also have calls on their smartwatches.
  • Some students still prefer writing to using a keyboard, Koh notes. For them, he suggests, a smart, reusable notebook can come in handy. “A student can write the notes and can simply remove them from the page with a cloth after they have been saved online.”
  • A Wi-Fi extender to extend signals to areas that might not normally be used for workspaces and may have weak internet signals. 

Finally, suggests Koh, “for students who are attending the school on campus, an anti-theft bag with USB charging ports in it is a must these days.” Portable chargers can also be game changers, he says.

Learning, like many things these days, is very different. Teachers, students and family members are finding that having the right learn tools tools can help make the virtual classroom experience more engaging, and more enjoyable—and effective.