Saturday, August 22, 2020

Remote Learning Essentials: Teaching From Home (If You Are So Lucky...!)


As of right now, I won't get to teach from home. It's infuriating. I have asthma and ulcerative colitis, which is a chronic condition that comes and goes. I hadn't had a flare up since 2014. But it's here with full force presently, thanks to the stress I've been under regarding returning to school. Awesome.

Anyways, here's a blog post I've been meaning to write for those of you who ARE lucky enough to teach from home this fall. I have a really great work-from-home setup that does video conferencing and meetings pretty darn nicely, so I figured I'd share what works for me. I even have a whole pdf file with clickable links available HERE with complete details and recommended items.


SCREEN REAL ESTATE


One of the items that I STRONGLY recommend (if you do nothing else!) is to get a second monitor. You can purchase one on Amazon relatively inexpensively, around $100, or you can use an iPad or other tablet you may have... or even an old computer/laptop? I've even seen teachers use tvs from their house to use as a second screen - so get creative! 

DON'T BE A SILHOUETTE


Next on my working-from-home list is lighting. It's a pet peeve of mine when people sit in front of a window. Like, their backdrop is a window. And I'm talking to a backlit silhouette. Aargh! This is simple (and free!) to fix. Just turn around. Face the window and the natural light, it will illuminate you beautifully! I know sometimes your layout may not permit this, so you can also invest in a simple light setup for your space, starting with a desk lamp for behind your computer that helps illuminate your face. You can get all fancy with a YouTuber-style ring light, or even invest in a videoconferencing light like Lume Cube sells. I do have one of these, and they're pretty cool. 

BUELLER? BUELLER?


If your microphone on your computer is not-so-great, it's easy to hook up an external mic. Just figure out what your computer input is: USB? Bluetooth? 1/8" (headphone) jack? and decide how much you want to spend! You may not have even realized it, but your earbuds with the built-in microphone are actually really good! Just this last week I decided to really treat myself with a back-to school gift of some sweet black Pixel Buds. #fancy. 

download the entire pdf here

NO MORE HEADACHES


Have you noticed increased eyestrain and headaches from starting at a screen for so long? You might want to try some blue light glasses. I gotta admit, I really just love the fashion statement of glasses, so I searched out some funky cat-eye styles on Amazon. For $10-20 you can grab a pair (or switch up your wardrobe with multiples!) and see what you think. Some people swear by them, and others claim to not notice any difference. I have noticed less eye strain when I've got mine on. Even if it's a placebo effect, I'll take it. And they're cute. :)

SHE'S CRAFTY


I've seen a bunch of awesome ideas for setting up your mobile phone or iPad as a doc cam for filming demonstrations, drawing, writing, or books. My fave is to use a locker shelf! (Face it, kids are always throwing these things out at the end of the year - harvest them up for free when you can!) Of course, you can always splurge on a gooseneck-style holder from Amazon for around $25-30 bucks, so it depends on how much effort you want to put into it. 

GFB FACTOR


Lastly, do not underestimate the power of a comfortable desk chair! I splurged on a cushy upholstered velvety swivel one in the spring, and I haven't regretted it once! My old desk chair was molded plastic, and I had no idea how uncomfortable that could be until I had to sit in it for hours on end last spring. Eek! (NOT Good For Butts, as my husband would say re: his made-up scale for measuring chair effectiveness.)

Do you want to see more of my home office setup? I actually did a whole Reset EDU video on this topic, and you can watch it here: 



- Mrs L.

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