Online learning gadgets for your holiday wishlist


Dec. 9, 2020, 2:33 p.m. | By Shruti Chauhan | 9 months, 2 weeks ago

A variety of tools to help (or at least entertain) you in this virtual climate.


Online learning is indubitably challenging. Among other skills, it requires self-motivation, patience, and an innate ability to stare at screens for long periods of time. As the days blur together in front of the computer, it seems crazy that winter break and the holidays are nearly here.

With your computer usage probably reaching an all-time-high, this is the year to consider adding technological trinkets to revamp your long-winded virtual experience to your holiday wishlist. Below are some social media and Blazer favorite items worth taking a look at!

Blue Light Glasses

Blue light from screens is known to be harmful; blue light glasses were advertised to put less strain on the eyes, lead to improved sleep habits, and lower the risk of eye disease. When remote learning first became a reality in March, these glasses shot to fame as students knew they would be spending even more time on their screens. 

It remains an ongoing debate whether blue light glasses actually solve these advertised problems, but senior Jeffrey Kyei-Asare is a supporter. “I bought them for school because I’m always looking at screens; it was a good investment, definitely worth the money,” Kyei-Asare says. If eye strain is a concern for you, these glasses are likely worth a shot. 

Photo: Blue light glasses are a popular distance learning purchase (Courtesy of Isabelle Megosh).

Scanmarker

While expensive, this handheld scanning pen is one of the most intriguing devices I’ve seen on TikTok. Running the pen over a line of printed text appears to seamlessly transfer the text to your screen within seconds via Bluetooth. There do seem to be some minor quirks that are worth investigating before purchase, but this tool could change the note-taking game, virtual learning or not. 

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

If you’re having trouble focusing and want to block out distractions, this is the product for you. Apple just released their AirPods Max for $549, a device which offers a plethora of advanced noise-cancelling features (at least one can hope looking at the astronomical price). However, for those of us wanting to spend that money elsewhere—such as the costly PS5 that appears relatively cheaper by comparison— there are also several budget-friendly options that will do the trick. 

Stylus for Touchscreen Device

A stylus simulates the action of writing on a piece of paper, which used to be an everyday occurrence. Now entirely virtual, junior Jyotsna Bhatnagar recommends investing in a good stylus (if you have a touchscreen device) to complete assignments with the same ease. “Earlier, I had one of those pens that had a touchscreen stylus at the other end, but I bought an HP pen because it didn’t suffice,” Bhatnagar says. 

When drawing-based paper packets are converted to Canvas assignments, frustration mounts because trying to illustrate using a mouse or touchpad is incredibly tedious. Similarly, printing a piece of paper and marking it up, only to scan it again feels like an unnecessarily arduous endeavour. A stylus tackles both concerns: it can be used to draw in Kami assignments, annotate on Zoom, and more. “The stylus helped me with drawing maps in [AP World History], labelling diagrams in Anatomy and other classes because, basically, I could turn in assignments online that would normally be necessary to do on paper,” Bhatnagar added. 

Large Monitor

Similar to blue light glasses, the purpose behind this purchase would be to alleviate eye strain from prolonged computer use. A larger monitor is usually brighter, sharper, and of a higher resolution. It may also inadvertently help with slouched posture, as the greater screen size would raise your eye level. 

Ultimately, all you truly need for online school is yourself and your computer. However, if you’re looking for holiday gift ideas or a way to improve your learning experience, why not consider something off this list? Each product is tried and tested by Blazers, as well as other students all over the Internet. And at bare minimum you’ll be going to your 2021 Zoom classes entertained and in style.



Last updated: Dec. 27, 2020, 2:53 p.m.


Tags: gifts Holidays virtual reality

Shruti Chauhan. Hi, I'm Shruti and I'm a senior at Blair! Apart from writing for SCO, I enjoy playing tennis, biking, and watching Netflix. More »

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