Though things have gone back to normal in schools, technology is going to continue to be an integral part of the teaching and learning process. It is never going to stop being so. Therefore, evolving with these continuous unexpected disruptions is the only way to survive in the highly competitive digital world. The high competition in the tech industry is never going to stop. That is why you need digital literacy skills to go with the flow of technological development in any industry. The market is flooded with many technological devices like computers, laptops, iPad, some very new brands and others somehow upgraded.
Therefore, choosing which one to buy for oneself, either for teaching or learning can be a challenge, and needs to be done with a holistic understanding of its design features and how these can fulfill your purpose as a teacher and its functionality in fulfilling your purpose in having the laptop. Any technological gadget or digital device can be a challenge to choose, especially without proper technical and digital skills in understanding its features and their benefits in meeting what it is needed for. Therefore, the technical demonstration of its functionalities is a must before purchasing. Yet from my experience, such demonstrations are hardly provided in most shops they are retailed for. The thing is computers have never been meant to be retail items that can be bought anyhow but assets that need proper guidance and a holistic analysis of the purpose behind the purchase.
Laptop as an asset
As an asset, a good laptop or computer should be durable and user-friendly enough to realize tangible return of investment especially when they are bought for teaching and learning and more so, when they are bought for business. However, shopping around to buy a computer has left most people especially teachers and parents in confusion of what really should they look for in a computer or laptop that should be used for teaching and learning without any headache on its functionality, durability, and user-friendliness and of course its affordability, that is the cost. This is a cause for concern especially to most people who are not digital literate enough to go deeper into the system of any laptop or computer. All they need to know are the basic functionalities for effective teaching and learning.
Technology can be intimidating and confusing, therefore exposing one to enlightening courses, free or paid, will definitely make anyone purchase such devices with an informed, educated and open mind. Most teachers have never envisioned themselves in this present crisis of doing full time teaching on a laptop or computer. This has been an overwhelming experience to most, especially baby boomers who were used to being just like adopted mothers directly talking to their learners in the classroom. Then, when this call to adapt for remote teaching came as the reality, and has since become the norm, and the only way out, most teachers were left in panic of what technical and digital skills they need to be in a position to use a laptop for effective teaching and learning in the classroom. I remember, applying for this other volunteer position, soon after the first lockdowns, and when I had been incorporated into the team of the teachers, the coordinator had a real hard time to make things work smoothly. Most laptops like mine were freezing with the click of each button. The platform and or the resources were always hardly running smoothly. It was always like one technical problem to the other technical problem. So, how best can a school or as an individual teacher or parent choose the best laptop for online teaching and learning?
What is the best laptop for teaching?
Here are the main features to consider when purchasing a laptop for teaching and learning online. Basically, an individual computer can be called a personal computer, this can be either a laptop or a desktop. Therefore, portability is the main feature to consider. So, let’s just explore basically, laptops for their portability and mobile friendliness in teaching online. This is necessary especially for teaching online, to enhance and maximize mobility for teaching anywhere you might find conducive to conduct your lessons. It must have the best features that suit your personal and teaching needs and must be of value and of course robust and comprehensive with practical and functional features or applications. So, what features do you look for in a laptop?
The basic aspects to put into consideration are as follows;
Generally, there are different sizes, but the standard sizes can be the best choice for online teaching. Therefore the 13 – 15-inch laptop size is ideal for teaching online. These sizes are ideal with a built-in webcam. However, the bigger the better to avoid getting cramped and restricted in manipulation and use of your laptop. Here you also need to consider its portability and the mobility of your services. However, from the tech design aspect, the bigger the interface, the better. Documents and if blogs can be displayed side by side. This gives a better view of learners when you want to display any web pages in your online classes. So, the bigger the size of your laptop, the more dexterity it allows for your typing on the keyboard and manipulation of the trackpad.
Based on my experience of working on my laptop, I realized that working on a laptop 24/7 can be frustrating on some online jobs, let alone when you have another person who expects the best from you as a teacher. Therefore, speed and performance need to be seriously considered when considering teaching and learning devices. Any teacher or student needs a laptop that would not affect the quality of teaching and learning, the delivery and receiving of the online teaching and learning process. So, what are the minimum system requirements? Basically, any laptop that fulfills the following; powerful CPU, fast RAM, enough storage space, and an excellent keyboard and trackpad on best deals would work for any teacher or student.
Most teachers and students have financial constraints. Therefore, buying anything prized for value and usability is my number tip for purpose and value appreciation. A good laptop does not need to be expensive as long as you are clear with purpose and need to choose the best suitable model. Intel is one of the tech brands that seem to be exhaustive with creating a comprehensive guide in leading the consumer to experience a stress-free purchasing journey.
Here is what to consider when buying a laptop for teaching and learning as highlighted by Intel as a tech brand that has been there and knows what devices are user-friendly for teaching and learning online.
Basically, this is determined by how it will be used. The bottom line is you need a high-performance device for meeting the needs you want the laptop for.
Portability & Flexibility:
This must be a well-integrated device that you can use anywhere for teaching and learning. The webcam and microphone are important for remote teaching and learning.
Need to have network adapters, like USB parts, display ports, compatible with any pre-existing tech devices and investments you already have. This will ensure a smoother and more user-friendly experience as a teacher or student.
Choosing the right device will help in appreciation of technology and that way boosting confidence in the use of technology in teaching and learning in the present-day digital world where the workplace is fast transforming into making your laptop both your business and your office.