At this time of the pandemic, a laptop is as essential as a textbook, a personal library, a research tool; for taking notes, for assigning homework, for lecturing, and even for video chatting. That’s how much work a laptop can do for you.
If you’re handling virtual classes, the one thing you need to figure out is what kind of laptop do you really need for online teaching?
I have searched for the most recommended laptop considering the most important factors for the online teacher. Whether you’ll be using it for teaching at home or need to carry around the campus, you need to get value-focused models that are perfect for your requirements.
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What Kind Of Laptop Do You Really Need For Online Teaching?
Your laptop will determine how smoothly your teaching goes. From lecturing to assigning tasks to presenting projects, a computer is something that should be taken with a lot of consideration before deciding to buy.
1) It should allow you to work flexibly
Are you teaching home-based or you travel every day to school? Are you looking for a portable computer that you can easily carry? Here, you can determine between smaller sized, thinner, and lighter laptop options. Identifying the main use will help you find the perfect size that allows you to work with ease.
How large a monitor display you need? Most online teachers use at least 17 inches laptop, a 15-inch monitor is enough for you not to squint a lot while looking at the screen. This includes how webcam and audio are properly facilitated. A laptop that allows you to work flexibly should have conveniently built-in devices for the webcam’s or microphone’s quality, or in case you need to buy, it can accommodate these tools appropriately.
2) It should help you keep up with the demands of online teaching
This calls for a processor (also referred to as CPU or APU) with a good speed. It’s like the amount of energy playing through your computer’s brain. Speed matters so faster is better.
Online teaching today basically uses Zoom meetings and emails. A computer with a 2.5GHz Dual-Core i5 would do a perfect job whether you’re handling elementary, high school, or college classes.
Intel core i3, i5, and i7 are today’s top-of-the-line processors. It may sound like they are quite expensive, but what you are getting is a faster computer for all your data processing. There are more affordable options though, but you have to make sure that it is compatible with the rest of your computer parts. Check wisely if you must.
3) It should provide a good capacity for saving data
Speaking of your computer’s memory – we call this RAM (Random-Access Memory), or your computer’s primary memory device.
Even if it entails short-term memory, this will allow your computer to multi-task for you. Definitely, you will be having more than one, two, or even three tabs or programs open during your lectures. So think of a higher number of RAM so the computer will not bog down in the middle of a class.
Newer laptop models now come with at least 8GB of RAM which is sufficient for conducting regular online classes, online meetings, reporting, video chatting, and even with tasks that require multiple windows in the background. However, if you’re performing a multitude of processes happening at the same time, then it may not be enough.
4) It should have enough storage space on its hard drive
A hard drive (hard disk drive or HDD) is self-contained or permanent storage where operating system files, installed software, and other data are saved. Like a bookshelf where you store and safe keep all your books and study materials, a hard drive similarly provides a very high memory that stores your data permanently until you move or uninstall them.
While RAM is your computer’s main memory, it generally is smaller than a hard drive and it takes just one instance to crash in the database. If this happens, you will lose your documents in an instant. The hard drive is your secondary storage device used to store data. That’s how important secondary storage is for online teachers.
You will be happy with a 160GB HDD drive to house MS Word files, presentations, projects, research, upload, and download requirements. Go for a laptop with more storage space. You can invest in extra storage if you need more, any time.
5) It should allow you to work without shutting down anytime
I’m talking about battery life. Going back to how you will be using your laptop: think about conducting an online class in a place without an outlet nearby. Even when you’re at home, you’ll want a laptop that can last from 7:00 in the morning to at least after lunch without the charging cable.
Nothing ruins productivity like a computer that simply shuts down without a warning. Batteries for laptops should allow you to work on the go because your computer is not plugged into an outlet. If your battery works on a single charge of the battery giving you anywhere between 4 to 7 hours straight, you can accomplish a lot.
6) It should show the keyboard prints nice and clear
Don’t you just hate it when you can hardly see the letters, numbers, and symbols on your keyboard? You need the right visibility when in an online class. Modern laptops are already designed with semi-transparent keys so the light underneath will shine through it nice and clear.
Invest in a laptop with a backlit keyboard to illuminate the print on the keys. This is very helpful especially when working at night, or in a low light environment. There are times you may need to spend all night working on a lesson or grades. Or maybe you’re doing work at a coffee shop with dimmed lights. A backlit keyboard is the ultimate necessity for your online teaching. It equips you all the time.
7) It should have the necessary ports for your needs
You’ll definitely need to plug in a webcam, a microphone, a document camera, a USB flash drive, or an external keyboard. So you need a lot of ports. Even USB hubs are extremely important, not to mention how it makes a good charging point for Bluetooth speakers and smartphones.
Additionally, online teaching will require you to transfer files or data from a laptop to a printer, scanner, or other devices. Audio ports also connect you to a headphone or headset. Being in front of the laptop the whole day requires you to facilitate a turn and talk. Therefore ports are among the laptop features you need to establish the right workplace.
So now you have the basic idea of what kind of laptop you need for teaching online. Note that each of the features above will help you to properly set up your online classroom from the comfort of a simple laptop. If you’ve decided to buy a laptop and are looking for the best microphone or headset, check out our review for the best headsets for online teaching.
Do you have anything to add to the list? It sure will help all of our online teachers. Share it with us in the comments.