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Best school equipment to learn from home

With millions of students adapting to distance learning by 2020, back to school the transition will look and feel dramatically different this year. But undergraduate, middle, high school and even college students will need many of the same supplies as always – plus a handful of new ones that are specific to the ongoing pandemic.

My children will attend school two mornings each week with the rest of the time “learning” at home. We fill in the basics ̵

1; from pens to notebooks to art materials – as well as modern infrastructure including a robust Wi-Fi network, headphones and a versatile charger to keep all these devices running.

We have collected some of our favorite articles for school, home office equipment and educational equipment that will enhance the online learning process for both students and parents. Here are our top picks – but we’d love to hear about all the great distance learning articles and hacks that you’ve boiled up in the comments.

Chris Monroe / CNET

With family members working and learning from home this autumn, households’ wireless networks are being tested like never before. We installed a Google Nest Wifi system in our house this spring and have been impressed by its fast performance – the connection is noticeably faster, more expansive and more robust than our previous installation. It’s easy to set up and configure and one of the expanding Wifi points acts as a Google Assistant smart speaker. That said, keep an eye on the Eero network set-up – the tripod version of it sometimes drops as low as $ 200, with a freebie Echo speaker thrown in. Read our Nest Wifi review.


There are plenty of cheap chipboards on Amazon – but they are of low quality, made in China and more beautiful than you want. A better alternative can be easily assembled with a couple of affordable components:

If you can pick them up at a nearby home depot, this installation will cost less than $ 100. If you choose shipping, it will go closer to $ 160. Either way, it’s a reasonable price for a hardwood table top, four solid legs, and a workspace large enough for any laptop or tablet, art project, or lunch break.

Old Navy

Whether your children are in a real or virtual classroom, the CDC recommends that you wear a face mask or face mask for each outing. The children lose things. So fill in now. Check out CNET’s compilation of children’s face masks.

Sarah Tew / CNET

When parents and children share the same workspace, everyone must have their own headphones – to block ambient noise, accompany a lesson and listen to music (for concentration purposes). Skullcandy’s Riff goes for about $ 50. its pillow-like ear cups are comfortable enough to wear for a full school day and have excellent sound quality and full-bodied bass. Check out CNET’s compilation of the best headphones for work at home for recommendations tailored to the adults in the house.


There are just so many things you can do with a large whiteboard: Use it to highlight the week’s priorities, assign doses, practice an equation, capture ideas during a brainstorm – or just draw a fun picture to review 2020’s lasting veil of gloom. Regardless of your specific use case, these are the markers you want.


This small portable charger has a USB-C Power Delivery port and a good old-fashioned USB-A port, so it can charge almost any phone, tablet or wireless headphone. It can also juice up a Nintendo Switch and even most newer laptops, as long as they have a USB-C powerport (like all new MacBooks).


I am someone who has strong opinions about pencils. I have been using these for decades. Smooth and precise without smearing or bleeding. They are the best. Not me.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Rocketbook’s reusable notebooks and planners make it easy to send notes, calendar items and other jots to email or cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox or Evernote. On the one hand, using the Fusion notebook is only marginally more convenient than taking a photo of some paper and sending it to yourself. But the notebook has some nice usability touches – you can select an icon at the bottom of the page to direct notes to up to seven different destinations – and the shelf life is compelling. The laptop includes a nice Pilot FriXion pen (which acts as an eraser) and a microfiber cloth that effectively wipes the sides clean to be used again. Rocketbook also introduced its own version of the popular Panda planner earlier this summer.


During the first months of the pandemic, it was almost impossible to find a branded camera at a decent price. The Logitech C920 webcam, now available again for a reasonable $ 100 (ish), delivers an all-encompassing solid video chat experience with 1080p video and two microphones that capture clear and sharp sound. If your student works from a desktop PC or even a laptop with a built-in webcam – yes, Apple, we’re watching you – this is a worthy upgrade.


Although most class assignments will be digital this year, some students – especially younger children – prefer to work with pen and paper. If you are looking for print jobs from time to time, this is your machine. The HP LaserJet Pro M15w is perfect for practical, unpleasant tasks and its small footprint, which measures approximately 8 inches deep and 14 inches wide, fits perfectly on a bookshelf. And it connects via Wi-Fi to almost any device, which means you can print from a laptop, tablet or phone.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Some school-released tablets are not that good. The entry-level 10.2-inch iPad is not cheap, starting at $ 329, but it’s a great all-round device that’s versatile enough to serve as a primary training tool – especially when paired with a fixed keyboard like the $ 100 Logitech Keyboard Case and entertainment center for all elementary or high school students. And it’s often on sale for under $ 300 ($ 250 to $ 280 is the sweet spot). Read our review of the Apple iPad.

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