1. ScanSnap Scanner
This has played a major role in helping me go paperless in my classroom and my personal life. The ScanSnap is a lightweight, portable scanner that can handle 12-15 double-sided pages at a time. It syncs with Dropbox and Evernote (two apps I love) so I can hold onto information without having to keep the piles of paper that come with it. For example, there are a bunch of forms that I'm required to use at school for various things. Rather than keep a file of them all cluttering up my desk, I just scan them with the ScanSnap and print them whenever I need them. I'm far faster at locating items on my computer via the search feature than I am at finding a random piece of paper, so this has been a life-changer for me.
2. Charging Hub
Having a lot of devices can be a problem when it comes to keeping them charged. I hated the clutter of all the chargers and the ugly power strip sitting by my nightstand. I recently solved that problem by purchasing the Anker 40W 5-port USB Charger.
One plug charges up to 5 devices via their USB cables. When there are limited plugs available, this is a great tool to have. It streamlines the clutter and the tangle of cords. I like it so much that I'm planning to get a second one for my classroom.
3. Cocoon Grid It
When you travel with a lot of gadgets -- even just between home and school -- you inevitably have a lot of cords and things that can get lost in your bag. For a while, I tried to assign items to various pockets to try to keep them organized, but that never worked very well. I'd forget what went where and spend way too much time digging around for something. That changed once I got the Cocoon.
It's about the size of a piece of paper, and it has several woven elastic bands that can hold items in place in many configurations. It's a great resource for keeping your smaller gadgets and their cords neat and tidy in your bag.
4. Portable Charger
One of the biggest challenges for me is keeping everything charged throughout the day -- especially when I go from school to grad classes at night. In some of my college classrooms, there are very few outlets, and it's hard to get a seat near one. That's why I love the Jackery Giant portable charger.
Small and portable, I can charge this through my laptop, and then it can charge my other devices when I'm on the go. It came in especially handy while I was at ISTE recently, and I love it for travel. You can charge two devices at once, and it holds enough power to extend your device's battery by 500-600%.
5. Eye-Fi Mobi
I love using my good camera -- not the one on my iPhone, but my actual Sony digital camera. One of the things I hate, however, is taking out the memory card to move pictures from my camera to my computer. Invariably, I leave the card in my computer and don't have it when I go to take pictures, or I leave pictures on my camera forever and miss opportunities to share them in blog posts or with family in a timely manner. Then, I met the Eye-Fi card.
6. Jawbone UP
I'm on my feet a lot throughout the day, and I'm not the best with making time for exercise or sleep. I've had a Jawbone for over a year now, and I love it. It helps me keep track of my steps and my sleep quantity and quality so I can set goals for myself in both departments. It's comfortable and flexible so it doesn't bother me when I'm typing or sleeping, and it's waterproof so I can even wear it in the shower.
Like many teachers, I struggle with work-life balance, and this helps me gauge when things are really getting out of whack.
7. Fine Point Stylus
I love using my iPad for note-taking, annotating documents, and making tutorials for my students. However, I hate drawing with my fingers because I feel like I'm less coordinated using my index finger relative to a pen, and most styluses are a little too nubby for me. I finally found one that I love in the Adonit Jot Pro.
It has a fine-point with a small plastic disk at the tip, and while it's heavier than most pens I'd use, it is by far the closest thing to a pen-like feel that I've found for the iPad. I've had it since December, and I'm very protective of it. It's a must-have if you want to have more precision in your iPad creations, but be careful -- the small disk has popped off a couple of times in my bag, so you have to be careful about storage so you don't lose that piece.
8. Canon SELPHY
I take a lot of pictures of activities in my classroom, and I like to be able to integrate those into bulletin boards to showcase student work. In the past, it was kind of a pain to print the pictures because I'd invariably have to get a bunch together, upload them to some website, and then have them printed by a 3rd party in a big cluster. I then received the Canon SELPHY as a gift from a family member, and it has eliminated all of the hassle from the process.
I can print from a memory card or send pictures straight from my iPhone or iPad to the printer, and it will print postcard sized borderless photos. I love that I can print wirelessly and as needed rather than having to put together an order that I eventually have to pick up from the store. It's much more efficient, and therefore more likely to get done.
9. IPEVO Point 2 View USB Camera
I use a document camera a lot in my classroom, but the ones my school has available take up tons of real estate on my desk. I also like to be able to have access to a document camera when I'm giving presentations for professional development sessions that I lead or presentations I give in my grad school classes, but I'm not likely to haul around a huge document camera from place to place. That's why I LOVE my IPEVO Point 2 View USB Camera.
It is incredibly lightweight and compact, and it produces great images. I use it all the time, and at $69 on Amazon, I think it's a steal. I also like the fact that it can come off of it's stand, so if you're doing an activity in science where you want to look at something from an unusual angle, you have the flexibility to do so. If you don't have a document camera in your classroom, or you want something smaller, I highly recommend this.
10. Wireless Presenter with Laser Pointer
I find myself presenting a lot these days, both in and out of my classroom, and when I am, I absolutely hate to be tethered to my computer. I'd much rather be circulating among my students and interacting than staying in one place. I did some research on wireless remotes and ended up choosing the Kensington Wireless Presenter with Laser Pointer.
It's small and comfortable to use, and with only four buttons, it's hard to mess up. My students love the laser pointer part of it, and I love how reliable it is. I've used it on many different computers -- Macs and PCs -- and I haven't encountered any hiccups yet. I've had my current one for three years, and the only thing I plan to replace are its batteries.
So there you have my current top 10 list. With the exception of the ScanSnap and the Jawbone, all of the items are less than $100, and I've included links to each item on Amazon. (Those are affiliate links so Amazon will pay me a small commission if you choose to buy anything, but I'm only linking to items that I LOVE and USE constantly.) What are some gadgets that you love? I'd love to hear more in the comments as I start my back to school wish lists, so be sure to share. :-) And which gadgets do you currently use or would like to have in your own classroom? I'm always curious about the accessories as well.
Have a great week!