Everything you need for remote learning during the coronavirus outbreak
Here's what to do when your school is closed.
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Schools across the country are closing due to the recent coronavirus outbreak—which means many students are being forced to attend school from home. If you (or, for parents, your child) are starting remote learning, there are a few ways to make the transition from classroom to home a little bit easier. And it all starts with having the right gear. Below are all of the things you'll need at home for distance learning, from our experts' favorite laptop to the best noise-canceling headphones.
1. The best laptop for students
First things first: You need a good laptop. Of all the ones we've tested, we chose the Asus Chromebook Flip as the best laptop for students. Why? Not only does it have a great battery life, but it also has a beautiful design and vibrant display—all at a surprisingly affordable price. Its performance is equally impressive, so you can browse the internet, check your emails, take notes and stream your live classes all at once.
2. Our favorite noise-canceling headphones
Trying to focus on studying is hard. Trying to focus on studying when your little brother is throwing a tantrum in the other room and your mom is gabbing away on the phone is even harder. Enter these top-rated noise-canceling headphones. Our experts found them to be even better than Bose (yes, really) thanks to their active noise-cancellation technology, which can drown out sounds of any volume. You can even customize the amount of noise cancellation, so you can control how much of the outside world you do—or don't—hear.
3. The comfiest desk chair
Having to attend school from home isn't all bad. After all, it means you can finally swap those horribly hard classroom chairs for something a little more comfortable. We recommend the ErgoChair 2, which we've chosen as the number one desk chair. We like that the thickly cushioned seat and the mesh back provide excellent support for your entire body (no aches and pains here!) and that the chair is incredibly customizable as you can adjust everything from the angle to the lumbar support, depending on your preference.
4. A top-rated wireless mouse
If you've ever had to use your laptop trackpad for eight straight hours, you know the pain that is muscle cramps and stiff fingers. Prevent all of that with a wireless mouse, like this Logitech one. It's our favorite wireless mouse because it can be used on any surface (including glass) and has a rechargeable battery that can last for up to 70 days (!!). And if you're looking for a more budget-friendly pick? We recommend this HP wireless mouse, which costs less than $25 and works well with various hand sizes.
- Get the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S from Amazon for $59.99
- Get the HP Wireless Mouse from Amazon for $22.52
5. A good keyboard cleaner
Here's something that might gross you out: According to one study, your keyboard is even dirtier than a toilet seat. While it makes sense (think about all the places your hands have been!), it's still pretty disgusting. Fortunately, there are plenty of products to keep your keyboard as clean as possible. One of our editors loves this gooey gel, which you simply press onto your keyboard and it lifts away any dust and debris. But it doesn't disinfect your keyboard, so you might want to add these popular electronics wipes, as well, which have nearly 6,000 reviews on Amazon. Reviewers like that these wipes disinfect without leaving any residue.
- Get the ColorCoral Universal Cleaning Gel from Amazon for $8.99
- Get the Care Touch Cleaning Wipes (210-Count) from Amazon for $16.99
6. This powerful router for faster Wi-Fi
You can have the best laptop, the best mouse, the best everything... but if you don't have a strong Wi-Fi connection, remote learning is going to be nearly impossible. We've tested more than our fair share of wireless routers and found this one from D-Link to be the best overall. It had the best performance at the longest range and is incredibly affordable compared to other routers. Plus, it's super simple to set up so you can get online ASAP.
7. This expert-approved laptop stand
Between studying, collaborating on group projects, and finishing assignments, you're likely going to be spending hours in front of your laptop—so you might as well make yourself as comfortable as possible. A laptop stand—which lifts and tilts your computer—can help with that. Here at Reviewed, we like the mStand the best because it holds your laptop securely in place at eye-level height (no neck straining) and an ergonomic angle (no wrist pain).
8. This erasable calendar to stay organized
Take it from someone who works remotely 24/7: When you're working from home (that includes school working), it can be hard to keep track of all of your assignments, classes, and the like since you no longer have someone else making sure you show up. A calendar—like this dry erase one—can help you manage your schedule. It comes in both monthly and weekly formats and has over 3,000 rave reviews because it's easy to wipe off and has plenty of space for writing out all of your daily tasks.
9. These best-selling notebooks
Sure, you can type your notes on your laptop but studies have actually shown that handwriting your notes helps you retain the information better. I.e. you'll need a bunch of notebooks on hand for all those online lectures. These Mead spiral notebooks are some of the most popular on Amazon with over 1,000 reviews. The college-ruled notebooks come in a variety of colors so you can use one color per subject and users like how durable and sturdy they are.
10. These colorful pens
RE: taking notes by hand. Not only will you need notebooks, you'll need pens, too. And not just pens—_good-quality_ pens. I'm obsessed with the Paper Mate InkJoy pens, as are over 1,000 Amazon shoppers. Available in a bevy of bright colors, they write smoother than any other pen I've ever used and don't dry out quickly.
11. The number one tablet
Even if you have a laptop, a tablet is a great secondary device to have on hand, especially if you want to multi-task (i.e. log into your class on your laptop while taking notes on your tablet). And the best tablet, in our opinion, is the Apple iPad. It has a long battery life, gorgeous high-resolution display, and access to the largest library of apps, media, and more. Plus, it still has a headphone jack which will come in handy if 1) you don't have wireless earbuds or 2) your earbuds die and you have to resort to wired ones.
12. This printer that can do pretty much everything
All those worksheets and exams that your teacher usually hands out in person will now be delivered via the internet. So a printer is a must-have it physically see and remember said assignments. We recommend a multi-function printer because they combine all the features you might want in a printer (regular printing, photo printing, scanning, etc.) into one compact device. Our top pick is the Epson WorkForce Pro because it produces great quality prints, has an easy-to-navigate menu, and was the least problem-causing (read: jams and smears) of all the printers we tried.
13. This must-have for plugging in multiple devices at once
Why settle for one USB port when you could have four? That's what you'll get with this tiny but powerful hub, which has over 28,000 glowing reviews on Amazon. People like that it's super speedy and compact and that each port has its own power switch so you can turn them on and off individually. Now you'll never have to choose between charging your phone or plugging in your flash drive again.
14. This desk with thousands of reviews on Amazon
If you don't yet have a desk (or if you want to upgrade your current one), you might like this Amazon best-seller. With over 4,300 reviews, it's praised for its sleek and simplistic design and its spacious desktop which can hold all of your essentials, like your laptop, printer, and school supplies. Even better, however, is the fact that the desk—which reviewers say is very sturdy˘—can be folded up when it's not in use.
15. This genius accessory to keep your desk clean
When you're attending school from home, you basically live at your desk—which means it's sure to be exposed to coffee, food, and plenty of other potential messes. To prevent ruining your desk, over 1,000 Amazon shoppers swear by this pretty pad, which acts as a protective cover for your desktop. They rave that not only is it non-slip and both waterproof and heat-resistant, but it's also easy to clean off with just a swipe of a disinfectant wipe. Germs and spills begone!
16. This best-selling surge protector
Printer, laptop, lamp, router... the list of things you need to plug in to create your at-home "classroom" is incredibly long. You'll want to use a surge protector like this one to conserve energy and protect your electronics. Over 10,500 reviewers like that this AmazonBasics power strip has a long power cord (so you can move it around) and that it has six outlets that hold plugs securely. People also say the surge protector lasts for a long time and is great quality, especially for its low price.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.