Mom, can I have your phone – #lockdown blues of online classes

Sudden online classes has let loose the cat among the pigeons with respect to gadgets in the house. Suddenly the smartphone has become so important that the children can’t let go. Mom’s phone is in great demand and everyone uses it except mom herself. Now that computer stores have opened up, here is the most important buying decision you need to take on which gadget is the best for online classes and which software will help you the best.

Definition of the problem

World breathe a sigh of relief when smart phones started doing everything. Desktop Computers were first to be packed away and even the laptops went inside their bags. Reason, many of us used the computer just to check emails and surf the internet. Later it was Facebook and YouTube. All these activities could now be done on the smartphone. With net banking apps and shopping apps, those trips to ATMs and markets came down to a few clicks. Suddenly one phone each with dad and mom was the only gadget needed in a house. Even the laptops used to be opened when there was a specific need like to make a powerpoint presentation. The final coup happened when people replaced their wrist watches with smartphone and digital alarms.

Online classes upsets the apple cart

Due to lack of space families do not buy too many gadgets. Children in most families do not get a dedicated mobile phone. So when the lockdown forced online classes on unprepared parents and students there was pandemonium and panic. To tide over the immediate crises, the mothers of the house immediately handed over her smartphone to the children for online classes. With the lockdown now lifted a corrective action can be taken to take care of the problems posed by lack of gadgets in the urban homes.

Problem with online classes on mobile phones

  • Small screen strains the eyes.
  • A4 size sheets or written material is too small to view on the mobile screen. Students waste a lot to time zooming in to read each line and then shifting the image left and right.
  • Keeping the screen on for longer times drain the battery. This requires frequent charging.
  • Frequent notifications disturbs the child and interrupts the online class too.

Remedies

  • Online classes are best conducted on laptops only. If a new laptop has to be purchased go for it because online classes are here to stay. Laptops occupy less space than Desktop computers. There are no messy wires to handle. When connected to a power outlet one can leave the laptop on for any amount of time. This is also an advantage over the tablet.

Online homework material is received on mobile phone by WhatsApp. In that case sent the contents to a folder on Google Drive in the mobile phone. The same folder can be opened in the laptop on Google Drive so your child can access the data.

Alternatively you can use WhatsApp for Web on your laptop to access WhatsApp directly and download homework or other material. Handwritten assignments have to be clicked by the smartphone camera. Use Adobe Scan app to click pics and convert them to PDF files and upload it to the cloud. Access the same files from the laptop and submit your assignments through the laptop.

  • If a laptop is beyond your budget or there are space related issues, the next best option is a 10 inch tablet. Go for the Wifi only option as the sim cards use up a lot of battery. The Wifi version of Samsung Galaxy Tab A is the best choice in the market today and is surprisingly affordable.

Buy a tablet with a stand. It is going to be a saviour. If your phone already has WhatsApp installed, the same account cannot be installed on the tablet. So WhatsApp for web comes to rescue. Yes, this trick works on tablets also. Else you can make use of sharing by Google Drive.

Using a tablet allows mobility within the house. The tablet camera can be used to click pictures of handwritten assignments and upload direct to the classroom apps. Large screen of tablets reduce the need to zooming in.

Instead of earphone give your child a Bluetooth enabled neck phones. More better option is a headset. Over ears headsets cost a bomb but if you can buy one, nothing like it. Airpods are the worst option to be given to a child from comfort point of view.

Conclusion

Laptops are a must in the times of online classes. Laptops based on AMD Ryzen series processors cost just Rs 27,000 onwards. These are the latest processors and great value for money. Even gaming laptops have broken the sub Rs 50k barrier. The next best alternative is a 10 inch tablet which starts costing from Rs 15,000 onwards. There might be issues related to supply but shops these days are giving out good bargains to clear their old stocks. If there is a time to invest in this essential gadget, it is now.

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