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If getting a new car is on your essentials list during this tough time, consider these tips for a smart shopping experience.

Tips to Buy Laptops and More for Remote Learning Success

Use this checklist to help you choose the right laptop, software and other things you need to set up your family’s home base.

by SEIU Member Benefits

As schools across the country have closed due to coronavirus concerns, students (and parents) are setting up their own remote classrooms so they can succeed in their new online learning environment. However, they’re realizing their computer systems need to be updated to meet the challenge. With our SEIU℠ Click & Save discount shopping program and our brand-new  SEIU℠ Office Depot/OfficeMax Discount Program you can save on everything you need.

How do you decide what to buy to set up your new remote classroom?

There is no “best laptop” because you have to select one based on your or your family’s own needs, which will depend on the level familiarity with technology, the comfort level with the programs you will be using, and how interconnected the instruction resources will be. Dell, Apple, Microsoft, Lenovo and others offer high-quality laptops that are popular with students.

Here are some suggestions on what to look for as you decide which laptop to buy to support learning needs now:

  • A lightweight laptop with at least a 12-inch screen
  • At least 8GB of RAM memory so your computer will work quickly
  • An i5 processor or better so your computer will work quickly
  • A hard drive with at least 250GB so you have room to store large files
  • A built-in camera/microphone for video calls
  • A graphics card that’s at least 512MB to support video calls

You also need to evaluate the rest of your setup to make sure you have the optimal configuration:

  • The fastest WiFi access available from your internet provider
  • A web browser program such as Safari, Chrome or Firefox
  • A video service, such as Skype, MS Teams or Zoom
  • A word processor, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs
  • A spreadsheet tool, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
  • A presentation tool, such as Microsoft Power Point or Google Slides
  • Cloud-based storage – such as on Google, DropBox or Microsoft One Drive—so you don’t have to store all of your documents on your hard drive. Cloud storage is backed up, handles large files and is easily sharable.
  • A good set of headphones to help you focus, especially if you’re self-quarantined at home with other people
  • An all-in-one printer/scanner if you need to scan in documents to send to students and parents, or if you prefer printing documents to read, grade papers, plan lessons and more
  • Enough ink cartridges and paper to handle the amount of documents you’re printing

Look for deals through SEIU℠ Click & Save, or either directly from the manufacturer (such as Dell and Apple) or through third-party retailers (such as Best Buy and PC Mall). You also can sign up with the new SEIU℠ Office Depot/OfficeMax Discount Program to shop online for laptops, printers, ink cartridges, paper and more.

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