The Department of Education recently announced that it’s pushing back the opening of classes this year to October, giving more time for teachers, parents, and students to prepare for the online learning set-up.
It’s a big change that will require time, preparation, and yes, money. To facilitate online learning at home, you will need to purchase some extra items if you don’t already have them. Here are some of the most important ones.
To be able to join video conference calls, check emails, download or upload activities, you need internet connection. You can choose from wireless broadband, DSL, or Fiber connection.
But for online learning, you need a strong and reliable internet connection, like DSL or Fiber.
PLDT offers up to 10 Mbps fiber internet for around 1,300 PHP per month with no data cap.
Globe also has wired and fiber connections starting at 1,699 PHP and 1,899 PHP monthly.
Converge has a faster than average fiber connection starting at 25 Mbps for 1,500 PHP per month.
SKY Cable also has fiber plans starting at 999 PHP per month.
Internet capacity of these providers depend on the coverage area, so check which one performs best in your area.
Internet connectivity in the Philippines has always been a problem, which is why a lot of Filipinos are not so keen about online learning for their children.
But sometimes all you need is a good router to improve the Wi-Fi connection in your home, especially in the area where your kids will be working or studying.
A quick check on Lazada will give you a price range of 400 PHP to 5,000 PHP for a router, depending on the brand, the specs, and what you will use it for.
We recommend one that has parental controls. Check out TP-Link Archer C59 which retails for about 3,000 PHP.
Computer / Tablet / Smartphone
This will be the biggest expense for most parents. However, for as little as 3,499 PHP, you can already buy a good smartphone that can be used for online conferencing and accessing DepED Commons.
For the same amount, you can also buy a good tablet that can be used for video conferencing, reading e-books, answering online activities, and coloring pages. You can install different educational apps and have video calls with the functional camera as well.
There are even Bluetooth keyboards that you can attach to your tablet for as low as 500 PHP. This accessory will instantly turn your tablet into a laptop so that typing will be easier.
If you want to purchase a laptop, you can get one in the 12,000 PHP to 18,000 PHP range (check out Lenovo Ideapad Slim 1). It’s good enough for video conferencing, typing word documents, creating presentations, or taking down notes. You can also install different educational or productivity apps to help your kids with their online learning.
Not all tasks can be done online, though. You will also need to invest in a printer to print out worksheets or activity pages for your kids.
Prices vary for computer printers depending on the number of functions that they can do.
Single function printers (printing only) usually cost less than 4,000 PHP.
Other printers that can also scan, photocopy, and have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities usually cost around 8,000 PHP to as much as 20,000 PHP.
Noise-cancelling headphones with mic
Unlike the classroom environment, online learning exposes your kids to ambient noise in your home that can be distracting.
This can be easily solved with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, preferably with a built-in microphone, so your kids can focus in class and talk clearly during recitation. A pair of these headphones starts at around 300 PHP.
For kids who still need parental supervision with their online classes, you need to be able to hear what the teacher’s instructions are, even if you are in the next room.
A bluetooth speaker will allow you to listen to what’s happening in class without hovering over your child.
Study table and chair
Ideally, they should have a study area with their own desk and chair. It gives them the feeling of a regular classroom environment. Having their own desk and chair also keeps their stuff organized and within reach.
If you have furniture at home that can serve this purpose, good. You don’t need to buy a new set at all. But if you don’t, there are affordable desk and chair sets you can buy online or at the mall which kids can use for a long time.
Portable hard drive
You will need to save their school work and projects as backup. Cloud backup is a good option, but a portable hard drive is better because you don’t need to be connected to the internet to access saved files.
Prices of portable hard drives that have 1TB storage usually start at 2,000 PHP.
Blue light blocking glasses
Since your kids will be staring at their screens for a good part of the day, it’s recommended to let them wear a pair of protective glasses that will reduce their exposure to blue light.
These blue light blocking glasses will prevent eye strain and discomfort from prolonged use of gadgets. Price starts at 100 PHP a pair.
You don’t need to buy a brand new, high-end laptop for your child to use in kindergarten. A tablet or even an entry-level laptop will do.
And you don’t need to order a new desk online when you can repurpose an old table that’s just sitting in the corner of your room.
Recycle and reuse so that you don’t need to shell out more money for your child’s online learning.
Also check out second hand gadgets for sale because you can save thousands compared to brand new ones.
You can also let your child use your laptop or tablet if you have a separate work device to use at home.
If you have more than one child who will be having online classes, look for special bundles, discounted rates, or student packages on gadgets and accessories. You just need to do a bit of research online to find a good deal.
What’s your biggest expense with your child’s online learning set-up? Let us know in the comments!