The Technology You'll Need for Remote Learning

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The age of remote learning is here. We're well into the 21st century, and many professors are using the internet and the latest learning tools to create a curriculum that inspires students, no matter where they live. Schools all over the world are also offering remote lectures as an option for students with emergency circumstances, so that everyone can keep up with their coursework.

However, remote learning also presents a unique set of challenges, including how to stay focused at home, while also ensuring you have the best technological tools for success. Many of today's courses rely on cutting-edge conferencing technology, interactive apps, and even tablet-based tools. With the right computer and some smart habits, you'll be ready to learn remotely and never miss a lesson.

Smart Practices for Remote Learning

Learning from home can be a grind if you haven't developed the right habits. For instance, you'll probably be working in your bedroom or on the kitchen table, while your parents pester you to take out the garbage. And if you have a younger sibling who wants to build forts while you're watching an important lecture, the distractions may become too much to bear.

So first, take a deep breath. Remote learning isn't an ideal situation, especially if you're used to being independent. But it's definitely manageable, and you may find that the remote learning process actually has its perks (like the ability to watch lectures at your own pace). To help adjust to this new academic lifestyle, here are a few smart practices:

Create an Engaging Learning Environment

First, it's crucial to have a nurturing space where you feel comfortable studying for hours at a time. This might be a home office, a desk in your bedroom, or even a patio table in the backyard, but you should create a learning station and make a habit of studying there. This will help keep you focused when videogames, social media, and pestering parents take you out of a groove. You might also want to play light instrumental music in the background while doing homework if it helps you focus. Find out what works for you, and then stick to it.

Schedule Time to Complete Assignments

With a normal school schedule, most students are out and about during the day, taking classes and studying in the library. That's not the case with remote learning, so you'll need to be more disciplined about your weekly schedule. We suggest using a calendar or planner and penciling in all the lectures that you need to watch for the week, while also setting aside plenty of time for homework and reading. As a remote learner, you'll have more time than you know what to do with, but that time can quickly disappear if you're not using it wisely.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions

It might seem weird to ask questions when you're not face-to-face with professors, but it's an invaluable part of the learning process, so don't shortchange yourself. Almost every remote learning portal will allow you to submit questions on a course discussion board, and if that isn't an option, you can always get in touch with professors via email. In fact, when it comes time to ask professors for a letter of recommendation down the road, you'll already have correspondence and rapport over email, so it won't feel like a big ask.

Take Advantage of Every Resource

The beauty of online learning is that you're a web search away from virtually anything. Plus, remote courses typically have online study groups where you can share notes, virtual office hours where you can connect with instructors, and more. All of these resources can help you make the most of the remote learning experience.

Keep in Touch with Classmates

Finally, just because you're learning from your childhood bedroom in the suburbs doesn't mean you should stay isolated from friends and classmates. In fact, many remote courses are designed with mandatory study sessions, where peers can help quiz each other and pool their knowledge. We recommend scheduling video chats with at least a few classmates every week to study and socialize.

Chromebooks: The Ideal Remote Learning Fit

You don't need much to learn remotely. Having a cutting-edge student laptop is great if you can afford it, but it's more important to invest in a portable device with amazing battery life and enough processing power to handle livestreams. Enter the Chromebook. Designed around Chrome OS, these affordable PCs offer a streamlined laptop experience that mostly takes place in your browser, but still gets the job done. With a Chromebook, you can log into online classes, take notes, host video chats, and reply to emails without skipping a beat. Many of them are also designed with rugged frames that can even weather a drop from a school desk. And with the extra money saved from not buying a high-performance laptop, you can invest in a quality monitor for a more expansive learning experience.

Here are three of the best options for remote learners on a budget:

Lenovo 100e Chromebook

Built with a tough housing that includes rubber bumpers and mechanically anchored keys, the 100e Chromebook is ready for the rigors of remote learning. It boasts up to 10 hours of battery life, so you can take it around the house or the backyard patio. And since it has Chrome OS, students get access to the full G Suite, including Google Classroom and a wide range of interactive learning apps. Finally, the built-in HD camera makes video-conferencing a breeze. It's the perfect solution for students, teachers, and first-time laptop owners.

Lenovo Chromebook S340

Booting up in seconds, the Chromebook S340 has everything you need for virtual coursework. The 15" HD display looks incredible, and there's an available touchscreen for even more functionality when doing homework or zooming in on a digital textbook. Weed out distractions with the simple, yet effective Chrome OS, which has all the apps you need to stay productive. And when it's time to unwind, the Google Play Store offers a massive library of TV and movies as well.

Lenovo Flex 14

Finally, if you absolutely need a Windows PC, the Flex 14 offers tremendous value in a lightweight package. Starting at just 3.65 lbs, the 14" laptop boasts an Intel Core processor that's ideal for productivity software, video-conferencing, and web research. Even though it's a full-fledged laptop PC, the Flex 14 still enjoys up to 8 hours of battery life, with a Rapid Charge feature that takes you to 80% battery life in an hour. And if you like taking notes digitally, the available digital pen lets you jot ideas directly on the touchscreen. In fact, the Flex 14 gets its name for its 2 in 1 functionality, so you can switch from Laptop mode to Tent mode when video-conferencing, or go all the way to Tablet mode for a more hands-on experience.

Whether you're a college student trying to keep up with assignments while on leave, or a middle school student just dipping their toes into online learning, there's an impressive laptop out there for every age group. At Lenovo, we have the tech that will inspire your studies and never hold you back. Stay curious, and good luck on your remote learning journey!