Stuff I use and recommend
Many of the links are affiliate links. You can help support Learning in Hand and my gadget habit by making purchases through these links.
If you're interested seeing the gear I use to produce videos, check out this clickable image.
How about sporting a Learning in Hand premium t-shirt? Pick your color and size from Amazon and get it within a week. Sizes run small, so you might want to order a size larger than your usual.
After years of using the same old clicker as my presentation remote, I've upgraded! The Logitech Spotlight connects through USB or Bluetooth. Its killer feature is that it is an air mouse—I can wave the remote to move the mouse on the screen, and the area around the cursor is highlighted. It's great for pointing out buttons, words, and parts of photos. There's also a button that can black out my screen.
Beam Authentic is a digital button that can display slideshows and animated GIFs. The screen is 1.4 inches, and you can wear it by using its included magnet or pin. There’s a smartphone app for creating and transferring images to the device. Alternatively, Pin ONE is a slightly smaller digital button at a slightly smaller price.
I've used a Brother label printer for years to make stickers that I hand out at my presentations. Brother's P-Touch software makes it easy to add QR codes. A roll of replacement labels is about $13 and yields about 500 stickers (if you use this template I made in P-Touch).
The Cricut Maker marks on and cuts paper, vinyl, fabric, foam, and chipboard from what I design on my computer. I use the Cricut machine for classroom displays, custom stickers, and badges. If you don’t need to cut fabric and chipboard, the Cricut Explore Air 2 is a less expensive choice. I’ve been buying multiple colors of removable vinyl for my classroom walls 10 rolls at a time, and I use use (and reuse) Best Crafts transfer paper.
The ZipSnip is rechargeable and easily slices through cardboard. It’s great for makerspaces. For safety, the handle has to be squeezed and the button needs to be pressed for the blade spin.
Before using a ring light, getting the lighting just right for my videos was not easy. Now I place my smartphone in the middle of the light, and I have a perfectly lit face for videos and photos. It turns out that this kind of lighting is quite flattering. To complete your the setup, you'll also want to get an adjustable light stand, hot shoe adapter, and smartphone tripod mount. You could buy all this together in one kit, but it more expensive that way.
The iRig HD Mic is the microphone I use with my computer, iPhone, and iPad. It connects to a USB or a Lightning port and does a fantastic job of reducing background noise.
I bought these windscreen foam covers for my iRig Mic HD, and they will fit other handheld microphones as well. They are super cheap and it's fun when my audience notices that I've switched colors.
This cube slips onto my handheld microphone. I can affix logos, web addresses, and social media information to the cube, making that information visible to my audience.
I love this drone! It has a 4K camera, a couple mile range, 27 minute battery life, and very smooth camera stabilization. It can fold down to the size of a shoe, making it great for travel. The Mavic Pro takes stunning photos and videos, and it can broadcast to Periscope, YouTube Live, or Facebook Live. I suggest getting the Deluxe Bundle to get two extra batteries, multi-charger, and shoulder bag.
I’ve been intrigued by 3D printing for a while, but knew nothing about it. After a lot of research and asking around, I bought the FlashForge Creator Pro in April 2018. It does a lot for the price, namely it has dual extruders so that my creations can be printed in two colors.
Putting my iPad, tablet, phone, or microphone into a voice isolation booth significantly reduces background noise and echoes. I use an isolation booth when I record voice overs because it gives my productions a crisp clear recording. One of these would make for an excellent classroom recording center! A much cheaper option is to buy acoustic foam and make your own isolation boxes.
I use the Nootle to mount my iPad on a tripod for recording videos or for using my iPad as a teleprompter. The Nootle is adjustable and fits small Android tablets, iPads minis, and other tablets. It does not expand large enough to hold an iPad Pro.
The Theta S has dual 180° cameras that take seamless spherical photos and videos. You can view the photos and videos in the Theta iOS or Android app or upload to the Ricoh website. You can also upload (after your Mac or Windows computer processes the video) to YouTube for 360° viewing in a Google Cardboard viewer.
I used the Square Jellyfish to mount my smartphone on a tripod.
The Nifty Zip Pod is the tripod I travel with. It's very compact and takes seconds to set up because it instantly springs open. At 48 inches, this tripod isn't as tall or as adjustable as a full sized tripod, but I love that it fits in my backpack.
I use a DJI Osmo 2 to stabilize my videos. I've got some amazing shots with this gimbal. It uses motors to stabilize my phone. My videos look so smooth—they look like they were filmed using a camera crane. Unfortunately, I cannot use a microphone with this gimbal because plugging in a mic will cause imbalance.
I use this stand to hold my iPad above a surface so I can use it as a visualizer. Justand's height and angle are fully adjustable, so it can be used to hold large and small tablets in a variety of positions. Read more about using iPad (and other tablets) as a document camera.
I carry a lot of little gadgets and cables with me, and Grid-It helps keep them organized. It's a board with lots of elastic straps. I use the largest Grid-It they make, and it can fit my USB cables, power adapter, hard drive, power bank, presenter remote, adapters, and portable speaker. When traveling, I just pull out my Grid-It for easy access to my stuff.
This is my green screen. At 8 feet tall, it's very large and needs to lean against a wall. I love that it's collapsible, so I can easily store it when not in use. Unlike my old green screen that I had to iron to get our wrinkles, the tension in this green screen stretches the fabric so it's smooth. FYI: The secret to a really great green screen effect is good lighting.
Proper lighting helps my videos look more professional. My pair of StudioPRO lights are extremely bright, so it's a good thing they are dimmable. Having two light panels positioned correctly reduces shadows. The lights come with diffuser covers, which I help me control the lighting, and the stands are completely adjustable.
These lights are powered by AA batteries and I use them to light myself when I record webinars. I also use them for when I film in front of a green screen. These lights come with a variety of diffuser covers, which I use to control the lighting. The included tripods are very short, so you may need to place them on tablets, chairs, or taller tripods.
I've been using a Yeti microphone with my computers for years. It's great for recording podcasts and voice overs. I've seen it used in lots of classrooms because several students can huddle around the mic to say their parts. Yeti can work with an iPad or iPhone is you use the Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter. The adapter needs to be plugged into a wall outlet in order to provide enough power to the Yeti.
I like to have extra power for my devices that charge through USB in case I'm not near a power outlet. The higher the capacity, the larger physical size and weight of the battery. 10000mAh is a good capacity that will charge an iPad to one full charge or a smartphone a few full charges. Having a portable charger on hand in the classroom is handy—students can continue working on their USB-powered devices and not have to be tethered to a power outlet.
I use this adapter to mirror my iPad's display to a projector by connecting to its VGA cable. Yes, there are wireless ways to mirror an iPad, but using an adapter is the most reliable method for getting my screen projected in front of a class or audience. There are actually 4 different kinds of iPad adapters, so use this chart to figure out which one you need.
The Mevo camera is a wide angle 4K camera with iOS software for zooming, panning, and cutting. Mevo works with Facebook Live and Periscope. It's great for live streaming interviews and presentations. When viewers watch, it appears that you have a camera crew working for you, but in reality it's one high-resolution camera image that is being edited live!