What the Tech? Gadgets for work and school from home | What The Tech?

Christel Deskins

A good friend of mine who is still working from home shared her family calendar on Facebook. Her three children have in-person school two days a week, and school at home for three days. In addition, there’s soccer practice, scouts, birthday parties, and a trip. She uses a whiteboard and […]

A good friend of mine who is still working from home shared her family calendar on Facebook. Her three children have in-person school two days a week, and school at home for three days. In addition, there’s soccer practice, scouts, birthday parties, and a trip. She uses a whiteboard and color codes every event with her children’s names. It’s pretty impressive but could it be even easier?

I searched for a solution for busy working-from-home parents who are also trying to keep up with their kids’ busy schedules, and I came across the Rocketbook Panda Planner.

Rocketbook is widely known for an inventive erasable notebook that saves pages to various digital cloud accounts. The company partnered with Panda Planner to come up with this new gadget or tool. To try it out, I copied my friend’s whiteboard by writing it in the Panda Planner with an erasable pen. Using the Rocketbook app I then pre-selected a number of cloud services such as Google Docs, Evernote, Slack, One Note, and Dropbox. I then chose an option to send text messages and emails to some of my contacts. Each one of those options gets its own icon. Using the app I then aim my smartphone camera at the calendar or note in the Panda Planner and it automatically takes a photo or scans the pages. Rocketbook’s app then converts the image to a PDF file and sends it to those pre-determined cloud services, texts it, and emails a copy to the contacts.

It’s very easy to use. But will it help busy parents? In the case of my insanely organized friend, probably not that much. She can easily take a photo of her whiteboard and send it to her children, but if she wants to save a copy herself in an organized notebook, the Rocketbook Panda Planner is a good choice.

I think the Panda Planner is best for people who already use a planner because they like writing things down in a notebook or using pen and paper. What makes this new Panda Planner different than other planners is that you can erase each page with a damp cloth and use the pages again. There are also pages for people who like writing down goals and motivations. There are pages just for ideas and thoughts. If you’re already using a planner and need to refer back to them much later, the Rocketbook Panda Planner will be helpful. I’d suggest creating a folder in Dropbox or a notebook in Evernote to store those planner pages for later review.

You’ve probably experienced searching for an hour for a misplaced item and you know how much time and attention that can take away from a day. I know when I’ve turned over every pillow in the house looking for the remote or car keys, it is a distraction that can affect my concentration for much of the day. With kids at home doing schoolwork, this can happen several times a day.

Tile, the remote tracker company has introduced Tile Stickers. These are small buttons that can affix to many things such as TV remotes, backpacks, and briefcases. If the item is misplaced or left behind, you can find it by using the Tile app on your phone. Each Tile you own is displayed on the screen and you simply tap the one that you need to find. The button or sticker will play a little tune so you can find it as long as it’s nearby. If it isn’t nearby, you can see the item on a map. If the backpack is left at school or in someone else’s car, the app will show that location or the location it was last pinged.

So what if the Tile is not connected to the internet? Tile uses a community of Tile users to ping those devices and place it on a map. When I checked, there were over 500 Tile devices in my neighborhood so it’s almost guaranteed that if my backpack was left at a coffee shop or in a building that I will be able to find it. The Tile stickers are $40 for two and join a list of other Tile devices such as key fobs and wallet cards.

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