On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, cables for connectivity.

My daughter watches the ABC cartoon program “Peter rabbit” in which there is a wonderful female rabbit character named Lilley. Lilley has a “just in case pocket” which has all kinds of things she keeps for “just in case” and she usually saves the day.

Teachers, I think, also need a “just in case” pocket. Especially when it comes to technology. I think we need to have plan A, plan B and the ability to improvise plan C.

I personally have two main ways for my plan B and C. The first is through the use of OneDrive (formally SkyDrive) – by saving all my files onto OneDrive, I can use them not only on my computer (the Surface Pro 3) but any computer that I have access through. This has saved me more than once, and being able to edit PowerPoint, Word, Excel and OneNote within the browser is brilliant saviour at times. I don’t always have my devices charged to the amount they should be!

The other way to have a plan B and C is to make sure you have the cables and adapters that you need. Whilst the standards are getting more defined, we still need to be able to connect to all kind of devices and connections. And it’s not just us – it’s our students as well. I’ve had to get files from memory sticks, hard drives and phones – and that all depends on having the right cable.

My “just in case pocket” has a range of cables to connect to almost anything. Most of them are shown below.

cables

A – 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable. This allows you to connect a phone or computer to most sound systems. Perfect for getting the audio from your computer or playing some background music.

B – USB to Apple lightning cable. This allows you to connect your or a student’[s modern Apple device (iPad, iPhone, iPod) to your computer – really handy for getting files or photos.
C – USB to Apple 30 pin cable. This allows you to connect your or a student’s older Apple device (iPad, iPhone, iPod) to your computer – really handy for getting files or photos.
D – USB to USB mini. A lot of older devices use this, such as cameras, hard drives, microphones.
E – USB to USB mini. A lot of newer devices use this, such as cameras, hard drives, microphones.
F – HDMI to VGA. Converts the newer HDMI signal to VGA with a neat circuit inside the cable. Perfect to connect newer devices to older screens and projectors.
G – Mini display port to VGA – Really important to get the video out from the Surface Pro 3 to older screens and projectors.

Not show is the mini display port to full size display port, and the mini display port to HDMI – these are equally important to get the video out from the Surface Pro 3 to older screens and projectors. They aren’t shown because they are on my desk at work!

H – USB mains charger – How often have you or a student run out of phone or camera charge?
I – ¼” to ¼” audio cable – this is the standard size for an electric instrument.
J – The Positive Grid (that’s the brand) ¼” to 3.5mm converter which allows you to safely connect an electric instrument to a computer or phone, with a monitoring 3.5mm jack.
K – A Targus unpowered USB3 hub, which allows four (4) USB3 devices to be plugged into the one USB3 port on the Surface Pro 3. This is a lifesaver if you want to do more than one USB connection – we’ll touch on this more next blog entry when looking at an external microphone.

So what is your Plan B, C (and maybe even D?). Do you have the cables you need? Do you have a “just in case” pocket?

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