What I’m Working With… A Look at My Devices

For the past several months I have had several questions about the devices I use as a teacher, blogger, and TpT seller. This seemed like the perfect time to provide answers to all of your questions about my gadgets, devices, and favorite computer programs.

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links, which helps to support the blog.

I Heart My MacBook Pro

Since I spend more time on my computer than anywhere else, let’s begin with my laptop. I have a 15″ MacBook Pro, which I absolutely love. I it is portable as a laptop; but powerful enough to handle my photo editing, product creation, and everything else I do on my computer. The 15″ is heavier to carry around than the 13″, but this is my primary computer and I love having a larger screen while I work. My laptop is 2 years old. Since then, Apple had decided to only carry 15″ MacBooks with a retina display. This new line of MacBooks looks AMAZING.

15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display
I create nearly all of my products in Pages. It’s a lot like Microsoft Word merged with Publisher without any of the bugs that make you want to throw your computer out the window. I haven’t upgraded to Mavericks yet because I have heard many less-than-stellar reviews for the newest version of Pages. So my computer still has Mountain Lion installed and I don’t intend to change it any time soon!
Pages for Mac icon

 

If you have already upgraded to Mavericks (or if you intend to purchase a new Mac computer) this is the image for Pages you will see: It’s the same program. Just with a fancy new icon. And a few different features. 

Pages for Mac

 

My Other Laptop

I am a Mac girl at heart but I recently broke down and bought my first PC in years. Occasionally it is helpful to have a spare computer handy and I wanted a PC so I could appreciate the experience that my customers with PCs have when they purchase and use my products. I also wanted to find something that most closely resembled the feel of my MacBook. Especially the trackpad. Ultimately, I decided to go with the Lenovo Yoga 2. There is no actual substitute for a MacBook, but the Lenovo isn’t bad.

 

For a PC.

 

Lenovo Yoga 2 laptop

 

The Lenovo Yoga 2 is also nice because it has a touch screen and the screen pivots ALL the way backward so it can also be used as a tablet. I rarely use the touch screen or the tablet mode, but they are nice features to have access to… just in case.

 

Lenovo Yoga 2 laptop

 

Printing Like a Pro with a Laserjet

When I need to print classroom resources, I ALWAYS prefer to print on a laser printer. The colors are so much more vivid on a laser printer than an inkjet printer, and the price per page is SO MUCH CHEAPER. I have an inkjet printer in my classroom, but I made countless trips across the hall to my school’s laser printer each time I had something ink-heavy to print. In fact, I made SO many trips across the hall that I  finally decided to bite the bullet and purchase a laser printer for my home office (which also doubles as my bedroom).

print beautiful full-color pages on a laser jet printer

 

I personally own the Hewlett Packard M451DN Laserjet Enterprise 400 Color Printer It’s not a network (wireless) printer, but I solved that issue by adding a signal boosting router to it, which gave me wireless printing ability. This wonderful machine has a second paper tray that makes printing on cardstock. labels, and specialty papers a breeze. It also prints duplex (2-sided pages). And I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the printer arrived with all four toner colors installed to get me started.

A wireless version with all of these features is also available.

HP M45iDN laserjet printer

 

The toughest pill to swallow when a person considers switching to a laser printer is the cost of toner. With an inkjet printer, you can purchase a replacement cartridge for about $35 and that will get you through for a little while. It’s not a big investment. With a laser printer, however, there are  4 different toner cartridges (black, yellow, blue, and magenta). I’m not gonna lie to you. The toner is expensive.

 

Most of them run about $100.

 

For each color.

 

But the thing to keep in mind is that you can print about 1,000 pages from a single toner cartridge. It’s a big initial investment, but it pays off in the end. I have printed DOZENS of pages from my {Black Series} product line on TpT and I still haven’t had to replace my black toner. I wholeheartedly believe that a laser printer is better quality and more affordable in the long-run.

 

HP 305A Laserjet toner

 

Let’s Talk Lamination

Once you print all of those fabulous resources, they need be laminated before they enter the classroom. I actually own 2 thermal laminators. Both are Scotch brand, although they are different models. I keep one at home and the other in my classroom.
At home, I have a Scotch TL901 thermal laminator. I prefer this one. Probably because I purchased this one first and am more accustomed to it. I like it because the tray that holds the sheet to be laminated feels durable and not likely to break. (I often find myself in a rush and not as gentle as I ought to be.)
Scotch TL901 Thermal Laminator
In my classroom, I have a Scotch TL902 personal laminator. It’s great because the feeder tray folds in and makes this model easier to store. The tray itself is just a bit less sturdy so I handle this model with more care than my at-home laminator.
Scotch Thermal Laminator TL902
When it’s time to order new laminating pouches, I always order generic brand pouches from Amazon. They are the cheapest and they work just as well as the name brand pouches.

 

Shooting Photos Like a Pro

I have already answered all of your camera-related questions in a previous blog post, but I can’t dish about my devices without mentioning my camera. People ALWAYS want to know what kind of camera I use to capture such memorable photos on the blog.

I shoot with a Canon Rebel T3i. I have owned my current camera for over a year and I absolutely love it. I occasionally use an 18-55mm lens (which comes standard with many Canon DSLR cameras) but most of my photos are taken with a 50mm lens. It has a 1.8f setting and I LOVE how opening the aperture gives my photos a nice blurry artistic quality.You can read more about my camera and my lens in this blog post.

Canon Rebel T3i camera
Canon 50 mm lens

 

What I’m Wishing For

I have so many wonderful tools to help me work, but even I have a wish list. At the top of my list is a MacBook Air. I don’t want it to be my primary computer, just the computer that I use when I travel. Right now I am living on a tight budget, so a Macbook Air is not in my immediate future.

Maybe next year…

MacBook Air

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Maria Gavin

Maria is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, with 13 years of teaching experience. Her love and passion for all things early childhood is now fulfilled as a mom to two amazing kids. She loves sharing practical and creative tips and ideas that are perfect for young learners – in the classroom or at home!

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12 Responses

  1. This post was a brilliant idea! I’m starting to be in the market for a new printer and I’m interested in exactly what you have, but really had no idea where to start as far as what kind to get, etc. This information is so valuable to me! My slowpoke inkjet that I got my Freshman year of college is no longer going to cut it. (Yes, I still have it and it still works!) And just my two cents on the macbook air– my aunt got one and 3 laptops later ended up just getting a Pro. She has problems with each one they sent her! And they were justified operational errors, not user error (hehe). But I know you do your homework before making big purchases.

    Erin
    Creating & Teaching

  2. Thanks for doing this post. I was just wondering what you used last night when you posted the picture of the document you were working on. If your area does tax free shopping, that is the best time to buy a new mac. They also give teachers a discount!

    Ms. King’s Kinders

  3. Ouch! That printer is quite an investment. But you’re right, the colors look amazing. And I love my MacBook Pro…hubby bought it for me last year for my birthday. It’s incredible and worth every penny!! 🙂

    Little In Betweens

  4. Thanks for this post. I’ve been thinking it’s about time for a new laptop. I’m just not sure if I’m ready to make the switch to a Mac. When you create your resources on the Mac, do you have to make a separate version for your customers who don’t have mac?

  5. Thanks so much for sharing! Does your lens have the ability to zoom? I am in the market for a new lens. Right now, I have something similar to what you use, but I’m looking for a lens that zooms.

    Thanks!

  6. I wish I could afford the printer! I would love to be able to print things without having lines through them! I have thought about getting an MacBook Pro! I have only had a PC and don’t know much about Mac’s! Maybe I should look into it and save up for a Mac!
    I love that camera, I have one and it is so fun to play with!

  7. Can I say I LOVE my Mac Air, I have 2. I bought my personal Macaroni 2 years ago and have been using it as my main comp with NO problems. Then the district replaced our older Macs with Airs’ too and I was so pleased. I promise when you get one you will ADORE how light it is.

    thanks for the laminator reviews. I have been thinking of getting my own for a little bit now and it deff helped to know your experiences.
    Mels

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Hi, I'm Maria.

I’m a former kindergarten teacher turned work-from-home mom. I still love sharing ideas and resources to make teaching easier, so you can focus on what really matters in the classroom. When I’m not working on the blog, you’ll find me chasing kids around the house with a cold cup of coffee in my hand (some things never change even once you’re out of the classroom!)

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