Edtech Nerds Gift Guide: Efficiency

Written by Kris Thurston

December 6, 2023

Improve Your Efficiency

It’s the holiday season and the EdTech Nerds are in full cheer!

To kick off the season, being such a gadget Nerd, I’m putting together a series of gift guides focused on each of the EdTech Nerds Five Pillars: Creativity, Community, Mindfulness, Efficacy, and Efficiency. Each post contains some thoughtful ideas for fun and useful gifts you can give to your fellow educators (or yourself) to help bring a little more joy to all of your second semesters.

This series of posts are our top picks for each pillar. For our entire collection of recommended gadgets and gizmos, check out our Wakelet collection here.

These posts are not sponsored by any of the products listed. All Amazon links, however, are affiliate links.


The Efficiency Pillar is all about keeping it smooth and organized without blowing a lot of extra time. We want to make work a little easier and help give you back a little of your own life, find a little more balance, and get back to your passion.

This is a short list of gadgets that we really like, use often, and help us avoid the frazzle that comes from the daily overload. 

Wooden Cellphone Caddy

This little gadget helps with a few efficiency problems that a lot of teachers have. 

First, wall space in a lot of our classrooms comes at a premium, so hanging a fabric calculator caddy isn’t always an option.

Second, classroom management will always be an issue, so being able to set students’ phones aside is always a big plus.

And third, if your classroom is as dynamic as some of my teachers, it helps to keep the caddy close to where you are working, and this is much more mobile than anything that hangs on the wall.

Many of our teachers use the cellphone caddy method to take attendance and have assigned spots for their students’ phones. This works especially well in lab classes where students move around more. It greatly reduces distractions and opportunities to cheat on tests and quizzes. We also have a policy of leaving your phone behind to use the restroom during class, which greatly reduces trip time.

We’ve purchased several of these for teachers. They’re available in different colors and grid sizes at Amazon for around $30.

Peak Design Tech Pouch

If you, or the teacher you’re supporting, is as big of a gadget fiend as I am, they’ll definitely appreciate the Peak Design Tech Pouch.

Peak Design makes a lot of photo equipment bags, so they’re really good at gear protection and compartmentalizing. They’re also one of the best out there when it comes to durability. Their bags last so long that there is a pretty large second-hand market for their offerings.

The Tech Pouch offers a ton of compartments and zipper pouches inside, plus straps and attachment points on the outside so it can be clipped to the outside of another bag or attached to a molle grid if you have the right clips. It’s great for holding all of your chargers, cables, dongles, and attachments, keeping them safe and organized.

Mine is part of my EveryDay Carry and has survived the abuse of travel to many conferences still looking almost new. We know it’s a little pricey for the size of the bag, but the quality and durability make it a serious buy-once, as you’ll likely never need to replace it.

The Peak Design Tech Pouch is available at Amazon for around $60. 

Rocketbook Reusable Smart Notebooks

Every educator knows that writing by hand is vastly superior to typing when it comes to learning. Even from personal experience, notes I write for myself rarely get reviewed because I remember them better from writing them in the first place.

We also love all the digital tools available to us because they make things easier. When it comes to making changes, producing actual work, communication, and collaboration, digital is the way to go.

Rocketbook gives us the best of both worlds. You can take notes using Pilot Frixion Pens (available in multiple colors). When you’re done writing, you can scan your page with the Rocketbook app on your mobile device and send it wherever you want. The app is linkable to most of the online services like Google Drive, MS OneDrive, Dropbox, and more. You can also send it to an email recipient or trigger events in IFTTT, an app that saves you time by automating various tasks. You can even choose multiple options by marking the icons at the bottom of each page. 

Once you’ve scanned your pages, just wipe them clean with a little water and the included cloth, and your pages are ready to use again. The Frixion pens are also erasable using the special tip on the back end of the pen.  Frixion even makes erasable highlighters in multiple colors.  

There are a ton of formats available, from simple lined pages to executive style planners, small pocket notebooks to full sized customizable binder folios.

The Rocketbook Core Reusable Smart Notebook is available from Amazon for about $20, but take a look at the Rocketbook store on Amazon to see if any of their products suit your needs better.

The Pilot Frixion pens and highlighters are also available at Amazon in the Pilot Store.

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