GSE338 What’s in YOUR Keyboard?

tools for cleaning a mechanical keyboard

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In episode 338 of Geekiest Show Ever, we discuss surviving the first full week of distance learning with some observations and tips. These days, we find ourselves doing a lot more cleaning and disinfecting. Now that more kids are learning from home, all those keyboards are bound to get icky! Melissa shares her hack for how to clean a mechanical keyboard.

Distance Learning Tips & Observations

• Setting up a workstation is crucial whether you’re a teacher, parent, or guardian helping to prepare a child for distance learning.
• Minimize distractions with over-the-ear headphones, preferably with noise cancellation for smaller kiddos who have ears too small for earbuds.
• Over the weekend, take some time to test out your child’s audio input and output settings. Make sure their mic isn’t turned all the way up or all the way down. Teach them how to use the keyboard shortcut for muting themselves.
• Use a decorative sheet or green screen as a backdrop to create a private space.
• Make sure the work area has plenty of light.
• Keep an eye on the thermostat and make accommodations. Children may get sleepy or irritable if it’s too hot or too cold in their workspace. Try adding a fan or a cuddly blanket.
• Take breaks up and away from the workstation and computer to do physical activities.
• Try to replicate your child’s bell schedule with an egg timer, watch, or smartphone app that makes a sound or vibration.
• Remember that you won’t be able to replicate all things that pertain to on-site learning, but you can get creative when teaching skills like staying on a schedule. A routine is good for mental health during these uncertain times.
• Check out your local communities or estate sales and ask around for tech supplies.

Look for wired keyboards, headphones, printers, and other “last year” models that people may want to discard. Many consumers want wireless these days, but going back to wired for kids can be a bit more tried and true. It also negates the need for replacing batteries or negotiating Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections in what could be an already strained network.

Learn Something New

If your child is using a mechanical keyboard and has trouble typing despite being skillful, it may be time to deep-clean that keyboard. Perhaps you just need to inspect under the keys for a foreign object like a loose staple, piece of paper, or potato chip. You can take apart a mechanical keyboard by making your own key cap puller out of florist wire. Here is what a key cap puller looks like. This is a video that shows how to twist the wire into shape. Using florist wire you can skip the step of stripping the coating.

homemade key cap puller tool

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