The things we carry: What’s in the ultimate travelling educator’s technology gadget bag?

I travel around a lot with my work. I teach a level 5 qualification called the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education, otherwise known as the NCALNE. There are two versions. The one that we teach is for trades and vocational tutors and we often deliver this training at our clients’ sites or in conference facilities.

So… this means that I’m often on the move. And over the last couple of years I’ve really tried to assemble the ultimate educator’s gadget bag. This is just the tech gear. I have other suitcases with training resources in them.

Here’s my favourite bag. It’s a Waterfield Cargo. I love it. It’s showing a bit of wear on the outside now but it’s still just as sturdy as the day it arrived.

Waterfield Cargo Gadget Bag

Here’s what I currently lug around inside my bag. The most important kit is probably my MacBook air, power cables, and VGA adapter that allows me to plug into a data projector. The Mac has a Thunderbird output for video but every single conference venue or classroom I’ve taught in so far has had a VGA projector. I’m paranoid about losing it so I carry two.

I’m a sucker for great design so I ended up buying some Waterfield sleeves and bags to keep the Mac, the iPad, and the cables all safe and sound. There’s another picture further down.


Here’s everything starting top left:

  1. 13″ Apple MacBook Air with Waterfield SleeveCase. It’s taken me a while to adjust to the Mac OS as I switched from Windows at the start of this year. I’m starting to feel bilingual now.
  2. iPad 2 with Smart Cover and related Waterfield SleeveCase. I thought I’d use this more than I actually have. Great for reading Kindle books when flying or playing games though.
  3. Waterfield Cableguy case to keep the power cables and other bits and pieces tidy. Great idea.
  4. Jambox by Jawbone. It’s in a black case underneath the MacBook in the photo so it’s hard to see but the little Jambox is a great companion for hotel rooms and some smaller teaching venues where I need audio. It’s bluetooth and has issues remembering whether it’s already been paired or but I still really like it.
  5. The little green pencil case as a few emergency supplies in it like Panadol, vitamins, decongestants for when the travelling starts to take its toll.
  6. Bose noise cancelling headphones. These are my latest acquisition. I got sold on these when I was in one of those horribly noisy pencil planes. A friend of mine lent me his for a couple of minutes and that was enough. Awesome.
  7. USB drives. Despite the fact that I use Dropbox for everything these days I still find it hand to have a few flash drives. You can see three of them in the picture next to the headphones as well as a pen and some business cards.
  8. Logitech wireless presenter. I used to have a Microsoft wireless mouse that had a slide clicker on underneath. However, someone pinched it. But my new Logitech clicker is awesome. It turns off automatically and works with Powerpoint as well as Keynote. This little gadget means I’m not shackled to my laptop when giving a presentation or teaching. I love being able to stand anywhere in a room and control my slides.
  9. Other cables and things. You can see my spare AAA batteries for the slide clicker, spare VGA adapter for the Mac, Apple USB phone charger adapter, grey pouch with lens cleaning fluid, a small 3.5mm audio cable, Apple ear buds, and spare USB to iPhone cable.

Here’s a close up of the sleeves and cases that I use. These days I find I’m leaving the iPad behind to cut down on weight, or I just stuff it into the top of the Mac sleeve. If I leave the iPad behind I can stuff a change of clothes in the Cargo bag as well.

What next? I’m pretty content with my set up. I do have a portable data projector that I take with me sometimes, but I don’t like to fly with it. The gear above is my mobile office and mobile teaching platform.

Can you think of anything else I need? What things do you carry in your gadget bag? Let me know in the comments.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

8 thoughts

  1. It’s a mystery to me how people manage to fit so much stuff in their bags… What’s the secret?

    1. Having the right bag for starters… I did my research on the Waterfield Cargo. It gets great reviews and people talk about it like it has Dr Who Tardis-like qualities. And then careful packing of just the right gear…

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