Category Archives: Webcams

The Perfect Combination of Doc and Web Cam for Virtual Learning

Whether you’re a teacher, a student, or a parent, the 2020-2021 school year will be forever remembered as the year of the “pivot.” Who could have ever seen this coming? In an instant, the educational model we have relied on to teach our elementary, middle, and high school students, not to mention all of the young adults at higher education institutions, was turned upside down by the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing educators and school administrators everywhere to reimagine the American classroom. 

However, every cloud has a silver lining, and in this case, it was the rapid acceleration of the use of technology both to teach and to learn in the remote school setting dictated by the pandemic. Unable to walk between rows of desks in a traditional classroom, checking over the shoulders of students to ensure that they were grasping the key concepts of each lesson, teachers found themselves in need of a way to keep school every bit as engaging, interactive, and effective from a distance as it is in person. Fortunately, certain pieces of technology already in existence helped teachers and students achieve the level of interaction necessary for a productive school day- and it’s expected that this technology will continue to help educators connect with their distance learners both during the rest of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

Armed with the ideal combination of document cameras and webcams, teachers can still interact with remote learners as if they were right there in front of them! By allowing students to see their teacher’s face and what they are teaching them at the same time, doc cams and webcams are bridging the gap between in-person and remote learning as we edge closer to being able to bring back the traditional five-day school week for kids across America.

Doc Cams vs. Webcams– What’s the Difference?

While we’re all familiar with webcams, thanks to the endless stream of Zoom meetings we’ve participated in this past year, document cameras, or doc cams, may be a little less familiar to those not in the education industry. Here’s a little side-by-side comparison of what each of these cameras does to enhance the remote learning experience for students and teachers alike.

Webcams

While many desktop monitors and laptop computers now come equipped with webcams for video chats and more, older monitors, like those that may still be in use in classrooms across America, do not always have a built-in webcam to use for virtual classes. 

Even if your school computer is equipped with a webcam, these built-in models rarely offer the same level of quality, flexibility, and versatility as an external model like our picks below. Fortunately, there’s no need to upend the school budget with all-new monitors or laptops for school staff, thanks to these affordable yet highly effective webcams that are compatible with nearly all models of computer.

HamiltonBuhl® SuperFlix 720p HD Webcam with Gooseneck Stand- from $35 

With its non-slip base and built-in microphone, the SuperFlix offers a simple solution for teachers in need of a quality webcam at an affordable price. 

Features:

  • Internal microphone with excellent voice pick-up capabilities and clear recording production
  •  5 million pixel registration
  • 30mm to infinity focal range
  • Easy plug-and-play setup
  • Supports both Mac and PC
  • 1x IR LED light: Infrared light for shooting at night and in low light areas
  • Bendable arm for optimal positioning
  • Shutter button for easy still-image capture

 

QOMO WebCam 004- from $69 

This affordable high-definition webcam allows you to stream live classes, record future class content, and more! Easy to clip on and adjust, the WebCam 004 offers a lot of bang for its buck

Features:

  •  USB connection- no drivers required!
  •  Professional quality 1080p camera lens
  •  Built-in dual mic
  •  Tripod adapter on base fits the optional tripod

 

 

 

 

Adesso CyberTrack H6- from $89.99 

Looking for an ultra-high resolution desktop webcam that fits both your price range and your remote teaching needs? Meet the CyberTrack H6! Starting at just $89.99, this 4K ultra-high resolution camera allows you to be heard loud and clear as you livestream or record lessons for your remote students.

Features:

  • 120-degree view angle
  • Integrated wide-angle microphone
  • Broad Instant Messenger compatibility

 

 

 

 

Doc Cams

Less widely-known than webcams, but just as important for remote learning, doc cams, or document cameras, are an absolute necessity for the visual learners in your audience! While webcams capture the auditory part of your lessons, complete with voice inflections, facial expressions, and more, doc cams help provide an integrated classroom experience by showing students everything their teacher is writing on the virtual blackboard. 

Remember those overhead projectors we had at school as kids? Doc cams are a high-tech version of that concept, beaming lessons into remote students’ homes all over the country and helping them follow along with math problems, spelling and grammar lessons, and a variety of other practical applications. 

Here are some of our favorite doc cams- and the price is right, too!

QOMO QPC22 ScannerCam- from $209 

Affordable, high-quality, and ultra-portable, the versatile ScannerCam triples as a document camera, scanner, and webcam all in one! Its perfect balance between quality and portability allows teachers to easily transport their ScannerCam for presentations and lessons wherever they are.

Features:

  • USB connection for high-quality image and video capturing
  • Low energy consumption LEDs provide illumination in any condition
  • High definition 8 MP camera
  • Built-in mic
  • Lightweight and portable

 

 

 

QOMO QPC20 F1 Ultra Portable Scanner and Document Camera- from $199 

Slightly larger but every bit as powerful, the QPC20 F1 offers everything the QPC22 ScannerCam does, at a lower price!

Features:

  •  USB connection for high-quality image and video capturing
  •  Low energy consumption LEDs provide illumination in any condition
  •  High definition 8 MP camera
  •  Built-in mic
  •  Lightweight and portable

 

 

 

Though this school year looks unlike anything we’ve ever had to experience before, there’s still a way for teachers to reach their students through effective, interactive lessons. Thanks to webcams and document cameras, as well as headsets for the students to learn in a distraction-free environment, the school experience can still be just as stimulating from a distance as it is in person.

How Tech Products are Advancing Special Education

Thanks to numerous technological advances over the past couple of decades, the educational landscape looks a whole lot different from how it did when we went to school! Students are now able to connect with their lessons in ways they never could before, and teachers are able to reach more students in their class with high-tech materials tailored to their individual learning needs. With amazing new technology changing the face of education, the possibilities are limitless!

This is especially true for teachers of students with special needs, as they now have the available resources and technology to create custom school programming that provides the best fit for each unique learning style. Here are some of the most innovative and effective ways technology is currently being used in special education programs across the country.

Voice Response Software
For students who are unable to write or type due to physical or cognitive limitations, voice response software programs are an ideal way to complete class assignments, write essays, and more. Using talk-to-text technology like the kind you find on your smartphone, special education students are able to speak into the microphones of their headsets and have their speech translated to words on the computer screen. A number of educational software programs are now being designed to challenge students at a variety of grade levels in reading, math, science, social studies and so much more, ensuring that every child receives the same opportunities to learn and succeed!

Headsets with microphones, which can also be used for video chats, gaming, and listening to audio or video content, allow special education students to access the voice response features of educational software, as well as use the talk-to-text feature on a basic word processing platform such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs. This can come in especially handy for students who need a hands-free way of writing a story, poem, essay, or research paper.

Webcams
After the events of 2020 and the subsequent need for online meetings and school sessions, we all know what a webcam is and how to use it! It’s hard to believe that something so ingrained in our modern culture and such a large part of our everyday lives seemed like a foreign concept to us just ten years ago, but it’s true! Though web cameras were first invented in 1991, it has taken decades for them to enter the mainstream like they have in recent years. In fact, some computer models still don’t include built-in webcams in their monitors. Whether a webcam is a standard feature on your computer or an external add-on part, it’s essential for connecting with people via videoconferencing software.

As we’ve learned this year, webcams can also be a highly valuable computer accessory for remote classroom learning. Numerous families found themselves in need of webcams after the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, as schools nationwide closed their doors and pivoted to an online-only format. While webcams are a necessity for remote learning in all its forms, special education students receive extra benefit from this technology, as it allows speech therapists and other teachers to work with children and teens in need of extra verbal practice without having to meet in person.

Hearing Protection
For some children, teens, and adults, the world can be just too loud sometimes! Noisy environments can cause people with heightened auditory sensitivities to lose focus and the ability to concentrate on tasks and assignments.

Fortunately, protective earmuffs have been developed to combat this issue and allow people with heightened auditory sensitivities to free themselves from distractions caused by the outside world. These comfortable hearing protectors work to minimize external noise and help students maintain focus.

Interactive Whiteboards
Move over, chalkboards! There’s a new way for teachers to share information with their students in a highly-visible space. Interactive whiteboards go beyond the capabilities of the traditional classroom blackboard to create a collaborative work environment for all members of a group. Portable devices like BoardShare allow teachers to transform any hard surface or TV into a virtual whiteboard where they can create and share notes, documents, presentations and more in real time!

Special education students are able to collaborate with their teachers and fellow classmates using an array of virtual pens, erasers, highlighters, and colors to express themselves and work on projects. The BoardShare interactive whiteboard tool integrates seamlessly with educational software, so teachers can develop fun, personalized assignments for their students based on their grade level, interests, and needs.

Charging Carts
OK, so we’ve got all these incredible new devices, but how are we going to find a highly-accessible, portable way to keep them all charged up and ready to go? Look no further than one of the most practical innovations in classroom technology- a charging cart. For schools that are sharing a limited number of devices such as tablets or Chromebooks, logistics can be a big problem. Charging carts allow teachers to easily roll a class set of laptops or tablets from one classroom to another, allowing all students to get a turn to work with the devices for assignments. It sounds simple, but it can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring that each student gets an opportunity to learn through technology. While this is important for all students, it’s especially essential that kids and teens in special education programs get the chance to learn through interactive educational software accessed online. Charging carts help give that chance to all students fairly and conveniently, no matter how limited a school’s laptop or tablet resources may be.

As technology continues to advance and improve, we will be seeing even more impressive gadgets and devices designed to make teaching easier and more fun. Students and teachers alike will benefit from all the cutting-edge advances as we move into the future of special education. It’s an exciting time to be a teacher or a school-age student, and we can’t wait to see what’s next as technology continues to unlock new possibilities in the educational arena.