Friday, April 19, 2013

How To Use HoverCam With An iPad

I’m often asked, “How can I use the HoverCam with the iPad?”

Here are some ways to get the most out of your tablet and your document camera.

The HoverCam is a great
way to show images on an
iPad and train how to use apps.
First, the HoverCam is an excellent way to show a large screen image of a tablet (or smartphone) screen.  Just put the tablet underneath the HoverCam, and the high resolution, true 5-megapixel sensor of the HoverCam Solo 5 displays the tablet screen crystal clear. The advantage of showing the tablet screen this way is the audience (or class) can easily follow the instructor’s hand movements, making it easier to comprehend how the teacher is using the tablet.  And with the Solo 5 being the world’s fastest 5-megapixel USB document camera, there’s not much blurring (and less blurring than there would be with high-resolution USB document cameras from other manufacturers).

If you’d like to use the iPad to control a HoverCam, a great way to do that is with an app called Splashtop, which allows you to control your computer screen with the iPad.  With the HoverCam attached to your computer and with Splashtop installed on your iPad you can control all HoverCam functions with the iPad. The camera images can be simultaneously seen on the iPad, the computer and the projector and you can annotate and manipulate the HoverCam image with the iPad.  Splashtop also has an app to turn the iPad into an “interactive” tablet / whiteboard.  Our technical service department has thoroughly tested Splashtop. The application installs easily and works perfectly.  We recommend it.  (Of course Android tablets such as LearnPad that are Splashtop compatible also work well with HoverCam.)

We occasionally run into a person who says, “I don’t need a document camera.  My tablet has a camera.”  We believe – as do our customers – that both products can co-exist in the classroom.  A blogpost next week will explain why.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sweden To The HoverCam: "Det Ar Bra!"

My favorite things about Sweden are herring, midnight sun, cross country skiing and the teachers.
Each year in January we attend a conference called BETT, which is not just the largest education technology trade show in Britain, but all of Europe. And one of my favorite things about BETT is the Swedish teachers, almost 4,000 of them, who travel to warm winter London to see our products.
Our European Sales Manager, Anders Wik, is from Gothenburg and with “Gotteborg Humor” entertains the Swedish visitors to our trade show booth with tales about our products. It’s good fun and by the end of the 4-day exposition I’ve heard his
Anders setting up the HoverCam booth
at BETT in the UK, January 2013.
spiel so many times I’m speaking Swedish.
  This week, we will launch the HoverCam Mini 5, the world’s smallest document camera, in Sweden at SETT, Scandinavia’s largest education technology conference.
SETT is an acronym for Scandinavian Educational Technology Transformation. This is the 2nd year for the conference, which attracted 4,500 teachers, ICT (Interactive Communications Technology) instructors and school administrators from 3 countries last year.
The goals for the conference are to introduce new digital technologies to the classroom to increase student achievement.
According to HoverCam’s Swedish resellers, the Mini is ideal for teachers who instruct at multiple schools, because it weighs less than 250 grams. The HoverCam Mini allows instructors to scan paper documents, and also to capture images with the camera that can be shown on interactive whiteboards in class.
“Many teachers are using the HoverCam to create instructional videos,” says Anders.
The HoverCam Mini 5 will be displayed at SETT by the Swedish instructional technology integrators AV Huset and ITM, which will highlight how HoverCam can be used by teachers as an instructional technology tool. (One of the highlights of BETT – the UK show – is meeting up with AV Huset and ITM on the streets of London for a concert, samplings of British ale and good stories.)
HoverCam’s products will also be showcased by two companies highlighting the HoverCam’s capability to work with OCR (optical character recognition) software, ICAP and Svensk Talteknologi.  OCR software allows text from book pages scanned with the HoverCam to be converted from text to speech, which is useful for students with visual impairments. The scan quality of the HoverCam works well with OCR software.
“The HoverCam is user friendly,” says Anders. “The software is in Swedish and easy to install since it is embedded in the unit,” he said. HoverCam products appeal to teachers in Sweden, Norway and Denmark because of the good video quality, ergonomic design and multi-functionality. “Each HoverCam is also a scanner and a video recorder,” says Anders, “And it’s affordable for schools.”
HoverCam products were first introduced to North America in 2010, where 100,000 HoverCam units have been installed in schools. We began working with Anders and  exporting HoverCams to Sweden in May, 2011.

This is how I sound after speaking Swedish for 4 days. (Full disclosure: I hired a Swede to play the part of me in the video.)

For additional information about the HoverCam in Sweden, please visit the company’s Swedish website For additional information about the SETT Conference, which runs April 17 – 18 please visit For additional information about HoverCam products in North America please visit or email

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

HoverCam Allows Any Teacher To "Flip" The Classroom & Create Flipped Videos

The success of the Khan Academy and the use of online recorded videos to demonstrate problem solving which students can access at any time is turning classrooms upside down.

Welcome to the world of "flipped learning" where the teacher's job is not to lecture and pontificate, but to coach, made possible by the high-speed web which hosts a world of instructional videos and education content. The concept of a flipped classroom is where students learn the concepts online at their pace (easily repeating when necessary) and the role of the teacher in class is to answer questions students couldn't figure out on their own.

Khan Academy and Internet searches will yield many results on how to solve specific types of exercises, but for those times when teachers feel compelled to create and post their own content online, what's the easiest way to create a high-quality instructional video? If the teacher doesn't have a stand or tripod for the smartphone, tablet or camera, attempting to make a recording by placing a device on a stack or books (or something more unstable) puts the device at risk.  And, where to find a special stand (with a clamp) that would hold a camera positioned over paper pointing down?

The HoverCam offers an easy solution. Essentially, a HoverCam is a high-resolution camera on a stick with software that allows recording in high-definition HD video.  Here's how it works.  The instructor plugs the HoverCam "document camera" into the USB port of a computer and launches the software. Next step is to position the paper or instructional materials directly under the camera and make sure everything is lined up. Then, press the record button in the software and the video is recorded directly to the computer's hard drive.  Because the HoverCam has a microphone, sound is also recorded. Viola, instant video on the computer which can be posted using HoverCam's software to a website, attached to an email, inserted into a PowerPoint and uploaded to Dropbox, Evernote, YouTube and other cloud services.

In addition to recording flipped videos, the HoverCam can also be used as a "document camera" to show live images of papers and solid objects to the class; used as a scanner to scan & file multiple documents or student assignments; used as a high-resolution webcam for distance learning and Skype; and used to grade tests.

Here's a step-by-step video tutorial from HoverCam's website showing how to create a flipped video for the classroom:

The HoverCam is priced right for schools with prices starting at $219 and is sold through a network of education specialist resellers throughout North America.  The company offers a free trial of its units to education institutions.  For additional information, please visit the company's website at

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Can HoverCam Get College Students To Do What Their Parents Couldn't: Clean Up Their Rooms?

HoverCam Mini combines features of
camera, camera & video camera into
one pocket size device.
How cool is scanning?

Yeah, right. LOL.

Not so fast. The HoverCam has developed this new device that combines the capabilities of a camera with a scanner. Oh, and it fits in your pocket.


So you can take it to the library and scan articles and convert the text to OCR to assist with writing research papers.  And everything you scan you can upload to your Evernote account.

What else?

HoverCam reduces the need
to carry (and keep) so many devices.
Don't be this guy.
The next day, you're making a presentation to your class and you want to show the widget you made with the 3-D printer so you pull it out and place it underneath the HoverCam for everyone to see. Your "document camera" is much sleeker than the large monster on the lectern. You zoom in and out showing the fine details of your 3-D object. And, since you've already written an app for your widget, you place your smartphone under the camera to show the class how the app works (and everyone sees the phone's screen clearly).

That's pretty cool.

There's more. When you get back to your dorm your friend texts you how to solve a wicked calculus problem so you answer not a problem and pull out your HoverCam and plug it into your computer and with Skype and the HoverCam you show your friend step-by-step how to work the problem.

About the size of a chocolate bar -
the HoverCam Mini helps students
reduce paper & organize their desk.
Later in the evening you're inspired to create a blog post and you use the HoverCam (which includes a stand) to record the video straight onto your computer's hard drive where it's easily dragged-and-dropped into the blog (and also uploaded to your Dropbox account from HoverCam's software).

Your friends stop by afterwards and you want to take a group photo. The HoverCam does that for you as well, using the timer, so that everyone is in the picture.

And best of all, see all those papers on your desk, in your drawers and on your bookshelves?  You gather them all into a pile and set the motion trigger in the HoverCam's software to take a scan two seconds after placing the paper under the camera.  So you scan, scan, scan, scan and in a matter of minutes ALL of the papers in the room have been scanned and archived in HoverCam's software and you carry the papers to the recycle bin.  Viola, instant order to the dorm room.

OK, I get it. Where do I get one?

The HoverCam Mini is available to college students from the education retailer Studica. They've got the HoverCam and hundreds of software titles and gadgets at student pricing.