Thursday, May 16, 2013

HoverCam vs. iPad Clamped to a Stand

iPad shown with an optional mount. Is
this the best way to use an iPad in class? 
Some teachers ask, "Why do I need a document camera when I have an iPad?" True, you could clamp or mount an iPad to a stand, much as the one shown in the image. But is this the best use for an iPad, and, is it cost effective for the school?

The traditional document camera - made famous by a company called Elmo - is a dinosaur. In fact, Samsung - one of the leaders - has announced it's quitting the document camera business. But, a San Diego based company called Pathway Innovations has come out with a device called a "HoverCam" which has "reinvented" this stodgy product category. The HoverCam Solo 8 is the world's first SuperSpeed USB 3.0 "teaching camera" with 8 megapixel resolution and full-motion, 30 frame/sec speed over USB. Which means teachers can record full-motion HD video directly to their computer, and share it with students and parents. Calling the HoverCam a "document camera" doesn't do it justice, because it does so much more.

Why is the HoverCam Solo 8 an alternative to an iPad on a stand?

      HoverCam Advantages vs. iPad Clamped To a Stand

      * HoverCam is designed to be used as a document camera for classroom use. It is rugged and includes a stand and a lamp. The total cost for HoverCam’s flagship model Solo 8 is $349.

·       * iPad ($499) + optional stand ($50 - $99) is over $550, over $200 more than the cost of the HoverCam Solo 8.

·       * The iPad is designed to be used as a hand-held, portable tablet.  It’s best used that way.  By fastening it to a stand (making it stationary) the iPad’s functionality - and mobility -  is restricted. A school wastes money purchasing an iPad and tying it down as a document camera. If a teacher's iPad is clamped to a stand how are they going to bring the tablet to the other side of the room? Time will be lost unclamping it.

·        * The HoverCam’s camera head is moveable – the camera can be quickly pointed in any direction when recording video, or showing live images. Fastening an iPad to a stand makes the iPad’ s camera less flexible. As a video camera, the HoverCam is more versatile than the iPad and an optional stand.

·       *  HoverCam Solo 8 includes LED lights so it can be used in a darkened classroom.

·       *  If you drop the HoverCam on a hard floor, it’s likely to keep working.  If you drop an iPad on a solid floor, it could break.

·        * The HoverCam has a small profile, even when showing a double-sided, A3 size book.  The iPad + stand combination, as shown above, could block the view of some students.

·        *  The HoverCam – with its fast refresh rate and true 8 megapixel resolution – is a great way to show and train students how to use iPad apps. By placing an iPad under the HoverCam students can see the teacher’s hand movements and learn faster. The Solo 8 can be used to record an instructional video of how to use an app, which can be easily uploaded to a teacher's website.

      The ideal classroom would include both HoverCams and iPads working together. This can be accomplished with Splashtop software, which allows streaming of a HoverCam image to an iPad or tablet anywhere in the room, which increases mobility.

The HoverCam Solo 8 is a multifunctional scanner, document camera, video recorder and grading machine for classroom instruction, & corporate training, presentations, scanning and flipped learning. It can also be used as a USB 3.0 webcam for distance learning and virtual field trips.

(Note - this post was updated December, 2014)

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