In a recent conversation about classroom technology, my colleagues and I were
discussing the possibility of eliminating the document camera from the classroom and adding in video conferencing equipment for Skype calls, Google Hangouts, etc. Then, it hit us like a ton of bricks. What if we take out the document cameras (at a cost of around $900 each depending on the variance in models) in our new designs and add in a webcam with a built in microphone on a goose-neck stand that can double as a doc cam?
We thought about our design and we came up with a simple design that would only cost about $140 total in the end, versus the $900 range of document cameras.
You would need to purchase the following items (if you don’t already have them):
1. Webcam that can be screw mounted (we used a Logitech C920) - $60
2. Gooseneck clamp stand from Snakeclamp - $45
3. Software Debut Video Capture - $35
This new design also allowed us to slimline some of the digital switchers that we used in the classrooms. Why? Well, now the doc cam was not an input of its own and now we could repurpose the buttons, or we could downsize the switcher for more savings per classroom. The savings per classroom is important to consider, as well. Now, each installations savings are multiplied by the number of classrooms installed. The end users now use the computer for broadcasting the doc cam picture from the webcam.
Now, we needed software and a bit of training for the end users on the new software. The change also adds in the ability to make any of our classrooms available for video conferencing with field experts, guest speakers, interviews, etc. This is becoming a more frequent request of our users and now the combination is slimlining the budget, the process, the technology installation all while increasing the availbility of technology uses in the classroom.