Brett Webber, an English teacher at Milpitas High School, loves his Swivl—and his students are reaping the benefits.
“With Distance Learning, teachers have been chained to our desks, stuck behind a screen, wearing headphones and talking to a microphone, making teaching a rather static and impersonal activity,” Webber said. “But the Swivl has changed that for me—it has liberated me from my chair, and taken me back to where and what I do best: in front of my students as a live, walking, talking teacher!”
A Swivl is a robotic mount for an Ipad, camera, or smartphone that comes with a remote control Marker. It is designed to track and, with the video capture abilities of the other device, record videos of a moving person. It was designed to capture presentations. Teachers can record their lectures and make them available for students online; either for review or to help an ill student catch up.
“I can move around, walk to the whiteboard to draw pictures, write up vocabulary, and act out my lessons for my students, just as I would have if they were in front of me,” Webber said. “The ability of the Swivl to follow me around has re-energized my teaching, and I am much more animated and active than before—back to the way teaching should be!”
The Swivl allows Webber to present to his class in similar fashion as he would if they were in the same physical classroom. Webber can hold the book, walk around, and be animated; more so than just sitting at his teacher’s desk in front of a stationary computer screen.
“They can see around my classroom, and the lessons come to life. They are now a part of the class and engaged in the material, not just watching me sit,” Webber added. “This is truly technology helping education be more effective and efficient, but it has also reinvigorated me to be a better teacher in a less-than-perfect environment.”