Sunday, January 25, 2015

HoverCam Solo 8 Review: I Love It! #EdChat

I have used a new document camera and I have to say I am a huge fan! The HoverCam Solo 8 is a wonderful addition to a classroom. Here is a short video that details all of the awesome things it does.

Here is a description of the Solo 8 and I'll talk about these different features. 

The pictures are simply stunning. The images are crisp. I am blown away at home wonderful everything looked under the Solo 8. Take a look at these pictures from their photo gallery

 Check out their Gallery Photos for more great pictures. 

The Video Recording was smooth and the sound was clear. This can really change the way teachers flip their classroom. I can see teachers and students recording their annotations and then sharing them with the rest of class.

Zooming was easy to use by simply sliding my finger up and down on my mouse and the auto focus made sure that the image was clean. 

I would have to say that my favorite aspect of the Solo 8 is the annotation feature in the Flex 10 software. Here is a quick look at a student essay and the annotation tools. 

This is a screen shot of a live image. I was able to annotate on a live image. You can also annotate on the pictures that the Solo 8 takes, but annotating on the live image is important. As a teacher, you might want to show a class something, but do not need to take a picture of the document every time you want to show an example. You also might not want to actually mark up the paper. This allows you to virtually mark up the work for the class to see and you could snap a photo if you wanted later, but it is not required. This is the type of feature that sells document cameras.

I also love the fact that the live shots did not have any lag. When I moved my hand or made notes, they were on the screen right away. Normally, other document cameras have that lag hiccup that just takes a second to catch up to what the user is doing. I did not experience that at all and I tried to make it lag. I wrote quickly, i waved my hand, and I even shuffled papers around. I did not see a lag and the auto focus was great once I stopped moving. These things are huge in a classroom where every second of instruction counts.

Flex 10 software also allows for the user to crop the image that is being viewed to help focus on the relevant information. This is a crop of a part of an editorial from our school newspaper. This is perfect for teachers that are showing printed works and want to focus on only one aspect of a very busy page.

As an English Teacher, one of the ways we help students with their writing is by showing them examples of good writing and how to make good writing great writing. Document cameras make this a much easier process. The HoverCam Solo 8 has raised the bar when it comes to Document Cameras. I can now do things with essays and documents that I just could not do before. The pictures are beautifully rendered on the screen. I can see this being wonderful for the Science teachers who want to show images of dissected frogs or other Science-y type of things. (Note: I'm not a Science teacher, but if I was, I would show dissection stuff all of the time on this document camera.)

Clarity is important and we have come a long way since the overhead projector. The fact the Solo 8 can do so much in one device is important for teachers looking for the most bang for their buck. The high resolution photos, the screen recording, zooming, cropping, annotating, and other awesome features make the Solo 8 an excellent choice for educators looking to add an document camera to their classroom. 

If you are looking for a new document camera that can do everything you want and more, check out the HoverCam Solo 8. They have a great 30 Day Trial that can help you see for yourself how this awesome camera can be used in your learning environment. It's what I did and I can't wait to get one for my Makerspace so students can see the detail for all of their work. Check out the Purchase Info to get a HoverCam Solo 8 in your hands as soon as possible. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Week 18 #NerdyCast Reflections

18 weeks down. It has been crazy to think that I have done 18 of these videos. I've been reflecting on my teaching for a number of years now, but this has been something different for me. I really can't wait to look at the first few at the end of the year to see if anything has changed.

This week is the end of the semester, so I took some time to chat about my students, ongoing projects, and future events at school. Thanks for taking the time to watch and feel free to drop me a comment if you have something to share.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My @BlackboardK12 BITS Learning Sessions #BbK12Live

The @BlackboardK12 BITS Learning Sessions #17 #BbK12Live

I've partnered with BlackboardK12 to share out the awesome sessions they are having this Fall. Educators can sign up to attend and share with other great educators what they have learned. I'll feature the session and the description on my blog each week and on my Twitter account. If you have questions, feel free to shoot a tweet to @BlackboardK12. Have fun learning and sharing!

The Connected Classroom: High School Edition

I will be talking about how to connect your classroom using various tools and methods to integrate technology into the classroom smoothly for all learners.

Nicholas Provenzano High School English Teacher

Nicholas Provenzano is a high school English teacher and an education blogger. He writes on his website,,, the ISTE blog,  as well as many other prominent educational websites. He has been featured on, The New York Times, Consumer Report, and many other media outlets. In 2013, he was awarded the Technology Teacher of the Year by MACUL (Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning) and ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) based on his efforts to integrate technology into the classroom. In the summer of 2014, Nicholas became a Google Certified Teacher. He is also the Evernote Education Ambassador and does consulting work for many edtech businesses and school districts. Nicholas can be found tweeting plenty of nerdy ideas on Twitter at @TheNerdyTeacher. 

Twitter: @TheNerdyTeacher

When: Monday, January 26, 2015 4:00 PM EST

Sign Up

Don't forget to check out the Blackboard Live App. It has all of the sessions you might have missed and much much more.
Here is the playlist where you can watch this recorded session and other sessions you might have missed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Week 17 #NerdyCast Reflections

Here are some thoughts on Plagiarism for this week's reflections. I really do not come to any conclusion because I feel this is such a complex issue. I'm not sure anything can be done besides doing our best to educate students about it and how to avoid it. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Week 16 #NerdyCast Reflections

Here is my reflection from the past week.

I talk a bit about teaching writing and how it is something I have worked on over the course of my career and I feel like I am having a very good year reaching my students. Sometimes you can just feel like the lessons and tweaks that you have made are actually working. I felt like that this week. 

I also chat a bit about final exams and how I am not a fan of them. I also do not like the fact that we are losing 6 extra instructional days to testing this year. Ugh. More and more testing just eats away at the soul. Honestly. It is hard to find something that is a bigger waste of time. 

Anyway, I hope you are taking the time to reflect in the New Year and I'd love to hear from you. 

Happy New Year!