I've written about Swivl on my site before here and here, but here is a great post on a how a new teacher has used it in her classroom to accommodate a student who misses school due to illness. This is a great reason to consider Swivl for your classroom.
My name is Katie Parent and I’m an English teacher in Michigan. I’m writing today about Swivl, a piece of technology that I recently tried in my classroom.
I have an honors student who is chronically ill and is hospitalized for treatment one out of every five weeks—we’ll call her Rebecca. Rebecca is a star student, always putting forth 100% effort and contributing to class discussion; school is a positive place where she can excel. As you can imagine, having a debilitating illness can get in the way of this. Rebecca’s mother contacted me before her first hospitalization this school year, wondering if I would be comfortable recording my classes so that her daughter can watch them while she is receiving treatment. I was eager to do so, but faced one issue: I am very mobile in my room, hardly staying in one spot for more than a few seconds. How would I be able to record myself as I moved around the room? Enter: Swivl.
A couple of coworkers threw out the idea of utilizing Swivl. It’s a “robotic mobile accessory, app, and cloud service” that tracks the subject as he or she moves freely about a space (swivl.com). As long as the subject holds or wears a small infrared sensor (about the size of a lighter), the Swivl docking station will pivot and tilt to track the subject. The dock fits iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. I was initially concerned about recording the hour-long class on my iPhone, as I have minimal memory remaining. Fortunately, Swivl has an app that uploads the recording directly to the Swivl Cloud, saving you precious space on your device.
Setting up the Swivl was seamless. It was delivered to my room 2nd hour, and by 3rd hour I had it up and running, recording my lesson. Students were fascinated with the device and were eager to learn about how it works. I placed the Swivl on a file cabinet in the back of my room, where it would minimally distract students. The gears and motors in the Swivl are so silent that the students didn’t even hear the device pivoting and tilting throughout the lesson. There were times where the device took a couple of seconds to sync with the sensor, but overall, it tracked me rather well.
One hiccup was that my phone locks every five minutes, which meant that the recording stopped every five minutes. This was quickly fixed by changing the lock settings on my phone so that the lesson would be recorded in one take. However, it would be nice if the app could do that automatically.
This product has been a huge help to my classroom. Rebecca was able to stay on track, despite missing five consecutive days. I didn’t have to explain anything to her once she returned because she saw it all firsthand. I plan on using Swivl for every treatment week or any lesson that I would like to have a recording. Swivl has helped me accommodate a student in need and will prove to be an asset, especially when working with students who have extenuating circumstances.
Grosse Pointe South High School