Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Hovercam Solo 8Plus For The Remote Learning Win #EdTech

One of the hardest parts of doing remote learning is allowing the students to see what you are doing in a way that mimics, as closely as possible, what they might see in the classroom if they were there in person. The camera in your computer is nice for showing your face and you can screen share, but the teachers that need to show physical objects are left holding it up to the camera and hoping that the camera can focus long enough for students to see what you want them to see. Well, the new Hovercam Solo 8Plus is here to solve these problems. 

I was sent a demo unit to test out in my space and I was blown away at everything it could do. As a makerspace director and someone that needs to show lots of physical objects, having a good camera that can really showcase the details is important to me. Out of the box, here is what the Solo 8Plus has,

Few wires is so important for teachers. They can get in the way and they make it tougher to be mobile. One cable that powers and connects to your computer makes it so much easier. Also, installing the software you need is an easy as plugging into the port. 

The port on the left is used when you plug into your computer for the first time to download the software. If you are on a PC, a prompt will appear and you can follow the steps to get the correct software. For a Mac, you need to go to the Finder and open the document camera to access the files to download the Mac software. The entire process took less than 2 minutes. Once the software is downloaded, you just plug the cord into the port to the right and you are ready to go. For Chromebook use, there is a Google Chrome extension you can download

The box also contained a green screen mat which is perfect for anyone looking to do some green screen work. It fits nicely on the desk and my space is ready to get to work. 

As you can see a bit above, the zoom feature is amazing. I'm showing off the new micro:bit v2 here. I am able to get up close and personal with the device to really show all the aspects of the updated micro:bit. I have good lighting in my space, but if I needed more light, the Solo 8Plus has lights on the top that you can turn on as needed. The 13MP and 4K really make a difference. 

One of the other things I love most about the Solo 8Plus is the Picture in Picture option. The camera uses your webcam to place an image on the top right of the screen. This is perfect if you are recording your screen for a demo for class or something similar. 

Lastly, I want to point out the Zoom integration. You can log into your Zoom account or join another meeting. For teachers that are using Zoom for their remote learning, this is huge. If you are not a Zoom user, that is still ok because you share your screen from the other video apps and the image is perfect. I couldn't be happier with the quality. 

As of now, the PC software has more options than the Mac version. The digital whiteboard and annotation features are amazing and you can check them out here. I am hoping that those useful tools will be coming to the Mac version soon. In the meantime, I can use the Google Chrome app for the annotation. 

Overall, this is an amazing document camera that will get lots of use during our remote learning phase, but also, lots of use when students are all back in the classroom. I recommend you consider the Hovercam Solo 8Plus if you are in the need of a top notch document camera. 

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