Teachers Discuss the Wonders of TutorCam
TEACHERS DISCUSS THE WONDERS OF TUTORCAM
by Peter Mitchell
Teachers across the US have spoken.
They describe TutorCam as a “game changer” and “super, super helpful” in solving one of the major obstacles teachers face attempting to connect with students during remote classes.
Zoom, Google Meet and other video conferencing platforms allow teachers and students to see each other. However, they make it difficult to view the notebooks, textbooks, science experiments, reading comprehension passages, artwork, culinary arts cutting boards and other documents and projects on their desks.
TutorCams are sleekly designed stands that transform a teacher’s smartphone, iPad or tablet into an inexpensive, easy-to-use document camera focused on the desk. It opens an extra viewing window in virtual classrooms.
We asked teachers across the US about their TutorCams. The teachers specialize in math, reading, culinary arts, music and other subjects.
Here is what they told us:
- Rochelle Jamison, Southeastern High School, Detroit. Math Teacher
“It has been a game changer for me. It is so simple to use and easy to transport. It does just what I need it to do. This was the one thing that was missing from my instruction. We (my students and I) would all like to say, "Thank You", again! The TutorCam has definitely helped to improve teaching and learning for my students and I!”
- Vicki Carow, Pfluger Elementary, Texas. Specializes in Teaching Students with Dyslexia.
“Since using the TutorCam, the class feels more like I am in person. It has been a great addition. Thank you so much!!”
- Andria Mullen, Piedmont High School, California. School Band Leader.
“It is most useful when introducing a new concept or piece of band music. We have to count out the rhythms and write in the counts. I am finally able to demonstrate along with the students rather than just hold a piece of paper up to the screen. So, yes, super, super helpful. I really appreciate having this tool.”
- Tonyetta Easley, Kendezi Old Fourth Ward, Georgia. Fifth Grade Full Inclusion Classroom.
“It’s such a useful tool. I’ve been able to use it during my small group sessions!! Again, thank you so much!!”
- Tricia Louis, Richland School District, Wisconsin. Integration Specialist.
“I am always on the hunt for something new that can solve a problem. Problem solving is something that I teach as a part of STEM integrations that I hopefully can return to when we have in-person instruction and COVID restrictions are lifted. When I spotted your innovative product, I could not believe how it really solved the issue of holding an iPad while instructing.”
- M'Lisa Kelley, Piedmont Unified School District, California. Director of Nutrition & Chief Culinary Instructor.
“The students have remarked on how they can see what I am doing better/more clearly. It also helps me to see their positioning and allows me to correct their grip to be safer and more effective.”
- Kathy Duong, Anne Sullivan Elementary School, Texas. Reading Interventionist.
“Thank you so much for the TutorCam Go. It has been very helpful with on-line teaching. Pros: Easy to set up. Affordable price. Simplicity of the cam. Durable. Not heavy.”
Los Angeles inventor Brandon Kennington, a Purdue University mechanical engineering graduate, was inspired to create the TutorCam after volunteering to help out his kids’ Los Angeles elementary school in the early days of the pandemic.
The school had closed, and he taught an online math class via Google Meet. He experienced how difficult it was for teachers who were suddenly thrust into remote lessons.
Brandon was trying to demonstrate to his son’s 5th Grade class how to solve a math problem but struggled to show the students the pencil and paper he was using. He immediately began designing the TutorCam prototype.
TutorCams are document camera stands allowing teachers and students with a tablet or smartphone to provide a camera view of their workbooks or other things on their desks during virtual lessons.
There is no software to download.
It is simple and inexpensive because you are using a smartphone or tablet’s camera. Teachers and students sign into the video conference with their usual computers/laptops/tablets.
That provides the traditional face-to-face video conference view. Then they insert another smartphone or tablet into the TutorCam and sign into the same meeting. That provides the camera angle positioned over the desk.
Students can watch live as their teacher jots down information on a piece of paper. Teachers can watch students live as they attempt to solve math problems, complete a painting in art class, work on their cursive or other classwork. NBC’s Today Show recently featured TutorCams in a segment and described them as a “must-have”.