There are mixed feelings about using webcams in schools however when used correctly they become an invaluable tool for teachers and make learning more accessible for many students.
For students who learn from home or cannot make it into class, webcams make the lessons more personal and interactive. Students can see a teacher's face and if they are dialling into a live class, fellow students can also be seen. Students can see what’s being written on an interactive whiteboard and understand the contributions being made by their peers more easily than if it was only audio.
Two-way communication can be achieved through a webcam and a student can be seen raising their hand on a webcam where this otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Lectures and classes can also be recorded using a webcam for later viewing by students. When group homework is set, using a webcam for video calls between classmates can also make completing collaborative group work far easier and more efficient.
When choosing suitable webcams for your school or college a number of features should be considered. The quality of the image differs greatly between webcam manufacturers. For example, Adesso produces webcams ranging from 720, 1080, 2k and 4k. What’s being displayed on the webcams will determine the extent of resolution that’s required.
Another consideration is whether auto focus is required. Webcams from Manhattan are available with either auto focus or manual focus. Auto focus is recommended if the focal point, i.e. the teacher, is moving around. For students who will typically be sitting at a desk, a manual focus may be enough.
Some webcams such as the J5create include a huge range of features including 4k, auto focus and an electronic pan, tilt and zoom functionality via a remote control. This is useful for zooming in on content being written on a whiteboard or interactive board. The J5create webcams are compatible with windows, mac and chrome operating systems and can be used with a wide range of online meeting software.
Webcams from Andrea are autofocussing cameras complete with a tripod for use anywhere in the classroom. The 1080p HD image also provides low light correction for lecturers being recorded in darker rooms with no natural light.
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