Teaching with a twist

Library adds new technology to record class lectures

Matthew Cinquepalmi


Stu Mair

The Swivl robot is an automated mobile accessory giving teachers the tools necessary to record their class lectures.

Riley Laurence, Opinion Editor

From giving students access to materials online through Google Drive to using tools such as ZipGrade scantrons to grade papers via smartphone or tablet, teachers have teamed up with technology in recent years to provide students with more efficient teaching. One innovation new to campus this year is the Swivl, a device that brings teachers a new way to record their lessons.

“You can use your iPhone and iPad to use the Swivl,” library aide Sandi Petty said. “It’s perfect for video conferencing; when you move, it follows you so you can see who you’re talking to and the audience can see the speaker.”

This new way of recording lessons is made possible by a small marker that communicates with the sensor on the device that continuously points the smartphone/tablet toward the speaker.

“There is a marker that you wear around your neck. The Swivl lets the device capture video and the marker has a microphone to capture the audio,” library media specialist Emma McDonald said. “This means that a teacher can walk around the room and it will video the entire presentation while keeping the audio at the same level.”

After the recording is finished, teachers have many options regarding what they choose to do with the recorded lesson.

“As soon as you’re done recording the video, you can automatically upload it to your Swivl account on the web and copy that link to email it out to students who need to watch the video,” McDonald said. “The other thing teachers can do is download it as a video file and post it on drive for their students to watch. This is perfect for teacher to do flipped learning because they can record the lesson for the student to watch at home and come to class having already watched it.”

Teachers on campus have also been using Swivl to record in-class activities by letting the students take control.

“We did a game in class to introduce The Odyssey,” English teacher Roxann Ward said. “We had a group of students who participated in the game and a group of students were the audience. We put the swivl in the middle and had one student hold the marker and the Swivl went around recording the game as the students played it.”

Ward, however, used this recorded activity to reflect on her own teaching, rather than posting the video for the students.

“I looked at the video as teacher feedback to see how I did and to see the students’ reactions,” Ward said. “It allowed me to go back and catch things that I did not catch in class.”

As Swivl is new to the district, new uses are still being discovered.

“One teacher has been using it for about a month or so to record her math classes for it homebound student enrolled in her class,” McDonald said.

Despite its recent introduction to campus, however, the device has obvious potential.

“I think it is going to be really great,” Petty said. “Every campus has at least two, and teachers are already finding new ways to use the Swivl.”