I remember the first time I saw myself teach. I was appalled by the lack of energy and urgency in the room. No wonder my students were not engaged in my lessons. It was only through video reflection that I was able to see how unexciting my class was so that I could begin to make changes. Unfortunately for me I was forced to use a makeshift video camera from a document camera with a bendy neck–resourceful, yes, but not very efficient. I could only see one side of the room and most of the speech resembled a Charlie Brown episode (Wah Wah Wah, Wah Wah Wah). Regardless, the experience was still useful.
Now we have much fancier equipment, specifically a Swivl Robot. My campus has been using a Swivl for the last three years now with fantastic results including more reflective teachers and the beginnings of creating a growth mindset on campus. So, what exactly can the Swivl do?
- Automatic Tracking: In a nutshell the Swivl is a personal cameraman behind the camera. As the person wearing the marker walks around the room the Swivl (which serves as a base for an Ipad doing the recording) rotates to maintain constant view of the tracker. If needed, the Swivl even has a complete 360 degree turn as well as vertical tilting to capture up and down movement.
- Built in Microphone: Learning environments by nature are noisy whether that be shuffling of paper, flipping pages, collaborating students, or hallway noise. The Swivl marker, however, serves a second purpose–a microphone. All speech from the wearer of the marker will also be recorded in sync with the video in effect eliminating most background noise.
- Multi-Media Videos: Videos and slides can be easily synchronized and recorded to be displayed later on the same screen when playing. For example, if I as a teacher wish to use a Google Slides presentation to create a quick flipped classroom video, I can use the Swivl to record myself speaking while simultaneously recording the slideshow. Doing so allows students to have a visual for content and a more personalized viewing experience with their teacher. While recording simply swipe on the Ipad screen or use the marker to flip from slide to slide.
- Swivl Cloud: Once a video is stopped the recording immediately is downloaded to the Swivl Cloud for storage. From there I prefer to export the video to my Youtube Channel where I can set the video to public or private. For convenience Swivl has provided an easy to use “Export to Youtube” button. For those who wish to keep videos categorized, the Swivl Cloud also has the function of creating folders. The Swivl Cloud also provides a link to each video that can then be shared with individuals to see video recordings. In addition, the pro version allows videos to be shared via email, with pre-created groups, or to be embedded into a website.
As you can see, Swivl has many great functions to make recording videos simple and more efficient. Check out Swivl.com for more information on this great tech tool. Also, for specifics about how we have used the Swivl on our campus check out my post, Lights, Camera, Teach, Reflect. You can also read about more great ways to use video as a coaching tool in Focus on Teaching: Using Video for High-Impact Instruction by Jim Knight.