Qball – The Throwable Microphone

Qball - The Throwable Microphone

WHO: Teachers that are looking for an exciting way to engage their students in the classroom.

HOW: Set up on the Qball is very easy.

First, plug in the receiver to a power outlet.

Plug receiver into speakers

Turn on the receiver (hold button for three seconds)

Turn on microphone (hold button for three seconds)

Microphone will flash while it syncs with receiver, when the light goes solid, you are all set.

Insert the microphone into the Qball.

Make sure the volume on the speakers is up, and start the fun!

WHEN: The Qball is great for question and answer sessions, reading aloud, review games, and much more!

I have featured the Qball on this site before, but now that I actually have one, I can tell you that students love to use it!  I walked into one classroom with it and overheard a student say “Oh, it’s the magic ball!”. The Qball captures students’ attention and engages pupils that want to answer and participate in the classroom.  It is durable, easy to use, and eye catching. Students not only benefit from being able to hear the teacher better, but they can also hear their classmates responses loud and clear through the classroom speakers.  The Qball has a sensor in it that shuts off the microphone while it is flying in the air, to prevent a loud whoosh sound every time it is tossed (and not blow out your speakers).  If you will be at OETC, be sure to stop by their booth to learn more! To order one, head over to http://peeq.us/

Tutorial – How to Create a QR Code

WHO: Teachers that would like to use QR Codes in their classroom.

HOW: The video below takes teachers through the step-by-step process of creating a QR Code to use in their classroom.

WHEN: QR Codes are useful for directing students to specific websites you would like them to use, for hiding clues in a scavenger hunt, and many other things in the classroom.

Google Cast for Education – Free Screen Mirror Tool

Google Cast for EDU - Screen Mirror tool

WHO: Teachers that need an easy way to share student screens with the class.

HOW: Teachers install Google Cast for Education to their Chrome browser from the Chrome Web Store. Once installed, teachers then set up a name and sharing capabilities.  Students can be added via GAFE e-mails, groups, or classes. Using a future version of Chrome, students will be able to select the cast feature and show the class their work.

WHEN: Most commonly, this can be used to display student projects.  However, teachers can use it as a “show me how you solved this” moment. It is also useful for getting feedback from the class on a difficult problem. It could even be used for digital show and tell.

There are many options out there to mirror student displays. The difference here is that no additional hardware (e.g. AppleTV) or paid software (e.g. Reflector 2) is needed to purchase.  The system administrator simply adds the chrome app to the teacher computer that is connected to the classroom presentation system, and the student devices have an up-to-date version of Chrome when it is released.

Using Google Apps For Education in the past has allowed students to click the share button and have the teacher show the work from the front of the classroom.  Google Cast for Education now allows the student to control the screen from their seat. The added benefit is that the teacher can now walk around the classroom. Educators will be able to help students while the work is being displayed.

Here is a video from Google Apps for Education:

Osmo: Combining Digital And Physical Learning

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WHO: Teachers and parents looking to make sure screen time is educational.

HOW: Osmo is available for purchase online at https://www.playosmo.com/en/order/?cc=us or at select retailers.  The starter kit includes a base, Tangram, and Words for $79 and the Genius kit adds Numbers as well.  You need to create an account for Osmo in order to start using the apps.  There are five apps available in the App Store; Masterpiece, Newton, Numbers, Words, and Tangram.

Masterpiece: Students learn how to draw while working on hand-eye coordination.  Users can make drawings that already exist in the app, or take a picture where they are at.  The app will then convert the picture into lines.

Newton: Students can draw lines on a piece of paper or incorporate items they have around them.  The goal is to make the balls bounce into the goal.

Numbers: Students are given a math problem and soon they discover that with multiple ways to get the correct answer.  Students will then learn that they can be creative to get answers to the questions.

Words: Students can play individually or against a partner.  Pictures are put on the screen with missing letters at the bottom.  Students put the letters in front of the iPad in order to solve the riddle.

Tangram: Students use the shapes provided to solve puzzles in the app.

 

WHEN: Osmo is great for station work.  Students will quickly be fully engaged in using Osmo, they will feel like they are playing a game instead of learning.  Osmo also offers lesson plans for teachers looking to include it in class, view them here: https://www.playosmo.com/en/schools/

IPEVO Ziggi-HD Plus Product Review

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DEVICE: IPEVO Ziggi-HD Plus Document Camera

COST: $99.00 (plus tax and shipping if applicable)

INTERFACE: USB

POSITIVE:

Cost: While staying just below the $100 price tag, this document camera is very appealing when compared to competitors products.  Schools can afford to outfit multiple classrooms with document cameras for the cost of one of the competition’s models.

Clarity: IPEVO has made a large step in picture quality with this edition of the Ziggi Document Camera Series.  Featuring an 8 Megapixel lens, a max resolution of 3264 x 2448, 12x digital zoom, and a streaming rate of 30 fps, make this the best document camera IPEVO has released.

Footprint:  The Ziggi-HD Plus takes up very little space on your desk.  The base is roughly the size of a smartphone.  The neck articulates and folds up if you want to put it away or take it with you to a presentation.

Ease-of-use:  The included software is simple and straight forward.  Teachers can be up and running with this device in their classroom in under 10 minutes or less (depending on install time.) IPEVO provides their Presenter Software, which has many different options for teachers when using one of their document cameras.  Teachers are able to zoom, split screen, and adjust white balance from inside the software.  This allows the camera to stay on the desk while the teacher is up at the board.

NEGATIVE:

Connection: The Ziggi-HD Plus is USB only so it must be run through a computer.  While this is listed as a negative, it is really a trade off for the small footprint and low-cost.  IPEVO offers other models of document cameras, specifically the VZ-1 VGA/USB Dual Mode Document Camera that can be run directly to a projector if desired.

 

IPEVO Document Camera Comparison Chart

 

Mac Of All Trades: Refurbished Apple Products

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WHO: Schools, teachers, parents, or students looking for Apple products at a lower cost.

HOW: Visit www.macofalltrades.com, browse for the product you are looking for, and purchase!

WHEN:  Mac of All Trades runs frequent sales, so check back to their website frequently.  There is also an option for volume purchases, which are typically five or more of the same item.  This option is great for schools looking to create a lab at a lower cost.  Shoppers can also check out what is available in the clearance section.  Here you may find some “scratch-and-dent” type items.  If you are alright with scratches, dings, malfunctioning webcams, etc.. these items are offered at deep discounts.

Mac of All Trades may also be interested in buying your used products, so if you are looking to upgrade, it may be worth your time to visit their “sell” section.

I have used this company before and I have been very happy with their product.  When I did have some issues, their customer support went above and beyond to accommodate.

IPEVO Point 2 View Document Camera: Great Image Quality & Low Cost Make the P2V an Outstanding Classroom Option!

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DEVICE: IPEVO Point 2 View Document Camera

COST: $69.00 (plus tax and shipping if applicable) [Schools may qualify for bulk pricing]

INTERFACE: USB (Mac & Windows Compatible)

POSITIVE:

Cost: A high quality document camera for under $70 is very hard to beat.

Clarity: The Point 2 View (P2V) has a 2.0 megapixel camera, and while that sounds low by today’s standards, this device outputs a great picture! The autofocus feature is very easy to use as well. It works up to a 2″ extreme close-up.

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Footprint:  The P2V takes up little to no space on the teacher’s desk.  The sturdy, weighted, round base is a little over 2″ in diameter.  The arm on the base articulates very easily and allows the teacher to zoom in manually.  It is also worth noting that IPEVO offers a microscope adapter for this product for science classrooms.

Ease-of-use:  The included software is simple and straight forward.  Teachers can be up and running with this device in their classroom in under 10 minutes or less (depending on install time.)  Install the IPEVO software, plug in the USB cable, and start using this great document camera!  The camera is detachable from the base allowing the presenter to get exactly the angle they are looking for.

Multi-use: the P2V can also be used with the leading Internet calling applications.

NEGATIVE:

Construction: It is hard to find something wrong with this device, and at a stretch, one could possibly question how well this document camera will stand the test of time and student interaction.  As long as the teacher takes care of it properly, it will last a significant time.

Connection: This camera is USB only, which means the teacher must use the computer in order for it to function.  Again, this is not a make-or-break feature.  Most teachers will want the document camera connected to their computer anyways, so that they can save pictures for later use or post to their classroom website.

OVERALL:

I would highly recommend this device for anyone looking for a document camera in their classroom.  It is hard to imagine given the pricing of other document cameras, but a school could outfit ten classrooms with these devices for well under $800.

 

If you are interested in bulk purchase options for your school, be sure to contact IPEVO via email or phone (Email: sales-america@ipevo.com TEL: 408-490-3085)

IPEVO – IW2 – Wireless Interactive Whiteboard – Cost Effective Solution for Classrooms

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DEVICE: IPEVO IW2 Wireless Interactive Whiteboard System

COST: $169.00 (plus tax and shipping if applicable)

INTERFACE: USB (via included Wireless Receiver)

POSITIVE:

Cost: With a sub-$200 price tag, this interactive whiteboard is a fantastic option for schools on a tight budget.

Footprint:  The IW2 Sensor Cam is placed somewhere near the projector. It is approximately 1.5″ wide, 2″ deep, and 3″ tall.  Included in the package is mounting equipment for any desktop or ceiling mounted placement.  The IW2 Sensor Cam requires power source and has a 3.6m USB cable and power adapter included in the package.

Interaction:  Users can either touch the surface with the tip of the Interactive Pen or use the large green button on the Interactive Pen to use the Interactive Pen while standing away from the board.  Students enjoy this feature as it is something different than other brands of interactive whiteboards on the market.

Installation: Users utilize the IW2 Interactive Pen.  The Interactive Pen and Sensor Cam both communicate with the computer through the included Wireless USB Receiver.  The Wireless Receiver snaps into the base of the Interactive Pen for easy transport and storage. Users need to install the driver file and the Annotator software.  The user then connects the Sensor Cam, Interactive Pen, and Wireless USB Receiver.  Follow the calibration directions in the manual and driver software and the interactive whiteboard is up and running. Visit the IW2 Download Page here to get the necessary files.

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Ease-of-use: After getting the IW2 running, using the device is pretty straightforward.  Users can switch back and forth between desktop mode and drawing mode.  In desktop mode, users can use the Interactive Pen just the same as using a mouse.  In Drawing Mode, users can write/draw/ highlight on anything displayed on the screen.  Users can also put up a shade that dims the entire screen, or dims most while highlighting what the teacher wants students to focus on.

NEGATIVE:

Calibration: The initial calibration can be difficult, as the user needs to click the corners of the screen and makes sure the red dot is displayed.  If you are not lucky enough to get it right on the first try, this could result in a lot of back and forth adjusting.  This is particularly difficult in ceiling mounted situations.

Stylus: At first glance, I felt that the new Interactive Pen was too long.  However, after using it, I found it to be useful in reaching the entire screen when standing to one side.

 

Be sure to visit IPEVO online and check out their entire lineup.

 

IPEVO has released a tutorial video for setting up the IW2 in your classroom.  This is very beneficial for those setting up an IPEVO product for the first time.

IPEVO Ziggi-HD Document Camera. – Low Cost, High Quality Document Camera Solution for Classrooms on a budget!

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DEVICE: IPEVO Ziggi-HD Document Camera

COST: $94.00 (plus tax and shipping if applicable)

INTERFACE: USB

POSITIVE:

Cost: With a sub-$100 price tag, this document camera is very appealing when compared to competitors products.

Clarity: The Ziggi-HD has a 5.0 megapixel camera, which gives great clarity when projecting the image to your students.  This document camera passes the $5 bill test (use the camera to see how well it displays the names of the states at the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of a $5 bill.)

Footprint:  The Ziggi-HD takes up very little space on your desk.  The base is roughly the size of a smartphone.  The neck articulates and folds up if you want to put it away or take it with you to a presentation.

Ease-of-use:  The included software is simple and straight forward.  Teachers can be up and running with this device in their classroom in under 10 minutes or less (depending on install time.)

NEGATIVE:

Connection: The Ziggi-HD is USB only so it must be run through a computer.  While this is listed as a negative, it is really a trade off for the small footprint and low-cost.  IPEVO offers other models of document cameras, specifically the VZ-1 VGA/USB Dual Mode Document Camera that can be run directly to a projector if desired.