Fairmont has a long history of bringing innovation into the classroom. When COVID-19 hit last March, forcing all instruction to shift to remote delivery, our Education Team seized the opportunity to innovate once again. Their mission: to find cutting-edge solutions which would elevate the level of interaction and engagement for students who would be learning from home. After researching new tools and technology, they came across Swivl™, a robotic device that enables a camera to track a teacher as he or she moves around the classroom.
Kristen Jansen, Fairmont’s director of early childhood education and special projects, shared that after researching webcam and streaming service options, Swivl™ stood out.
“We met with the Swivl™ admin team and really enjoyed the concept,” Jansen said. “We then purchased one to play with and demo with classes to ensure the product met our needs for supporting teachers in live streaming their daily content.”
Due to high demand and logistical challenges, the robotic devices, which were purchased this summer, are just arriving on campuses. They will allow teachers to move around their classrooms and interact with their on-campus students without moving out of sight or out of earshot of their remote students.
“In addition to being a moving camera, Swivl™ integrates with a Bluetooth microphone the teacher wears on a neck lanyard,” Jansen explained. “This enables the teacher to be heard well by the students learning remotely.”
Swivl™ also makes it easier for remote students to hear their on-campus classmates, thanks to two additional microphones that come with the device. This way, they are still getting the full classroom experience and are able to participate in peer discussions, rather than just hearing their teacher.
To further enhance this immersive experience, large-screen TVs have been added in the back of classrooms to stream the webcams of students who are learning from home. This allows teachers and on-campus students to easily see and interact with remote learners.
While remote learning is temporary, technology like Swivl™ allows us to think toward the future and how we can continue to innovate and improve the student experience.
“We will continue live streaming our classes for any student who is staying home ill but may be well enough to study from home,” Jansen said. “This will also aid us in working together as teams across five campuses.”