Swivl is Changing Teaching and Learning

Think back to your days of student teaching. You were young, nervous, and had no idea what to do. To make matters worse, you were asked to record video of yourself teaching. These experiences were helpful, however, the embarrassment and time involved with these videos prevented you from ever recording yourself again.

Recording video has become easier than ever. Anyone with a cell phone can capture video and post it online for anyone else to see. In fact, you can even livestream video using apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Periscope. However, even with the invention of the selfie, recording teaching and learning in the classroom is still a difficult task that requires someone or something else to hold the camera.

Having a student record the video seems like a simple solution, but this may distract the student from classroom content. And, having a colleague present requires their time and full attention. Tripods or cell phone stands can also be used but, these limit the field of view and usually result is poor audio quality.

The team at Swivl recognized the challenges teachers face when attempting to capture teaching and learning in their classrooms. This is why they developed the Swivl robot. This device solves many of the challenges described above.

Think of the Swivl as a robotic cameraman. It will turn your camera or cell phone so the video follows you around your classroom. The marker used to track you also acts as a microphone, so the audio quality is superb. Videos are automatically saved to the Swivl Cloud, so they can be easily viewed and shared. Teachers can also use the comment feature (requires Pro account) to provide feedback on each others’ instruction.

What about the students? The Swivl was originally designed to capture the teacher as the focus for each video. However, recent improvements have allowed Swivl to more easily capture student audio and video.

The new Swivl C Series robot allows you to add up to 4 additional markers. These markers can be used as microphones to capture student audio. With these devices, both the teacher and students can clearly be heard in videos. This allows a brand new opportunity for teacher reflection. In addition to observing and reflecting on their own teaching, teachers can now listen to students’ responses to better understand what students know and are learning in class.


It is also possible to capture student audio and video using Swivl+ (requires a Pro+ account). This feature completely transitions the focus from the teacher to students. Using a cell phone or tablet, Swivl+ allows you to record audio and video from up to 4 students or student groups. This allows teachers to observe multiple students at the same time.


Want to learn more about using video to capture teaching and learning? Email Andrew Steinman at andrewsteinman@kentisd.org

This post was written by Andrew Steinman, Education Technology Consultant at Kent ISD and edited by Amanda Walma, Professional Learning Coordinator at Kent ISD.

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