Teachers thoughts on using the Polycams through Hybrid Learning

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Through hybrid learning the teachers on campus have adopted a new type of camera. This camera supposedly helps teachers teach distance learning students and in-person students at the same time, with less complications. There are some differing opinions on how the cameras are working.

 

Caryn Quezada, an English Teacher at Livermore High School wrote, “I’m not using the Polycam in my class anymore because my students and I found that it was more distracting than helpful.” 

 

It seems that the cameras can be more distracting than helpful at times. 

 

“When we were using the Polycam the students and teachers in the classroom couldn’t hear the students at home very well. Overall, we found that simplifying our technology makes for a better class experience for both in-person and at-home learners,” wrote Quezada.

 

Rachel Martin, an AP Language and Composition Teacher and Senior ERWC Teacher at LHS wrote: “I use my polycam like a webcam. It displays me and the board so that students at home can see the lesson as if they are in the room. It suits my teaching style, but the only thing I wish it had was better zoom. The quality of the video tends to degrade if you zoom in.” 

 

“I received the camera right before we came back to campus, and I set it up in about 5 minutes.  The district sent us a video and gave us optional training on how to use it, but it was pretty intuitive for me.” wrote Martin. 

 

Justin Enright, the Director of Instrumental Music at LHS wrote, “I received the camera the Thursday before we went back in-person. It was not hard to install. Assuming it works correctly, the functionality is not hard to learn either. It is stationed high in the back of the room fixed to a zoomed out position to catch a glimpse of the entire class. [how does it work for your needs?] It’s terrible. It does not always follow the correct person (the teacher). Often it will zoom in on the back of students’ heads instead – hence why it is now a fixed stationary camera for me.”

“I know I am not the only teacher who now uses these very expensive cameras as a fixed picture camera. It was a waste of money to buy these for every class in the district to use for a total of 9 weeks. They spent 1/2 a million dollars on these cameras district wide! (The money was COVID money, so it did not come out of general funds, but still, I can think of 1/2 million better things they could have used the money for!)” expressed Enright.

However Enright also stated that the students like seeing the classroom “because it gives them the feeling like they are there.” 

 

Overall the use of the Polycams seem to have differing points of view on whether they are a good idea or bad.