A request came my way last week to help an instructor make video recordings of him writing problem sets with pen and paper while he narrated his actions. The activity is intended to flip his classroom. The one requirement I was given was that the video capture system had to be simple to use. At first I thought about the traditional video camera set upon a tripod tethered directly to a computer and positioned to capture the instructor’s notepad where he would be writing. Such a set-up would include many moving parts so to speak, not me mention many points of failure, which in turn could mean more support, and ultimately frustration and potential failure.
What this instructor really needed was a document camera that would record his hand writing and voice. While document cameras exist that have the capability to record audio and video to a computer or even right to the unit itself (e.g., the SMART document camera), I, unfortunately, did not have one lying around (I should mention, however, that Pete Monroy from Classroom and Event Services may have a document camera solution that I’m currently pursuing). The point being, I needed something quickly and the iPad seemed like a good solution.
Thanks to our good friend, Ken Panko, who had the foresight of such a pedagogical need, he purchased a pair of heavy-duty iPad stands called Justand several months ago. The stands are designed to hold an iPad in such a way to conform into a makeshift document camera by utilizing the video camera on the iPad. With a large platform foot and 180 degree adjustable arm, the stand provides added support and flexibility for adjusting the camera angle.
The nice part about using an iPad for this project is that the recording operation is easy to use (one-tap recording), the video recordings are saved locally (but can be uploaded to a Yale Box account), and with the right software the recordings can be edited directly on the iPad (e.g., iMovie). For added audio quality, I provided an Apogee MiC that connects directly to the iPad and attached it to a Joby GorillaPod that could be wrapped around the stand. I still don’t have a verdict from the faculty member yet who is still testing, but I have a feeling this solution will win him over.