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January 11

Practical Ed. Tech Tip of the Week

Last week a new app called Overviewer got a lot of buzz on social media. The app lets you use your phone as a document camera. Overviewer isn’t the only way to use your phone as a document camera as I’ll explain below.

And lest you think this only works for documents, last week I used the methodology below to show my online students how to seat RAM into a motherboard.

Something to hold your phone

I have a simple “goose neck” ring light and cell phone holder that I bought on Amazon years ago. It clamps to my desk and is flexible enough to let me easily position my cell phone over a document or over anything else that I want students to see in Zoom. You could also use a camera tripod that has a cell phone holder mounted to it. I’ve even seen people just pin their phones between heavy textbooks with the camera sticking out (it works, but it’s hard to position things properly).

Overviewer app

Overviewer is a free app for iPhones and iPads. The app uses your camera and mirrors whatever your camera picks up into your Zoom meeting. The mirroring can happen via Airplay or via a Lightening Bolt cable. I prefer to use the cable as it is far less likely to drop the mirrored connection than Airplay is. Once Overviewer is running you can share your iPhone screen in Zoom using the standard screen-sharing options. Here’s a video overview of the process.

Using an Android phone as a document camera

Unfortunately, Overviewer is only available for iPhone and iPad users. However, there is an option for using an Android phone as a document camera.

To use your Android phone as a document camera you’ll need a way to mirror your phone’s screen to your computer. Vysor is the tool I use for that purpose. Vysor is available to install for free on Windows and Mac computers. Once it’s installed you can mirror your Android phone’s screen through a USB cable. I’ve been using Vysor since 2018 and it has worked flawlessly for me on all of my Windows and Mac computers.

With Vysor installed and running my Android phone screen appears on my computer. So if I turn on my camera, whatever the camera sees is what appears on my computer’s screen. Then in Zoom I use the screen-sharing option to show my mirrored phone screen. Google Meet users and Microsoft Teams users can do the same.

My process for using my Android phone as a document camera is outlined in this four minute video.

Happy teaching!

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Posted January 11, 2021 by Ready Aim Shoot in category Bridges Educator Site

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