Swivl is a robotic platform accessory for smartphones and tablets, providing an easy way to capture and share video. After purchasing the Swivl a few months ago, we’ve been putting it to the test in order to record presentations and to serve as a self-observation tool for teachers.
You simply insert the smartphone or tablet into the swivelling platform and wear or hold a digital marker, which the Swivl robot follows using an infrared signal.
The marker itself also captures audio, so even if the presenter is standing several metres away from the device, the video recorded will still provide crystal clear audio. When the video is completed, you can upload it to the Swivl cloud for viewing online anywhere.
In this video below, I am wearing the marker around my neck and you can see the Swivl can rotate 360 degrees in order to follow the marker that I am wearing.
There are many educational applications for this sort of technology. As well as being a great tool for recording presentations for flipped learning, its most powerful application is to enhance teaching.
One of the most useful lesson observations I received early on in my teaching career was when a colleague videoed my lesson. Watching the video afterwards was like no other feedback I had ever received; I could actually see myself as others saw me teach. This “self-observation” was incredibly effective, as I was quickly able to see with my own eyes what I was doing well and what I could improve. The additional benefit of having the Swivl robot of course, is that no human observer is needed to record the video for you – the robot does it all for you, enabling you to get a true sense of what you’re like as a teacher.
According to Bill Gates, teachers around the world need more effective feedback in order for them to improve their teaching practice. From Bill’s own observations inside the classroom, this is the key area that needs to be addressed in education today. I would just add that to better facilitate this coaching process, it is self-observations that teachers need. As we introduce this technology into teacher training, we will see teachers make dramatic progress in the classroom.