Combining device mirroring with in-class video cameras to boost engagement

Published: September 22nd, 2020

Device mirroring, or ‘screen sharing’, gives students and teachers the ability to share content wirelessly from their personal devices to a larger display at the front of the classroom, such as the Promethean Australia ActivPanel interactive display.

In a recent post, we discussed how you can boost engagement by using device mirroring. So, if you’re new to screen sharing, it’s worth having a quick read of this article first, ‘boosting engagement in lessons with device mirroring’.

In this second post, we will be looking at how you can push the benefits of screen sharing even further by adding video cameras to your setup. In fact, this is easier than ever before, as portable devices common in schools like tablets and smartphones usually have a built-in camera!

The default camera app on most devices is suitable, but apps like True Visage have little to no on-screen interface, which makes it easier for others to see what the student is showing with their camera.

A window to the students’ work

When a student mirrors their device to an interactive display such as an ActivPanel, then opens up their device’s camera app, they can instantly show the class what’s in front of them – almost like a ‘window’ to their world. Whether it’s their writing, a drawing, sculpture, painting or something else entirely, they can wirelessly show others what they can see.

Using the ActivPanel’s Screen Share app, teachers can take advantage of this feature whether their students are present in the classroom, learning from home, or a mixture of the two. In this way, distant learners can continue to feel engaged in the lesson, and even show their work just like they would in the classroom.

Teachers can use this live ‘window’ to demonstrate fine motor skills, show how to use devices and buttons, or share creative techniques. For example, tasks like julienning carrots in a cooking lesson can be hard to describe – and hard for students to see clearly when crowding around the teacher’s worktop – but by mirroring a camera focused on the activity to an ActivPanel, everyone can see and follow easily. What’s more, this content could be shared via a Zoom call or even recorded using ADV Screen Recorder for use at a later date.

Learn in the moment, and share for later

Activities like the one described above can be carried out in reverse, too. Whilst students are away from the classroom on excursions, holidays, or even over the weekend, they can collect images and videos to share at later date. By using the ScreenShare app, these can be shown on the ActivPanel and annotated over or even imported onto the Instant Whiteboard app to promote discussion.

Google Street View is another app that works brilliantly for this. Students can create 360o photos of the places they visit, then mirror those visuals back to the class. They can then be built into virtual tours or expeditions and embedded with ‘breadcrumb’ links for an exciting learning journey. This is a great way for Australian students to viscerally experience grand European architecture such as La Sagrada Familia in Spain, or the French Notre-Dame cathedral.

Here are a few examples from Australian interior design teacher and digital innovator, Belinda Papas:
• A 360-degree tour:
• And a how-to guide:

Mixing virtual experiences with reality
Screen sharing can be taken even further when it is used in tandem with virtual and augmented reality apps. These are apps that use the student’s device camera to mix virtual and physical objects. Students can try feeding a shark as it swims above their head (shARk) or holding a virtual heart in their hand to learn about the human body (AnatomyAR). MuseumViewer is also a great way for students to appreciate the size and scale of historic sculptures and can bring artifacts like the Rosetta Stone to life in front of their eyes.

When it comes to combining device mirroring with video cameras, the possibilities truly are endless. The Promethean Screen Share app can connect up to 39 devices at once via the ActivPanel and display four screens simultaneously. There are a lot of apps out there that teachers can take advantage of to boost student engagement and promote collaboration, motivation and understanding.