When it comes to education technology, it is understood pedagogy drives adoption, not the other way around. Ultimately, new technology should complement and augment teaching. This is particularly true in K-12 schools, where, among younger students, teaching is more interactive, visual and demonstrative.
The pandemic challenged educators’ notions of pedagogy and technology, especially when schools closed, and teachers were tasked with engaging students from their laptops at home. As schools re-opened and hybrid education was embraced, educators saw an opportunity to adopt communications technology that better fit the way class is taught.
That was the case at Marymount Cuernavaca, 30 miles south of Mexico City. In 2020, after months of remote learning, the K-12 Catholic school, part of the global network of schools founded by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Mary, planned to welcome back teachers and roughly half of students for hybrid in-person/remote learning. Administrators and faculty knew laptop computers and webcams would not be good enough for the way Marymount teachers wanted to engage students.
So, the school, with two campuses in the city of Cuernavaca serving almost 600 students, hired local integration firm Orange Tech AVA working with technology distributor Neocenter SA de CV to install Konftel Cam20 4K Conference Cameras in every classroom and learning lab. The goal was to integrate remote students with the in-person learning experience while enabling teachers to teach as they had before the pandemic.
Classrooms in Marymount Cuernavaca schools tend to be spacious. Most include whiteboards or smart displays. The challenge, then, to creating the ideal hybrid learning experience, was a camera platform that could take in a wide field of view and do so at high resolution so remote learners could see clearly what teachers were presenting.
The Konftel Cam20 offers a 123-degree field of view so remote learners can see everything, including their teachers at the front of the classroom and multiple whiteboards or displays. From their laptop at home, it’s like they’re sitting in the classroom itself. In addition, the Konftel Cam20 features 4K resolution and 8X digital zoom so what they’re seeing is crystal clear.
In all, Orange Tech AVA installed 42 Konftel Cam20 solutions across the two campuses. To create the most natural hybrid experience, the integrator hung 32-inch flat-panel displays from ceiling mounts at the optimal distance from the front of each classroom. A Konftel Cam20 camera was attached below each display at roughly eye level with most teachers, while extended high-speed USB cables were routed through the mount and ceiling so they could attach to each teacher’s PC at the front of the class.
The display serves as the teacher’s confidence monitor, showing what remote students are seeing while allowing the teacher to monitor who is learning online. A Bluetooth headset, communicating via a USB dongle in the PC, allows the teacher to address with in-person and remote students while moving freely around the classroom.