Early 2017, I was cornered in one of those “corridor conversations”… “Todd, you know something about technology. Can you help us with a proposal to purchase a 360 camera we want?”. This lead me to consider some of the potential constraints and benefits of education with mobile technology; what was required in terms of the technical knowledge; and how to support and deploy this new-found knowledge (without intimidation).
Selling the idea of purchasing technology to managers who have little knowledge (or interest) can be difficult at the best of times- more difficult in times of budgetary restraint. It required a rapid introduction to the technology- namely a borrowed LG 360 cameras– and a “showcase” of how they could be used. As a healthcare lecturer, I utilised one of the clinics to take a “Snap”, download and introduce some “hotspots” in the virtual environment and developed a Seekbeak to be presented. The manager was sold on the idea- and TWO (not the intended one) were purchased for the School.
Reflection on Benefits
While I was unable to make the presentation to the manager myself- educating others proved easy as the software and use of the camera was relatively simple- a selling point in itself. Being mobile, the camera could be taken into the allocated 15-minute session, a snap taken and shown on the associated app, and my prepared Snap was showcased as a potential output. Mobility also enabled presenting Snaps of the classroom, clinical and case scenario utility- both with the still images and video 360 environments. Being a clinical programme, having students “immersed” in the scene provided more engagement than having the scenario presented on paper or verbally.
Reflection on Constraints
Cost of purchasing cameras can be constraining, especially when there is some institutional resistance to broadening how to engage students in learning. While mildly costly (NZ $330), they are midpriced compared to competitor cameras.
Reflecting on my first use of the camera and app, the usability was fine, it was just time-consuming to set up the wifi and the initial SeekBeak account. The capture, upload, and software itself are fairly intuitive- even for a first time user. This means in future, ensuring I (and future users) plan for this time to set up.
Retrospectively, one thing that I have learned to pass on to staff is to ensure the camera is fully CHARGED before use. While the battery life is adequate for 2-3 hours of stop/ start still and video recording, it does not do well to have sitting for a while then expecting it to be “good to go” the day of use. There have also been some inconsistencies with the Wi-Fi– when trying to connect to the mobile app. On reflection, this could be a result of the Wi-Fi environment, rather than the device itself. This is something that I now ensure that I get staff to do before the day of capture- download the app and go through the process of connecting via wifi with the camera in the environment you are using it…
These reflections will be useful as more staff use the cameras, and can be utilised to update the “cheat sheets” for future use.