“When we shut down in March 2020, I thought we’d adjust over a short break,” New Jersey educator Esther Loor explained to us, “…but when two weeks became four, and four became six, and then it was the remainder of the school year… it was an interesting transition, to say the least.”
Due to the pandemic, Esther and thousands of her fellow educators around the world, suddenly found themselves, as she describes it, “locked in front of their computers” unable to stand-up, demonstrate on whiteboards or smartboards, or simply walk around in the natural style that they had always been used to. Then, as in-person learning began to resume, the requirement of teaching to in-class students and remotely connected students at the same time became even more daunting.
Classrooms equipped as ‘distance learning studios’ were rare, generally very expensive to build, and complex to operate. Educators found themselves sitting at desks and providing a less than optimal experience to both sets of students through no fault of their own.
Esther, whose husband just so happens to be a tech geek, began a project to find tools that could help her teach in these odd circumstances that the world has found itself in. She saw an offer online from Poly’s Services team to obtain a free, expert consultation to assist organizations with adopting technology to cope with the pandemic and she reached out for help. Poly answered the call and told Esther about the Poly Studio USB.
Esther’s school already had PCs and collaboration platforms that were working without incident. What they didn’t have was a way to allow educators to teach in a natural style in a hybrid environment consisting of both in-classroom and at-home students. The Poly Studio USB could simply connect to one of the PCs they were already using, be placed on a desk, and allow remote participants to see and hear the teacher as if they were in the classroom.
The Poly Studio USB utilizes an EPTZ (electronic pan-tilt-zoom) camera that has no motors and makes no distracting noises or motions in the room that could distract students. The ‘production rules’ that capture the perfect shot of the speaker as they move about the classroom are embedded in the device. They are NOT coming from a connected PC as with most of the other products on the market. This means the speed at which the Presenter Tracking follows the teacher is exceptionally quick, simulating exactly how an in-person student would follow the action – all automatically without any buttons to press or settings to adjust. Its exceptional sound pick-up and speakers also enable remote students to hear the teacher clearly – allowing for natural conversations between the remote students and the teacher.
In Esther’s words, the Poly Studio USB “unchained and unshackled” her so she could again just “teach at the board like she’s always done.” Her remote students experienced the same high-quality distance learning as that of a fully equipped classroom studio costing tens of thousands of dollars. Only all she needed was a sub-one-thousand-dollar device that required no formal installation.
Hear what Esther had to say in her own words.
School systems around the world have turned to the Poly Studio USB (and other outstanding Poly products) to enable them to meet the new challenges of educating both in-person and remote students with superb quality and at previously unheard-of low costs. (Click here to take a look at the Boston Public Schools for another example).
If you’d like to find out more about the Poly technology that can transform a classroom, learn how to get help with obtaining grants, or arrange for your free consultation with a Poly expert, go to our website, or reach out to your Poly representative to get more information.