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    • #4186
      Laura Berlage

      Zoom classroomEven if it isn’t the official camera you plan to use yet, find a camera where you can control its location AND see what it sees in realtime.  This might be a little webcam in or on your laptop or any number of devices that can talk to your computer or tablet, so you can see what it sees.  Or use your phone like you’re taking a selfie.

      Begin setting up the space you would like to use (thinking of this as “roughing out” your set).  Try arrangements of table, chairs, background, etc.  Set up the camera where you THINK it may initially go and see how this view looks.  Make adjustments, and try again.  I have gone through so many different iterations of my teaching space, learning each time!

      NOTE:  you will want your camera to end up right at the top of your screen you use to Zoom, so that when you look at the tiles of your student’s faces, it really looks like you are looking at them!  If the camera pointed at your face is off to the side of your screen (or much higher or lower), your emotions will read “off” to your students when they are personally interacting with you.  As you sit at your table, your screen and your camera should be directly in front of you at about arm’s length or a few inches more.

      Sometimes raising the camera and screen (in my case a laptop) three or four inches makes a huge difference, or shifting your position to lean left or right.  Sometimes not aiming for the exact corner of the room but a few degrees off makes the space seem real, or adding heavy curtains to the window just off-camera keep the evening light from bleeding in like the beam of a lighthouse.  Check how the appearance is during different parts of the day.  There is one month in winter where the sunlight is so low, I have to stuff a pillow into a south window or I’m blasted in the face with brilliant sunlight!  Other times of the year, there is no problem at all.

      Being able to actually see what the camera is seeing is a game changer when setting up your space, as this is the view that really matters.  Try this exercise, and see what happens.  Take a before and after picture to notice how many changes you made.  What do you think?

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