New feature in the Classroom: Companion Device

Happy Monday to you!

Whilst you’re hopefully keeping safe indoors with several fans on you, I thought I’d pop on and introduce a new feature in the Classroom, the companion device!

What?
The ability to connect your camera and microphone from a secondary device instead of using the video/audio from your desktop.

Companion Device Desktop

Why?
We are aware that the video and audio connections have caused issues with a portion of our lessons which can immediately make the classroom unusable. This can result in either waiting around until the other person works out how to get them working, your feeling flustered trying to troubleshoot or just having to give up and use a different platform entirely. Either way, this hugely disrupts the lesson and we wanted to give a slick alternative where you can quickly connect a secondary device and carry on with your lesson.

Plus, this gives you a chance to be more flexible on which device you’d like to use, gaining more flexibility on where the camera is angled and if you have a better camera/microphone on another device. This could particularly help with the likes of music lessons.

How?
As the GIF demonstrates above, on your video, there is a new “Companion Mode” icon, when you click on this it will provide a QR code. Use the camera or QR scanner from your secondary device to scan the QR code and follow the instructions on that device.

Then, to exit, you click the red “Companion Mode” icon on your secondary device and you will be back on the desktop.

What else?
As you’ve probably noticed, this is released as BETA so any feedback is very much welcome. This is not the finishing product and we hope to build on this according to your feedback.
For example, being able to connect your secondary device to use as a drawing tablet for the classroom’s whiteboard is something we’ve had in mind.

You can practice this in our demo classroom to a certain extent to get familiar with the feature before your next lesson! We hope this helps with some of the
issues you may have had in the classroom and it enhances the experience of the lesson!

Look after yourselves during this heatwave and looking forward to hearing your thoughts!!

Kind regards,
Sam.

5 Likes

This is such a great idea for a feature! However I’m not able to do this on my iPhone in both safari or chrome, even after allowing permission for the site to access my camera. It doesn’t show my camera or mic as being connected

I’m not very technical Sam but would be interested in seeing if I can figure out how to use this. At the moment I don’t have a secondary device for the above mentioned.

I do have a graphic tablet though and that just gets put in my laptop and comes up on the classroom. It won’t use all the graphic tablets functions though which was disappointing but has made maths teaching much easier.

I may add an additional camera as it always seems to be the video link that goes!

Sounds great to me ! Now for the technical bit, will I be able to use it ? I will have a go. I would think the tricky part might be ’ permissions ’ on the support device.
A use that springs to mind is to show working models of a subject eg, water flow and time/gradient for Physics, SOHCAHTOA in practise for a ladder against a wall for Maths. Camera would have to be off in transit to the tech area ie, so the house isn’t viewed ( might have forgot to hoover ) . Cheers, Nige.

Vacuum I meant, other models are avaialble. : )

Hello,

Thank you for your thoughts so far it’s helpful to receive any feedback!

Thank you for letting me know, I’ve DM’d you for us to check this out, if anyone has any similar issues, feel free to DM me. :ok_hand:

@Kitty It would be great to see if you can figure out how to use it when you do get a secondary device, this can be a mobile or tablet where there’s a camera/scanning QR function allowed. We chose QR code as this is an easier way for even non-technical people can connect from one device to the other. If you do have any trouble though, please let me know - this is why it’s released as beta as it is a big feature and we’d like the user experience to be accessible for everyone.

@NiftyNige I love this use case and something I haven’t even thought about so thank you so much for sharing. If you do fall under any problems with permissions or anything when you try, it would be great to hear from you so we can take a look and I hope you don’t trip over any vacuums or potential messiness in the process :wink:

More feedback is always welcome, thanks!
Sam.

1 Like

Great but are we able to have the ability to share the whiteboard with the “Companion” device at some future date?

This would mean that I can stop using Zoom for my online lesssons as I currently do.

Hi @sabedin77

Could you walk me through what you mean by sharing the whiteboard with the companion device? Just want to understand a bit better.

:blush:

Yes of course.

So the whiteboard is also shared on the other device like a tablet.

The whiteboard is now on the tutors primary device(PC), companion device(tablet etc) and also on the student’s PC.

The reason why I would like this feature is that as a mathematics and physics teacher, this would help with writing equations and drawing freehand using a “pencil” on the companion device like a tablet. It is a bit awkward and slow doing this on a PC using a mouse and keyboard.

Hi @sabedin77

Thank you for explaining, that is exactly something we are looking to do in the future so you can effectively use a tablet or phone as a drawing tablet, especially for uses like writing equations,

I will put your name down as someone who is interested in this and will make sure you are communicated once we’ve implemented this.

:slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you Sam and I look forward to when this very useful feature is implemented in your Classroom.

1 Like