The Atlona cameras are mounted at the back of the classrooms, enabling the widest angle possible. The planning committee selected the AT-HDVS-CAM-HDMI model, which features an HDMI output and USB interface. The AT-OME-EX-KIT extender kits connect with USB for signal transport up to 330 feet (100 meters) over a single Category 6/6A cable.
The cameras can be reconfigured in each classroom depending on what the teacher’s needs are for the day. “They can switch the presets to change the camera to point at the desk, at the board, at a particular student, at a podium, or to capture a presentation they are delivering that day,” Luzzi said. “This makes the experience more engaging for the students at home, because they can align the work that they are doing in class with how the teacher and classmates interact while in session.”
Luzzi and his colleague, Dean of Students and Director of Athletics Charles Toste, performed the installation of the new systems. All classrooms were equipped with an AT-HDVS-CAM-HDMI camera, a Jabra microphone, and access to the network switch for the school’s LAN.
“The ports are directly next to the cameras in each classroom, and then we have all the cabling running from the cameras and receiver to the transmitter on each teacher’s desk,” Luzzi describes. “We also hardwired a printer in each classroom to a port that is shared with the camera.” Other connections include existing ceiling-mounted projectors in each classroom, along with smartboards in the larger classrooms.
Bruce Daigle, principal at St. Patrick’s, recounts the excitement that followed the procurement and installation. The school held two weeks of training sessions so that the teachers would be familiar with the technology when school began.
“Once the installation was complete, we went straight into learning how to use the systems properly,” he said. “Students also received training so that they understood how to use their laptops in conjunction with the camera systems. What we wanted to ensure was that the technology was ready for use, and that everyone was prepared to use it.”
In addition to the classroom integration, Luzzi and Toste equipped two mobile carts for use in spaces currently not set up for distance learning. Toste uses them during gym class to remote students engaged with physical fitness. “There’s still a way for them to participate and engage even if they’re not doing traditional sports activities,” said Luzzi. “They can still exercise and follow along, and it allows for more interactivity between the teacher and those students.”
“It was critical to have that PTZ (Camera) capability so that we could aim them anywhere we want, and really capture that feeling of being part of the classroom.”
– Mark Luzzi, IT director at St. Patrick Academy