Updated: Sep 1, 2021
DroidCam is a handy app that transforms your smartphone into a wireless (or wired) webcam!
Why is that exciting for the classroom?
It's because it finally provides teachers a platform to share a reference material on the projector for all of your students to see. I personally have a permanent cellphone clamp on my desk for my phone, and whenever I want to share a student's work or a last-minute reference sheet I turn on the app, slide the paper under my phone's camera, and just like that I have the sheet projected up onto my whiteboard. It's also useful for online teaching if you don't want to be restricted by the limited movement of an integrated laptop or notebook webcam.
It's one of those things where once you have it, you don't how you managed before. There were times before this where students had to present artwork, and I honestly had them take pictures of their work and email it to me so I could project it behind them while they presented. It took forever to rotate all their images and edit the lighting, and I can't beleive how much of my time it wasted. Once I realized the possibilities and ease of DroidCam, I was using it all the time. It not only gave me so much potential for sharing and discussing work with the class, but it even enabled me to play games with larger class sizes.
It is near impossible to keep games intact in the classroom. No matter how careful you are, pieces end up missing or damaged overtime. On top of that, if you have a standard class of 15 -25 students, you will need multiple game sets in order for everyone to play. Thankfully, with this app (and a bit of rule tweaking) I was actually able to use my minimal resources to play board and card games successfully.
For example, playing the popular board game Apples to Apples was managable with my small classes of 10 or less students, but with my classes of 30? Not so much. Aside from the limited resources, as a teacher you can't physically be at each group of students explaining what every green or red card means, and without discussion the game loses it's educational value.
Using this app though, I was able to make one Apples to Apples board game set work for the whole class of 30 students. I divided students into groups of five, and gave each group five cards to work with. This particular class was lower level and so they needed to work together to choose a red card. I turned on DroidCam and acted as the permanent "judge" by placing the green card under my phone camera each round and projecting it onto the board for everyone to use. The groups would select which of their red cards best matched the green card together, then each group would take turns reading their card to the class and explaining why it's a good match. I, as the judge, would choose which group had the most fitting red card and award the round point accordingly.
By playing the game this way, everyone was able to understand the meaning of all the cards in play and actively discuss them in a small and large group setting.
How to set-up the app :
The basic version of the app is free on the app store, and I found absolutely no problems with the quality of the display. If you want more control over the settings you can purchase the Pro version for $4.49 (CAD).
There are a few options once you have downloaded the app.
If your phone and the computer you're projecting to are on the same wifi network, then you can simply turn on the app, and use the browser link that it provides. Type the link into your computer's web browser and that's it, you can see what your phone is projecting on your monitor.
If they are not on the same network, I found the easiest method was to download DroidCam's PC client on the computer, then simply plug my phone into the computer and manually connect them. The download link for the PC client can be found here.
Need more resources?
More lessons and games that use this app will be uploaded. If you have any experience using this app in the classroom or any input on the possibility of its uses, please share in the comments below!
Reminder: Always test new technologies and apps on your own before using them in the classroom. Become comfortable with their uses and any problems they may have so that you can be better equppied for their use in the classroom.