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Using Hangouts for remote lesson observations

We have equipped our new Asus Chromeboxes in classrooms with HD webcams for recording snippets of lessons, presentations or demonstrations for review later (all using Screencastify's 'cam' option). However, you can also use them to remotely observe lessons. So you can observe a lesson without the potential distraction of having an observer physically in the room.

There are two basic approaches to this.

Method 1 - Hangouts + Screencastify

The observer in their office (or wherever) invites the person being observed to a video hangout. You can simply start and respond to these within your mail. The observe needs to mute their mic (unless you are going to use a bluetooth headset with the teacher and do real time coaching perhaps...).
Use the KeepOn app to ensure the classroom device does not go to sleep.
The person being observed minimises the hangout window and gets on with the lesson.

Some options

To record the lesson the observer simply starts Screencastify with the following settings:


So record the hangout tab and audio. At the end, this gets uploaded to the observers drive and can be shared as required.
If you want multiple views, then place one or more Chromebooks around the classroom. Log these on with test accounts (we use training1,training2 etc). 
Set KeepOn on these Chromebooks to 1 hour - or as long as you need.
Invite the test users to the hangout.
Mute their mics and mute their speakers - very important.
The above can be done entirely by the observer before the start of the lesson and the connected devices placed in suitable locations in the room.
The observer can then switch views during the course of the lesson.

Method 2 - using Hangouts on Air

This method requires the use of Google+ and both the observer, any test accounts and the teacher must have Google+ accounts.
The observer browses to G+ and selects Hangouts - see below:
At the end, the video will appear in the observers YouTube channel as an unlisted video. This can be downloaded and shared as appropriate.
Doing multiple viewpoints is the same as the first method.
The advantage of this approach is that it automatically records. However, you do need to use G+ and YouTube which might be an issue in some schools and for some users.

This is a brief demo of the second approach in my living room:


 

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