I gave a couple of talks this month that I wanted to share a bit with you. First, David Rhoads and I joined Bryan Beatty to discuss the myths and truths of Hyflex Learning. I also shared at the Lilly Conference about igniting our collective imagination. Each of those two links has the associated resources on them and more information. However, during the Lilly Conference one, I got asked a fair amount of questions about my standing set up in the chatbox, which I didn't anticipate.
When I saw the question, I joked that I was not going to be held up as a model for standing setups. I had used this bendable tripod thingy with a screw sticking out of the top of it and tried to balance my webcam on top of the screw. I'm not sure if the camera was straight at any point in my presentation. Two of the three legs of the tripod blocked my already-poor view of the Zoom window and the other application I was using to run my slide-deck and polling. I used one of our kids' upholstered chairs to raise my keyboard up a bit and had my trackpad resting in the seat of the chair.
Let's just say it wasn't ideal.
Trent Tucker came to the rescue on Twitter. He tweeted: “…as luck would have it, I ran into a colleague at #myTRU who has the stand-up teaching set-up I was looking for! Cranks the desk up, rolls the whiteboard into place, webcam on… stand-up teaching!”
Hey @NeuroscienceUT @marklipton @bonni208 … as luck would have it, I ran into a colleague at #myTRU who has the stand-up teaching set-up I was looking for! Cranks the desk up, rolls the whiteboard into place, webcam on… stand-up teaching! #EdTech #TeachFromHome #cdnpse pic.twitter.com/MjVJbQx5UX
— Dr. Trent “I wear a mask” Tucker, PhD (@ProfTucker) December 4, 2020
Trent later described what things look like before John Ofee transforms the desk to the standing setup:
“Hi Bonni — I have permission from @john_ofee to share this. It's his office and set-up, I took the photo and doctored it up. Here is the “before” picture — it's a regular office then it transforms into super stand-up teaching space from the other photo. Happy blogging.”
A friend from work said his wife was really liking her stand that converts her desk to a standing desk, so I bought a similar one. I like it a lot, from a functionality standpoint. However, it was too wide to fit the part of my desk where my monitor sits. I'm thinking it will head to work with me when I one day return and will likely work better there.
Now Dave and I are thinking that I should look for an independent tripod that would raise my webcam up high enough to not give me the appearance of having four chins (my words, not his). My goal is to have things up and running well by the time I speak at the Musical Theatre Educators Alliance's conference in early January 2021. Standing for that one seems most important… I'm working hard at keeping the bad musical theatre puns to myself for the event, as well. “Ya Got Trouble – Right Here in River City…” In all seriousness, I couldn't be more excited and honored to join them for the conference.
One purchase that has worked out well in my setup is this light that sits atop my monitor. It's LED can be adjusted in two ways: brightness and tone (warm/cool). It has a dimmer on it and a power button (that unfortunately I keep forgetting to turn off when I leave my computer for the day; I'm thinking of seeing if there is some kind of automation I can use for this situation).
It needs to be shut off when I'm on any kind of web conference tool, or it makes my webcam adjust awkwardly and put me in the shadows. But it works great for when I tuck my computer and keyboard away and work on analog tasks. Speaking of pen and paper tools, I recently received an early Christmas gift, which I initially heard about from Katie Linder. Here's Katie's recent answer to the question: Will I Use PowerSheets in 2021? I've gotten as far as putting my name in the front and looking through everything that came in the PowerSheets bundle I received.