Why Interactive Whiteboards and Document Cameras Should Work Together

Published on Monday, 29 September 2014

When shown a document camera, some teachers say “I don’t need that – I have a SMARTBoard” while some other teachers might say after seeing a HoverCam demonstration, “If I get that, then I won’t need to get a SMARTBoard.” My response to both these groups is – you can use both pieces of equipment together to enhance your lessons and classroom learning.

Some teachers believe interactive whiteboards (IWB) and document cameras exist as separate devices to be used for unique and different functions. While we believe that IWBs and document cameras do provide distinct functions, we do not believe IWBs and document cameras should exist separately. A document camera is useful in the classroom for bringing a snapshot, a live video stream or a recorded video clip into the IWB software.

Your document camera should be able to connect with an interactive whiteboard and work with its software. This is done with a USB cable from the document camera. All HoverCam document cameras naturally connect to a PC or a Mac, the same way IWBs do, and HoverCam camera images are easily integrated with IWB software. HoverCam’s software is compatible with IWB software.

Traditional document cameras are designed to output directly to a projector through a VGA or HDMI output, and many do not have a USB output so cannot be connected to a computer nor an IWB. Those traditional document cameras that do have USB connectors use slow transfer rates, making the live video too slow – or very low resolution – to be useful when connected to a computer except for showing captured, still images. Over USB, the HoverCam Solo 8 gives you the best performance, the highest resolution, and the highest video frame rate of any other document camera to a computer and is therefore ideal to use with IWBs.Please visit our YouTube page to see a side-by-side comparison of HoverCam Solo 8 vs. other document cameras over USB.

Most traditional document cameras require an external power adapter. A single USB cable powers the HoverCam Solo 8. It’s easier to set up. A nice thing about a HoverCam Solo 8 is that you do not have to search for additional power outlets. When Solo 8 is connected to the computer, it’s always ready to use at a moment’s notice to take a snap shot, scan a document, record a video or stream live video, and can do all of those functions inside IWB software. The HoverCam and IWB work in harmony together. And using Splashtop software, the HoverCam can also stream live images wirelessly to a teacher’s tablet.

To learn more about the flagship document camera from the HoverCam, the Solo 8, please visit our website at

Free Yourself From Your Document Camera in Class with a HoverCam and Splashtop

Published on Wednesday, 01 October 2014

All the teachers I know enjoy teaching. The most fun in their day involves interacting with students. Some teachers I know also enjoy “the other things” including grading, discipline and the long summers. But the majority of teachers I have talked to just want to be around, interact, mentor, and positively influence their students. Students make schools go ‘round, and teachers mold students into better people and citizens. Learning is of the utmost importance, but if a teacher is hindered by classroom technology, learning can suffer.

Sitting behind a computer all the time in class is probably not the best method for teaching. Sitting behind a computer keeps you away from the students, takes you out of the conversation, and can lead to diminished learning. Most of the overhead projectors of yesteryear and many traditional document cameras in classrooms today are obsolete and not engaging. To overcome this, Pathway Innovations and Technologies, Inc. set out to produce a document camera for the classroom that would be easy to use, intuitive, intelligent, lightweight and produce stunning images and just be fun!

After years of research and development, and continuous feedback from administrators and teachers alike, Pathway Innovations has cracked the code with its HoverCam document camera lineup and accessories. The newest document camera to come off the design floor is the Solo 8. The Solo 8 embraces new technology and really changes the game in education technology and classroom learning. The HoverCam Solo 8 offers a massive 8.0 MegaPixel sensor for crystal clear images, scanning, an impressive 30 frame/second refresh rate when showing live HD video or recording 1080p video over a USB cable directly to a computer, with audio. No more blurry images. Together, these features make the Solo 8 a central piece of technology you can use in your classroom to teach and engage students every day.

To make engagement even easier, and to enable you to take the HoverCam image around the room right to any student’s desk, HoverCam has partnered with Splashtop to allow wireless streaming of the HoverCam image directly to your iPad or Android tablet. Using your tablet, you can control the Solo 8 from across the room and bring the HoverCam image anywhere in class. And, if your students have wireless devices, there is an optional software available from HoverCam called “Splashtop Classroom” that will push the HoverCam image wirelessly to all of the students devices. There’s even an optional mirroring software app so that you – the teacher – can display your tablet image directly to the large screen display or projector, or allow your students to show their tablet image on the projector – without Apple TV or Chromecast.

Think about this: you no longer have to use clunky, oversized, dumb document cameras that can only show a low resolution image and if they work with USB are painfully slow. Now, an intelligent document camera, the Solo 8, is available and it functions as an extension of your computer. And you or your school don’t have to break the bank to purchase a Solo 8, which is only 349 dollars, or 399 dollars bundled with Splashtop, an extra 15’ USB 3.0 cable and a microscope adapter. Remember, at Pathway Innovations, we want to provide teachers with the latest and best technology at an affordable price. We have embraced new technology and we encourage teachers and schools to evaluate the Solo 8 and embrace one now. You’ll love it!

If you have any questions or would like to test-drive a Solo 8 and Splashtop in your classroom free for 30 days, please visit our website at for more information. Embrace new now.

HoverCam Solo 8 Beats Elmo TT-12i in Video Quality Shoot-Out Over USB

Published on Saturday, 27 September 2014

Whenever we show teachers and school technology directors how easy it is to use the HoverCam with interactive whiteboards, one of the questions they often ask is, “How do you show a live video stream inside the interactive whiteboard software?” To show live video inside IWB software with a document camera, the document camera must have a USB out connector. We thought it would be a good idea to compare two leading document camera manufacturers, Elmo and HoverCam, to see which product produced the best live video images over USB.

We did a side by side comparison of the HoverCam Solo 8 and the Elmo TT-12i using identical monitors and computers with identical processing power to see how well each worked over USB. The findings: At standard 1080p resolution, the HoverCam Solo 8 output full motion video at 30 frames/second, while the Elmo TT-12i frame rate was a painfully slow 1 frame/second. By setting the output resolution of the Elmo to XGA resolution – which is about 70% of HD 720p – its speed increased to 15 frames/second. But at that resolution, it was difficult to read the text of the Elmo video when showing a full page document.

Elmo claims on its website that the TT-12i can also be used as a webcam. While this is factually true, we don’t see merit in a low resolution, slow, blurry webcam. For webcam applications, the higher resolution, faster Solo 8 is more practical.

The Elmo’s MSRP is $885 while the HoverCam Solo 8 is $349. Displaying high-quality video over USB is not a luxury or an option for today’s classrooms. It’s a requirement. To see the video shootout, please click on the video below. To learn more about HoverCam Solo 8 and to request a free 30 day evaluation for your school, please visit Embrace New Now.

Video Recording Comparison: Solo 8 vs. Elmo TT-12i

Published on Friday, 26 September 2014 

As teachers increasingly use recorded video as an instructional tool, the ability of their document camera to record 1080p video at 30 frames per second becomes an important product feature. For this reason, we decided to do a side by side comparison of the HoverCam Solo 8 and the Elmo TT-12i to see how well each records video.  We used identical monitors and computers with identical processors for the shoot-out. The conclusion: HoverCam records at twice the resolution and twice the speed of the Elmo, when the Elmo records to an SD card.  And, when the Elmo records video directly to the computer using a USB cable, the resolution and speed of recorded video are further reduced to XGA at just 9 frames per second. HoverCam won the shootout by recording 1080p video at 30 frames per second.

Moreover, the HoverCam records directly to the computer’s hard drive, which makes it easier for a teacher to share recorded files.  The Elmo’s MSRP is $885 while the HoverCam Solo 8 is $349.  Recording high-quality video is not a luxury or an option for today’s classrooms. It’s a requirement. To see the video shootout, please click on the video below. To learn more about HoverCam Solo 8, please visit