Video Conferencing Setup

Setting up your computer and display(s) for effective view conferencing is an important aspect of being able to properly interact with students.  The best setup is to equip your office with dual display (at least two monitors), a USB camera that you can position in the middle of your screen, good lighting, a "green" screen and your favourite background image.  

It's quite easy to do - and you can have some fun with various background images - from ocean scenes, coffee shops, libraries to logos. 

With dual screens, you will be able to present a window or tab for the students to see in "present mode" while still seeing the students on the other monitor.

Dual Screen Setup For Windows Computers 

Step 1: Acquire & setup a second monitor.  The monitor can be a simple display terminal or a big screen TV. Connecting to the second monitor can usually be accomplished by way cables from your computer (HDMI, PC, USB-HDMI, etc) or wireless (ie Google Cast).

Step 2: Configure second monitor...go to desktop, right click then select "Screen Resolution" settings (or Control Panel>Display>Project to a second screen). Then set resolutions, drag new monitor to the right, left, top or bottom.  Your mouse will move from monitor  1 to monitor 2 based on how you position the displays within the "Change the appearance of your display" section (select and drag the monitor to the position you want). Select option "Multiple Display: Extend these displays".

Now that you have your second monitor configured in extend mode - try dragging windows from one monitor the other. You might elect to have your video conferencing window on the largest of the two and your presentation on the other one.

In this mode - you will be able to present a window or tab for the students to see in "present mode" while still seeing the students on the other monitor.

This is a significant improvement over losing sight of your students while you present your slides and will allow you to present AND see students at the same time for much more effective interactions.

The next improvement below sets up background images that can be fun and entertaining - and with proper setup - indistingushable from actual real backgrounds.

Background Images & "Green" Screens

Have fun setting up interesting background images.  

Step 1: Setup your background using a wall or a sheet of a consistent colour. You might need to rig up the background "green" sheets hanging from an easel or some other setup - whatever works for you.

Step 2: For Zoom calls, you can select for a "green" screen and then select the actual colour of your background (it can be any colour - but green is probably best!). Currently, Google Meet does not have a "green" screen setting and so I've found through modest trial & error that a light blue sheet works best for me.

Step 3: Add lighting and position your camera where you look - some interesting options allow USB cameras to hang down into the middle of your screen - where your eyes are looking!

Use the Google Meet or Zoom offering of background images - or add your own. 

Have fun with it!