BEAVERTON — Since Valley Catholic students cannot come to classrooms this fall, Valley Catholic is bringing the classrooms to the students.

The small camera on computers can be limiting, and it’s not ideal for providing a classroom experience. The information technology team at Valley Catholic found a way to change that. By equipping each classroom with a conference camera that integrates with Zoom, Valley Catholic teachers can bring the classroom experience into students’ homes.

The camera has a remote, which allows teachers to zoom out so students can see them at the whiteboard or chalkboard. It also allows teachers to have their hands free to demonstrate a lesson, such as a science experiment. The camera has a high-quality microphone that allows a teacher to stand at the board and be heard by the students, and it makes it possible for teachers to hear the students as they would in a normal classroom.

“IT works collaboratively with our teachers to understand their needs and look for opportunities to overcome challenges,” said Dale Goodno, chief information officer for Valley Catholic. “We needed to find a way to help our teachers continue to do what they do best.”

Goodno said they first tried to figure out how to assist teachers who prefer working at the board. The staff will use head-mounted GoPro action cameras for point-of-view demonstrations enabling students to see another perspective as teachers conduct a lesson.  

“We are discovering new technologies to use, even after we can safely return to the classroom,” said Goodno.

Kalani Efstathiou, director of admissions at Valley Catholic High School, and Ed Braun, the high school’s religion department chair and teacher, were featured in a “how to” video to demonstrate the camera in the classroom environment.

“Not only will this technology enhance our digital learning platform, but it will allow us to maintain the community within our classroom should we pursue a hybrid learning model in the future,” said Efstathiou.

“The new camera allowed me to teach online almost like a regular class,” added Braun.