The end of the laserpointer

LOGITECH SPOTLIGHT FOUR MONTHS IN
In one of my previous blogs, I bragged about the fantastic features of the Logitech Spotlight. In this post, you will find out if the bragging was justified.

At this point I’m four months into my course, scientific and statistical reasoning, and have given about 16 lectures using the spotlight. High time for a thorough review don’t you think? But before we dive in, let’s recap the initial goal of using the spotlight. As mentioned in one of my earlier posts, my aim was to find a way to let students who watch online video lectures see where I’m pointing. The initial solution of using VR recordings failed but the spotlight sounded like a promising alternative.

Classroom with LCD panels. Students working on laptops.

In the meantime, our university has begun transitioning from beamers to large monitors in the lecture halls. As a result, the trusty laser pointer is also rendered useless in these new classrooms. A laser dot totally disappears on a LCD panel. So, it seems that the use case is steadily expanding.

So how does the spotlight hold up? Pretty good actually. After a bit of getting used to and tweaking the responsiveness, handling is very smooth. While presenting, switching from spotlight to zoom mode is a breeze and, at least on my mac, the device runs system wide, so the spotlight features are not limited to powerpoint. You can use it in any application. For me that includes SPSS and sometimes R.

Reviewing the video footage of the lectures I did notice fast movements to be very distracting for the video viewer so while presenting, keep your online viewers in mind and try not to jump around too much.

On the down side, I found the blue tooth connectivity needing to be re-paired on many occasions. This was so annoying that I completely switched to using the provided dongle only. Another annoyance I encountered in the beginning was signal loss. When I treaded too far from my laptop the connection would drop. Coming back in range would though, immediately reestablish the connection. I found the cause of this to be weak battery strength. So, I started connecting the spotlight to power while setting up my laptop prior to a lecture for a quick charge and the problem stopped occurring. Apart from these two minor issues the spotlight has not let me down during any of my two-hour lectures. 

All in all, the logitech spotlight performs well enough for real world use and is able to solve the described issues of online viewing and monitor use in the classroom. With the increased trend of blended learning, technology like this helps bridge the gap between online and on campus education. 

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