Saturday, August 21, 2021

Logitech's Tools for Schools

Logitech for Education is targeting some of their tools specifically for schools. Three that I got to try out are the Logitech Crayon, the Logitech H390 USB Headset, and the Logitech C270 HD Webcam.


The Logitech Crayon has been around for a few years and many iPad schools already use them. If you are not familiar with it, the Logitech Crayon is a rugged, rechargeable drawing tool for the iPad which, in iPad apps that support it, includes a variable line weight, similar to a "real" pencil. It is built using the Apple Pencil technology. When a student angles the Logitech Crayon down a bit, the line one is drawing gets darker and thicker. Another useful feature of the Logitech Crayon is the "palm rejection" feature which ignores stray screen touches.

The Logitech Crayon works seamlessly with the iPad. Simply press a button to turn it on and it ready to write with. There are no delays to get started!

The Logitech Crayon runs for 7.5 hours of writing/drawing time per charge. And, to conserve battery life, it powers off after 30 minutes of non-use. There is also a battery life indicator light which will give the user a clue as when it it time to charge the Logitech Crayon. Charging the Logitech Crayon is easy-- just plug a lighting cable attached to your computer or small charger into the top of the device, as seen below. And the Logitech Crayon charges fast, too!

Having a stylus for each student with an iPad is important. We all know using a finger to draw on a tablet screen does not produce good results. With the 
Logitech Crayon, students can be precise when making a sketch of a science lab result, drawing a prototype of a 3D object they want to design, painting a picture to use in a video or digital story, or even taking notes in their own hand, and, when using a note-taking app like Nebo, Notablity, or Microsoft's OneNote, and convert their handwriting directly into text.

The Logitech Crayon works with many of the apps teachers and students use on the iPad. I happen to use it most with Procreate and Inkflow when I am sketchnoting, since the line weights make a difference in my sketchnote process. Here are a few of many other apps that work with it.

The current iPads that are compatible with the Logitech Crayon include, once they are updated to at least iOS 12.2

  • iPad Mini (5th gen)
  • iPad Air (3rd and 4th gen)
  • iPad (6th, 7th, and 8th gen)
  • iPad Pro 11" (1st and 2nd gen)
  • iPad Pro 12.9" (3rd and 4th gen)



One of the big problems with students creating in a classroom is the noise level. Educators have come up with creative solutions to allow students access to a quiet space in which to audio record a podcast, the narration for a digital story, or even have a Zoom or Google Meet video conference.  I have seen large cardboard boxes, lined with foam, and set up so students can record with al least some of the noise of the classroom filtered out. Educators send students into the hallways to record at times. Some classrooms line the walls with commercial acoustic tiles, which are intended to decrease the noise levels. Other ideas include sending the students who need to record to the band room and using one of the practice rooms to record in. Here are some unique set-ups creative teachers have devised!

Julie Smith set-up a portable recording studio in her kindergarten classroom.

Mrs. Q showcases her recording booths on Instagram.

As all educators know, however, there are very few places in a school setting that are quiet. To eliminate most of the educator stress that comes along with trying to facilitate a recording process, a logical solution is having a headset for each student. By having a microphone close to their mouth and the audio being heard through the headphones, students will have the ability to record with little background noise.

I have used Logitech branded headsets for years and still do. Coincidentally, before being asked to review the Logitech H390 USB Headset, I ordered this same headset to use for my recordings and video conferencing use! I chose it because it was an on-ear headset (not over-the-ear) and had a noise cancelling mic. And the sound quality of the Logitech H390 USB Headset is excellent, as you can hear in this recording I made on a Chromebook. I used Vocaroo, the educator's favorite online audio recorder, to create the recording.

Here is the QR code to the recording in case you want to access the recording this way.

The Logitech H390 USB Headset has a ton of features packed into a very affordable headset for schools. Of course, IMHO, the best feature for the classroom, after the low cost, is the noise-cancelling feature of the boom mic.

Since I am a Mac user, I do not have any USB-A ports on my MacbookPro M1, only USB-C ports. I use a female USB-A adapter to USB-C adapter so I can plug my Logitech H390 USB Headset into my MBP. By the way, I discovered a long time ago audio is much cleaner with a USB headset connection than the standard 3.5mm headphone jack found on computers.

I also discovered I can use the Logitech H390 USB Headset with that same adapter to record audio with my iPadPro 12.9" (5th generation) since it has a USB-C connection, too!

In addition to students recording with the headset, the boom mic on the Logitech H390 USB Headset can be flipped up, and students can be listening to an instructional video, searching for royalty-free music to add to a video they are creating, working in an online tutorial, or searching for famous speeches for an assignment. With a headset on, students can all be working on separate projects without disturbing others.


Almost every computer and Chromebook come with a webcam. However, at times, the quality may not be very good. The Logitech C270 HD Webcam strives to solve that problem at a low cost. It is a basic webcam with a built in microphone. It works with Windows computers, Mac computers, Android devices, and Chromebooks and has a USB-A connector.

The Logitech C270 HD Webcam has a simple way of attaching to a computer for use. The webcam sits on the top of the laptop or monitor and the adjustable universal clip allows the device to be used with any computer by simply adjusting the moveable component to rest on the back of your monitor.

One of the best features of the Logitech C270 HD Webcam for a school setting is the 55° wide angle view of the camera, which makes it easier for two students to create a recording while sitting next to one another and also for taking photos or videos.

The Logitech C270 HD Webcam has a built-in noise-reducing mono microphone, a maximum resolution of 720p and 30 frames per second. and the device has been tested to withstand cleaning and disinfecting between each use. It also has a special feature called "RightLight" which adjusts to various lighting conditions to produce the best look for the speaker.

Here are two photos which compare the Chromebook webcam and the Logitech C270 HD Webcam "RightLight" feature. I took these two screenshots one right after the other.

You can see that the Logitech C270 HD Webcam both brightened my face and zoomed in on it, too! Here is a good online tutorial on how to use an external webcam with a Chromebook.

I then opened a Zoom meeting and recorded both audio and video first with the Logitech C270 HD Webcam and then with the internal webcam and microphone. You can definitely see the difference in the video and the air-conditioner hum is not as loud using the Logitech C270 HD Webcam. (I used my iPhone to record the Chromebook screen.)

Using the Logitech C270 HD Webcam

Using the Chromebook internal webcam and mic

So, take the time to visit the Logitech for Education site and learn more about the Logitech Crayon, the Logitech H390 USB Headset, and the Logitech C270 HD Webcam. These hardware devices can really enhance student creation!

Logitech sent me these three items in return for writing an honest review of the capabilities of them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

V4K PRO Ultra HD USB Document Camera

I have been a long time supporter and user of IPEVO products. Their ability to provide low-cost, high quality technology hardware and software specifically created for education is awesome! I have reviewed their offerings on the blog for many years, and you can see those posts here.

Their newest offering is the $149 V4K PRO Ultra HD USB Document Camera. What sets this new offering apart from their other document cameras is its upgraded audio and video performance. 

IPEVO's document cameras have been utilized by educators during their virtual teaching sessions these past two years. With the V4K PRO Ultra HD USB Document Camera, educators now have a device whose microphone can filter out background noise as well as has a high resolution 8 megapixel lens (3264 x 2448 resolution) for increased clarity. This document camera is compatible with PC, Mac, and Chromebook. It is also plug-and-play compatible with many online video-conferencing tools such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and with software such as Seesaw and Camtasia.


The V4K PRO Ultra HD USB Document Camera is perfect for mirroring items, creating instructional videos to use for blended learning, and taking photos and sharing them with students. In addition, with its LED light, microphone and articulated components, can also be used as a high resolution webcam!

The microphone on the
V4K PRO Ultra HD USB Document Camera includes an AI-enhanced voice technology created by IntelliGO. This noise filter removes any background noise to allow for clear and quiet conversations with students or peers.

Here is my test of the noise reduction feature. It is truly amazing!


The built-in LED light, at 172 lux, lights up the stage when using the camera, even if you are in low light. This light output is higher than the recommended workspace light for those ages 25-65 and provides a bright light. In addition, in the video above, I used the
V4K PRO Ultra HD USB Document Camera as both a Webcam and a light source for lighting up my face in a low light situation!

Here is a video from IPEVO which showcases all of the features of the V4K PRO Ultra HD USB Document Camera.

For those of you who want to know the inside scoop on the specs of the
V4K PRO Ultra HD USB Document Camera here you go!


  • (when folded) 10.91" x 3.07" x 1.89" (277 x 78 x 48mm)


  • 1.28lbs (581g)


  • Sony 8 megapixel camera
  • Resolution up to 3264px x 2448px
  • Frame rate up to 30 FPS
  • 12X digital zoom using IPEVO Visualizer software
  • Autofocus range of 10cm ~ ∞ / 3.93” ~ ∞

 Built-in features

  • Omni-directional microphone with EMI filter
  • LED light (172 lux)
  •  AI enhanced voice technology from IntelliGO
  •  Physical control buttons
    • Exposure
    • Noise reduction on/off
    • LED light on/off
    • Focus 
  • Maximum capture area of 13.46” x 10.04” (342 x 255mm) 
  • Attached USB-A cable of 4.90ft (150cm) 
The V4K PRO Ultra HD USB Document Camera is very compact, easy to carry back and forth from school, and includes both a great microphone and noise reduction properties that are amazing! Besides working with all the computer platforms and many apps as a document camera, the V4K PRO Ultra HD USB Document Camera allows students or educators the ability to create instructional videos that include the "talking head" and the item on the "stage" that is being discussed and marked up!
Thank you to IPEVO for letting me try out this cool new document camera!



Sunday, July 18, 2021

Wacom for Education

Using a mouse or a computer touchpad to try to annotate an image on your computer or draw on an online collaborative whiteboard is very difficult. It is just frustrating. That is why I have used external pen tablets over the years. I am not an artist, but I do mark-up presentations, sometimes even when I am presenting live! I also take teachers through sketchnoting practice and show them a great alternative to pencil and paper sketchnoting. During the pandemic, many educators used pen tablets and blank presentation slides or online whiteboards to replace their in-classroom whiteboard when they were presenting from home.

Wacom (pronounced Wok'um) has been the standard in the pen tablet and pen display industry since 1984. I have had a couple of Wacom pen tablets over the years -- the Wacom Graphire in 2002 (which included a mouse and a pen), which we also used in my school's computer lab, and the Bamboo Capture Pen and Touch tablet which I reviewed in 2013.

The thing about Wacom pen tablets is they continue to work forever! I only had to put an USB-C adapter on the USB-A connector for the my 2013 Bamboo Capture Pen and Touch Tablet to work perfectly with my Asus Chromebook Tablet 10 and my MacBook Pro M1!  

The wonder of Wacom is the electro-magnetic pen technology which does not use batteries, always works, is pressure sensitive, and very accurate. In addition, the tablets work great for both left and right handed users!

However, since technology has come a long way since 2013, when Wacom recently contacted me, I was happy to review some of the new tablets and those with new features which are targeted especially for the education market!

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The new One by Wacom comes in two sizes - a small size for $69.95 (8.3 x 5.7 x 0.3 in.) and a medium size for $129.95 (10.9 x 7.4 x 0.3 in.). This pen tablet plugs into a Chromebook and just works! (You will have to install small drivers if you are using a Windows or Mac computer.) 

Chromebooks need to be able to run the a current version of ChromeOS and have a USB port to work with this tablet. This page on the Wacom site contains a list of compatible Chromebooks and USB adapters that work with the One by Wacom.

Also on this compatibility site, Wacom includes a list of pen-supported apps for the Chromebook recommended for use with their pen tablets.
  • Chrome Canvas
  • Google Keep
  • Concepts
  • Jamboard
  • Kami for Google Chrome
  • Explain Everything
  • Collaboard
  • Limnu
  • Pear Deck
  • Squid
  • Infinite Painter
  • Autodesk Sketchbook
  • ibisPaint
  • Clip Studio
  • MediBang paint

One by Wacom

I love the following YouTube video which provides both an overview of the One by Wacom, but also showcases the power of the pen tablet for teachers. The same features highlighted for online teaching are of course, the same features that would make the content engaging for students in a face-to-face classroom.


However, the One by Wacom is not just intended for educators. Students, with a computer, will be able to freehand draw, easily do a math problem and show their work, mark up a peer's English essay with their feedback, sketchnote a lecture in class, create an animation in Google Slides, markup an photo taken during a science lab, take their class notes by hand, and much more. Using a pen tablet is just like writing and drawing by hand, but so much easier to edit and fix! In addition, the drawing pen is also available to be used as a pointer for choosing menu items on the Chromebook or other computer.

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One of the newer features, to me, was the ability to un-tether a pen tablet. The Wacom Intuos Pen Tablet comes with or without Bluetooth, and I was intrigued by the Bluetooth model. The Bluetooth Intuos pen tablet comes in a small size for $99.95 (7.87"X 6.3" x 0.35in.) and a medium size for $199.95 (10.4" x 7.8" x 0.35").

The Wacom Intuos Wireless Pen Tablet comes with the ability to be tethered via a USB cable as well as un-tethered when using its built-in Bluetooth connectivity. I am always a fan of un-tethered technology for a number of reasons. First, one can use this pen tablet without worrying about what kind of USB port your device has. 

But, more importantly, imagine the teacher being able to walk around the classroom with the Intuos Wireless Pen Tablet wirelessly connected to the front end computer which is being projected on a whiteboard or large monitor. The educator can hand off the tablet to students to have them to mark up a book passage, draw an image, or, in cursor mode, take the class on a guided tour of something on the Web. 

I used the Intuos Wireless Pen Tablet, attached wirelessly to my laptop, to create two assets. The first was to sketchnote a TED talk by Matt Cutts.


I could sit comfortably with the pen tablet in my lap, watch the video, and then sketchnote as he went along with his presentation. To create the sketchnote, I used my MacBook Pro M1 and sketchnoted in an Explain Everything whiteboard on the Web, via the pen tablet. Here is a video of my sketchnote process.

My second project was to annotate an image on a slide in Apple's presentation software, Keynote. Now, since Keynote does not include an annotation tool, I used Ipevo's Annotator software on my Mac to showcase the image.

Again, I used the Wacom Intuos Wireless Pen Tablet attached wirelessly to my MacBook Pro M1. It worked great!

I also created a short video showcasing how to use this tablet's Bluetooth capability to control a teacher's laptop at the "front" of a classroom!

My Asus Chromebook Tablet 10 was not on the list for compatibility with the Wacom Intuos Wireless Pen Tablet, but I tethered it and was able to take notes in  Google Keep, as you can see by the video below.

I think the Intuos Pen Tablet, whether wired or wireless, is a great addition to any classroom. Drawing naturally with a pen makes the process more precise and easier to do. I believe the Wacom Intuos Wireless Pen Tablet is a great addition to the teacher's toolbox, since the educator can roam and still draw and control the projected computer screen, as well as hand it off to students to allow them to do the same. This adds to the whole class experience in a big way!

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I have never had the chance to use a pen display. A pen display differs from a pen tablet since you can see what you are drawing both on the display and on the computer at the same time.
Wacom has developed the Wacom One Creative Pen Display (not to be confused with the One by Wacom Pen Tablet) with the education market in mind. Wacom makes high-end pen displays for the professional market. The Wacom One Creative Pen Display, in my opinion, would fit best in a high school or college graphic arts program. With an affordable cost ($399), teachers and students would be using the same technology the professionals use. 

The Wacom One Creative Pen Display has a 13.3" diagonal display. Here are some specs, and much more detail can be found on their site.

Wacom One Creative Pen Display plugs into the Windows or Mac computer and requires an HDMI port and a USB-A port on the computer. In addition, the pen display must be plugged in to electricity using the included power adapter.
Stock photo of a Windows laptop and the Wacom One

For those, like me, that do not have either an HDMI connector or a USB-A port on their computer, an external pass-through adapter is needed for using this pen display. My MacBook Pro M1 has only has two, USB-C Thunderbolt ports. As long as the tablet was plugged into the computer via a USB-A to USB-C adapter, I could use the external pass-through adapter for the HDMI. All I had to do after that was to download the Wacom drivers from their site.

My set-up of a MacBook Pro M1, external pass-through adaptor, and the Wacom One

According to the Wacom site, some compatible computer apps for use of Wacom One Pen Display include:
  • ibisPaint
  • MediBang paint
  • Bamboo Paper
  • Adobe Sketch
  • Infinite Painter
  • Concepts
  • Autodesk SketchBook
  • Adobe Premiere Rush
  • Jump Paint by Medibang
  • Clip Studio Paint
However, I am not an artist, so I decided to test it out using online drawing sites.
On my website, Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything, I have one page that is dedicated to online tools. Here is the list from my site. Remember, these same tools can be used with the Intuos Pen Tablet but the ease of drawing directly on the Wacom One Creative Pen Display felt more natural!

The first thing I tried was to sketchnote that same TED Talk by Matt Cutts I had previously completed. You can see from the shot of what is on the tablet, that I did a much better job this time using the Wacom One Creative Pen Display (Of course, it also could have been due to the fact I had now watched the video two times!)

I looked mostly at tools that did not require a log-in. With no login or saving, students would have to screenshot the drawings when they are finished. (Of course, these online tools work with the One by Wacom pen tablet, too.)The online tools that worked best with the Wacom One Creative Pen Display were:

ABCya Paint is an easy to use drawing tool for the youngest students. The brushes and colors are big and easy to choose and use!


InspirARTion is a great site that offers tons of features, but it did not feel overwhelming. There were pop-up helper tips which would support students as they are learning this online art tool.


Sketch Toy has a grid background, which makes it easy to draw mind maps, mechanical drawings, and project prototypes and keep them neat.


Draw Island has simple drawing tools, but it has layers available, and students can even make a hand-drawn animated GIF from this site.


AutoDraw is a very fun site! With auto-draw turned on, as a student draws, the tool provides artificial intelligence-generated icons of the item the student is trying to draw. It is a great beginner site for the non-artist. And, if one turns off the with auto-draw feature, the blank sheet is able to be used for anything!


If you are a Google Suite user, Google Drawings has a scribble mode which allows the user to draw on the blank sheet, and, of course, embellish it with text, images, or icons that the user pulls in, too.

Another cool thing that I did not think about when using the Wacom One Creative Pen Display, was that it is actually also an external second display! When I shut off "mirror screen" in the Preferences on the Mac, I could see a separate background on the Wacom Pen Display. This would come in very handy for virtual meetings. 

For example, as you can see below, after picking "Play Keynote in window" I could drag my open Keynote presentation to the Pen Display, but I could control the presentation and see my notes on the laptop. When presenting, I would pick the "external display" for the audience to see, and still be able to refer to my notes.

The Wacom One Creative Pen Display is a great pen display. It is easy to set-up and use. It feels natural to draw with the pen. The matte surface makes the pen display feel like a piece of paper, too!

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I want to thank Wacom for sending me the tablets to review and for their development of these new, lower price-point products that provide excellent tablets for K-12 teachers and students! 

Thanks also to Thomas Fresco for help with some items in the post!