This New App for Teachers Turns an iPhone Into an Overhead Camera for Zoom

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Virtual learning isn't getting any easier for teachers and students as time goes on, but the technology is definitely adapting. So at least there's that.

Overviewer is a new app for iOS that turns your iPhone into a document camera on Zoom and other video conferencing apps. You remember document cameras from school, right? The overhead projectors that let teachers display worksheets to the class. Of course, the entire class would simultaneously sigh at the sight of one, but they're effective, nonetheless.

The Overviewer app is completely free and can replace traditional document cameras that are pricey and cumbersome to keep around—especially as teachers work from home.

Charlie Chapman, creator of the popular Dark Noise ambient sound app, developed Overviewer, according to 9To5Mac. In a blog post, he explained his inspiration behind the app.

"My wife is a Kindergarten teacher and when COVID hit she had to figure out how to teach a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds how to draw letters over Zoom. Initially she made her own document camera using her iPhone and the default camera app. Zoom has a wonderful feature where you can share your iPhone's screen by plugging into your laptop with a lightning cable or even wirelessly over AirPlay but when you open the camera app there are two issues.

  1. There's a bunch of buttons and chrome around camera view so it looks clunky.
  1. The camera app doesn't actually rotate when you turn it sideways (just some of the labels) so you can only share your phone in portrait mode which means huge black bars on each side of the zoom call and a tiny video stream of what you want to share."

Here's how it works