Photo courtesy of Joshua Golden
Hunched over, junior Joshua Golden neatly writes solutions to a set of math problems. Using a lined piece of paper, he meticulously prints out each addition sign and variable, taking special care to make it legible.
In front of Golden, a laptop plays the motions of his pencil in real-time. Without delay, as Golden brandishes his work across his page, every line and curve clearly appears on the screen. The source: Golden’s phone, fixed on a self-designed wooden stand called a Camera Cradle. Its camera dangles over a small centerpiece, transmitting a clear video of Golden’s work to his laptop.
The Camera Cradle arose from Golden’s desire to create a smoother virtual tutoring experience.
“The problem is that foundational math is so difficult to teach over anything but paper with these kids who are in elementary school or middle school,” Golden said. “That led us to the idea of a stand that turns your phone into a document camera.”
After developing initial prototypes out of wire coat hangers, Golden used CAD software and a local hardware store to manufacture a final wooden product.
“I can always see my student’s paper, and they can always see mine. As they’re writing, I can [tell them to] watch out for a specific sign mistake and then they can erase it and keep going,” Golden said. “It allows tutoring efficiency online to get near or replicate that of in person.”
The innovation that Golden applied to the Camera Cradle extends to social interactions.
As an “extremely social” person, he has been forced to plan creative ways to still hang out with friends during the pandemic. These include hiking and having backyard campfires.
“I found it very difficult to maintain meaningful relationships solely over text and video call. Even though I can’t hang out with people in the most convenient ways, I really need to maintain these relationships by just seeing them in person every once in a while,” Golden said.
For Golden, meeting with friends doesn’t just stem from a desire for social interaction, but also from the goal of making memories.
“I have a lot of internal motivations to be making memories while I have all these opportunities, while I don’t have to worry about paying for my own food or my own rent,” Golden said. “Even if I can’t be making memories on a wrestling team or in the marching band, I can still make memories by meeting friends outside.”