Zoom Out Of The Classroom With A Mushroom Button

Considering the state of well, everything, we can’t tell you how glad we are to be out of school. That goes double for not being a teacher these days. [Elena] had some awesome light-up tactile buttons set aside for a killer Kerbal Space Program controller, but it’s funny how a pandemic will change your priorities. Instead, those buttons found a good home in this colorful and enticing Zoom control panel.

[Elena]’s ready pile of Arduinos yielded no Leonardos or Pro Micros, but that’s okay because there’s a handy bootloader out there that allows you to reprogram the USB interface chip of an Uno or a Mega and use it as a keyboard. After setting that up, it was mostly a matter of wiring all those latching and momentary buttons and LEDs to the Mega and making them look fantastic with a set of icons. (We all know the big red mushroom button is for aborting the call; so does it really need an icon?)

[Elena] was inspired by the Zoom call-terminating pull chain we saw a month or so ago as well as the pink control box that launched a thousand or so macro keyboards. Have you made your own sanity-saving solution for our times? Let us know!

16 thoughts on “Zoom Out Of The Classroom With A Mushroom Button

  1. Where is everyone getting their buttons/switches these days? I was looking at using some industrial, LED illuminated, push-on push-off, control buttons for a panel, but $30, 40, or more, a pop is a bit of a turn off. (To be fair, I was researching Siemens *twitch* as they were what was in a similar panel and those Sirius-Act modules are pretty at least…)

  2. Instead of tinkering with ESCape buttons … I’d very much prefer teachers who actually CARE about keeping “their” kids motivated to learn. There are those who literally rip their legs off, post bidaily “keep things running” videos and try whatever they can to get kids through this times, known that these 1-2 years will otherwise be COMPLETELY lost to them (pre-school and primary school times are THAT important, really).
    And then there are those teachers – from my impression actually most of them – who post a single “homework assignment” once a week, if at all. Who only moan on Freakbook about how hard home-officing is and that they long for that Italian restaurant to open again.

    These ARE HARD times. While I enjoy a gigle every now and then, I’d very much prefer seeing things that make life easier for most/all of us , not ESCape buttons.

    1. Damn, dude, I AM one of the teachers trying to keep it together and thought this was clever! That’s how we’re getting through it, keeping a sense of humor. Your concern is appreciated but don’t try to appropriate our difficulty and then shit on the majority of the members of our profession. We’re fine without your input. thanks.

      Also, go correct your spelling/syntax errors, fix that sentence fragment, and resubmit your work.

    2. Have you ever thought that the people who are creative enough to come up with things like the one presented here, are the same people who care about their work and try hard to make on-line teaching more engaging? I know there are bad, lazy teachers out there, but you, sir, are looking for them in the wrong place.

    3. The reason for building it was to make my online teaching better for students, not for the lols — less time for me fussing around with remembering/looking keyboard shortcuts means more time for answering student questions, the camera-switch button makes utilizing an extra webcam setup as a doc cam much easier to quickly go back and forth to for answering questions related to math problems, the light-up recording buttons makes it so I’m much less likely to remember to record class for students who can’t make it, etc. At-a-glance, I now have much better control of online classroom technology, which in turns means more of my mental power is focused where it should be — on the students.

      1. I honestly wish my university teachers cared like you do. They never even tried to learn how to use Microsoft Teams which is what they’re told to use. Anyway, that’s really awesome. Keep up the good work.

  3. Neat project.

    Having a real Mic is live light could be a real help.

    They python code looks like it reads the status (mute, etc.) from the Zoom client, but having trouble figuring out how it sends that to the button box.

    Zoom supports certain usb devices, would emulating one of them net one a real mute button (instead of Zoom’s toggle, which gets complicated when the host unmutes you at the same time as you are unmuting yourself.)

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