Sunday, June 14, 2009

Top 7 Ways To Use A Document Camera In The Classroom

During our weekly professional development on Friday, I shared a list of the Top 7 Ways to Use A Document Camera In The Classroom with my colleagues. Now I'm happy to do the same with all of you. The model similar to what I've used for years and recommend is the AVerMedia AverVision 300AF+. Here we go!
  1. Provide Clarity - When you or your students are referring to a specific item in any document, book, or anything else that you can put under the camera, you can clearly show exactly what you (or they) are referring to. Zooming in and out, and repositioning the camera is easy.
  2. Read Aloud - When reading aloud as a whole class, you can show exactly what you're reading by putting the book under the DC. This helps reach learners who may have trouble staying engaged with a paper or book in front of them. More importantly, this is especially useful when you don't have enough copies of whatever you're reading.
  3. Aid 3D Visualization - By moving the camera around, you can look at three-dimensional items from different angles and perspectives in a way that all students can see. When studying questions on multiple perspectives of three-dimensional objects, I would use Jenga blocks and show top, side, front and angled views to mimic state test questions.
  4. As a Poor Man's Smartboard - Write on, annotate and manipulate items that are projected on to the board without actually marking them up, just as you would with smartboard markers. I did this last summer in my Math & Website Design course.
  5. Make Your Tech Setup Simpler - Most DCs are set up to be hooked up to both a computer and projector for push-button switching. Show a slideshow or website, then switch to the camera to take notes or look at the related assignment.
  6. Save the Earth - Eliminate the need for transparencies and accessories that come with them (not to mention Expos and whiteboard materials since you'd likely need to write on the board less). You can use any paper to write on, so why not reuse all of those single-sided printouts you would otherwise discard? Then, you can still recycle them--sucessfully using all three Rs! They're also easier to save if you need to, and you can give them to students who need to see them after your lesson is over.
  7. Relocate for More Engagement - The DC setup allows you to away from the board, in the center of the room, facing your students. Your proximity and ability to see them more clearly will eliminate a lot of problems before they start. It may also be easier to get students to participate by having them come up to the camera instead of the board, both because of the location and the chance to play with cool technology. Most importantly, if you have even a half way decent LCD projector, it works better with the lights ON, so no more of the troubles you get from sitting in the dark.
I'm only scratching the surface here, so I'm looking forward to a flurry of suggestions and questions from my intrepid readers.