Digital Doors was created as a place for me to blog and share resources that I think would be helpful for teachers integrating technology in meaningful ways in their classroom. My goal would be to write a blog post a week, but with my busy schedule, that doesn't happen. I write when I can and rely on nifty tools to help me share what I am finding when I don't have time to write.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Using Document Cameras to Improve Student Learning
Marco Torres talks about focusing on the Verbs, not the Nouns. This is not an easy task when planning the roll out of a Tech Levy. Lots of talk about equipment, wiring, furniture etc. How many computers in each room? Where and how should we mount projectors? Who gets what when? These are all important considerations, but we need to remember that the real focus needs to be on what we are going to DO with these new resources? How can we best use these resources to meet the needs of learners. One THING on our list of equipment we would like to eventually have as a standard in every classroom is a document camera. A document camera, for those unfamiliar with this technology, is basically a small camera mounted on a stand which is hooked up to an LCD projector. A presenter is able to place objects or documents under the camera and project its image onto a screen for the audience to see. It functions somewhat like an overhead projector on steroids. However, a document camera offers enormous advantages over an overhead projector. Ask most any teacher with a document camera if they would be willing to give up their document camera and go back to using an overhead projector and you will most likely hear a list of reasons of why that would not be a good move. The capabilities of the document camera far outweigh the capabilities of the overhead projector. Instead of giving you my own list, I have asked others to share how they are using document cameras to improve student learning. The list is long and limited only to imagination. So why don't we already have a document camera in every classroom? Initial cost is probably the most prominent answer. Currently, a document camera can be purchased for around $400. But in order to project the camera, you also need a projector. Making the initial cost about $1000. The projector is a valuable tool in itself, and the list of potential uses for improving student learning with just a projector and computer is also endless. Teachers will also tell you that with clever use of document cameras and projectors, you can save huge amounts on paper and printing, as many activities and assignments that would have to be printed so that all could participate, can now be displayed on the projector for all to see. For me, the power is in student interaction and accountability and the increased opportunities for sharing and collaborating with others. Teachers will tell you, that when they use their document cameras as more than an overhead projector on steroids, it is transforming for student learning and engagement.
Here are a few resources with ideas of how to use document cameras in class.
Teaching Tips For Using a Document Camera
(Lots of great resources and lists of ideas from this link.)
Document Cameras in the Classroom
Classroom Uses for the Document Camera
Are Document Cameras the Next Big Thing?
Document Camera Ideas Handout
I asked my Professional Learning Network on Twitter and Plurk for their ideas about using a document camera to improve student learning.
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