Using Document Cameras Beyond Projecting a Worksheet

Document cameras have been around for a while now – it certainly is not new technology. However, this past week has reminded me, yet again, how document cameras can serve different purposes. Yes, I know the typical situation where a teacher places a piece of paper on the desk and uses a document camera to project the paper on the wall. This way students can follow along with filling out the piece of paper. But how can you take this simple device and take it to the next level. (Again, keep in mind that these examples are not new, earth shattering ideas).
Class Demonstrations

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Mrs. Lederhos, our ceramics teacher, used the IPEVO document camera for the first time last week. She was explaining how it was hard for her whole class to look over her shoulders when she wanted to demonstrate a technique with pinch pots. She asked if she could try out a document camera to see if it would help improve the way she showcased techniques. We set her up with the document camera and things could not work any better. To the left, is a picture of her set up. Now, Mrs. Lederhos is able to demonstrate techniques in wide screen on the front of the room. I also like how she has placed the document camera on a rotating stand. This can help her with making sure that the document camera is in the right place as well as give the document camera more height. I was also impressed with how clear the picture quality was coming through during demonstration, even though there was constant movement.
Mrs. Hogan, our Photography teacher, has also found the document camera to be very helpful when needing to show her Photography students how to check settings on their digital camera prior to taking pictures. Again, she solved a situation of needing everyone in the class to see the steps rather than having to show each individual student.

Over the past couple of years, I have helped teachers create short screencasts. Teachers have created these screencasts for different purposes. However, I have had in the back of my mind that screencasts must be done with content created on a computer screen. This is not the case!
A friend of mine, Ms. Drake, who happens to be a math teacher, shared with me a visual with what she accomplished. The picture spoke to me as it made me realize that a teacher does not need to have everything electronic in order to screencast. She had her document camera connected to her laptop. She used Screencastify, a chrome extension that we use all the time in my school, to gather what is being shown on her screen. In this case, it is the document camera projection on her screen that she is recording. Rather than using Smart Notebook, or Google Slides to walk through examples, she was using her notepad to write out her mathematics. Again, you might be saying well Craig, that is not any different than a teacher filling out a piece of paper live in front of a class. You are right! But I didn’t make the connection that a teacher could in fact record a screencast with paper and pencil. 
If you would like to talk more about how document cameras can be used in your classroom, you know where to find me.
And that is my spiel…

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