By Teachers, For Teachers
Document cameras are an amazing technology in the classroom tool to have. These helpful devices can transform a boring technology in the classroom lesson into an engaging one. Don’t have a document camera? You can transform your iPad (with the help from a stand) and an Apple TV. All you have to do is place your iPad onto the stand and link it to your Apple TV. This is actually even better than a document camera, because a document camera only has the ability to project a single image, while an iPad has the ability to project multiple images. Here are a few fun technology in the classroom ways to use your document camera in the classroom.
Place a blank piece of paper under the document camera. Start a picture (like a house, a person, an object, etc.) and have students come up one at a time to finish it. Each student takes turns coming up to the camera and adds a shape or a line to the drawing. The end result depends on what the students took turns creating. It’s a fun way to keep students engaged while in a whole group setting. Students will love to see what the end result looks like.
Turn your document camera into a Scrabble board. Take the letters from the popular game Scrabble and have students take turns coming up to the camera to create words with the letters. For example, start with an easy word like “School.” Then randomly call upon a student to choose a few letters to make a word off of that word. This “Making words” game is yet another great way to keep your students engaged in a whole class setting.
A document camera is great for dissecting stuff. If your students are young, then dissecting an animal is out of the question, so your next best option is to dissect a plant, a flower, or even a piece of food. Students will love to explore an object even more under the document camera because when you zoom in, you can really see the beauty of a flower or a leaf. It also gives students the opportunity to see how things can look quite different when you view them close up.
If your students aren’t into flowers, plants, or food, then you can try to dissect an old iPhone or an old iPad to see how it’s made. Older students may find technology to be more interesting since that is what the love to use every day.
Play the game 20 Questions, where students work together as a class to find out what the object under the document camera is. There are two ways that you can do this, the first being to place an unfamiliar object under the camera and show it to the students in its full form. The second way is to shield a familiar object from the students, but to zoom in on it so they won’t recognize what it is. Students would then take turns asking one question to figure out what the object is.
Have your students become super sleuths and try to find as many hidden objects as they can on the paper that you placed under the document camera. A great site to find and print hidden object worksheets is on Highlights for Kids. Have students take turns coming up to the camera and circling the hidden objects as they find them.
It can be quite hard to show all of your students a point of interest on a map, but with a document camera you can place the map under the camera to zoom in and show all students what you are talking about at the same time.
As mentioned earlier, you can turn your iPad into a document camera quite easily. All you have to do is place your iPad on a stand and link it to your Apple TV to mirror the image on the screen. iPads have the ability to do many things, one being they have a lot of apps that you can display to your students. If you want to demonstrate how to work a specific app without teaching one student at a time, using it as a document camera is your best option. If you do not have an Apple TV, you can always just place your iPad under your document camera (instead of using it as a camera) and show your students that way. However, if you do it this way, there may be a glare from the iPad screen.
These are a just a few of the hundreds of ways that you can use a document camera in your classroom. Teachers have found using the camera to display graphs, student work, demonstrating science experiments, and completing a graphic organizer also to be a very effective way to use the tool.
How do you use a document camera in your classroom? Do you have any tips or tricks that work well for you? Please share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.