Thus far, I have never met a teacher who would willingly give up their document camera. Once teachers discover how practical and useful these devices are, they don’t ever want to let them go.
Unfortunately, the core content teachers often get first dibs at this kind of technology. Elective classes already require other resources like space and supplies, so if money is tight, this technology may not be available to these teachers.
Administrators making purchasing decisions should consider all the advantages of providing document cameras in various classes. Using these devices well can allow teachers to go beyond just displaying images. If our goal is to create higher-level thinkers, here are some ideas for students and teachers using document cameras in the classroom:
Strokes, shading, and techniques: This is a very difficult concept for a teacher to model in a class. Other than presentations with small groups of students, there isn’t a great way to model strokes and technique to a large group. This can become an “application” lesson as the students model the same strokes for the group to provide feedback on.
Viewing student work: Student-created pieces can be displayed on the document camera, helping to focus the class, allow for detailed critique, and even open up the piece of work to modification on the fly through feedback from classmates.
Investigating and evaluating wields, joints, and technique: In shop class, the teacher and students can model techniques with certain equipment for the class. This may be a little tricky with a document camera, depending on the equipment. A higher-level use would be to evaluate projects once they are finished—students could rate or rank the quality of a welding line or a dovetail joint made with the jointer tool.
Drafting and reading designs: As teachers begin to introduce drafting skills, entire lessons can be taught through the document camera. To move the lessons from lower-level thinking to higher-level thinking, the students can analyze actual plans and prints from industry. Most of these plans aren’t easily viewable by large groups because of their size and detail, so the document camera is the perfect solution.
Modeling scoring: Whether it is bowling or golf, when students are first exposed to a sport, they often have to be taught how to score it. Students can apply their knowledge by scoring a sample contest using a document camera. The teacher can place multiple scorecards on the display and compare them to one another to see where a student may have scored incorrectly.
Because most PE “classrooms” (aka gyms), aren’t set up to display on a regular basis, a projector and document camera can create a mobile classroom that displays anywhere. This isn’t just an effective way to teach, it can also turn the gym into a classroom. When space is tight, adding a projector and document camera can be a cost-effective option.
Vocal and Instrumental Music
Displaying harmony: Music teachers can use the document camera to read and explain sheet music. This could be done with a copy machine, but the document camera allows the teacher to easily show all corresponding parts at the same time. By displaying all of the parts at once, the musicians can better understand what the others are doing during the piece.
Family and Consumer Sciences
Create a Tasty video like Buzzfeed: If you’ve never seen a Tasty video before, check them out—they are wonderful! These simple videos demonstrate how to prepare food dishes. You don’t even have to read a recipe—just add the ingredients in the same order as the video, stir when they do, bake when they do, and viola! Good food! Students can create videos of the same style by using the document camera by placing the camera above their countertop as they prepare the dish. This would be a great final classroom project, and by the end of the lesson, there will be an entire meal demonstrated by the students.
Show a sewing machine stitch: Another advantage to using the document camera is showing things that normally are very hard to display. One of these demonstrations is the threading of a sewing machine. As the teacher demonstrates the steps for this complex process, students can follow along on their own machines to learn hands-on. The teacher could even use the camera to display common mistakes in threading or misfeeds in the machine and how to fix them.
My favorite, and probably the simplest use of the document camera, is reading a storybook aloud. It is so simple, yet engaging. The teacher places a book under the camera while reading it out loud to the students. This process magnifies the book for all the readers to see, allows the teacher to reference parts of the book easily, and lets the students see the words being read—which reinforces fluency and comprehension.
We are just scratching the surface of what can be accomplished in the classroom with document cameras. These are a “must have” for all teachers, especially elective teachers of all age ranges. What is your favorite way to use a document camera in the classroom? Tell us in the comments below!
Want to learn more about the MimioView document camera? Check it out now.>>