Stafford Public Schools (Stafford Springs, CT) is a nationally recognized school district and consistently strives to drive learning so that, according to their mission statement, their students are prepared “to assume productive, meaningful, and responsible roles in an increasingly competitive global society.” Made up of five schools with approximately 1500 students enrolled, Stafford is a 1:1 district, and this past school year, implemented a hybrid learning model – students learning from home and in-class.
Schools that have reopened are fastidiously following local health and safety guidelines, including physical distancing of student desks. This can hamper some common instructional practices that help students understand new concepts such as sharing math manipulatives or working as teams on science activities. Teachers need to adapt to different ways of facilitating lessons and document cameras have proven to be an easy-to-use tool for doing so.
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: