10 Ways to Use Document Cameras in the Classroom
What is a document camera?
A document camera is a real-time image capturing device that, when connected to a projector or digital display, can show videos or still photos of objects and documents for a large group of people to see. Document cameras can of course be used to display documents, but some doc cams can also show microscope samples, be used as webcams, and record audio and video.
How do I use a document camera?
The greatest benefit of document cameras is the ability to give a close-up view of small objects and documents to an entire classroom. A single doc cam can save thousands of pages of paper in a year (no need to make copies for every student!) and can even help you save money on textbooks and other class materials.
Here are ten thoughtful ways to apply document cameras in your classroom and make lessons more engaging, interactive, and memorable.
1. Zoom in on objects and specimens.
Whether you’re showing your class how a circuit board works or observing an insect, a document camera with optical zoom allows everyone present to see the most intricate aspects of your subject in perfect detail. For science class you can even use a document camera that connects to a microscope to show your class real-time video or still photos of samples, and lead a discussion about what you’re observing.
2. Read between the lines.
Document cameras are perfect for group literary analysis. A document camera with annotation software will let you highlight important passages and make annotations directly over books and documents. Doc cams with text optimization will make print clear, high contrast, and easy to read. You can also use your document camera to display group discussion questions and use the annotation feature to write down answers from students. Want to share an expensive or rare text with your class? With a doc cam, you only need one copy!
3. Record and share lessons.
Some documents have video recording capability. With a document camera that can record audio and video, you can save an entire lesson about your document, object, or specimen to the doc cam’s internal memory, your computer, or an SD card. You can then share recorded lessons with absent students, with your colleagues, or even on YouTube.
4. Get students involved.
If you’re using a document camera with a remote control, you can pass the remote around the class and allow students to zoom in on details at will. Students can come up to the camera and write answers, handle objects or specimens, or give a presentation, in view of everyone in the room.
5. Host interesting visitors.
Some document cameras can also serve as webcams. Using Skype, Google Meet, or another video chat application, you can hold a Q&A between your students and speakers from around the world. Combined with an interactive display or projector, it’ll almost be like your guest is in the room.
6. Help note takers catch up.
A document camera with split screen capabilities will allow you to show live video on one side of the screen and a still image on the other. This can be a big help for slow writers taking notes in class. After you’ve annotated over a document or demonstrated a math problem, you can take a screenshot and display it on one side of the screen, then continue working on the other side.
7. Manage your classroom.
A document camera is perfect for displaying a list of rules, daily tasks, or topics of the day to your entire class without having to pass out individual papers. You can even use it to display quiz questions, and then an answer sheet after a quiz, freeing you to work on the next task instead of reading answers out loud.
8. Enhance demonstrations.
Document cameras are ideal for art class, home economics, shop, or any other class where you want to demonstrate techniques to an entire room. Trade schools often use document cameras to demonstrate car mechanics, electrical projects, and other hands-on skills. You can even record and play back video from an earlier session. Students can come up to the camera, display their own work, and discuss their process with the class.
9. Make time to play.
Playing a game with your students? With a doc cam, you can display printed rules, dice rolls, hourglasses, game boards, and cards on a big classroom display or projector. Whether you’re playing hangman, bingo, or a board game, you can do it all with a document camera.
10. Replace your scanner.
A document camera with image capture can completely replace your classroom scanner. You can scan book pages, homework assignments, class notes, or anything else you can imagine into a digital copy that can be saved and shared online. Some scanner document cameras are even portable, so you can pack them up and take them home with your laptop! A document camera is less expensive than a smartphone and many handheld digital cameras.
Document cameras are incredibly versatile classroom tools. They come in a variety of price ranges, so you’re sure to find one within your budget. Not sure what kind of document camera you need for your classroom? Just send us an email or use our Qustomer Qare chat!