Feb 11 2010

Document Cameras Enhance Student Learning

Follow these tips to provide a more robust learning experience for your students.

More schools are looking for ways to enhance their students' learning experience through technology. One way to increase the students' enthusiasm for their schoolwork and provide them with an interactive learning experience is through the use of document cameras in the classroom. Here are some tips to get you started:

 1. Reading: Place a picture book under a document camera. As you read aloud to the class, students can follow along with the text or just listen as they look at the pictures.

2. Math: Money, counting blocks, protractors and other math tools can be placed under the document camera. Teachers and students can work with these manipulatives to solve math problems as the rest of the class watches.

3. Oral Language: Students will add more detail to their visual aids when they know their work will be displayed under a document camera. Added features such as pull-tabs, flip-out sections or tiny pictures hidden in pouches can enrich these presentations.

4. Writing: Project a piece of lined paper onto the whiteboard so students can view handwriting demonstrations on "real” paper. Edit a sentence or share a student's exemplary work while the class looks on.

5. Productivity: “Two more minutes” on a quiz or test often turns into five or 10. Solve this by placing a digital timer under the document camera to help students better budget their time.

6. Science: Put a mealworm pupa or butterfly cocoon in a clear container and place it under the document camera. When it's ready to come out, watch it emerge.

7. Social Studies: There are some things students might need to see that can't be found on the Internet. With a document camera, you can show them an old newspaper article or display an aging map. Or, you can show an example of a completed project so they can see what their work should look like when it's finished.

8. Post Objectives: If your document camera has a “text” feature, use the title button to display the objective on the top 10th of the screen throughout the lesson. No “text” feature? A written objective on a piece of paper placed just above the lesson will work just as well.

9. Enrichment/Remediation/Internet: If you have access to an iPod touch or iPhone, place the device under a document camera and play the vocabulary enrichment game Mad Libs.  Brush up on basic math facts with an application called “Math Drills.” Or, simulate an earthquake with the app “Seismometer.” In the event your school's Internet goes down, you can get online through the iPhone's data network. Just place the iPhone under the document camera and you'll have a full-screen online experience.

10. Announcements: Make your announcements more fun by pointing the document camera at your face as you speak. Praise your students, assign homework or read aloud otherwise boring instructions. Kids will enjoy watching you get a little silly.

Here are a few bonus tips if your document camera is connected to a PC:

11. Capture Images: Capture 2D and 3D objects and save them for future lessons. Besides books and worksheets, snap pictures of live insects, small animals, rocks or any other physical object. Save images as .jpg files or upload pictures to a class blog.

12. Show Videos: If your document camera records video, you can solve a multistep math problem; model a handwriting exercise; or record a scientific process, such as a chemical reaction.

13. Open Multiple Windows: Resize your document camera's image so that it doesn't take up the entire screen. Then, on the other side of the screen, you can have other windows open, such as a website, digital textbook or another application.