As content standards and best practices evolve, so, too, do the tools that teachers use. So long, overhead transparency and markers; hello, document cameras. I’ve tried a number of these cameras over the years, and none is as advanced as the Epson DC-12.
Attached to a rectangular base, the DC-12’s flexible arm can be adjusted to capture objects great and small. An included adapter lets teachers display images through microscopes, while an included remote control gives them the freedom to roam the classroom during instruction. The camera’s large CMOS sensor delivers superior image quality, and two white LED lights provide helpful illumination when classroom lighting is limited.
Free Your Camera From the PC
This camera also is the first I’ve used that doesn’t need to be tethered to a computer. In fact, its companion software suite packs enough power to let teachers create, annotate and play back a lesson PC-free.
The software’s easy-to-navigate user interface includes a large viewer window that displays live and previously captured media. Buttons beneath this window allow the user to snap a photo, record video with sound and set up time-lapse photography; a “burst” button captures five photos in quick succession. With the nearby “live annotation” button, teachers can add text boxes, shapes and lines to images or erase components of those images.
Thumbnails of recorded content are displayed automatically in the viewer’s left menu bar. Video clips are easily distinguishable by the iconic film reel symbol that accompanies each thumbnail. Teachers can use the editing software to trim clips, save them as photos, export them, and even upload them directly to SchoolTube and YouTube — without ever actually leaving the application.
The built-in microphone is adequate for quick, hassle-free recording. But if high-quality audio is paramount, then users may want to pick up an external microphone to plug directly into the DC-12 or pair the DC-12 with a PC and use the computer’s internal microphone.
Epson DC-12 Specifications
Dimensions:10.6x13x18.7 inches (open), 13.4x4.8x4.9 (closed)
Weight: 6.3 pounds
Output: SXGA, WXGA, XGA, HD, USB, HDMI (480p, 720p, 1080p), composite video
Capture Area: 11.7x20.7 inches (at 1080p)
Zoom: 16X digital, including picture-in-picture