Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Why a Document Camera?

by: Shirley Coupal & Leanne Holstein

A document camera is a quick and easy way to integrate technology into the classroom. 

Even someone who is not confident with technology can hook it up to a data projector or computer in minutes. It is useful at ALL grade levels from Pre-K to high school.

A document camera is an excellent way to create a setting similar to a small group. Some classrooms have limited space, so it is not always practical to have a meeting corner. The document camera allows every student in the room to see the text that is being shared. In fact, any picture book or textbook can be turned into a Big Book because of the camera’s magnifying capabilities! It saves time, as nothing needs to be prepared, scanned or loaded. As well it can be relatively inexpensive.

Here are a few ways to take advantage of this simple technology:

Show and Tell Modelling:
  • think-alouds
  • leaving “tracks of our thinking” (coding text)
  • highlighting key words, phrases
  • previewing text features - titles, diagrams, photographs, captions and font
  • writing techniques/ strategies
  • the direction of reading
  • how to solve a math problem
  • how to play a math game
  • filling in forms, graphic organizers
  • science experiments
  • dissections
  • how to construct an object
  • looking up words in the dictionary
  • proper placement of hands on a musical instrument
  • math manipulatives
  • counting money
  • how to sort items 
  • patterns

Zooming in on:
  • maps
  • graphs
  • art pictures
  • microscope slides
  • units of measure-a ruler, thermometer

  • picture books
  • sheet music
  • student writing (particularly poetry because shape and line breaks are important components)
  • group work
  • 2 objects to identify similarities and differences

A student is sometimes more likely to share their writing on a document camera because the class is focusing on the screen rather than the person.  Students tend to be neater because they know their work is going to be seen.

We know there are teachers out there who have been using document cameras. What do you use your document camera for?

Shirley Coupal
Leanne Holstein