Document Camera — Now You See It - Tech Learning

Document Camera — Now You See It

Teachers say that document cameras change the way they teach. Because the cameras allow them to place any object under the lens and project it in full color onto a large screen, teachers say, they help them manage the classroom, keep students engaged, and can lead to increased retention.
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By Ellen Ullman

Teachers say that document cameras change the way they teach. Because the cameras allow them to place any object under the lens and project it in full color onto a large screen, teachers say, they help them manage the classroom, keep students engaged, and can lead to increased retention. Best of all, you’ll never hear “I can’t see!” again.

CANYONS SCHOOL DISTRICT SANDY, UT

WHAT DO YOU USE?
AVERVISION V300AF+ ($700); V355AF ($800) WWW.AVERUSA.COM

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WHY DID YOUR DISTRICT GET DOCUMENT CAMERAS?
“When you work with small items, it’s hard for the whole class to see,” says Ross Rogers, media tech specialist. His science and elementary teachers, in particular, appreciate having the technology for their classes. It also helps teachers handle students, Rogers explains, because they are always facing them.

WHY THIS BRAND?
It’s what the district chose.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
“It’s sturdy. Other ones have an arm with a camera and an arm with lights, which take up so much more room. With AVer, the lights are built on. Wherever you put the camera, the lights are right there.” He also appreciates the fact that the 300 has USB and VGA cables, so he can use a laptop microphone to record, and that the 355 has a built-in microphone. “It has so many uses, whichever curriculum you teach.”

WHAT DON’T YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
“Honestly, I haven’t heard a negative comment, but if it could be wireless and operate on a battery so I could take it with my laptop, that would be great. But I’d still need a projector.”

HAS IT BEEN EASY TO INTEGRATE INTO THE CLASSROOM?
Yes, Rogers says. The third-grade teachers use it to teach cursive writing; math teachers use it to work with manipulatives. One teacher uses it as a Webcam and broadcasts guest speakers wirelessly to the classroom next door. “The teachers find new uses every day; they tell me they couldn’t teach without it.”

LOVEJOY INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT ALLEN, TX

WHAT DO YOU USE?
DUKANE 335 ($1,275 LIST PRICE; EDUCATION DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE), WWW.DUKANE.COM

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WHY DID YOUR DISTRICT GET DOCUMENT CAMERAS?
“Some of our teachers went to a summer training course and saw them in use,” says Tina Phillips, director of technology. “We let them ‘earn’ the document cameras to use for instruction. Once a handful of teachers started using them, others started requesting them as well.” Today a document camera is standard equipment in every classroom.

WHY THIS BRAND?
A vendor demonstrated them for Phillips, and she liked the way they worked.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
“It is nice and small and user-friendly.” In another district, Phillips had employed a brand that wasn’t as easy to use. “The images are clear, and we are happy with the service we get.” Last but not least, Phillips appreciates the “good price” and the five-year warranty.

WHAT DON’T YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
“I haven’t heard any complaints, and we’ve had few mechanical problems. We sent back only one or two. The bulbs are fragile and tiny, but we’ve put in only two.”

HAS IT BEEN EASY TO INTEGRATE INTO THE CLASSROOM?
Yes. The teachers use it to correct students’ work, do math manipulatives, and flip pages of books. “It’s the day-to-day stuff that is the basis of teaching. Any tool they can use every day is so valuable.”

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS TAMPA, FL

WHAT DO YOU USE?
EPSON DC-10 ($399) WWW.EPSONBRIGHTERFUTURES.COM

WHY DID YOUR DISTRICT GET DOCUMENT CAMERAS?
“We incorporated them into our presentation stations,” says Steve Newhouse, district resource teacher for 46 middle schools. “We were using Epson projectors, and it was nice to take advantage of the document cameras as well. They seemed to be a natural with many teachers.”

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WHY THIS BRAND?
Epson is responsive, Newhouse says, and he was happy with the way the company handled his projectors. “Epson products last, and the company provides good service.”

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
“It has lots of uses for all schools. The elementary teachers like it that it captures information from a large format, as they have big books with large pages. Other document cameras don’t let them view items as large without having to scroll.” An additional benefit is the DC-10’s portability. “Teachers love being able to fold the camera into a small box. Some of our schools are concerned about security, and it’s easy to put these away and lock them up.”

WHAT DON’T YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
“There isn’t really anything; even the price is responsible. Of course, it could always be less expensive.”

HAS IT BEEN EASY TO INTEGRATE INTO THE CLASSROOM?
“Oh, yes,” Newhouse says. “Teachers use it easily. Math teachers show how to solve problems. Some writing teachers put up student writing and highlight parts of speech. Social studies teachers use it to make mental maps to remember locations of states and other countries.”

TOPEKA DRIVE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NORTHRIDGE, CA

WHAT DO YOU USE?
ELMO TT-02RX & CRP-22 PROJECTOR ($1640) WWW.ELMOUSA.COM

WHY DID YOUR DISTRICT GET DOCUMENT CAMERAS?
Topeka Drive is a Korean-language dual-language school. “When the teacher has to write a sentence on the board in Korean, it takes a long time and the children don’t see it clearly,” says Gina M. Metzelar, Korean dual-language program representative. “The research shows that document cameras help kids pay more attention.”

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WHY THIS BRAND?
Metzelar did a lot of research and evaluated several document cameras. “The ELMO’s features answered my needs. I knew that the children would benefit greatly from the microscope attachment, from connecting to the Internet, and from seeing everything so clearly.”

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
“I love the interaction it allows. Whether students are reading in Korean or English, everyone can follow along. It has great highlighting features.” The ELMO has so many positives, Metzelar says, she can’t list them all. “Our scores in math and in fluency in Korean have gone up. After three months we had already seen improvements.”

WHAT DON’T YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
“The price,” Metzelar says, laughing. She can afford only one, which is shared among four classes.

HAS IT BEEN EASY TO INTEGRATE INTO THE CLASSROOM?
“Absolutely. All schools should have this product. It makes teaching so much easier, and they are able to teach more. It expands their ability to teach in depth.”

Other Document Camera Providers

¦ CANON
www.usa.canon.com/home

¦ LUMENS
www.myladibug.com

¦ QOMO
www.qomo.com

¦ SAMSUNG
www.samsung.com/us

¦ SMART TECHNOLOGIES
smarttech.com

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