Use of Document Cameras in Classroom

As trainers, I’m sure you use whiteboards maybe in a pinch, a flip chart for interactive illustrations. Consider also, the use of a document camera, which is essentially an optical camera positioned over a controlled area often called a “stage”. A document camera is the modern version of an overhead projector, is sometimes called a visual presenter or a visualiser.

I have only used cameras from Elmo however Epson and several other manufacturers offer models with various capabilities.

These cameras are great for show-and-tell type illustrations where the object is small or you need to demonstrate detailed features. An example might be, showing hard drive connections or even displaying printed documents. Additionally, I like to use them for smartphone operational demonstrations. Smartphones have the capability to project or cast their display to projection devices a la screen mirroring to Apple TV for iOS devices. However, I don’t like how this looks and feels from the student perspective, I’d much rather show my hand and finger movements while operating the device.

There are a variety of features on modern document cameras. Consider options for lighting, camera resolution, zoom and connectivity to the projection system.  Some cameras even record audio and video during their use.  Size, space, and portability are also a consideration – and oh yeah, cost!

Currently, I use an Elmo with its HDMI output sent to a video matrix switch so I can control its projection to all or some of our classroom’s 3 flat screens.

Here are some photos to start you on your search for the perfect camera.

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