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Document Cameras 101
Posted on Monday, April 25, 2022
Document Cameras 101

April 25, 2022 - What is a document camera? You might have heard some teachers raving about their ELMO document camera and wondered, "what is this document camera that everyone is excited about and why would I need one as an educator?" These common questions are the impetus behind this short article.

In the simplest form, a document camera is a camera with a stable neck that is used to take clear photos or to show an object that is in front of the lens to a digital screen.

Let's break it down further. Its most common use in a K-12 setting is to present the image from the document camera to a receiving screen, such as, a TV, laptop computer, or even a projector for others to see on a small or large scale.  A great example of this on a small scale would be a science teacher performing a technical experiment in front of the classroom under the document camera, that is being broadcasted to each students' laptop screen, while they follow along intently. What's interesting about this example is that the experiment can be recorded for future use, or it can be shared with students accessing the class remotely at home.

Some of the benefits of having a document camera as an educator are:

  1. It presents object with crystal clear imaging.
  2. You can be hands free with a stable picture.
  3. It doubles as web cam and a document camera all-in-one, a nice accidental ad-on during the pandemic (you can either toggle the screens or flip the camera between your face and the object under the cam).
  4. Zoom capable – zoom in and out quickly to point out granular details of an object, without losing your students' attention.
  5. Don't miss anything. There's no need to turn you back to the classroom while presenting with a document camera. Whether you are in-person or online, you can always see your students.  It enables you to face the class in-person, or to see your students faces on-screen using video meetings.

Popular uses for your document camera:

  1. Demonstrations- math problems, science experiments, showing them how to use a piece of equipment or technology, art process, using a calculator, etc.
  2. Modeling exercises- demonstrate to students how you want them to fill out their assignments.
  3. Showing students' work (ELMO Classroom shows it on everyone's screen).
  4. Reading to the class or showing textbooks if there aren't enough, or highlighting something interesting, etc.
  5. Self- or peer-checking of work, guide them how to make improvements.
  6. Annotations on a doc or image.
  7. Use with an interactive board (ELMO Board is great for this) to show animations, videos, interactive media, etc. Extra tip: if you don't have an interactive board, you can put an iPad under the camera to show animations, or fun teaching items.
  8. Time lapse recordings- seed growing, piece of art being created, long science experiments. Anything that is too long for one lesson, showing the whole process in minutes.
  9. Zoom in like a microscope for a science experiment.
  10. Use mini white boards or our accompanying ELMO Writing Board for quick and easy annotating and erasing. Pro tip, have a few at the ready to switch in and out.

Whichever way you decide to you use a document camera, your students will benefit greatly from the visual aid. For more information on which document camera is right for your classroom, our helpful team of ELMO Education Consultants are here to help. Click here for assistance. Happy teaching and thank you for all your hard work!