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Document Cameras

Page history last edited by Theresa 14 years, 10 months ago

Document Camera Tips and Hints

1) When showing writing under the camera, use a dark, thick pen. Pencil is harder to see.


2) Try to frame the whole page so you don't have to refocus the camera as often.


3) Landscape view paper may be easier (when possible) so you don't have to move the paper to see all of it.


4) If showing a book under the document camera, try to use a book with matte paper, rather than glossy paper. With glossy paper, you may need to play with the lighting more.


5) If objects need to be seen from the side (like a glass of liquid) or are too big to be placed on the working surface, the camera head and the light of the document camera can be turned toward them. Hold the object (space permitting) in front of the desk and tilt the camera head towards it.


6) When creating a document to project with a document camera use big simple text. Fonts without serifs, like Ariel, are easiest to read. Font size should be 14 or larger.


7) Use a butcher paper mat underneath with drawn out areas for the location of the camera and the items/ paper to be shown.


8) Be aware of the jewelry you may be wearing and how your nails may be painted. Flashy jewelry or bright or detailed nails can district students (all of them at first, then the students with attention issues may always be distracted.) Metal jewelry can also cause light to reflect back, and make the camera adjust the brightness too much.


9) When you are pointing at an object under the document camera, consider using a chopstick or pencil rather than your finger, so you block less of the visible area.


10) When possible, use light gray, light blue, or pale green colored paper as your background. Bright white paper can cause glare and be harsh on the eyes. 


Have you considered...?

1) Using the document camera during show and tell or student presentations so students at the back of the room can see the speaker. Turn the camera to face the student during their presentation. (Pair this with a microphone or sound amplification system [click here for another system], and even the whisperers can participate.) Students can also use the document camera to enlarge posters during presentations.


2) If your camera has picture capture capabilities, you can create digital student portfolios by placing work under the camera, snapping a picture, and saving it for conferences or to show progress throughout the year. (No more piles of paper stacking up in the corners!)


3) If your camera can record video, make mini movies of key points in a math or science lesson. Students who missed class or need a reminder can watch the video to fill in the missing pieces.


4) If your camera can capture video, students can record their presentations or speeches ahead of time to practice or to be able to show it as a video, instead of live.


5) Try the split screen function to show before and after, especially in science.


6) Freeze the image if it's going to be up for awhile. That way, when students bump into the camera, it doesn't mess up what you were showing.


7) Capture step by step directions in art, math, or science.


8) Project a blank map or item to be labeled in science, math or social studies, then label on the white board.


9) Create claymation movies by having students capture their statues "in motion." Or create a "Common Craft" type video by having students snap pictures using the document camera.


10) Put a timer under the doc cam so students know how much time they have left on a task.


11) Project a blank piece of lined paper onto your white board. Now you and your students can write directly on the whiteboard and keep the writing straight and neat. Download lined paper here.


12) Have a student who struggles focusing on his/her work do the assignment under the document camera. With a writing assignment, there are no "right" answers, so it doesn't really matter if the other students can see. Using this method, the teacher is able to check progress on this student from anywhere in the room with a quick glance.



Features to Find on your Document Camera


How do you switch back and forth between the camera and your computer?


How do you capture images? (Or can you even capture images?) Where are images stored? How are images retrieved?  What kind of memory card will you need? How big should the memory card be?


How do you capture video? (Or can you?)


How do you focus the camera?


How does it connect to a microscope?


Are there different modes for using text or images?


How can you best combat glare from shiny paper? Did the camera come with an anti-glare sheet?


How do you make the camera go to split screen?


How do you rotate an image?


Will the camera switch out of color and into black and white? When might you use this feature?


Will the document camera switch to a negitive mode (look like an x-ray?) When might you use this feature?


What other features does the document camera have?


Camera-Specific Resources

These are links to videos or training materials for specific cameras.


Aver Media- Videos for using several models, as well as lesson plans and more.



Getting Started with Elmo TT-02- 2 minute video showing how to use the included software.

60 Sec Tech- Intro to the Elmo- 5 minute video about ELMO basics

60 Sec Tech- Capturing a Still Image

Instruction Manual


How to Connect your Laptop, ELMO and Projector Handouts

Connecting Your Computer.doc

Connecting Your Compute1.doc

ELMO buttons.doc



Getting Started with Your Lumens


Other Document Camera Resources


Show Me Great Lessons- a booklet of lesson plans using a document camera


Edutopia article on document cameras and writing


How are teachers using document cameras? Let me count the ways...

101 Doc Cam Uses.pdf


eMINTS Document Camera Ideas


Document Camera Integration Ideas


6 Things to Know about Document Cameras

6 things about doc cams.doc


Doc Cams in the Classroom


Using Doc Cams in Class- This site has some examples of ways to teach teachers how to use their document cameras!


Document Camera Introduction- A movie that can be a great intro to document cameras for teachers who've never encountered one before!


Letter Tiles- Want to use letter tiles to make words? Try these.


Sustainable Classroom Project- here are case studies showing how teachers use document cameras and interactive white boards to engage students.


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