Posted Under (Document Cameras in Business, Point 2 View (P2V) USB Document Camera, VZ-1 VGA/USB Dual-Mode Document Camera, Ziggi-HD/Ziggi-HD Plus Document Cameras, APPLICATION, All Applications) by tracy_ipevo on 07-23-2015
More and more educators are embracing the document camera as part of their ed tech arsenal. Here’s why.
There are a dizzying array of options for educators looking to embrace ed tech. But with budgets only stretching so far, teachers and IT administrators have to be choosy about which devices are right for them. Here are four reasons why many educators are choosing document cameras as the “go to” tech in their classrooms.
The Master of Multitasking
For the uninitiated, document cameras capture documents, textbooks, 3D objects, artwork, and devices with screens (like a phone or iPad), and then stream real-time video to a computer or other device. With a computer-projector or computer-TV combo, teaching material can be presented for an entire classroom.
We already touched on the wide range of media a doc cam can capture — everything from handwritten math equations to science experiments to paintings to phone app tutorials. This feature alone vaults doc cams into official “versatile” status. But outside of the different media, just consider a doc cam’s multitude of uses in a classroom/educational setting.
Doc cams can be used like web cameras for distance learning, tutoring, cross-cultural exchanges, and e-learning videos. They can be outfitted with a microscope adapter for science class. They can enlarge text for the visually impaired. They can act as surveillance cameras for long-term classroom projects, like incubating eggs and waiting for them to hatch. And they can be used for edutainment — everything from Jeopardy!-style trivia to picture games for preschoolers. The doc cam’s multitasking capability makes it an attractive fit for teachers at all different levels of education.
The Price is Right
The era of the bulky and expensive overhead projectors is gone, and a new generation of affordable document cameras has made this technology very accessible for teachers with tight budgets. The IPEVO-brand line of document cameras, for example, range from a mere $69 for the Point 2 View USB doc cam to $159 for the wireless iZiggi-HD doc cam. That’s a far cry from the hundreds of even thousands of dollars you could spend on overhead projectors or the older generation of doc cams. Considering the uses described above, the “bang for the buck” factor is off the charts.
Ease of Use
On a related note, many modern doc cams are extremely simple to use, and they certainly don’t need special training like the ed tech devices of yesteryear. They also don’t need expensive software (and expensive upgrades to that software), and they don’t require regular maintenance. This out-of-the-box simplicity means that there are no hidden costs of ownership. It also means that even younger students can use these doc cams just as readily as their teachers.
Teachers have long been tempted by “the next new thing” which turns out to be frustratingly difficult to use or too limited for any kind of real-world application. Education technology is only worth it when it can be used, quickly and effectively. Otherwise, it just gathers dust on a shelf! And that is certainly not the case for document cameras, which see regular use — day in and day out.
Portability and Mobility
The stereotypical image of a teacher glued to the chalkboard and lecturing with a pointer — as his or her students passively look on — is becoming a relic of the past. We now know that both teachers and students benefit from “breaking the mold” and finding new ways to interact, both with each other and with the material. One-on-one sessions, breaking off into small groups, sharing student work with the class, and active student participation at the board are just a few of the ways educators are innovating in order to increase engagement.
Given this emerging trend toward a fluid and mobile learning environment, ed tech devices need to be similarly nimble. And again, the new-gen doc cams are equipped to shine. These doc cams are portable and lightweight, and are intended to be easy to carry and transport. In the IPEVO Point 2 View’s case, the camera and stand together weigh only a little more than one pound! So whether it’s swapping desks, swapping classrooms, or taking a field trip, most doc cams are more than up to the task.
Naturally, the document camera is best as one tool in a teacher’s toolkit, and educators always need to weigh their needs against the available budget. But as we’ve seen, there are several good reasons why teachers are utilizing the document camera as an essential piece of tech for the modern classroom.