Monday, May 9, 2011

Low cost document camera

Technology is another thing I love. Using it in my class equals instant engagement and that is totally a WBT philosophy. Plus I think we all should be able to use and get technology easily and for a reasonable price. I’m sure my school has figured out that if they don’t have technology I will acquire it myself, it’s that important to me.

If you have a computer and projector hook up in your class and you are dying for a document camera I have successfully got one set up without getting an official document camera (too much money if you ask me). You will need a standalone web cam. I mean one that attaches to you computer not that cheap one that comes built in. I picked up my camera a while ago because my built in web cam was bad. I like things being mult-talented, technology is expensive I like to be able to use it a lot.

1.) Get a webcam get one you would use for other purposes besides a document camera. Later I will post a list of ideas for doc cams and web cams. Don’t set yourself up to need a different camera later to do other things. I waited until a nice one was on sale at Best Buy. Consider an HD or high resolution cam to make it easier to read words on paper.
2.) Get a tripod. At least a table top one. Target has options between 15-40 dollars. Some are table top and some extend farther. It needs to be about 10-20 inches from the table top depending on the camera’s zoom abilities and resolution. Personally I would get one I can set on the table, I have visions of my students tripping on the tripod legs.
3.) Install software that came with your camera. You can probably use any software but I find the basic software works fine.
4.) Turn it all on. Once the camera is on it will show you in real time whatever is in front of the lens. It will not save unless you record or take a picture.
5.) You will need to have the camera on in order to find the best arrangement. If possible get the camera and tripod to the side or behind the paper location. I truly believe that students will be careful but I wouldn’t want to constantly rearrange the setup. You might want to have the kids write while under the camera, it should be useable.

Love, luck, and lollipops

P.S. I’m also working on an interactive whiteboard for less than $100. Let me get it working and then I’ll post all the details.

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