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Quick Guide to Using the Document Camera

Hi friends! Last week, we talked about the importance of using video in lessons and getting kids to understand the importance of video. This week, I want to talk about the other tool we can use to really bring our lessons to life and keep it really simple for ourselves. Do you know what it is? You guessed it! It's a document camera. If you haven't grabbed the free one-hour training on it, grab it HERE.

When I first started out teaching online, I had no idea how to use the document camera successfully. It was frustrating to show materials to my students. It was wobbly and always fell off my desk. It seemed like other materials were also showing up under the document camera. I wasn't using the tool correctly.

Since then, I've learned some quick tips and tricks to really set yourself up for success with a document camera. A lot of these tips you can start doing tomorrow to make your lessons better for you and your students. Once you know the basics of setting up the document camera, you can do all the rolling to your desk to get your materials that you want. 😊

When you think about the document camera, you have to think about the background just like you would when you go virtual in video. Think about the ease of access and use and the ability to showcase your materials without frustration.

If you want a bit of information on my favorite document camera, go to this POST or see the full demo HERE. If you've been a good teacher this year, make sure to put the InSwan document camera on your list.🧑‍🎄

The first thing to think about is where is your document camera? Is your document camera on a granite countertop or a grainy, brown desk? One thing I realized when I had my document camera on my countertop was that even the background of the countertop was distracting to the kids. It didn't provide a clear presentation, especially when we wanted to mark-up or use the tools.

I went out and purchased an IKEA desk. I love it! You don't necessarily need to have a white IKEA desk if you have the misfortune of working on a countertop or grainy desk. All you need to do is grab a piece of poster board, felt, or a placemat. Just make sure it's white. You will now have a nice background beneath your document camera.

Now, our document camera should have a nice background just like the way we set up our virtual background. Next, we have to think about how you are going to show your materials effectively. You will notice that some document cameras have longer necks than others. There are some expensive models that might have a longer neck than my favorite brand the InSwan, but I find that if I put the InSwan on a pedestal, it's just as great as the more expensive brands. By that, I just mean put it on a shelf. So, if you have a loved one that's good at woodworking, have them DIY a nice little shelf for the document camera. 😉 The one shown above is the one that I love. It's really a monitor stand so there's a back part of it that hides all of your plugs, and you can also fit material under it as well.

OK, so the background is ready, and it's set up, but OH NO, now you have cords in front of you and you don't know whether the document camera should be facing you or the other direction. Things start to get upside down and backwards. These are things that we have to think about when we're getting ready to present to our student. We have to make sure that the cords are hidden and that it's in a stable place and not falling off the desk like mine used to.

The camera also has to face the right way, so the kids are not seeing things upside down. I recommend that you practice, practice, practice! Practice in your own meeting so that you're going to know which way your document camera should face. If it's not a good set up, use the button on the document camera that will flip the materials around. No matter what, your students will see it going in the right direction.

Check out the demo on how to be even more organized on the dock using the document camera. You'll also get specific tips for behavior and all the best features of the camera. There's also an exciting announcement coming soon that I mention in the video.

Let me know your experience with a document camera in the comments below. Don't forget to grab the free document camera introduction video while it's still available. Grab it HERE! You'll also hear a little about the exciting announcement coming this week.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday week if you are celebrating Thanksgiving this week. I am thankful for this community, and I appreciate all of your support. This week, I am also sharing another free word card activity with you. Click HERE to download a winter word card activity. I hope you and your students enjoy it.


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