I've always wanted a document camera in my classroom, so yesterday I made my own - using my iPad. Here's a quick rundown of how to do this:
- Purchase a VGA Adapter Cable. You can pick one up online for around 20 bucks.
- Create your iPad stand. For mine, I borrowed a ring stand from the science department and clamped it to a clipboard. It was sturdy and could safely accommodate the weight of my iPad.
- Use a VGA cable to connect the adapter to the projector. You now have a fully functioning document camera!
1. Use it as a document camera
Once the iPad is connected to the projector and "mounted" onto the ring stand, the most basic use of this set up is as a document camera. Simply open the camera app and you're ready to go. As an English teacher, this is a natural fit in my classroom. Today, for example, while students worked on rough drafts essays on examples of irony in O. Henry's The Ransom of Red Chief, I circulated the room and occasionally scooped up a paper and slid it under the iPad. It projected nicely onto the screen and I was then able to use these student papers to give suggestions as well as to have the group peer edit. It was far more efficient that having students line up at my desk to individually edit with me.
2. Record demonstrations
Switch the camera app to video mode, hit record, and you now have a work area capable of recording demonstrations and voice narration. This is an effortless way for teachers to kill two birds with one stone- while providing instruction in class, they are simultaneously creating a video "study guide" that can be posted on the class website or blog for students to review.
3. Real-time Kahn Academy
If you're not familiar with the wildly popular Khan Academy videos, click here to see what you've been missing. If you're already aware of the instructional potential behind the Flipped Classroom concept, then give it a try using your iPad. Similar to recording demonstrations, apps like Show Me and ScreenChomp allow the user to create a video that captures finger strokes as well as voice narration. Again, these videos can be recorded live in class and then used later as asynchronous review for students.
4. Hands-on mind mapping
I've always considered mind mapping to be a natural fit for tablet devices because brainstorming tends to work best when ideas can be easily manipulated, moved, and reorganized. Apps like Popplet and MindMash are great for doing just that, and the addition of a projector makes it possible for mind mapping on the iPad to become a group process rather than an individual or small group task.
5. Annotating Student Work
Let's take a closer look at using the iPad as a document camera. In addition to simply viewing student work, the iPad can also very easily snap pictures. From there, teachers can quickly load that image into an app like Doodle Buddy or Show Me to create an environment where the work can be easily annotated, highlighted, or otherwise marked up by either the teacher or other participating students.
I'm sure I'm missing all kind of fantastic ideas. What are your thoughts?
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