Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Document Camera Forum

Teachers at my school are somewhere between being the sheep and the shepherds. In my division, Lower School, teachers have actually reached the point where they are asking for hardware, rather than being "introduced" to hardware they are expected to use. It's a lovely moment I am trying to savor. This spring, teachers in first and fourth grades have requested document cameras. Fairly frothing with excitement that they had requested something of me, I quickly agreed to research it and provide one or two for a pilot program. Of course, I will stand by my word, but after doing a bit of research I remain unconvinced that the document camera will be used as little more than a 21st Century Overhead projector. I guess that can be ok, since all technologies should be improved over the years.

Ben Rimes over at The Tech Savvy Educator posted about the topic recently and he's mostly in favor of them, citing an article by Leigh Carter called "Today's Learners Thrive with ELMO in the Classroom." He's right, it's a convincing article on how it can be used. I'm still not sold. But then, I guess that's my job: helping teachers to see beyond the obvious first uses of the tool. *Sigh*.
Image credit: www.visualedtech.com


ben said...

The Appian Way began with just a single stone, Alecia. Remember, that as the demographics of teachers begins to change, we will slowly start to see educators branch out from more traditional uses of technology.

Sure, replacing an overhead projector is just about the simplest way to use a document camera, but imagine having one in every room when that first teacher gets excited about a new use, and it spreads like wildfire. If the tools are accessible by everyone, and not just a few, then more and more creative uses are likely to pop-up. And in the meantime, you're saving the school the hundreds of dollars it would be spending on overhead markers and plastic overhead sheets.

Alecia Berman-Dry said...

Ben, I do recognize the nature of change and its logical progression. The Diffusion of Innovations is one of my favored topics of study. The real issue is that we have moved away from overhead projectors entirely with our LCD projectors. It feels like a step backwards to take a step forwards. You know?

RunSingTeach said...

I feel like having a document projector is just another way of using mass-made materials in instruction; they just happen to be made of paper instead of transparency sheets.

Also, I feel like if we have these amazing and beautiful LCD projectors in our classrooms, why is there a need for a doc projector? If we really want to use workbook materials, we should just use scanners....

Just a thought, but I'm not particularly objective as I am in love with my Epson.