Thursday, September 18, 2014

Star Academy Wireless Document Cameras

Student using the iPad
document camera
At the end of last year Star Academy teachers came up with a novel request - What if instead of new document cameras we purchased teacher iPads that could wirelessly display student work and do so much more? Instead of standard ELMO or AverMedia document cameras, for roughly the same price Star Academy purchased iPads, adjustable stands, and the Reflector application for all of the teachers. As I shared in my post on display options for iPhones and iPads last week, Reflector is a program that allows users to wirelessly display devices to their computers.

Our one concern was wireless - would the new network support all 13 iPads all broadcasting at the same time along with the school's other wireless devices (iPads, Chromebooks, teacher computers)? We're about six weeks into our little experiment and things seem to be working well. The wireless is holding up and both teachers and students have found the iPads simple to use.

Student work displayed
during Author's Chair
Through Reflector and an iPad teachers can quickly move about the room displaying different pieces of student work. They can also connect the iPad to the stand and provide a more traditional lesson under the iPad's camera. What iPad apps are they using? The teachers are keeping it simple, primarily using the iPad's native Camera app, as well as a free app called Stage that allows users to add annotations. The document camera function is just one piece to the iPad's use in the classroom. The teachers are also using these devices to model for students use of apps that are on the student iPads including iMovie, Keynote, and Pages. What's kind of handy is that switching between document camera and one of these apps is as simple as pressing the home button on the iPads.

If you have an iPad or are considering ordering one through a grant or donations try using it as a document camera. I think you will be impressed with how easy it is and you will be able to easily move about the classroom.


Photos: Courtesy of Hope Kloczko's 1st Grade Class

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