In a classroom where we need to make things visible for all of our students, or when we want to model a process for students, nothing beats a document camera. They give us a live video feed that we can quickly and easily project to the class.
And the great news -- you already have a document camera available to you. It's your iPad.
Paired with an Apple TV and Airplay (for a wireless experience), or even hard wired into a projector, the camera app on the iPad gives us a live video feed that can be easily shared with the class.
The process is easy. Find, make, or buy a stand that will allow you to be hands-free with your iPad with whatever is below (or in front of) the camera. Then simply connect it to the projector and open the camera app.
The trick is finding a great stand at a great (or no) price. You can buy iPad doc camera stands, but if you look around you'll probably find exactly what you need in your classroom or around the house/apartment.
The stand at right meets all of the requirements.
- The stand must be sturdy. iPads are expensive, and setting them on a wobbly stand where they may fall is not a great idea!
- It has openings at the top to safely set your iPad on while allowing the camera to peer through.
- It lifts the iPad up from the "stage" below so you can fit objects of various sizes underneath.
- There is a clear working area underneath to fit the demonstrator's hands. This is especially important when annotating text or "modeling" for students.
So go ahead. Look around. What clever ideas have you had for making your own useful iPad document stand?
By the way, this is a GREAT design challenge for students. Set forth the design parameters (something similar to what we outlined above) and let students start thinking creatively.