In a nutshell, document cameras allow teachers to place normal printed sheets underneath the camera and watch as a perfect image of that page is projected onto a large screen. Document cameras can even project 3-D objects, books, and photos onto the screen for the whole class to see. This means that teachers no longer have to convert pages into transparencies before projecting them on the overhead!

Exploring the SMART Document Camera

Document Camera Integration Ideas by Content Area
Though some ideas may appear in one content area, all ideas can apply across content areas.
Integration ideas courtesy of EdTechNetwork and Best Practices in School Technology

  • Place a timer under the document camera to help with time management
  • Modelling exam answers / technique; including the ability to de-construct / annotate answers clearly in front of a class
  • Bell ringers or exit slips
  • Worksheets such as study guides or daily assignments. Can be filled out as a classroom activity.
  • Complete graphic organizers as a whole class
  • Display textbooks
  • Reference books
  • Zoom in on small items to see the details
  • Resource material you may only have one of or do not want to put in the hands of students
  • Share student work - a great way to promote collaborative learning
  • Save images for later use. A classroom document camera connected to a computer can act as a scanner. Teachers can place items under the document camera and use them in class that day and "save" the image for future use.
  • Save an image of what you did in class on the document camera to place on classroom websites. Parents can "see" what their children are learning throughout the day.
  • In addition to SMART Notebook, saved images can be incorporated into PowerPoint Presentations and Windows Movie Maker.
  • Showing how to sculpt clay
  • Model writing skills, editing, revising
  • Solving a mathematical equation
  • Math manipulatives such as rulers, compass, algebra tiles, geometric figures
  • Model how to use a calculator
  • Graph paper
  • Model setting up and steps for solving math problems
  • Demonstrating a live dissection
  • Science experiments
  • Displaying microscopic images
  • Science manipulatives
  • Model chemistry problems, solving physics formulas
  • Showcasing historical artifacts/items
  • Social Studies maps

Looking for even more ideas? Click here to view the PDF: Document Cameras in the Classroom. This document features 50 great uses for a document camera. Additionally, check out the presentation below.

SMART Document Camera Pros and Cons (Courtesy of Kelly Eaton, Document Camera - Tech Expert Module)
  • No messy transparency markers.
  • Don't have to convert pictures to transparencies
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent for sharing work among students
  • Good for teacher demonstrations
  • Not as good for group work as it is for instructor-led work
  • Cuts back on students actually holding objects in their hands
Tips for Teachers (Courtesy of Kelly Eaton, Document Camera - Tech Expert Module)
  • Get used to the zoom and focus functions before using it in class
  • Get your students to use it, too. Have them show how they solved a problem, or even put problems up for them to do. It will get them more involved in the work.

SMART Notebook and SMART Document Camera, a Perfect Match

Mixed Reality
"[Mixed Reality is] a technology that enables you to interact with both ordinary objects and digital content – such as books, artifacts, graphics and audio files. You can also interact with 3D, animated and audio-enriched resources to foster deeper student engagement and understanding.

Mixed reality technology works by overlaying digital content on a physical object, such as a flash card bearing a digital marker, to generate enriched content on a visual display, such as a SMART Board interactive whiteboard. For example, rather than using poster board to demonstrate the layers of the earth, you can place a marker under the document camera to display an animated 3D image of the earth’s layers that can be rotated and explored." - EDCompass Newsletter, August 2010

Fast Facts About the SMART Document Camera from EDCompass Newsletter, August 2010
  • Manipulate and explore 2D, 3D, animated and audio-enhanced content as well as text on the SMART Board.
  • Explore mixed reality content right in SMART Notebook.
  • SMART Document Camera menu in SMART Notebook allows you to control features such as screen capture, image magnification, image brightness, autofocus, and image focus.
  • The capture button allows you to capture images from the SMART document camera and add them to a new page in SMART Notebook.

Document Camera Resources