As part of my new position I am working with teachers to use new technology equipment. One of the pieces of equipment that we are using is a Document Camera. We have purchased the Avermedia CP130 (image below). It has a lot of useful features when using the USB connection to your computer that if it was just hooked up to the TV or projector you would be missing out on.
When you hook up the Document Camera to the computer it has its own software that enables you to use it for many different purposes.
Camera - You can take a picture of anything you put under the camera. It would be a good way to save lecture notes, or even save an image of a student's work, especially a poem. It would make it easy for you to upload to a webpage as well.
Video Camera - You can record a video of what is under the camera as well. When your students are giving a presentation, record the presentation so you can grade it later if need be. You could also turn it towards you and record yourself giving a lecture, or record your students working on projects in the classroom.
Network - Say you have a student who has done a wonderful project and you want to share it with your staff AS IT HAPPENS. As long as other teachers have the software they can network to the presentation in your classroom. Talk about Collaborative teaching!
Drawing - The software also comes with drawing tools. You can underline, write, highlight, etc., key parts from text in your class. Think of it as a 21st Centuty Overhead Projector. No more cleaner. Once you make your marks, you could take an image of those as well using the camera features. You can also type on top of images as well. It also includes transperant boxes and circles that would allow you to highlight a particular text or picture from your textbook.
Playback - You could record your lesson, and then make it available for a substitute to play it the next day for your students. It would be a great way to ensure your students won't have questions about an assignment because you covered it already. You could also playback students presentation from previous classes to show students how you want a project done.
Other Features - You can print directly from the screen. You can import images to the screen from the Internet that you have saved (Be a great way to highlight information from a map, chart, or graph).
Teachers in my school have used the Document Camera to take what used to be individual assignments and turn them into class assignments, creating more discussion, interaction, and maintaining student's attention. I highly reccommend the purchasing of a Document Camera for your teachers or departments. You can get the Avermedia CP130 for just under $400. There are other options, but I would check to make sure they have a software package, otherwise you are missing out on all a Document Camera can do.
AverVision Document Cameras
Document Cameras in the Classroom
Tim Bedley Article - Classroom Uses for the Document Camera