This week's tip - Using a Webcam
I am heading into the new school year with a webcam in my possession. As I now have an in-built webcam on my laptop I can begin using my old webcam at school. So, I've started thinking about how I can make the most use of it in order to enhance learning.
What is it that a webcam can do that my other tools can't? It can record video to stream and it can be used to record/project onto an interactive whiteboard. I have a few ideas here to get you started, but I will post more ideas as I explore the webcam more.
Kay Lera outlines how you can make a document camera in minutes by attaching a webcam to a flexible lamp stand. This would be really handy for 'projecting' a children's picture book onto the interactive whiteboard to make the text and illustrations bigger for students to see and read. It's also quicker than scanning the pages with a scanner. If you record the reading students could return to the file later to reread the book on their own or in a small group. Another great use for this document camera would be to demonstrate art and craft techniques. When I've taught origami I've struggled to demonstrate so that all students can see from their desks. Using a document camera to 'project' onto the interactive whiteboard would solve this problem.
Stream Video From Your Class
Mr. C has a webcam in his classroom and computer lab that stream continuously on his class blog . Visitors to the site can check out what is happening throughout the day. I'm not sure that I'm so excited about this idea for myself, but it would be a nice way to include parents in special events. This blog also makes great use of video for a number of purposes so be sure to check it out to get inspiration. To hear more about the background of this project you can visit Dean Shareski's blog to hear an interview with William Chamberlain (Mr. C).
Brian Crosby shares ideas for video conferencing with a webcam at the K12 Online Conference. He uses Skype to connect his class for video conferences with other schools. He also used video conferencing when one of his students became ill and was unable to attend school for an extended period of time.
School Trip Updates
Lorna Constantini and Matt Montagne also suggest using a webcam to stream nightly updates from a school trip to keep parents informed and involved while students are away from home. The video of this example is at about the 12 minute mark on this videocast.
How have you used a webcam in your classroom? What tips can you share with us? Please leave your suggestions in the comments.