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10 Great Classroom Activities Using iPad & Doc Cams

There are numerous options for teachers looking to invigorate their curriculum and get their students (re)engaged and inspired. Let's take a look at what's possible when you pair a document camera with multiple iPads.

Math: Pattern Blocks A fun yet educational exercise for younger kids involves pattern blocks and tangrams. Show patterns with the doc cam. Groups must complete the patterns correctly with their blocks.

English: Picture Books For the younger crowd, reading picture books to the class can really be enhanced when another copy of the book is placed under the doc cam. Students can follow along on several iPads mounted throughout the class. Kids will love being able to follow along and see the artwork as you read.

Science: Dissection Frog dissection is one of those iconic science class events. You can share your dissection with the class so they get a better understanding of how to conduct their own dissection (or when there aren't enough specimens to go around).

History: Mystery Object Bring in one or more actual objects from the past — an arrowhead, a uniform patch from World War II, a newspaper article about a famous event — and stream it to everyone's iPad so they get an up-close view.

Art: Share Your Technique Three to five iPads, when properly distributed, is the perfect amount to give smaller classes a "front row" view of your own artspace when you share brush techniques, drawing methods, collage construction, etc.

What Can Your Class Do with the Wireless Station?

There are numerous options for teachers looking to invigorate their curriculum and get their students (re)engaged and inspired. Let's take a look at what's possible when you pair a document camera with multiple iPads.

For the uninitiated, doc cams capture printed documents and 3D objects. What you do with that video is where it starts to get interesting. Sure, you can project the image onto a large screen for teaching sessions, but what happens when you stream it to multiple iPads at the same time? Memorable, effective, and just plain fun activities, that's what!

Here are ideas for some K-12 subjects to get your mind turning with all the possibilities:

Math

1. Word Problems: Position a word problem under the doc cam, and stream it to groups of students. Each group discusses and collaborates on the best way to solve the word problem. Groups then share and compare their answers. You can write out the best solution for everyone to see when each group has had a chance to share.

2. Pattern Blocks: A fun yet educational exercise for younger kids involves pattern blocks and tangrams. Show patterns with the doc cam. Groups must complete the patterns correctly with their blocks.

English

3. Fictionary: Why not have some word game fun as a reward or just as a break in between regular lessons? One of the most fun is Fictionary, which you can play in groups. Find an obscure word in the dictionary and write it under the doc cam. The groups must come up with definitions for that word. Write down each "fake" definition along with the real definition. The groups then have to guess which definition fits the word. Points are scored both for correct answers and for how many times groups guess your fake definition. It's a lot of fun!

4. Picture Books: For the younger crowd, reading picture books to the class can really be enhanced when another copy of the book is placed under the doc cam. Students can follow along on several iPads mounted throughout the class. Kids will love being able to follow along and see the artwork as you read.

Science

5. Dissection: Frog dissection is one of those iconic science class events. You can share your dissection with the class so they get a better understanding of how to conduct their own dissection (or when there aren't enough specimens to go around). The same is true for labs and demonstrations of all kinds. Keep in mind there are a lot of great video tutorial apps for experiments and dissections.

6. Electrical Circuits: Give groups the tools they need to make simple electrical circuits. Provide instructions and diagrams with your doc cam, and then have each group create their own circuit — to light a light bulb, for one example — using batteries, wire, circuit boards and switches.

History

7. Geography: Share blank maps with groups using the doc cam. Students must fill out the maps (country names, capital cities, names of rivers and other natural features, etc.). Share and compare the answers at the end. You can add a little competition to the mix with a "Geography Bee"-style elimination.

8. Mystery Object: Bring in one or more actual objects from the past — an arrowhead, a uniform patch from World War II, a newspaper article about a famous event — and stream it to everyone's iPad so they get an up-close view. Ask students to guess the object's period, function, importance, and more. This is a great visual lead-in to a lesson.

Art

9. Share Your Technique: Three to five iPads, when properly distributed, is the perfect amount to give smaller classes a "front row" view of your own artspace when you share brush techniques, drawing methods, collage construction, etc. A close-up tablet view can sometimes be better than a single large projection screen, particularly for fine detail work. Now everybody can see what you're doing without physically crowding around.

10. Camera Tour: For lessons in digital photography, take students through a detailed walkthrough of the actual camera itself and all of its buttons, menus and functions. Students can learn by doing and follow the video stream of your camera tutorial with their own cameras.

To pull this setup off, consider pairing the iPads with two inexpensive products from IPEVO: the Ziggi-HD USB Document Camera and the WS-01 Wireless Station. The setup's pretty straightforward, and with just one WS-01, you can stream 2 or 3 iPads simultaneously at 1600 x 1200 resolution, or up to 5 iPads at 1024 x 768 resolution (which is still very good).

The possibilities are endless, so "get your hands dirty" and give it a shot. Chances are you'll develop a unique activity that works for you and your class.

SEE ALSO: 6 Reasons to Project Your iPad Screen with a USB Doc Cam
11 Ways to Light Your Doc Cam Subject


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