10 Ways to Use a Document Camera for Online Learning

By Maverick Nov30,2023
document camera

Delivering a lesson online is much different from giving a lecture in a classroom. Virtual learning offers unique advantages and disadvantages; however, it can be an effective means of teaching with the right tools and techniques.

Some instructors believe that keeping students engaged in an online class is more challenging, but that’s not true. It’s just a different ballgame that instructors may not be used to. Once you learn how to use a document camera, delivering lessons online will get much easier.

We dive into ten ways to use a document camera in your online classes and keep your students’ attention throughout sessions in this post.

Document Cameras: Quick Overview and its Advantages

The key to making online classes more effective is to make them more immersive. The students must feel like they’re in the same room as you. Using a document camera can help instructors achieve this effect.

But what is a document camera?

Document cameras function just like regular webcams, except they offer better picture quality and stand up on your desk, pointing downward toward the surface.

This allows you to show objects, a piece of paper you’re illustrating something on, or a document to your students. There is enough space between the camera and your desk for you to work underneath it comfortably. 

In other words, your virtual lessons can include test tubes, Petri dishes, graphs, topical maps, flashcards, or anything else that will help your students.

A nice way to understand what is a document camera is to think of them as modern iterations of overhead projectors.

They improve upon the old technology in many ways, notably by removing the need to turn out the light and create endless transparencies. 

But the best thing about document cameras is that they are easy to use and aren’t taxing to set up. There isn’t much to understand about how a document camera works. You only need to plug it in and set up your online conferencing tool to recognize it.

Does that mean can you use a document camera with zoom? Yes, most document cameras are compatible with Zoom and all other popular online conferencing apps.

10 Ways to Use a Document Camera for Online Learning

#1 Read Text

Document cameras capture video at a high resolution. You can show your students fine print books, worksheets, or other material without worrying about the text’s visibility.


Instructors can read the material to their students or ask them to take turns reading it. You can do anything you would ask students to do with the material in a classroom in an online class with these cameras.

#2 Make Notes

Making notes is a powerful way of teaching and learning. Annotating a piece of writing is easy with a zoom document camera. You can also model for your students and teach them how to make notes.

It is possible to ask students to send in their work after class, which you can review in the following lesson and provide feedback.

#3 Brainstorm

Brainstorming a topic is an excellent method to engage students and help them understand what you’re teaching inside and out. Document cameras enable you to brainstorm easily – all you need is a piece of paper underneath the camera. You can then make notes as students come up with ideas.

Creating a mind map with your students is another great way to use document cameras in online classes.

#4 Live Demonstrations

Instructors can easily demonstrate anything they would in a classroom in an online class using a zoom document camera. Teaching students how to do an assignment at home – may be a science experiment with things they can find in their kitchen – becomes straightforward with these cameras.

You can ask your students to record their experiments on their phones and mail them to you. You can then reply with your comments or share your feedback in your next class. Sharing student footage in an online class is as simple as sharing your screen on your online conferencing application.

#5 Use a Microscope

There are document cameras in the market that connect to microscopes without any hassle. If you teach with a microscope, getting one of these can be a game-changer for your online lessons. Your students will be able to see the activity under the microscope clearly.

document camera

Teaching about the cells of onions, leaves, pond water life, and any other thing you would show your students under a microscope in a physical class is possible with the right zoom document camera.

#5 Solve Math Problems

Modeling how to solve equations in real time becomes simple with document cameras. Ask your students to follow along and copy the solution – or solve problems themselves if they’ve grasped how to do it well enough.

The same goes for science formulas. With a document camera positioned correctly, there’s nothing you can’t model for students.

Creating patterns and puzzles for students to solve is another excellent tactic to keep students engaged in an online class. 

#7 Art Lessons and Instrument Training

Document cameras capture crisp enough video for students to read tiny text from all kinds of material. Providing music lessons should be no problem with these cameras. 

However, you will need to position the camera carefully, ensuring that your students can see your hand movements and other details.

It is easy for students to set up their monitor so they can see what you’re doing and follow along. Teaching art lessons – everything from drawing and painting to stitching and weaving – is just as easy with a document camera.

#8 Solve Tests 

Going over written work with students becomes easy with a zoom document camera. After your students send in their work, you can place the test or essay under the camera. Next, ask the class how they would answer the questions or correct the answers you show them. Then, ask them to demonstrate.

A document camera removes the need to provide students with copies of a quiz. Print out one copy of the test and place it under the camera, and every student will be able to see it without any trouble.

Students can also correct their answers themselves by showing them the answer key.

#9 Play Games

One of the best ways to pique students’ interest is to involve them in a game. One of the things you could do is show your students a part of a picture and ask them to guess what it is. Drawing part of a graph or diagram and asking students to complete it is another excellent activity.

Play Games

Additionally, you could show your students flashcards with questions or phrases and have them answered live.

#10 Stimulate a Discussion

Getting students to talk about a concept you’re covering is a clever tactic to get them involved. You could show your students the striations in a piece of rock and get students to discuss the earth’s crust.

Conclusion: Ready to Use Document Cameras?

In addition to saving you time and effort, document cameras open up several possibilities for instructors to give online lessons effectively. Having a zoom document camera set up on your desk will also enable your students to grasp what you’re trying to teach them with ease, regardless of where they are. Now that you know how to use a document camera in several ways, you have a clear idea of what you can provide to your students. Getting into distance-learning or improving the effectiveness of your lessons should now be more manageable.

By Maverick

This is Maverick. During Covid-19 Pandemic, A School Teacher turned into an online Instructor. Here I Share How you can build your own Online School and offers eLearning to your Students. I'm trying to make the eLearning Desk a resource for Students as well as for Teachers.

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