May 2009
Vol 6 No 5

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.5 May 2009

Cover Story by Matt Levinson
Schools and Facebook: Moving Too Fast,
or Not Fast Enough?
Schools can draw a line in the sand, with zero tolerance rules written into school handbooks, or they can shift with the changing sands of social networking and utilize social networking and Facebook to enhance teaching and learning.

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
Teachers Are the Greatest Assets
On the first day of school, the teacher across the hall commented to me that my students are "always so good!" It's not the students; it's the procedures that have proven to work. The First Days of School helps me to manage my class, so that I can be an effective teacher.

»Comedy Highlights from Room K-1! Sue Gruber
»What Will Your Students Remember? Leah Davies
»My Mrs. Krikorian Todd R. Nelson
»Discipline Is a Liberating Word Marvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly Five Marjan Glavac
»Help! Too Much Talk! Not Enough Work! Barbara Pressman
»Mayan Sites and Paris Easy on the Purse Josette Bonafino
»The Little Things that Count in Our Schools: Doing Something Different, Simple and Powerful Cheryl Sigmon
»Teacher Morale Matters Dorothy Rich
»Team Management - It’s in the Cards Rick Morris
»Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century Hal Portner

»The Document Camera: A Better Way to Present! Joe Frisk
»Need a Teaching Job? Here’s Where to Find One Alan Haskvitz
»Make Twitter an Ally in the Classroom! Alan Haskvitz
»Teaching Is... Bill Page
»Celebrating True Heroes Graysen Walles
»Digital Pens & Touch-Screens Tim Newlin
»12 Ways to Improve and Enhance Your Paraprofessional- Teacher Experience Susan Fitzell
»May 2009 Writing Prompts James Wayne
»Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VII Hank Kellner
»How to Increase the Number of Physics and Chemistry Majors Stewart E. Brekke
»Bibliotherapy Booklist for Elementary Students Lisa Bundrick
»8 Ways to Make Math Magical at School Steve Sherman
»5 Brainteasers Steve Sherman
»What Will You Do For Shy Kids? Marjie Braun Knudsen

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes Barb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration Ron Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Photo Tour: 3rd Grade Classroom
»Teacher Blogs Showcase
»Carol Goodrow's Kids Running Printables
»Dolch word activities, end of first grade test, first grade memory book, map and geography lessons for all levels, IEP progress, and graduation ceremonies songs
»Video Bytes; Are You Going to Finish Strong?, Antarctica, Ted Talks - Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?, How Big Is Will?, The Sling Shot Man, Styrofoam Cup vs. Deep Sea
»Live on Teachers.Net: May 2009
»New Teacher Induction Programs
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Matt Levinson

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Matt Levinson, Sue Gruber, Leah Davies, Todd R. Nelson, Marvin Marshall, Marjan Glavac, Barbara Pressman, Josette Bonafino, Cheryl Sigmon, Dorothy Rich, Rick Morris, Hal Portner, Joe Frisk, Alan Haskvitz, Alan Haskvitz, Bill Page, Graysen Walles, Tim Newlin, Susan Fitzell, James Wayne, Hank Kellner, Stewart E. Brekke, Lisa Bundrick, Steve Sherman, Steve Sherman, Marjie Braun Knudsen, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Rita Sheffield, Carol Goodrow, and YENDOR.

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Joe Frisk

Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

The Document Camera: A Better Way to Present!
Advancing classroom visual technology – a tool for all ages
by Joe Frisk
New contributor to the Gazette
May 1, 2009
This article is a revised and updated version of one that appeared in
Educators’ eZine,, October 1, 2008.

I stood in front of the classroom and turned on the power to the overhead transparency projector. Placing a paper printout on the projector, I was met with a projected shadow of the paper and advice from a polite student at Austin High School; "Mr. Frisk, you have to use a transparency with the projector. Paper will not work." Twenty-three years earlier, I had graduated from this school and had just returned as a non-certified substitute teacher, in front of a classroom for the first time. I had never appreciated the stand-alone transparency projectors, desiring something that would show an image printed on paper.

A generation later, I discovered little had changed in the classroom, with the exception of white boards replacing black boards, a computer on the teacher's desk, and resemblances of my old classmates in the faces of their children I was now privileged to instruct. A few years later, on my first night in graduate school, I found the projector I desired.

A Canon document camera, an Epson projector and 50 feet of S-Video cable.
A projector at 1600-2000 lumens works fine in the classroom.

A Better Way to Present
The document camera, commonly known as a video visualizer/presenter or Elmo, a popular brand, is a modern replacement for the stand-alone overhead transparency projector, a device first developed to train soldiers during WWII (Crystal, 2008). Document camera technology consists of a video camera mounted on a stand with an illuminated display platform under the camera lens. Material is placed on the platform and projected through an overhead-mounted projector or by way of a television set.

The document camera can display almost anything placed under its lens, including transparencies, opaque materials such as black and white or colored paper printouts, and 3D objects. There is no waiting in line at the copier to create a transparency minutes before class begins, and no standing in front of the class, getting in the way, while presenting material. A teacher can stand at the back of the classroom or off to one side and display material via an S-Video cable attached to the camera and leading through the ceiling to a projector or TV. Any printout or anything in a book can be displayed by setting it beneath the camera lens, and transparencies can be viewed by turning on a base light. The learning curve with this technology is short, often measured in minutes.

Document Camera Advantages
A dozen document camera advantages:

  • Display paper printouts, slides and transparencies
  • Display text and/or photos from a book
  • Display three-dimensional objects
  • Display and save "live" images
  • Display in color or B & W
  • Zoom in and out capability
  • Long-lasting fluorescent lighting
  • Ease and spontaneity of operation
  • Students pay better attention
  • Students can show off their work
  • Useful across disciplines
  • Does not require a computer or networking

Document Camera Disadvantages

Document camera disadvantages are few but serve to limit their acceptance. They are:

  • Far greater cost than stand-alone transparency projectors
  • Require a projection unit or TV set
  • Lack of familiarity among teachers and school administrators

Content Clarity and Time on Task
The document camera is a marvelous tool for increasing content clarity. A teacher can do live demonstrations under the camera lens to show students exactly what is being asked of them. An example is filling out a standardized test form, under the camera, so students can see how to correctly prepare the form. I did this during student teaching and my mentor teacher commented it was the first time in his twelve years of classroom instruction that students did not pose a question on preparing the test form. Watching me fill out the form, live under the camera lens, trumped any verbal instruction I could have given.

Veteran teachers who have observed my document camera in use have described student time on task as phenomenal. Students pay attention to this exciting technology. I can lecture 8th graders for 25 minutes without a single head hitting a desk, as the nearly unlimited content that can be shown is a huge advantage when it comes to making presentations fun for students of all ages and abilities.

Continued on next page »

» More Gazette articles...

About Joe Frisk...

Joe Frisk is certified in 5-12 Social Studies with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Minnesota State, Mankato. He taught part-time as a substitute in the Austin, Minnesota public school district from 2002-2008 and has recently worked in the mental health profession.

Joe Frisk Articles on Teachers.Net...
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