My set-up isn't ideal - but it is better than nothing. I have the document camera connected to a computer which is then connected to a 42" TV that is mounted to the wall, up near the ceiling.
I've been able to set up my room so that when I use the camera I am facing the students. This allows me to be monitoring comprehension as well as behavior during a lesson. Also, since I am sitting at a desk as well, students have said they feel less "threatened" and more like we are simply having a conversation. I made a point this year to have the same notebooks as the students (I teach 4th grade.) So when it was math time, we all had math notebooks - they could see my notebook under the camera - or the textbook, or manipulatives.
In the session I attended about the document camera, I learned some interesting things! I can't wait to get back to school to try them out. Here they are, in list form, as I noted them.
- Use both the USB and Serial cable to connect the camera. Connect the USB directly to the computer and the Serial to the switcher that controls the computer/TV. This way if the computer is in use, the document camera can still be used. (Super! I had problems with that this past year.)
- Video capture mode will capture audio as well if a mic is connected to the computer.
- Use Image Capture to save an image of an item. Then save that item and use it on assessments - what an authentic assessment that would be!
- There is a "time lapse" feature in the Advanced Settings-Capture menu. This would be useful over the course of a day or even overnight (if you can be assured the computer will be left alone.)
Do you have a document camera? How do you use it? I'm always looking for new ideas!