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Teaching Online With a Homemade Document Camera

When we made the pivot to remote instruction at my house, I was grateful for my touchscreen devices because I knew that I would be able to capture any handwritten notes or demonstrations necessary for my classes. On the other hand, my spouse teaches third grade. He relies on access to a whiteboard or overhead projector for a lot of his instruction. One tool that I often show faculty is IPEVO's inexpensive portable document camera for home or office use (it's basically a downward-facing webcam). I thought this would be the perfect solution for my spouse's lessons.

Unfortunately, IPEVO quickly sold out of their most affordable models and we were not able to acquire one. In the meantime, I ordered an inexpensive graphics tablet and drawing pen, unfortunately again, these are back-ordered from Amazon and we are expecting its arrival in a couple of weeks.

Luckily, I ran into an innovative art educator, Alan Marsh @marshinart on Twitter who has found creative solutions for engaging and teaching his art students. We are so appreciative of Alan's videos below, created to demonstrate to us how he's able to continue his art lessons online in the absence of his customary classroom tools. (You will see in the video that Alan does have an IPEVO document camera - lucky! But he also has created a solution with his phone that any of us can try. He downloaded IPEVO's Visualizer App which is currently free in the app store. This allows you to turn your smart device into a document camera. He found a way to hang his camera above his desk.)

A video demonstrating Mr. Marsh's document camera setup

A video created by Mr. and Mrs. Marsh using a document camera (This video was designed to assist parents in helping small children understand what is happening right now)

Hang your device above your desk like Mr. Marsh

Tweets demonstrating creative homemade document camera setups

Beyond the document camera, it's worth noting that through further correspondence I discovered that Alan is also drawing pictures for students who are having a hard time right now. He shares, "It is tough all around. We will get through this and hopefully come out better people" which is exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I am so uplifted by the #keepteaching spirit demonstrated by my fellow educators. Thank you, Mr. Marsh!

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