Education like so many areas has changed and evolved greatly with technology in recent years. One of the best tools the modern teacher can deploy today is the visualiser.
In this post, we explore what is exactly a visualiser is, why it’s a game changer and how you can get one setup for your classroom today.
So, first things first…
What is a Classroom Visualiser?
A visualiser which is also known as a document camera is a tool that allows teachers to show any physical object to their pupils via a digital projector. The students can observe the teacher demonstrating text, images, artefacts, living things and even techniques like tying a bow.
Interesting concept, right? So why does this matter? Here are the top reasons why a visualiser is a solid investment for your classroom.
1) Much Better Visibility
Whether you want to show a very small object or even an insect – the power of visualisers magnification can display almost anything. As you can imagine, this makes the teaching process a lot easier and simple. No one is left out or behind. As the old saying goes – a picture is worth a thousand words. And in this case – it’s a live picture. Visualisers truly bring the learning to life.
Fortunately, most modern visualisers (again price dependent) have the power to really hone in on the finer details.
2) Better Engagement
Just like when you go to the cinema, the big screen totally changes the entire experience. Visualisers give you the power to captivate your audience. So, for your students, it is another way to take and process new information and concepts. Better engagement is better for everyone.
3) Better Live Modelling & Modelling Presentation
These are probably the biggest uses of visualisers. By showing exactly how you want a task to be done or completed – it clarifies your own thought process. For example, you could show how an exercise should be completed in a copybook using a visualiser. And while a traditional whiteboard can absolutely be used in this case – it is an alternative for many teachers. And of course – depending on the subject and specifics – a visualiser may be the best option to be crystal clear in your explanation.
4) It’s Economical
For the big impact you are getting – it’s at a relatively low cost. While there are different models and price ranges, generally speaking – they are very affordable (especially considering how much they can enhance and streamline everyday teaching in the classroom).
5) You have an opportunity to Upskill
Technology is not going anywhere. It will continue to evolve. To keep up with modern teaching practices, requires an embracement of tech, and with that visualisers. While the tech itself is user-friendly – it’s the new and fresh approach to education that can really help improve your skills.
6) Scanning and Photography
Modern visualisers offer great ways to capture lesson material or the work of students. They connect with third party software and websites that will live stream QR codes from your phone – so you don’t have to go through any trouble scanning them yourself! Furthermore, you can also use these cameras in schools as security devices by taking pictures of visitors.
7) Screenshot Availability
No matter what you are doing – you can at any point take a screenshot. This can be useful for numerous reasons. From marking and grading work to taking pieces out for future materials – it’s a very handy feature.
Plus, it’s versatile. Whether that’s art or English – capturing a moment is simple through the push of a button. With modern visualisers – you can also set screenshots at different intervals.
This would be very useful if you wanted to document the growth of a plant for example!
8) Doc-Casting Capability
Create once. Use Forever. Well maybe not forever but certainly you can get more mileage out of your everyday lessons. For example, if you are creating an instructional video – you can repurpose and reuse for later use. Once created and documented – you can put on YouTube, Vimeo, a relevant school, or education site or just simply share a link through WhatsApp or email. The options are endless!
For all the reasons above – the teaching and learning experience is greatly enhanced and streamlined. Of course, the tool is there to supplement and not replace a teacher. Certain things always will and should take time. But it can optimise your day.
Furthermore, as mentioned, by documenting your teaching – you can save time further down the line for yourself and others. For example, maybe there is a new teacher covering a class that you already did. You can send them the link of how you handled that art project (or whatever the visualiser use). Then, having viewed it, when you both have that conversation – things are already further down the path – saving everyone time.
It saves you time & future headaches.
What are the Best Classroom Visualisers?
One of best visualisers on the market is the Lumens DC125 Visualiser. This high-definition document camera is operated with only one USB cable connected to a computer. The extremely simple connection is enough to enable interactive presentations and more.
Other top Visualisers for the classroom include:
- Epson ELPDC07
- Aver AVER61P0U10000A
What is a Visualiser used for?
Visualisers can be used in many ways and are a great teaching aid in the modern classroom. They can be used to project and showcase any physical item so that they are fully visible to the entire room no matter how near or far a student is sitting. Whether projecting a page from a textbook, an artefact or technique such as how to tie a shoelace, the ability to do so in a way that all students can see it at once can save a lot of time for teachers.
Can I use my phone as a visualiser?
In short yes, you can use your phone as a visualiser. However, depending on the phone and the application being used to do so the process and available features can vary greatly. This can lead to operational confusion in the case you wish to roll this technology out among all teachers in a school. This is because in practice teachers are going to have diverse levels of technical know-how and abilities. Therefore, we recommend going with a purpose-built visualiser such as the Lumens DC125 Visualiser to avoid the unnecessary headache.
How do I turn my iPhone into a Visualiser?
There are many applications available that can allow you to turn your iPhone into a visualiser. Though as mentioned above we would advise choosing a purpose-built visualiser where possible. By ensuring that all classrooms are set up with the same hardware you can reduce functional difficulties in using the technology.
As well as avoiding the waste of precious class time in configuring and connecting up the iPhone. Another issue that can come from using a phone as a screen camera over a visualiser is that you have to ensure the phone can hover above the item you wish to project, in a secure position and appropriate distance. This may result in potential damage to the phone in use if it is not secured in place.
How do you use a visualiser for remote learning?
A visualiser can be a great teaching aid when it comes to remote learning. While PowerPoint presentations and videos are extremely useful digital tools, sometimes going back to basics is the best way to ensure students are understanding a concept. What’s great about a visualiser is that not only can you use it project an object, but it can also function as a live feed.
For example, you can pull out your pen and paper and work through a maths equation while the students follow along in real time to better understand the process. So, while not physically in the classroom a visualiser can help you to recreate the whiteboard teaching method with just a click of a button.
How to use a visualiser?
Above we went through what a visualiser is used for, but let’s take a look at how using a visualiser can be greatly beneficial not only in the process of teaching. For example, visualisers can save you time and money on printing as well as be a more sustainable approach to teaching in general. You can simply project a textbook for all to see without the wasted paper. Visualisers can also help to protect delicate or expensive artefacts/teaching aids.
Traditionally when using these aids in the classroom teachers would pass the item around the room to allow each student to view the item. Inevitably over time this handling of the item can lead to damage. With the help of a visualiser, you can ensure every student can view the item while avoiding the risk of the item being damaged. There are many creative ways you can integrate the use of a visualiser in your lessons, the only limit is your imagination!
Final Words on Visualisers