Taking Elementary Document Camera Use to the Next Dimension

Taking Elementary Document Camera Use to the Next Dimension

Nancye W. Blair (The Schools of McKeel Academy, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2815-1.ch013


The world’s first stereoscopic 3D document camera, the 3D Ladibug, is quite unique in its ability to facilitate an interactive and constructivist implementation of stereoscopic 3D content in the elementary classroom. By harnessing the 3D Ladibug’s dynamic capabilities, teachers and students are able to enhance lessons with custom-designed learning activities in science, mathematics, literacy, and other curriculum areas. Moreover, through a blend of anaglyph and full-color stereoscopic 3D images, students are able to translate this technology into applications with print media, video editing, and live-action presentations. In the pilot implementation, educators have observed increases in student excitement, engagement, attention span, learning gains, and the ease of instruction using manipulatives with young students. Additionally, the ability to custom create 3D curriculum has made distinct differences in the motivation for students to design working models and products that demonstrate a deeper understanding of concepts. Likewise, teachers were inspired to integrate an increased number of visual aids and hands-on activities into class activities when using this tool. Through its traditional 2D document camera functionalities and added stereoscopic 3D capabilities, the 3D Ladibug Document Camera proved to be a highly effective teaching tool, captivating students and teachers by breathing life into classroom models, manipulatives, and presentations.
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Setting The Stage

McKeel Elementary Academy prides itself on its innovative educational strategies and the integration of technology into the classroom. Each of the eighteen general education classrooms is equipped with a teacher laptop, at least one desktop computer, a projector, and an interactive whiteboard. Students in grades one through five have additional access to netbooks for use in a variety of activities during their general education classes. McKeel teachers and students alike are comfortable with the regular use of technology in their classrooms. Moreover, the institution promotes efforts toward the experimentation with, and the early adoption of, emerging technologies. Empowered by the administration, the teachers involved in the pilot were able to implement the tool in a variety of contexts and formats in order to develop preliminary best practices. This instructional freedom was instrumental in the success of the pilot implementation of the 3D Ladibug document camera prototype.

As Technology and Gifted Specialist, I spearhead the technology instruction and integration at McKeel Elementary Academy. Among other responsibilities, I teach weekly technology classes on technology skills and multimedia creation for all McKeel Elementary Academy students, facilitate a project-based pull-out program for gifted students, and provide a broad range of professional development and technical support for the instructional staff. I served as the project developer and lead teacher for the 3D Ladibug document camera implementation, using the camera with my own classes, as well as training, co-teaching, and developing lessons with the other classroom teachers involved in the pilot. Prior to using the 3D Ladibug Document Camera, I had previous experience with document cameras and had been experimenting with my students in producing digital media projects that integrated anaglyph 3D images. Having seen the high engagement levels of my students during those activities, I was initially optimistic that the 3D Ladibug would garner not only student excitement during class lessons, but also be an effective tool for digital media creation.

In addition, seven other general education teachers (spanning from kindergarten through fifth grade) worked with the 3D Ladibug document camera for live lessons and presentations during the pilot. All seven of these educators had at least two years of teaching experience and integrated various technology tools in the classroom on a regular basis. Three of the seven teachers had experience using traditional document cameras with their students prior to the introduction of this new tool, although much of their past use included use with worksheets, illustrations, student writing and other two-dimensional, flat visual aids that could be effectively presented with a traditional document camera. The other four educators who had not used document cameras personally still had some familiarity with them. Moreover, although each of the seven classroom educators was familiar with 3D movies, none of them had personal experience working with 3D technologies. As with any new technology implementation, some of the teachers were nervous at first that the 3D Ladibug “might be difficult to use” or that they would not know how to successfully integrate it into their lessons. Nevertheless, the educators were still eager to try the new tool because of their previous success with traditional document cameras, in order to engage and excite their students, or for the chance to work with emerging technology.

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