Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Ariz. Schools Use Desktop Video Cameras to Teach History, Science and More

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Ariz. Schools Use Desktop Video Cameras to Teach History, Science and More

Article excerpt

When student's walk into Mike Neer's history class at Saguaro High School, a large-screen color monitor brightly displays a map of World War Il's major battles. No overhead sheets are prepared, no copies are distributed, no books are opened. Instead, Neer simply aims a special camera toward the 3" x 3" map and the entire class begins to study.

Neer's district in Scottsdale, Ariz., uses a dozen desktop video cameras for a wide array of applications. Instructors report that the product's ability to streamline visual learning has changed the way technology is viewed - and helped students grasp difficult concepts a little faster.

"We use technology to help students and teachers gather, create, organize and analyze information and communicate ideas," explains Mark Share, the district's director of Information Services.

Toward that end, full-motion video cameras have virtually replaced overhead projectors and other still, flat presentation devices at Scottsdale's 27 schools. Every classroom has a 27" Sony monitor; when a camera is attached, the possibilities for teaching and learning are endless.

* Versatile and Portable Tool

Recently, school officials discovered a versatile and portable tool to realize those possibilities: the FlexCam from VideoLabs in Minneapolis, Minn. In fact, two models of FlexCam are employed by instructors.

Compatible with most industry microscopes, FlexCam Scientific precisely images slides, X-rays and small objects for display on monitors or computers. Its lens can be focused down to 1", effectively producing magnification of 50:1 when viewed on a 25" monitor.

FlexCam Document, meanwhile, suits 8" x 12" documents, transparencies and more. It boasts the power to project images under virtually any light conditions, down to 2.5 lux.

Both FlexCam models feature a distinctive design and flexible gooseneck wand, and output 350 TV lines of resolution; microphones for capturing audio are optional.

In Mike Neer's class, FlexCam Document has come full circle as a presentation tool. Students not only learn from his visual lectures on, for example, the Battle of Britain, but they also present their work in front of classmates using the device.

"We can use the FlexCam to do so many things we couldn't do before," Neer says, adding that, "It's not bulky like an overhead."

A sophomore at Saguaro High, Cody Thomas praises the ability to share visual information instantly, without preparation. …

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