Friday, September 3, 2010

Update #2: Document Camera Under $100, now even spiffier!

eyeCamD (Logitech Camera on a stand) website for teachers!

NEW! Awesome directions for exactly how to build this document camera, aka "bootleg Elmo" from Chris "C. J." Thompson, Associate Director Rice University Elementary Model Science Lab (see his blog here). Thanks so much, C.J. for your skills, time and effort to promote this project.

Awesome technology guru Brian Bisbee of Conroe ISD fame also wrote this handy script you can use to open your document camera full screen with VLC media player.  You'll see a neat camera icon on your desktop after you install all the other software and with it, you'll automatically get a full-screen view with VLC media player.

If you've been following us, then you know that we implemented a document camera made from a web cam many months ago. Fortunately for us (and for you), the project has exceeded everyone's expectations! We have teachers and students all over our huge school district Skyping, recording lessons, and seeing stuff they could never see before! Want one for yourself? It's easier than ever. in September, after our friend Paul Lindsay send us photos (see above) of a camera zip tied to a flexible desktop mic stand, we stopped making stands from PVC, which was cheaper, but MUCH more difficult to do, so unless you have tons of time, take our advice, and buy these parts:

Low Profile Die Cast Mic Stand: $9.99 (at press time)

Black 19" Gooseneck: $3.99 (at press time)

Logitech 9000 Web Cam: from $69.99 (at press time)

About 10 large zip ties, 100 for $9.95

And about 10 smaller zip ties, sold by the pound at Amazon for $1.99

The real trick for educational use though is having the right software. First, be sure to tell the recipients NOT TO PLUG THE CAMERA IN BEFORE INSTALLING THE SOFTWARE. Missing this step can cause the drivers to install incorrectly and important functions to be missing! Use the latest Logitech software that comes with your camera, but also install VLC Media player so that you can see that cool, glossy image FULL SCREEN. Next thing you know, you'll be on Oprah via Skpye! Or, you'll have extra energy at the end of the day because instead of repeating yourself a million, billion times a day, you'll record your lesson and put it online (for free, of course) using your new camera and

To see what we talk about in our teacher staff development sessions, check out our notes.

If you want to buy a similar product already packaged, try the Dukane Image Pro. The gooseneck isn't as long, the base isn't as sturdy, and the price is as much as $200 (or as little as $140), but you'll avoid the logistical problems of distributing all the parts if you're in a big district like we are.

Still have questions? Post here or email
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