If you’ve ever used a visualizer, you understand how useful it is for projecting documents to share with a class. However, if that’s all you use it for, you’re cheating yourself. Despite its name, a document camera is for so much more than documents.

Constant advances in technology have made visualizers powerful tools for constructing fully interactive classrooms. If you’re struggling to come up with methods for implementing this innovative device in exciting new ways, here are four ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

1. Use It for Show-and-Tell

A document camera is perfect for modernizing the age-old concept of show-and-tell. In the past, students would bring in their rock collections, old coins, and other treasures raided from their parents’ junk drawers to hold up at the front of the room and describe to their classmates. With a visualizer’s powerful zoom, you can really crank up the engagement and interaction on this classic activity.

For example, if your educational space features an AVer F50-8M visualizer, students can zoom in super close on something as tiny as an insect and amaze even students at the back of the room with vivid details in full HD 1080p. The device’s flexible gooseneck arm makes it ideal for showing all angles of 3D objects—and students will have a ton of fun using it.

2. Use It on a Field Trip

You don’t have to keep your visualizer locked up in your classroom all the time. Take it on a field trip into nature, and have students carefully collect various specimens, such as leaves, rocks, and even live creatures like caterpillars or bugs. Capture images and videos of their discoveries to work with once you get back to school. Another option is to arm groups of students with visualizers and send them into a museum on an educational scavenger hunt.

AVer offers the perfect tools for these types of activities as well. The AVerVision F70W is a wireless visualizer with a flexible arm that conveniently folds into a handle for optimal portability. Also, the 4K U70+ is easy to carry around, with its built-in handle and ability to run on a USB connection to a laptop. You can also use a microscope adapter to bring students even closer to the samples they collect.

3. Use It To Make an Animation

Another awesome option, especially if you're a teacher in a STEAM program, is creating an animation with your visualizer. This idea comes from professional education consultant Tom Barrett, who suggests creating characters and scenes with drawings, cutouts, or even small toys, and then capturing stop-motion images to put together in whatever editing program you can acess.

A mechanical arm visualizer like AVer’s M17-13M is perfect for creating an animation, with one-touch recording via a thoughtfully placed button on the convenient control panel. The highly-adjustable arm keeps the camera fixed and level in whatever position you adjust it to, which will keep your frame in place while you take pictures with small changes to create the movement for your short video.

4. Use It for Peer Review

Finally, when you do use a visualizer to display papers, you don’t have to limit yourself to projecting your class notes or handouts. Check out this example from Carolyn Samuel, an Academic Associate at McGill’s Teaching and Learning Services:

“One of my favourite strategies is to have students—individually, in pairs or small groups—hand-draw complex concepts on paper to illustrate their understanding. Volunteers then display their drawings on the doc cam for class discussion. During such discussions, students’ understanding of the concept is often deepened, and they tweak their drawing in real-time while their paper still rests on the doc cam. This strategy allows for immediate instructor and peer feedback, and it allows me to easily assess students’ understanding of concepts so that I can adjust my teaching, if needed.”

Use Your Imagination

The ways to use your visualizer are limited only by your own imagination, and you can create even more possibilities by combining your hardware with classroom software. If you have an AVer visualizer, you get access to exclusive apps like Sphere2 and ClassSend that allow teachers and students to annotate, collaborate, present, and poll, creating a fully engaging environment.

Remove the traditional boundaries to education with a versatile visualizer. Feel free to share your own ideas for using these interactive devices on our social media pages!