I must confess that the first time I used a document camera in a classroom, it was not the most useful device I have ever had access to. This is a combination of the fact that the one I had was very small and limited in its functionality and the subject I was teaching was ICT where everything I wanted to show was already online and digitized anyway.
Now that I am spending a lot more time in cross curricular classrooms, I can think of very few other tools that deliver the bang for the buck of such a powerful device. These things are very cheap or at least they are here, around US$500-$700 for a good quality one, and yet allow you to put anything that you like on the screen to show the room.
This recent post from Ewan McIntosh where he asks people to send in their usage ideas for the classroom has proved to be a great source of ideas for classroom application.
In my opinion, the very best post is from Jaye Richards who makes the following comment in part of her list:
Having examples of student written work in jotters being shown and then edited/marked LIVE is one regular thing we did. The students (who agreed to let their efforts go forward) loved it as they got feedback there and then, not only from the teacher but also the rest of the class. Thus the feedback is relevant, accurate and timely. And collaborative!
I couldn’t agree more! I used to make up fictitious examination papers with wrong answers, copy and distribute them all and we would discuss as a group. How much time would I have saved with the visualizer!