Document cameras are increasingly becoming a technology staple in the office and classroom. Problem solving with pen and paper as well as displaying physical objects, such as textbooks, timers, artwork, and student projects are among the many ways document cameras are incorporated into instruction. Long gone are the days of bulky, expensive specialized document cameras, often referred to as visual presenters or “Elmos.” USB-enabled camera technology has significantly evolved, making cameras extremely versatile and affordable. Software can extend the useful life and capabilities of USB-enabled document cameras that enhance teaching and learning.
Some of the most versatile and modern document camera models are available from Ipevo. Ipevo is a company geared toward making technology affordable and available in education. The Ziggi line of document cameras offers models that incorporate many of the most advanced USB document camera technologies. Features include wireless display functionality (iZiggi), High-Definition (HD) 30-frame-per-second (fps) live imaging, resolutions up to 3264×2448, autofocus with 12x digital zooming, and powerful yet intuitive Ipevo Presenter software.
During the summer of 2014 campus classrooms were updated to include the release of the iZiggi HD document camera model. The iZiggi HD revolutionized the USB document camera industry on multiple fronts, including price, performance, and functionality. The iZiggi integrates an autofocus 5.0-megapixel document camera with optional wireless HD live-streaming into a compact and affordable multifunctional document camera. The optional wireless feature of the iZiggi HD supports faculty and student devices in the classroom while providing the freedom to use wirelessly the iZiggi as either a document camera or webcam.
Ipevo has further refined the success of the Ziggi document camera platform with the recently released 8.0-megapixel Ziggi HD Plus. Although not wireless capable, the Ziggi HD Plus is designed to accommodate the latest in lag-free USB livestreaming and to provide better low-light performance. Built similarly to the iZiggi, the Ziggi HD Plus includes a multi-jointed stand with a swiveling camera head and incorporates an integrated microphone. Optional accessories, such as the lighted magnifying lens, add versatility.
USB cameras are typically designed to directly connect to a computer or mobile platform and leverage software to extend camera features. The Ipevo Presenter software is designed to be extremely intuitive and easy to use. The latest version of Presenter software features the ability to create still photos (snapshots) or to make video recordings of live images. Users can easily annotate over images and generate digital content that can be integrated into online curricula.
Follow these guidelines for the best experience when using Ipevo document cameras:
- Most USB cameras perform better with adequate lighting. If the image looks grainy, it is often due to poor lighting conditions. The iZiggi camera can connect an inexpensive, flexible USB light into the base. Alternatively, a desk lamp or battery- powered LED light can be used.
- Image resolution often must be adjusted according to intended purpose. Ipevo document cameras are capable of very high resolutions, up to 3264×2448. Live motion-enabled images displayed at very high resolutions require significant computer resources. It is often necessary to adjust the image resolution to balance display for either motion (frame rate) or image detail (resolution). For lag-free motion, use lower resolutions. For greater detail, use higher resolution, however, be prepared to sacrifice frames-per-sec (fps).
- Lock and manually adjust focus or exposure settings if necessary. Similar to still photography, some objects and environments do not work well with automatic camera settings. The Ipevo cameras can turn off automatic exposure and focus settings. Manual adjustments can then be made with Presenter software.
- The digital zoom capabilities of the Ipevo document camera can be very useful. However, when zooming in on an object the camera is very sensitive to movement. You may get better results by using the Presenter software to enlarge the image using the “click and drag” command.
Increasingly, the TLC is focused on reporting emerging technologies and identifying professional development opportunities that enhance teaching and learning on our campus. As the TLC staff reviews technologies, we will hold informational seminars and invite faculty to participate in a testing and review process. To discuss training opportunities and/or suggest “new arrival” gadgets, please stop in for a visit or contact the TLC’s IT Analyst, Jereme Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 308.432.6234).