COOL SCHOOLS: New document camera helping students at McKinley Elementary

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – With students scattered around her classroom, McKinley Elementary School Teacher Dawn Burns asks her fourth graders to pay attention.

“Watch me,” said Burns.

Eyes focused on the front of the room, students learn how to properly address a letter, but instead of being written on the white board, their assignment is being projected from a tiny camera on their teacher’s desk.

“It’s a document camera,” said Amyah Stuzman. “It’s called an Elmo.”

“It shows what we’re doing,” said Deshawn Love.

The lightweight, portable, high-resolution Elmo document camera magnifies and projects real-time images of whatever is underneath it.

Teachers say it’s the 21st century version of the projector.

Burns explains modeling plays a big role in teaching and says this camera does it in a more comprehensive way than a tradition projector or chalkboard.

“I could project from my computer to the board, [but] it was blurry,” said Burns. “If I was going to help them with a form, I would tape the paper and write but it would be too small. It’s just a tool that streamlines my instruction and it improves our learning.”

Burns is only the second educator at McKinley to receive one of the document cameras. Donors Choose is organization that helps teachers supply their classrooms and paid for Burns’ camera.

“She would have papers up on the board and it would be blurry to see but on this, you can like see it,” said Stuzman.

Students welcome the new technology.  

“When I’m not catching up, I just look at the board and then I can catch up,” explained Stuzman.

They say it helps them better comprehend their studies and projects them into their futures.

“I think this has really changed my learning,” said Ethan Preble.

““I can use to show students to do things like correctly do a math problem, or write properly in their journal to take notes or how to do research and how to document research. I can help them properly fill in forms or fill in graphs and just write proper sentences,” said Burns. “To be able to show them properly, it’s etched in their brains and their habits. It improves our learning curve by 100 percent, easily.”

“I think it would make this an A plus, plus school cause the learning of other kids could be greater and better,” said Preble.

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