SUMMIT, NJ - The Summit School District has deployed 90 document cameras in all schools, with more sets to be installed in the coming weeks.  The new equipment was made possible through a grant from the Summit Educational Foundation (SEF).

A document camera connected to a projector provides teachers with an easily accessible, and versatile, piece of technology to present information in a multitude of ways that are simply not available with an overhead projector.  This equipment can be used to project pages from a book, provide a close-up peek at elements from a science experiment, and even take pictures and video of any number of things.

Some other examples of how the document camera and projector can be used are:

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• To highlight important information in printed text.

• To model and get a better look at the over all process of writing.

• To project physical manipulatives onto the board, while students use them to problem-solve for the rest of the class.  Parts of the demonstration can be zoomed in on, thus modeling the step-by-step approach for everyone.

• To project real specimens in science lab, so that students will not be limited to a microscopic view of an organism or object.

• To display real items, instead of photographs or diagrams of items.

Douglas Orr is the district's Supervisor of Technology.  He explains, “I see the document camera as a fairly simple means for teachers to quickly share visual information with students.  Since the document camera can both show live video as well as take still pictures, it is a versatile tool for the classroom.  Now, our teachers can show the entire class a close-up view of science experiments, physical documents, and other manipulatives.  One of my favorite uses is when a teacher shares one of those important ‘aha!’ moments in which one student’s work can serve as an example for the rest of the class.”

Franklin School second grade teacher, Mariel Jacobs agrees, “The document camera helps me model work, and is great for the visual learners in the class.  As our society continues to be more stimulated through the sense of sight, I find that the document camera is an essential teaching tool.  It also saves me from creating unnecessary charts, because instead I am modeling on paper something that looks similar to what the class has.  Since I do not have an interactive board in my classroom, I have become creative with the document camera.  Sometimes I will project directly onto a whiteboard, so the students can come up and write directly on the board as they would with a Smartboard.”

For more information about SEF, visit