iPad as a Document Camera

ipad-documentcamsYou’ve probably noticed that the 5 megapixel camera on the back of your iPad takes some pretty good pictures and video.  You’ve also probably noticed that sometimes it’s tough to hold the iPad at the right angle and keep it still when using the camera.

The music department has taken this problem a step further, and in the process, has found another innovative use for the iPads.   Assistant Professor of Music Theory, Dr. Peter Purin, is considering using one of the new iPad gadgets seen in the pics above to replace some of the aging and broken document cameras in the music classrooms.  Stand-alone document cameras can cost $1,000 and more and are often not easily portable.

These devices, such as the two referenced below, are inexpensive and have multiple uses that take advantage of the portability and the high quality imaging available in today’s mobile devices. The image from the iPad attached to the document camera can be sent to the projector via VGA adapter cable, or via AirPlay through the Apple TV device that is installed in many classrooms.  They can typically be used with any mobile device that has a camera, not just an iPad, as long as you have a method to send the video to the projector.

Data Visualization

If pictures are worth a thousand words, a graphical data visualization might be worth a thousand lectures!  I was introduced to a wonderful teaching tool at the Blackboard World 2012 conference this summer that allows users to overlay raw data onto a map or other types of graphical representations.  For instance, below are a couple of interactive maps showing “worldwide alcohol consumption” per capita by country and “dominant religious self-descriptor” by state.  Click on the map to see the interactive features and the legend.

Alcohol Consumption WorldwideMany Eyes Dominant Religious Self-Descriptor Many Eyes

IBM makes this tool available for free.  You can use existing visualizations, create your own using existing data sets, or import your own data sets.  Click here to explore a list of some of the most highly rated visualizations.

Please comment below if you can think of a unique way to use this tool in your discipline or classroom.