Have you heard of a Visualiser before?
One in 10 schools have them now. You might know them as Document Cameras. Basically, they’re electronic imaging tools for displaying objects, or, put another way, a camera on a stick. But wait, we aren’t just talking about a souped-up overhead projector here but a camera that can capture live images and allow you to view them over any multimedia display device. You can view everything from a microscopic object, a piece of paper, an x-ray, a slide, a transparency, a 3D object or even a person. They let you point, annotate, zoom in and out, and get different views and angles by turning an object. I’m thinking of the delicious opportunities for assemblies here already.
Visualisers offer far reaching opportunities to get up close and personal to the action of your subject matter, allowing learners to be at the centre of what’s going on and so increase their engagement and participation. They help children absorb and retain information through exciting visual interactivity and so inspire better understanding.
The AVerVision V355AF is the latest Visualiser from AVerMedia. Time to get geeky. It boasts a ‘one-touch’ audio and video recording to USB flash drive/SD card feature, a five megapixel camera for pin-sharp images and an 80x zoom enabling you to get closer than close. This Visualiser also has a built-in LED light module with patented laser positioning guides. The V355AF comes with impressive software allowing users to draw, annotate, record video and audio as well as setting up multiple-user networks. There are features galore to delve into, and they’’ll take some going through, so set aside some time to get familiar with all that’s on offer.
I like the spotlight and screen visor features as these have a natural way of getting young minds curious. I also like the flip, mirror and rotate objects, insert images and sounds, and use the virtual transparency mode to annotate on top of other applications.
I think Visualisers offer something special for observational assessment purposes, both for observing pupils and for observing staff. Literally watch and learn. They’re also ideal for taking evidence of pupils’ work without the need for a photocopier. Simply save to your server and keep your eco-school hawks happy. Performing a science or art activity using a Visualiser is really something that can transform teaching in cramped classrooms; it stops the pushing and shoving of ‘everyone gather round the table’ moments and puts an end to those poor souls who can’t see because of other children ‘in the way’ (they’re an absolute must if you have children who have impaired sight). This is a much better way of working as everyone can have a front row seat. I’d especially use the V355AF for showcasing good work, improving work, and I can also see their potential for videoconferencing. In short, they’re extremely versatile.
A brief note of caution: whilst the V355AF is a great piece of equipment to integrate into your teaching, you’ll probably need someone from the IT crowd to help you get up and running. Once you’ve learnt what to do, it’s a flexible and powerful piece of kit, and learners of all ages will love what it can do.
In the right hands the V355AF has the power to effortlessly engage and focus learning in dynamic and exciting ways. Cost is something you’ll need to consider carefully regardless of the economic climate. You might want to start off with one and see how you go. Share it amongst the staff and test the waters because you’re looking at a figure north of £600 (it’s worth researching the marketplace as other Visualisers are available). One great thing in its favour is a five-year warranty, which means you’ve got some peace of mind once you’ve parted with your cash. Rest in peace overhead projectors – Visualisers represent the next generation of learning and no transparencies are required.
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