You can use your digital camera to help you copy materials (old books, magazine articles, ads, objects, etc.) for your classroom Smartboard.
When you are copying material (probably in your camera’s macro mode to get close), you might want to consider these hints:
Use a camera tripod, if possible, to steady the camera or lean against something solid like a door frame. Breathe in and hold your breathe as you snap the picture.
Remember to push the picture button half way until it locks the image and then push it the rest of the way down.
Shoot the picture in natural sunlight. Avoid shadows or changing sun patterns. Avoid noon day sun which can blanche out the material. If the sun is from an angle, you can shoot without getting your shadow in the picture. Turn off your flash.
Cover any excess material that is on the same page with a white or black paper. You only want your students to see the selected material.
Shoot parallel to the object. If you shoot at an angle, the material will look crooked and be harder to read. If you shoot at a slight angle, you may have to manipulate in an image manipulation program like GIMP.
Get in close. Try to get close enough or zoom in so that you have the page but not other things. Use a dark background just in case you cannot get in close. If you have too much background, you will have to crop the pictures in another program so shoot in tight the first time. Also, a distracting background can unfocus students.
If possible, take pages out of any binder; if you have a spare old book, cut the desired pages out of the book. Use a white paper clip to hold the pages down so the material is as flat as possible. You may need to put a heavy book on one side of a page to keep it down. Cover the book with black paper so the unnecessary parts do not show.
Take a second picture just in case the first one was not get a great picture. The review mode of the camera probably will not show all the details.
Take the pictures in the order that you will show them.
Lower the resolution. You do not need an 8 megapixel version of the page.
When you move the images over to your computer, quickly rename them with a specific name so that you can find these images with all your other digital images. Create folders to categorize the images so you can find the material quicker.
If you have taken images from another source, move it over to an image manipulation program (PhotoShop like) and add a reference to the source. If you do not do it immediately, you may soon forget the original source.
Once you or your students have done this, you can create a digital library that you can use in the classroom. Your students can interact with these valuable resources.
© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007