Invasion of the Document Cameras - Epson DC-10 Quick Review

OK, I'm a bit late to the document camera bandwagon, but after seeing how excited our teachers got when they learned that they could scan documents for inking on their Tablets, I thought it might be a good time to see if we could cut out the middle machine (office copier/scanner) and investigate the usage of what many ed-tech professionals call the "tool of the century".  Thanks to our friends at CDW, I was able to demo an Epson DC-10s document camera for potential purchase by our faculty.  The price points of the DC-10 and its even less expensive cousin, DC-06 (approximately $399 and $299 respectively) were very attractive, and from pictures and video, the portability of both looked very appealing.

Quick Take: Epson DC-10s Document Camera

What I liked:  price point, simple and easy to use, image quality (for the price)

What I would have liked:  ability to annotate on image, better operation of zoom/pan, more elegant interface

Upon opening the box, the DC-10 was a bit heavier than I expected, but I needed to remember that I was demoing the big brother and not the cheaper one.  The unit was very easy to setup - power supply, VGA cable to projector, and I was ready to go.  I also connected my computer to the VGA-input, and I was then able to switch sources (Doc Cam and Computer) with the push of a button.  Focus in high and low lighting was adequate, though I had to press the focus button every now and then to allow it to readjust.  Since this was my first use with a doc cam, I was impressed with how quickly I could visually display any object - textbook, molecular model, worksheet, and the image of the object would instantly be displayed on the projector.  The question was, what to do next?

Having issued Tablet PC's to nearly every teacher, our faculty have slowly gotten accustomed to inking on documents and presentations.  With this in mind, I was hoping to have the ability for them to do this right out of the box with the DC-10s.  Unfortunately, what would need to happen would be for them to take a still shot of the object (say, a worksheet), and then open this picture file in MS OneNote and then they could ink/annotate to their heart's desire.  Although this would save some time (no hurried trip to the copy room), it was still a bit tedious for my taste.  At such an affordable price, I envisioned getting more of these, and then upgrading to a higher quality model once our teachers became familiar with using document cameras and would then ask for more advanced features.  However, I was reminded of how technology needs to be invisible and my goal is to have as few steps as possible to maximize on the benefits of technology integration without sacrificing precious classroom time.  

Thus, I looked up another company, AVerMedia, one that I couldn't help but notice was predominantly present in all of the ed-tech conferences that I attended this year.After navigating through some website reviews (not as many out there on ed tech products compared to consumer electronics), the company website and their series of YouTube videos, I was sold on recommending the mid level product to my Director.  So, in a few weeks, we'll be receiving 9 CP155 flexible neck document cameras from AVerVision.  I'm excited to demo them and ultimately hand them off to several of our summer workshop teachers.  A full review to come when they arrive.


Tom Pisano said…

A wise decision! The comparisons you have outlined and the comments, unsolicited and honest, were right on. I thank you for your interest in AVerMedia document cameras and know that you will push the envelope of engaged instruction as you move forward.

Please feel free to check out the AVerPens, as these go along with the doc cam and provide interactive whiteboard functionality, SRS response system, and the AVer+ software to provide your teachers with the total solution. All this for a third of what you would pay to put an IWB on the wall.

I look forward to the updates and posts that you will provide as you explore this wonderful new world of engaged learning!

Tom Pisano
AVerMedia Information, Inc.
chanatown said…
This just reinforces my impression of AVerMedia as being a thorough, well-organized, and well-informed company. I'm increasingly optimistic that the products will be representative as well. Thanks for taking the time to read and reply.

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