7 New Ideas for Utilizing Your Classroom Webcam and Microphone

Coaching Question: I’ve received a new webcam with a microphone. How can I use this in my classroom?

You received a new webcam! So now what? Webcams are an amazing addition to your classroom. Most newer models allow you to take photographs, record video and audio! Awesome! Here are some ideas for using your webcam in your classroom.

Idea 1: Take photos or videos of student work

You can easily take photographs in Google Drawings by going to Insert-Image and then selecting Take a Snapshot. Then, annotate the images by adding labels, captions, drawings and more!

Untitled drawing Google Drawings (2)

  • Math Example:  Student illustrated a strategy for solving math problem using paper. He can take a photograph of his work and drawing and share it in tool such as Google Classroom, Wixie or Seesaw for students to view.
  • Writing Example: Student revised and edited her work in her Writer’s Notebook. She can take a photo of her revisions and share with annotations them using Wixie, Seesaw, Google Docs, Forms or Classroom. Or, students can comment on student writing by adding annotations and images as seen below.Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 9.43.09 PM
  • Reading Example: This is my favorite activity! Let’s say a student is looking for examples of strong writer’s craft in his text. The student can take a photo of the page and then highlight and annotate the image using Google Drawings. Then, the student may share their annotations with their teacher or classmates.
  • Science Example: Students may take photos or videos of experiments to insert into Google Doc or Google Slides report.

Idea 2: Take photos of class notes of anchor charts

If you are an elementary school teacher, you probably have a lot of anchor charts that you use during your Reading or Math Workshop. Photographing your anchor charts will allow you to curate the charts for future lessons. You could post the charts on your classroom website or create QR codes to easily access prior lessons/charts at any time.

Or, maybe you have perfectly explained how to solve a math equation on your classroom whiteboard or (gasp) chalkboard. Take a photo of the equation to distribute on your website or online social media tool such as Google Classroom. Now, students may go back and review as necessary.

There are many ways to make this happen. Here are the steps that I would use.

  1. Take a photo of your anchor charts using the webcam, tablet or Smart phone
  2. Download the Google Drive app on your computer, tablet or Smart phone
  3. Upload the photo into your Google Drive
  4. Locate the photo and click ShareAnyone with a Link may ViewSearch results   Google Drive.png

To create the link to your photograph

  1. Copy and paste the URL to the photograph to Goo.gl
  2. Click create QR Code or copy new short link
  3. Post QR Code or link to the tool of your choiceGoogle URL Shortener.png

Idea 3: Create audio recordings

If you have a microphone, Vocaroo is a fabulous free tool to create audio recordings. To do this, students go to Vocaroo.com. They post the link or QR code on their work or in Google Classroom, Seesaw, email, Google Doc, or Padlet Wall.

  • Example A: Student record themselves reading their presentation. They post a link to the audio recording into Google Classroom to get peer feedback.  Or, the create the recording to self-assess their oral reading skills.
  • Example B: Students solve a math problem. They create a QR code to place on their work explaining how they solved the problem.
  • Example C: Students create a diagram of the water cycle. They create a QR code to place on their work explaining how the cycle works.
Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 9.17.57 PM

Student creates an oral recording of her writing.

Vocaroo   Online voice recorder (1).png

Idea 4: Speech to text/Voice typing

If your webcam or laptop has a built in microphone, students may take advantage of Google Docs Voice Typing tool. To do this, students go Tools- then select Voice Typing.

  • Example A: Students brainstorm their story ideas while Google Docs types for them.
  • Example B: Students brainstorm their plan for starting their science projects.
  • Example C: Students quickly set goals for their next semester. Untitled drawing.png

Idea 4: Post classroom happenings to social media

Take photographs to share on your Twitter, Facebook, Seesaw, Google Classroom, or Instagram class page. Not only are you communicating with an authentic audience, you are also building parent/community relationships. Plus, you may also start curating evidence for your evaluation.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 8.10.37 PM

Idea 5: Mystery Skype

Having a Mystery Skype session in your classroom is a fabulous way to connect with educators across the world using a guessing game type format. Students use Skype to access a classroom and then ask authentic questions to determine their location. Check out Microsoft’s Mystery Skype page to learn  more and connect with a classroom.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 8.52.22 PM

Idea 6: QR Codes

Not only can you create QR Codes, but now you can scan them with your webcam. Bookmark a  QR Code reader sites such as WebQR.com on your computer. Now, students can scan the QR Codes to access your anchor charts, websites, games, or recordings. No more typing in long URLs.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 9.09.07 PM

Idea 7: Live video conferencing

A webcam allows you to meet with anyone at your convenience. This year, our French Club students spoke French with students in other schools. And, our Reading Recovery teachers learned so much by observing a live lesson. We use Appear.in during our live video conferences.

Screen Shot 2017-04-23 at 9.19.40 PM

Our Reading Recovery teachers observe a live reading lesson taking place in another room using the webcam.


How do you use your webcam?

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