Still More about using a doc cam (not webcam!) in distance learning: Dr. Sam helps a young student write a book during a distance learning lesson by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Still More about using a doc cam (not webcam!) in distance learning: Dr. Sam helps a young student write a book during a distance learning lesson

by Dr. Sam Bommarito

My entry last week about webcams was very well received. It was even picked up on Twitter’s weekly list of things to read. Wow!  This week I’m going to talk about how to use a webcam to help children make their own books. A quick review of the difference between a webcam and a doccam:


The one I use is a Logitech Webcam, and it is a plug and play device. When installed, it automatically takes the place of your built-in webcam.


As you watch the video- notice what the doccam lets me do. This device lets you project live pictures while you are using your webcam. I use it on all my Zoom lessons. It is a game-changer for my distance learning.

What the video will talk about:

  1. Having children write their own books as part of their distance learning program. We will do this using a very old but very effective teaching method called Language Experience
  2. Language Experience & how it works, especially with older students reading well below grade level
  3. The software: Microsoft Publisher (any software that enables you to make an 8-page double fold booklet will work)
  4. Tricks of the trade part one: Creating a picture of the character for the book using publisher.
  5. Tricks of the trade part two- Using entries from the online writers notebook to make the text entries for their new book. * Then I demonstrate how to let the student pick pictures from the web to go with the entries.
  6. Alternate forms of publication for the stories the student creates.

So- You will find the link to my video blog below. After you open the share folder, click on the video, and start watching.  Stay tuned- I’m having some friends show me how to set up a YouTube channel and load my videos into them. Once that happens, I’ll also put a link to my YouTube Channel into this entry.


Clarifications about things from the video:  I ask my students to read from self-selected books in their home library for 20 minutes a night on all school nights. This is in addition to 5-7 minutes of “practicing to perform” a book of their choice.  In the video, it is not clear how often they are asked to read. The students get a copy of the books via porch pick up by the parents. I meet with each student once a week. The practice to perform mentioned in the video is an application of an idea by Dr. Tim Rasinki. Students practice reading a short piece aloud. Then they perform the piece for the teacher. That performance usually comes at the start of each new video lesson, meaning that each student does a weekly performance.  The student can read the book as I follow along with my copy OR I can show them my copy on the doc camera and have them read from my share screen. 

(Note: The video is 18 minutes long. But if you watch the first 8 minutes, you will get most of what you need to know about the use of the doc camera).


In the coming weeks, I’ll be blogging about favorite software programs and I’ll conduct interviews with various literacy friends about their literacy projects and books. In the meantime, be safe and be well.

Happy Reading and Writing.

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka the video guy)

Copyright 2020 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

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To see a more sophisticated version of an online writing journal go to this link from Pernille Ripp:

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