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A visualiser is a powerful digital camera device that points downwards. It is connected to an LCD projector and/or your computer, enabling the teacher or presenter to display objects, documents, pictures etc with superb clarity. Most visualisers allow you to zoom in and out, and when connected to a PC capture the image as a digital photograph or a video clip. Some also allow you to freeze the image on screen, so allowing you to remove the object while it continues being displayed. You may even be able to then split the screen and therefore display two objects at once, to compare and contrast.
Another feature available on some visualisers is ‘negative’ (which transforms the image into a negative, therefore if you place a photographic negative under the visualiser it can be viewed as a ‘positive’ photograph.) Some allow you to ‘scroll’ by using a button to move the camera slowly up or down the image so that you can scroll through the text being displayed. You may also be able to switch between colour and black and white display.
Depending on the visualiser you have, it can be used from the very simple – eg to display the page of a book on your screen, to the more advanced, eg zooming right in on an object to observe its features is immense detail. It is a great way of sharing pupils’ work with the class, and is quick and easy to use as all you have to do is place something under the camera for it to be presented on the screen. It also is very useful for visually impaired pupils as the images can be magnified. A visualiser means no more crowding round a desk to watch a demonstration or observe an object.
Some examples of use include:
Here, a Year 2 teacher at St. Peter's School in St. Albans describes how she has used a visualiser:
Visualisers come in different shapes and sizes with a range of functionality from basic to highly sophisticated.
An example of a low cost visualiser is the EasiView from TTS. This is a very basic no-frills document camera which nevertheless offers much of the functionality required in the primary classroom. They cost around £99 EX VAT. Lower cost models generally have lower maximum zooms (or no zoom) and do not have the illuminated ‘flat bed’ of the higher priced models. Some also require manual focusing.
Mid-range models are usually around £350 - £600. These have more powerful zooms, more features and some of them have the ‘flat bed’ on which to lay the items being displayed. These flat beds can usually be illuminated from above or below. Some mid-priced visualisers have automatic focus.
Higher priced models start at around £750 and go up and up. These models have more features, more powerful zooms and automatic focusing. When considering the price range for you, think about how you will use the device, and what you want to achieve from its use.
Some of the suppliers of visualisers are listed on the BESA website
Cunningham Hill Infants School began 2007 Autumn Term with plenty of enthusiasm for their new visualiser resource and were keen to introduce it to Year 2. This was where the WOW factor came in. All the children were very enthusiastic and wanted to try all sorts of ideas on the visualiser. More...
St Lukes School in Redbourn is a Special School for children and young people with moderate learning difficulties and associated needs. Recently a number of the classrooms have been equipped with GeneeVision 6100 Visualisers. More...
The Hertfordshire ICT Team has created an online visualiser training module in iLearn, called '30 Ways to use a Visualiser' which is available to users for £25. An iLearn account is needed which is free to create for Hertfordshire employees. Click here to go to iLearn
For more information or help, contact Chris Carter at Herts for Learning.
Disclaimer: images used on this page are for illustration purposes only and do not represent any recommendation.