Turn Your iPad Into a Document Camera

Turning your iPad into a Document Camera is such a great use of the iPad in the classroom. Best of all, building your document camera is really quite simple and very inexpensive.

iPad as a document camera


Here’s what you’ll need:

1. iPad 2 or higher (iPad must have rear camera)

2. iPad VGA connector – This plugs into your iPad port and allows you to attach it to a VGA-equipped TV, monitor, or external projector for video mirroring. Basically, this allows you to output your iPad display to a TV or projector. You can find these on eBay or online stores for around $20.

3. iPad mount – All you need now is something to mount your iPad on to so you can place documents underneath the iPad’s camera and view them using an overhead projector. The key thing here is that you may need to adjust the height of the mounted iPad. The image above shows what’s called a ring stand. It’s using a clamp that is then attached to something that can support the iPad. You may just want to buy a circle support big enough to support the iPad. I checked online and you can get a new one with a circle ring support for around $20.

Ring stand with circle ring


Once you have everything, all you need to do is, (1) attach the iPad to the projector using the VGA connector, (2) adjust the height of the circle ring and place your iPad on the circle ring support with the back camera facing the table and the iPad screen display facing up, and (3) turn on your iPad camera and place your document underneath the camera.

Here’s a video that demonstrates all the steps. This demonstration shows using a clamp and not a circle ring on your ring stand.

That’s about it. When you turn on the camera, the camera’s image will be displayed on the overhead projector. Make sure you have enough light to see your documents clearly and don’t be afraid to adjust the height of the circle support for optimum viewing. When using the iPad as a document camera, you can zoom in and of course take a snapshot of of what you’re viewing.

A big thanks to Sam Gliksman for highlighting this idea on his iPads in Education Ning.

Please share this idea with your school’s tech people. They should be able to figure out a way to support the iPad or they can probably find a ring stand sitting in a Science closet somewhere.

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3 Responses to Turn Your iPad Into a Document Camera

  1. danny nicholson April 12, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    Nice idea. And with an Apple TV instead of the vga cable you could have a mobile document camera that could project from any student’s desk.


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