Document Cameras & Hybrid Faith Formation

Pivoting is the one constant these days. For many reasons we are looking at hybrid and online faith formation for fall. Throughout the summer, faith formation leaders around the world have been in conversation, trying to identify new best practices, planning processes, and effective strategies. Hybrid and online ministry will be key to many fall ministries.

In light of all of this, I wanted to offer an initial review of a product our church purchased to facilitate online and hybrid ministry. We purchased this product after talking with educators (including my sister who teaches middle school science and my mom who is the purchasing agent for a private school- hi mom!). All of this is to say, this is an unsponsored, independent review of a product.

The product: IPEVO- VZ-R document camera

Price: $219 before shipping
What it does: Captures 8 MP real time images that can be recorded, screen shared using ZOOM, or shown directly on a tv monitor or projector (HDMI). The ability to plug directly into an TV with an HDMI port was the main reason I chose this camera over the other options I researched.

I used the camera to record this review so you can see what it looks like in action.

Initial impressions:

  • This was quick to set up! No software needed. I took it out of the box, attached the base with two screws and the included screwdriver, and plugged it into the USB port on my computer. I opened a zoom meeting and began screen sharing – all in under 15 minutes.
  • The camera felt both sturdy and flexible. It has an adjustable arm that allows you to focus in on what you want to share on screen. Auto focus, image rotation, zoom, and a light were all great features. I believe there is a microphone, but I haven’t tried that yet.

What I hope to use it for:

Godly Play stories: If we are able to meet safely in person we will be spread out over a large area, making the stories hard to see. By plugging this camera into our existing large TV monitor, I hope that participants will be able to see the story on the screen. If we are online only, I can use this camera to screen share a better view of the Godly Play stories online.

Learning to Use the Bible: One of our fall options for family faith formation is an intro to the Bible/learning to use the Bible class. Whether online or in person, being able to demonstrate (live) how to find a Bible passage with an actual Bible will be super helpful.

Story Time: We are on pause after months of live lunchtime stories. However, this camera would have made those story times so much better! Kids would have been able to see the pictures and the pages turn as I read. Glare would have been reduced. If we do begin reading stories again, I will want to use this for sure!!

I’m sure there will be many more uses. Overall, I feel like this is a flexible, relatively affordable tool that will enrich our online ministry. If you are just starting out in online/hybrid ministry, head over to my other project, Launch! which has a growing collection of playlists for faith formation leaders.

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