3 Ways to Use for Students to Use Webcams or Selfie Cams in Learning

Marshall McLuhan once said that the "median is the message." Today's classrooms are filled with infinite possibilities and media, which can change the way that students process information, demonstrate understanding, and engage in learning.

Sometimes we think that we have to find the latest and greatest app to create powerful learning experiences for students. Remember, it's not what tool you use, but how you use it. Here are three ways that you can use the power of a webcam or your iPad's camera.

1. About the Author or Artist

I was working with a kindergarten teacher today, who wanted to infuse technology into an art project.  She will have her students paint pictures of pandas to enter in a school art show. We are working together to use the selfie camera on their iPads, so that they can talk about their paints and share interesting facts about pandas. We are going to publish the videos online and create a QR code to place on the painting, so that parents will be able to hear their child talking about their painting.

2. Vlogging

It is important for students to have the opportunity to reflect on learning. In a sense, it helps them connect the dots and make connections, but not all students like to write. Instead of downloading another app, why not use your iPad camera or iPad camera to develop a video?

Make sure that you give students a format and limits to follow. Some students may need to have a template for structuring their conversation. For example, "Hi my name is ____. I am going to tell you three things I learned today about _____. First....Next....Finally." You may want to also restrict students to speaking for 30 to 120 seconds. Anything more may not be very effective.

3. Jigsaw / Test Review

It's the end of a chapter or unit, how do you usually review content for a test? We turn to our handy review worksheet, review games, and our Jeopardy PowerPoint. This may be helpful, but brain research has found that students remember 90% of what they taught others. Why not give students a chance to reteach information?

It may be helpful to develop a collaborative Google Slides Presentation with specific questions or concepts that you want to review. Assign a specific slide to individual or small groups of students. Have students use their webcam or selfie cam to record a 1 - 2 minute video of reteaching a specific concept. Then, have students upload their content to Google Drive and embed into your Google Slides presentation. Now you have an interactive slideshow presentation. Students can add links to external websites or documents for review. Now you have a living an breathing review!


  1. I think you mean "media" is the message. :-) Great post though! I love using general tools to do a broad variety of things :-)


The SCARF Model and Reflections on Leadership and Teaching

  When I was a young high school teacher, I had a student named Scott in one of my classes. He and I usually got along, but there was always...