Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Ways to Use a Visualiser in the Classroom

Ways to Use a Visualiser in the Classroom

by Mark Warner
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Ages: 5-11

Visualisers are becoming increasingly common in classrooms. These tools are like a webcam, which is permanently connected to your whiteboard / projector and lets you show things to the whole class using the large screen display in your room.

Here are some ideas for using a visualiser in the classroom:

General Tips

  • Project work before the children begin it so that you can highlight important or tricky sections, and model how to complete it.
  • Use instead of a whiteboard for items you want to share or keep. For example, as a class, you could generate a mind map about a new topic on a piece of paper, which can then be pinned straight up on a working wall and photocopied to go into children’s books.
  • Put up answers to allow children to self or peer-mark their work.
  • Project items brought in by children for “show and tell” so that they can talk confidently about them, knowing that everyone can see the item in some detail.
  • Some visualisers can record. This could be used to record a science experiment, create animations or scan a document to keep a digital copy. It is also perfect for recording a lesson or activity to share with parents, colleagues and remote learners.
  • Some visualisers can be used as webcams and are easier to move than repositioning a laptop.
  • Complete work on the visualiser in an exercise book; it makes a handy reference for revising topics and next year’s planning.


  • Project children’s work to show the class, to provide examples of good work and also for peer assessment. Use the “freeze” function to keep the example on the board when the child’s work is removed.
  • Project enlarged pages from books. As well as saving money by having fewer copies of a text, this allows you to study a section in detail as a class.
  • Demonstrate how to proofread and edit work. For example, show a piece of writing you have prepared with a common grammar or punctuation mistake you want the children to work on. Model reading the text and think out loud about the error. Then, show children how to correct it.
  • Highlight a piece of text to analyse the grammar, for example, by highlighting verbs in blue and adverbs in yellow.
  • Demonstrate correct letter formation during a handwriting lesson.
  • Project a few items on the board and challenge children to write a story or poem about them.


  • Model using concrete maths resources, such as solving a calculation using cubes.
  • Sort items by different criteria, displaying them on the board as you go. Ask the children what criteria you are using.
  • Put a number of items under the visualiser and ask the children to subitise, and then count them. Model arranging them in different ways. Which is the easiest to count?
  • Model creating an array with resources or real items.
  • Model solving a calculation step by step.
  • Model the correct use of apparatus such as a ruler or a protractor.
  • Use a set of 2D shapes and an opaque piece of card. Put a 2D shape with the card on top under the visualiser. Show part of the shape and ask the children; what shapes could this be? How do you know? Reveal a little more and repeat until the children have worked out which shape it is.
  • Use a cube and other 3D shapes to show how to calculate volume.
  • Model reading scales accurately, such as weighing an item.
  • Use apparatus to model fractions.
  • Show how to use a number line to solve calculations.


  • Annotate a diagram, demonstrating key points and correct formatting.
  • Share a science experiment in close detail. The visualiser lets you zoom in on apparatus, measuring equipment and physical changes during experiments. Children can observe details they would otherwise miss.
  • Compare and contrast items by placing them side-by-side under the visualiser. By placing two similar objects under the visualiser at the same time, you can highlight minor differences that are difficult to see with the naked eye.


  • Show children the layout of a keyboard or other interface.
  • Write some code on paper strips and ask children to predict what will happen if the strips are rearranged into a different order.
  • Demonstrate how to make a flowchart.

Design Technology:

  • Use the visualiser to project a simple recipe being followed.
  • Examine a product to analyse its features in detail.
  • Demonstrate a technique, such as drilling, that children will need for a project.


  • Zoom in on sections of an image. For example, show the children an artwork, then zoom in to look more closely at elements such as texture, line and colour. This works equally well with children’s own work.
  • Demonstrate techniques such as hatching or watercolour painting.
  • Look in detail at art tools, such as paintbrushes or clay tools, and demonstrate how they are used.
  • Place two artworks side by side to compare and contrast them.


  • Demonstrate how to write musical notation on a stave correctly.
  • Display the musical score for the children to follow while listening to a piece of music.
  • Model correct finger positions for playing a musical instrument.
  • Project song lyrics.
  • Model keeping a beat.
  • Look closely at an instrument. What can you see? How is the sound made?


  • Display a map and annotate it according to your topic, for example, with countries that produce coffee.
  • Demonstrate how to use a compass to find direction.
  • Model how to read a map.
  • Zoom in on samples of soil or rock to study the structure.


  • Put a historical artefact under the visualiser and ask children to generate a list of questions about it.
  • Write events on paper and assemble them into a timeline.
  • Project primary sources such as letters or other documents.

Physical Education:

  • Look closely at items of PE equipment and model their use.
  • Sketch out ideas for an activity such as a race or a team game.

Religious Education:

  • Look closely at religious artefacts and discuss their uses and significance.


  • Have a few items that you are learning the vocabulary for. Place one on the visualiser and ask the class to tell you the word in the language you are learning. Repeat with the other items.
  • Demonstrate writing simple sentences correctly.
  • Model how to correct written mistakes.
  • Write phrases you are learning on strips of paper and challenge children to put them in the correct order; this is a good way to teach introductions, for example.


  • Show the children photos of faces that show different emotions. Zoom in on the areas of the face that are most important. How do we know how this person is feeling?
  • Show children a picture that promotes discussion. As they give your feedback, jot their ideas down around the image.

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