Flip Video in the Classroom

I have recently had the opportunity to work with a couple of districts on using Flip video cameras.  The Flip is a video camera that is about the size of an iPod.  Depending on the model you choose, you can store either 60 or 120 minutes of video on the camera.  I am currently using the Mino, which allows you to shoot 60 minutes of video.  I was able to find this online for $99.  The beauty of this device is in its simplicity.  There is a power button, a record button, a simple 2x zoom, and buttons to view your videos directly on the camera.  One of the features I like the best is the fold away USB port.  With the push of a button the USB pops up from the top of the unit and can be plugged directly into your computer – no cable needed to misplace or forget!

 The camera comes with basic editing software, which is easy enough that my six-year old was able to put together a simple video from some clips that she had shot.  It is also easy to export the video to a folder on your computer and then edit it using Windows Movie Maker or other editing software.

The Phys. Ed. teachers I am working with are using the Flip to video students in gymnastics and track, to show them their technique and help them improve their performances.  Their students are creating PSAs for health class.

In world language, teachers will be recording students speaking and reading throughout the year as artifacts to include in electronic portfolios.

The Flip is a simple to use, reasonably priced camera that offers the functionality needed for effective classroom use.

Comments

  1. Steve Sokoloski

    Just to piggyback on Joe’s thoughts on Flip Video cameras. We also make great use of them in our district. Beyond student projects they have become a great classroom tool to film short classroom segments for PD training because othey are small an unobtrusive. We even have used them as part of second round teacher interviews where are candidates teach a class. Not everyone could observe but a small Flip on a table on a flexible “gorilla” tripod allowed others to view the teaching later. And speaking of tripods, we had great fun duct taping the Flip and tripod on a helmet and having students do a point of view trip through a ropes course.

    One note of caution, in my environment, we are on a Windows network running roaming profiles for teachers. That means a teacher can login in at various machines in the district and their working environment (desktop, email, printers, and other preferences) gets transferred from their home server down to the computer they are working on.

    The default settings from the onboard software on the Flip want to do things their way in Windows and become part of that working environment. As folks login, especially if they have stuck the video on the desktop, the videos were being transferred from the server to the desktop and back again upon logoff. Also, the videos went directly into a videos folder that in our system defaulted to network storage. With everyone excited about videos, all of a sudden there was not a lot of space in on the servers. There seemed to be no way to tell the Flip software to put its video onto the C: drive of the local machine. It just needed to do its thing, its way.

    Every cloud has a silver lining. In the end we got to rethink how we use profiles and storage defaults on the network, do some teaching about how to use the Flip without causing network problems, and accelerated our move to SAN based storage. It was just a reminder that video files can get big, fast and you may need to adjust your systems to accomodate this growth.

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