Thursday, February 4, 2010

Teachers flip over it!

Number #11 in The 15 Gadgets That Changed everything this decade the Flip camera has become a legend in 3 years...

This is a small review for the Flip camera, a camera with several points of difference that make it a great teaching tool. I was first introduced to this ICT in my role as a facilitator in the ECE ICT PL Programme 2009. Over the year it was trialled by ten early childhood centres and proved itself to be worthy of personal, centre and association purchases.

Teachers love the flip because;

It enables you to film children without interrupting their flow of play

Reactions to filming, children assume it is a phone and ignore it, you can hold it right beside them and record without them beginning to show you their funny faces for the camera...or feel shy with it aimed at them.

You can place the Flip on a shelf and record away without the camera shutting down to save power

It has a pop out USB connection and loads straight to your laptop

The quality of footage is equal to most video cameras and surpasses digital cameras as the sound clarity is great

The memory is more than enough, several short movies and presentations can be filmed before a download is necessary

It is light and can hang on a lanyard around your neck and not hurt children as it inadvertently swings away from you

Simple to use, no fancy buttons that you never end up using

Price, now available late last year in retail stores for under $400 its an easier investment to make in a video camera than the more expensive models

So what are the benefits for children's learning?

Increased opportunities for learning experiences of children to be used by the team for digital storytelling, DVDs of learning to be sent home

Accessible to all-amatuer film makers with a steady hand will find this so easy it increases their use of video for reflection on learning

Affordable (well for those centres with adequate budgets for resourcing and those who obtain grants) potentially you could get four members of your team a Flip each for instead of sharing one video camera-which in the heat of the teachable moment can be tricky...not to mention looking for batteries for it or feeling surly as someone forgot to put it on charge!

Potential-could be used as a loan camera for families to record significant events to share back at the service...weddings, birthdays, a child's visit to nurse...marae

The Flip has a great battery life, charges as its connected to your computer NO MORE CORDS YAY! This means you might want to use it instead of using the film function on your digital camera as that takes up so much memory.

The only downsides to the Flip I can see are;

Unintentionally children and adults learning to use the Flip may delete videos-as it is a very subtle movement from DELETE to DELETE ALL. You could avoid this by downloading it before you use it as this is simple and fast OR even better empowering discerning young film makers to review their footage and delete when necessary as part of the process.

The screen to preview your footage and shoot is a lot smaller than a handy cam, even your cellphone, so previewing is best done after downloads.

Last word: No one gadget is better than another for long, I am not sure of its competitors, there will surely be some. As sure as the sun, the moon and the sky there will be something better, more versatile and cheaper out next year... for now we are well and truly flipped over it!

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