What is a Flip

This year my school (Country Day School, Costa Rica) purchased two Flip Video Camcorders, and they have been used literally every day of the school year. For those of you who are unfamiliar with “Flip Cams” or “Flips” as they are referred to at my school, they are the simplest video camcorders to use. They are smaller than an iPhone and have a USB “arm” that flips out so it can be plugged directly into any USB port. The Flip has it’s own built-in software that allows the user to easily share videos by e-mailing them, posting the videos to a site run by Flip or a social network like Facebook. The FlipShare software also has a simple tool for organizing the videos on your computer.

Ideas for Using the Flip

Daycare through second grade are using the Flip to document students’ reading and language acquisition progress throughout the year. They film students reading/speaking English at various times throughout the year. Teachers can analyze the progress of students by comparing a student’s videos throughout the year. They can also watch the student reading in the video to see if s/he is tracking, using visual clues, is relying on the illustrations before attempting to read the page, and what the student does when s/he comes across an unknown word. These videos are stored on the server and at the end of the year can be burned to a CD to give to the parents or pass on to next year’s teacher. Often teachers will post the videos on their class Posterous blogs, which are password protected so that only the parents can see these videos. Posting to a Posterous blog is simple; just email the video to post@posterous.com and it is automatically posted and subscribers to the blog are notified.

The early childhood and elementary teachers also use the Flip to document field trips and special events such as Art Week. They post the videos to their blogs for parents to view.

For Earth Day the fourth grade students filmed commercials about taking care of the Earth. These were one-take commercials (no editing) that can be seen on the principal’s blog.

The middle and high school students create videos for many classes. They usually to do a significant amount of planning, storyboarding, scriptwriting, and rehearsing before filming. Some examples are:

The Flip is being used primarily by the younger grades, and the teachers are the ones who are usually filming. Most of the time at my school the Flip is used when there will be no editing involved. The secondary students don’t use the Flips, mainly because they are always in use in the younger divisions. Next year we will be purchasing six more Flips. I expect that the older students will be using them more often for creative projects.

For more ideas for creating video in the classroom check out my Teach with Video blog. You can find me on Twitter @stevekatz.

This blog post is a part of the I Heart EdTech Blog Swap brought to you by SimpleK12.com.