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Music is Not for Insects

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Digital video and web-site review: a post about posts

What started off as a review post about the Flip Video quickly expanded into a larger discussion of using video in the classroom thanks to two excellent posts: One by Bob Sprankle at his bit by bit blog
and the other post (discovered in the comments on Bob's post) by Matthew Needleman at his Creating Lifelong Learners blog

Now before you go and check out these two posts, let me give you my thoughts on my use of the Flip Video. I had been looking for an inexpensive (below $200) digital video camera to use with my music students. I initially purchased an Aiptek 720P HD Camcorder for about $150 at Target. While the video was excellent, the audio was unacceptable.

I was skeptical about getting a Flip Video, but you can't beat Costco for a good deal on stuff you gotta have...I purchased a Flip Video Ultra for about $120. It records up to 30 minutes of video that is great quality in sound and sight for my purposes.

Some key bullets on having used the camera for awhile-
* I would suggest the Ultra Flip over the plain old Flip (see all the specs here) mainly because the Ultra comes with a tripod mount and looks cooler and is easier to hold.
* The zoom feature on the flip is virtually useless from more than 30 feet away IMHO.
*Mac users: the flip comes with pre-loaded software to allow you to play .avi files on your Mac OS. I could get the .avi files to play just fine in Quicktime, but was unable to import them into iMovie'08. I did get them to import into iMovie HD with no problem. (I'm still using Mac OS 10.4.11)
*This is a no-brainer camera for those of you think that digital+video=genius. It is very simple to use and the included cables for hook-up to your t.v. are a nice bonus for instant playback.
*Buy a USB extension cable before you come home with the camera. The flip out USB dongle is a nice feature, but I've found that it doesn't quite work with my laptop USB configuration or my other desktop computers.


I know what you're thinking, "Not another YouTube like video sharing service...we already use TeacherTube."

Do check out the intro video below from I think it has some neat things to offer, particularly the video music lessons that can be paused and slowed down. Could have some neat teaching possibilities for your students and parents. I like the 5 minute concept for teaching mini-lessons.


fishercat said...

Thanks for this. We have recently launched a media sharing site for our school and have been looking for something small and ultra-convenient that the kids and faculty could just carry in a pocket for those unexpected yet video worthy moments (high school students first experience voting in the primary). This looks like it might be just the ticket!


Ken said...


Thanks for your comment. I am the Ed Tech representative at my school (the go-to-tech-guy before calling the IT folks at the district level) so I have subscribed to your edu-it blog
Great stuff!
We have been using a media sharing site for several months at my district here in Seattle. Here is an article about the formation of the site you may find interesting:
L3RN: Seattle Public Schools Brings Social Networking In House
and then a follow-up piece to what happened to the lead admin on the project:
Celebrating One Who Got Away