Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I've Flipped!

I love my Flip! I first heard about the Flip at last November’s NCTE conference, and was later inspired by Bob Sprankle’s post titled "Caught of Video," which offers a number of intriguing ideas for using the camera in the classroom. So, I flipped for one (I couldn’t resist the pun) last week as my students were adapting their “This I Believe” essays into speeches. Last semester I video taped student speeches so that they would have an opportunity to critique their presentation skills and set goals for later presentations. Although the now classic VHS camcorder is nearly extinct (and I had the hardest time finding a place that still sold VHS tapes), it still is the easiest way to hand students a copy of their presentations the same day they complete them. Student gives speech, I video tape it, hit the eject button following the speech, and hand the student her tape. It takes a matter of minutes.

However, this semester I not only wanted to give students an opportunity to see their presentations, but also play around with presenting to a wider audience via the internet. The Flip camera made this easy. Student gives speech, I record it, plug my Flip into the USB port on my computer, and email the student a copy of her speech to both review and edit. Using this Flip, my students now have an opportunity to edit their video, adding music, text, or images. The students will then post their speeches to our Ning page where other students and our pen pals in Morocco, Liberia, and India will be able to view their speeches.

I’m not requiring this of every student. As the technology is still a bit new to me, I wanted to test it out first (and I’m not sure how I would email 80 or so student videos in one day). In addition, many students were hesitant to post their speeches on the net, with a majority opting to complete the critique of their speeches using VHS tapes. As today was the first day of taping, I’ll be curious to see which format students prefer most.

However, I see a great deal of potential in using this camera in the classroom. I see the use of video as a way for students to get more involved in the assessment process. Providing students with more opportunities to review their own performance will help them not only reflect on their progress but also make adaptations to their learning. As students watch videos of their speeches, or class discussions, of their group presentations, or writing conferences, they can reflect not only on their preparation for such tasks but also on their skills at communicating their ideas. This is especially important in an English classroom, where we often times focus intensely on reading and writing strategies to the detriment of communication skills. I see video as a way to help engage students in their metacognitive processes. So, needless to say, I love my Flip!

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