Despite the obvious learning opportunities it offers, sometimes it’s difficult to justify buying a digital video camera for everybody. There are limitations to using a DV camera; usually you need to connect the camera to the computer to get the video from it, and it’s unlikely that there will be enough for the whole class to use anyway. What’s needed is a quick and easy-to-use portable device with removable storage, so while one pupil is editing their video, another can be using the camera.
There are a couple of options for handheld pocket video devices. One of these is a Busbi camera which is cheap and stores over an hour of video on a removable 1 Gb SD card (included in the price). With only one button to press (and it’s a Big Red one), using the camera is simplicity itself, allowing pupils to record video and sound straight out of the box. It comes with all the right cables to connect to a TV or a PC and needs two AA batteries for power. Resolution and quality aren’t great but it’s fine for understanding the principles of creating an information source.
Another device is the Flipcam which does a similar job but doesn’t have removable storage, yet it fits neatly into a USB socket for instant access to videos. It does have bigger storage and better resolution though, so the choice is there depending on what you want to use the camera for.
The learning opportunities are endless. All the creative effort that goes into making a movie might be exemplified in mindmapping, storyboarding, researching – even before shooting starts! Then comes the creativity of getting the right angles in the filming, creating the right moods with the right shots. The post-production work in the digital editing suite such as Windows Movie Maker or iMovie has enormous potential for creating starting points for appraisal and discussion in groupwork.
These devices make video so much more accessible, from many perspectives. Making a report for a science experiment may never be the same again! they are so handy that they can fit into a pocket fro a field trip, for instance.
Call or email Nick Hawksworth at the Shropshire Teacher Development Centre for details of pricing on pocket video devices. firstname.lastname@example.org