Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No More FLIP Across the Curriculum

I wrote a post a while back with ways to use the FLIP Camera Across the Curriculum.  Well, today it appears that Cisco is shutting down the FLIP Video Camera production.  Kind of disappointing news considering how inexpensive the camera is, how easily it is to use, and how simple it is to use the software as well.  Technology Departments loved the FLIPs because of the cost, and teachers loved them because they were easy to use.  Now the attention will have to turn to alternatives.

Personally, the best alternative is going to be mobile devices.  Cameras on cell phones and tablets are getting better and better.  There is a BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) movement going on in many districts across the country due to budget concerns and lack of funds.  If the students have them, why ban them and why pay for them (cost and maintenance) when students can bring their own...since they do anyway.  But since so many districts are not embracing this method, there has to be alternatives to the FLIP camera.  Well, there are; in fact, there are several.

Kodak Zi8 (Approximately $160 new, less on Amazon) "The Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera captures every experience in stunning 1080p HD video. Stay in focus while you’re on the move with integrated image stabilization. Then kick back and watch all the action on your HDTV or share your scene on YouTube with the built-in USB. The Zi8 pocket video camera has all you need to define yourself in high definition."
Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera (Black)

Kodak PlaySport which can take some hard use because it is meant for rugged use (Approximately $100) This little camera can plunge up to 10 ft under water and capture the entire experience in full 1080p HD. And you don’t need to worry about blurry footage when things get a little shaky. With built-in image stabilization, the KODAK PLAYSPORT will stay steady as a rock.
Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black)

Samsung E10 (Approximately $75 new, less on Amazon) Includes a 270 degree swivel lens so you can record yourself and then swivel it to film other scenes.  Also includes a touch screen and HD capability. 
Samsung HMX-E10 1080P Pocket Camcorder with 270-Degree Swivel Lens (Black)

Sony Bloggie Duo (Approximately $160) Star in your own HD videos and photos with the dual-screen MHS- FS2 Bloggie Duo camera. Front and back LCD screens makes self recording easy.
Sony Bloggie Duo Camera (White)

Coby Cam4000 (Approximately $50) Swivel digital camcorder 2.4" TFT LCD screen flips and rotates 270°, with 4x digital zoom, LED photo flash for low-light situations, Video resolution; VGA (640 x 480), 32MB built-in memory (expandable to 8GB with optional SD/SDHC card).

New Coby Electronics CAM4000 Digital Camcorder Flash Memory Memory Card 2.4in Active Matrixtft LCD

FLIP started a trend in "Shoot and Share" cameras, so there are several others, but this is a good starting point with several different price ranges and features.  I encourage you to do some investigating of reviews and see what other people are saying.

Dropdo - The Smart File Viewer

From their Blog:
"For a long time now (one or two years), I’ve wished there was a better way to share and see files others have shared than having to download them and open them up in whatever crappy application works. It usually goes like this:
  • Oh cool, here’s that file I need
  • grumble downloading grumble
  • grumble minimize browser grumble
  • grumble double click to open grumble
  • grumble wait 15 seconds for MS Word to open grumble
  • Yay, file!"

File sharing sites are abundant across the Internet these days.  Sometimes though, you might not want to download the file but just view it.  Dropdo is for that purpose and is very simple to use.  First thing you do is upload a file, Word, Excel, PDF, PowerPoint, OpenOffice, RTF, CSV, etc.), images (including EPS, SVG, PSD, Illustrator, etc.), a few video formats, a few audio formats (including MP3), plain text, and markdown.  Once you upload the file you will send a provided link to your friends where they will be able to view the file without downloading it.  You can see samples of each by clicking on the links on the front page of Dropdo.  After viewing, users will have the option to download the file as well.

There is also a Chrome and Firefox extension as well.

This could be a useful website for teachers who don't have access to other collaborative applications like Google Docs or Live @EDU.  There are instances where a student might create a video and then has trouble getting it to a teacher.  This is one way to fix that issue.

Lesson Plans Using Google Apps

Sometimes finding a really good lesson plan incorporating technology can be a tough test for many teachers.  Luckily, there are teachers all throughout the United States who have created outstanding lessons using Google Apps.  You can use various drop down menus to search through the lesson plans submitted by teachers.  You can also submit your own lesson plan that you have created using Google Apps.

To search the first thing you will do is choose the product.  You can choose All, Apps+, Docs, Sites, or Calendar.  Then choose the subject matter and grade level that you teach.  There are approximately 30 available at the moment, but if your school uses Google Apps, then I highly recommend encouraging them to submit their lesson plans for other teachers. 

To learn more about Google Apps for Education, check out the Education Community and Resource Center to learn more about what they have to offer.