T he popularity of camcorders is at an all-time high, and class- room use has increased dramatically. The flipped classroom has
encouraged educators to create their
own course materials for students to
view at home. Putting camcorders in
the hands of student producers is an
empowering constructivist method for
reinforcing concepts that also promotes collaboration, project planning
skills, and creativity.
Although inexpensive mobile devices are capable of producing acceptable-quality video, the price of light-weight,
easy-to-use camcorders has come
down. And, with features such as flip-out USB ports and waterproof cases,
they are perfect for classrooms.
Free and easy methods for sharing videos, such as Teacher Tube and
BrainPOP, have given teachers and
students a way to store and share their
video creations on the internet. These
sites also provide a searchable archive
of useful videos created by other educators. When searching for a place to
upload your own videos, look for moderated services, such as School Tube,
and the option to make
a video private or password protected.
Size and weight. Flash camcorders have
become smaller and lighter, making
them even more portable. Toshiba’s
Camileo Clip is just 2. 5 ounces, and
all of the camcorders listed here weigh
less than five ounces.
Storage. You will pay more for larger
storage capacity. Sony’s HDR-CX760V
will hold 96 GB but lists for $1,500.
However, if you frequently delete images after uploading them to your
computer, you will not need as much
storage capacity. The models listed are
all $200 or less.
Sharing. All camcorders connect to a
computer so you can upload images
and video. Some have a USB connector that snaps out, and most allow
you to easily upload images and video to Facebook and You Tube when
connected to the internet.
Batteries. Some camcorders are rechargeable, while others take traditional batteries, usually AA or AAA.
If you are going to be away from a
computer for more than a few hours,
or you are going to be taking long
videos, avoid camcorders that must
be recharged from a computer.
Special features. Several of the camcorders listed are waterproof, shockproof, and dust resistant, making
them ideal for field trips and science
activities near ponds or wetlands.
Look for a macro mode if you are
going to take pictures of small, detailed items. The Sony Bloggie Sport
can take video and stills simultaneously, a unique and sometimes
Additional expenses. The JVC Picsio
comes with a memory card, but
most camcorders require an additional purchase. You need to consider
the maximum-size memory card that
the camera will accept, as well as the
exact size and type of card that the
With online tutorials and videos
and easy-to-use features, camcorders
can provide teachers and students
with high-quality videos and stills
that can enhance lessons and promote student productions.
—Maureen Yoder, EdD, is on the faculty
of Lesley University’s Technology in Education Program. She volunteers as a columnist