Yes, you did in fact just read the lamest post title EVER, but don't let that distract you from reading on about my new obsession: the FlipVideo Ultra Camcorder. As I said in my previous post, I'm loathe to use this blog to pitch products, but once again I've found something that I think can be a real boon to educators who are inclined to incorporate media into their curriculum.
The Ultra is an ultra-low priced (for what it can do, anyway), ultra-user friendly camcorder that comes in 30 minute and 60 minute models, takes 2 AA batteries, plugs right into your computer via a built in USB connection (through which it loads its own software, and is Windows and Mac OS compatible) and takes MPEG-4 video that is almost as good quality as my hard disk camcorder that I shelled out almost $700 bcks for this past summer. Sure, it's limited: no zoom, a built-in mic that's only good up to 12 feet, and it doesn't play nice with iMovie (yet, so the manufacturer says) but it's still got LOTS of possibilities. I think I may have solved my long-lived dilemma of providing my Film class students with equipment for their 3 minute short videos while preventing me from sweating buckets every time I loan out a DV camera to adolescents.
I may have even convinced my dept. coordinator to buy us a couple (they do offer an Educator discount on 3 or more) of the non-Ultra version, so my impulse-purchase this past weekend may be paying for itself in due time. Please write me if you've had successful experiences using the Flip for classroom projects!