|Today's illustration: reflections on the water at Ricketts Glen|
I also used the Flip camera in a lesson last week. (ETA: the Flip is no longer supported, which is sad, but there are possible alternatives HERE.) I put it on its little tripod on a shelf at the side of the classroom. It did a good job of recording the audio, which will be useful. Because of the stationary setup, the video wasn't terribly effective. You couldn't see the board. I was out of the picture often as I moved around the room. It was OK for observing student interactions with each other, though. If I set the camera up at the back of the room, it may be too far away to capture the audio well (let's see). Once I find a good place to put the camera, I can use the video to observe my use of the room and the board, my non-verbal cues (or lack thereof), and the actions of the students. In my opinion, messing with the camera during the lesson (moving it, stopping and starting it, etc.) takes attention away from the students and draws attention to the process of recording, and I'm not too keen about that. I could ask a fellow teacher to help, but it would have to be worth the trip (two of my classes are in a far remote corner of Philadelphia).
The realization I'm coming to is that, since getting a good recording can take some planning and significant time to review afterward, it's a good idea to set out with a specific intention. If I'm focused on, say, board management, then photos will suffice. If I want to analyze speaking (mine or my students'), audio is fine. If I want to check gestures, use of the room, or facial communication, then video is best. I don't have to record the whole lesson unless I'm focused on the flow of the lesson itself.
I have another adventure with Audio Memos to share in my next post ... stay tuned!