A lot of people in education are using the various forms of cheap, easy to use cameras – with the arguement that the fact that they are so easy to use (just press big red button to record/stop) is one less barrier to technology. But I personally haven’t got on with them, their inability to zoom, the low quality of the output, the poor sound etc I think outweighs their ease of use, and I am of the opinion that buying a standard compact camera that does photographs and video is a viable option. Some will argue that as these don’t have the built in USB connector you have to mess around with cables – but the simple solution to that is to permanently attach the cable to the camera, using a cable tie and adhesive cable tie mount.
We have purchased one such camera (£40) for our kids (aged 5,3,and 1) and the oldest 2 have worked out how to turn the camera on, how to take photos, how to zoom, how to view what they have done, and how to switch the camera off – so if a 3 year old can manage these things, then I think even the most technophobic adults could manage this.
Last night I was helping my 5 year old son with his homework, and they were doing 2D and 3D shapes. I had been asked to go around the home with him seeing how many shapes he could find, name and then draw. We tried this at first but he wasn’t very excited by this, so I suggested that he went round with the camera and photographed different shapes. This was much more exciting – he knows where the camera is kept, so fetched it himself, set it up, and took the photos without any input from me. I then uploaded them into PowerPoint, resized and printed to stick into his book (where he could then name and draw). Below is the output of this exercise.
There are so many examples in education of how we can quickly use cameras for an exercise, and with most learners in FE and HE owning phones with cameras built in, we don’t even need to provide them with the cameras.