FLIP Video Cameras: A White Paper
Kimberly J. Byrne
March 17, 2011
This white paper was written as an assignment for Dr. Marshall G. Jones's EDUC 651 class at
Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC. All rights reserved by the author. Permission is granted to
use this white paper provided the user notifies the author in writing prior to use.
An Overview: What are FLIP Cameras?
FLIP cameras were first introduced in May 2006. They are portable, hand held video cameras
made by Cisco Systems. These easy to use devices allow the user to record between 1 and 4
hours of video depending on the model purchased. Part of what makes the FLIP camera so easy
to use is the built in USB port which flips out allowing the user to plug the camera directly into a
computer for downloading, viewing, and sharing of videos instantly. FLIP cameras are installed
with built in software which allows the user to download videos and share them instantly on
applications such as Facebook©, YouTube©, and Twitter©.
Where to find them
FLIP cameras can be purchased online through www.theflip.com. They are also available in
most general retail establishments such as Target and Best Buy as well as through
www.amazon.com. There are 3 versions of the FLIP camera currently on the market, the Ultra
HD, Mino HD, and Slide HD. Each camera ranges in storage size from 4 gigabytes to 16
gigabytes of memory.
Private and public schools are eligible for discounts through preauthorized retailers. The
discount applied depends on individual needs. For a complete list of authorized retailers, visit
Individual teachers can receive 2 for 1 pricing on up to 4 cameras through partnership with
digital wish. Digital Wish is a non-profit organization whose goal is to modernize k-12
classrooms and prepare students for the workforce. Through this program, teachers create “wish
lists” of technology for their classroom. Donors from all over the world can then choose to
donate cash online toward the technology or donate the technology. For more information, visit
Details on each of the FLIP cameras Cisco offers are listed below.
4 or 8 GB
4 or 8 GB
Price $149.99 or 199.99 $179.99 or $229.99 $229.99
Digital Zoom 2x zoom 2x zoom 2x zoom
Weight 5.7 or 4.5 oz 4.1 oz 5.9 oz
LCD Screen Size 2.0” (diagonal) 2.0’ (diagonal) 3.0” (diagonal)
Resolution 320x240 320x240 400x240
30 or 60 fps 60 fps 30 fps
Battery Type 2 AA (included) or Internal Lithium-ion Internal Lithium- ion
rechargeable battery rechargeable battery
Battery Life Up to 2 or 1.5 hours Up to 1.5 hours Up to 2 hours
Charge Time If using rechargeable Through USB 3 Through USB 3
battery packs 6 or 4 hours
Via power adapter
3.5 or 2 hours
What’s included? camera, 2 AA
batteries, and a
user’s guide or
battery pack, wrist
case, and a user’s
Learning Related Problems
Via power adapter 2
camera, wrist strap,
protective case, and a
FLIP video cameras can be used to address a variety of learning related problems.
Via power adapter 2
camera, wrist strap,
protective case and a
Learning Related Problem How FLIP Cameras Can Address This
Student Engagement/Creativity This is an excellent creative outlet for students.
Students can use these to create various
projects, movies, and how to videos. Students
can interview school board or community
leaders, take cameras on field trips, create
virtual tours of the school, and recreate news
broadcasts of well known world events.
Student Participation Students have a desire to use technology in
learning. If used appropriately, students may
want to take an active role in the learning.
Students love to create and be active in
learning. Through FLIP cameras, they can
perform Reader’s Theatres and class
presentations. Students can take part in the
filming of the videos as well as being filmed.
Student Accountability FLIP cameras can be used for both formative
and summative assessments. Teachers can use
them to assess reading fluency or video
students completing a step by step task for
evaluation. Students can also record their own
behavior, analyze it, and write behavior
specific goals to increase learning.
Student Choice FLIP cameras can be provided as a student
choice option when demonstrating mastery of a
concept, creating a project, or creating book
National Educational Technology Standards (NETS)
Using FLIP video cameras in the classroom can address several student and teacher National
Education Technology Standards.
Standard How FLIPS can address this standard
Creativity and Innovation: The FLIP camera can be used in a variety of
ways to enhance student creativity. For
Students demonstrate thinking, construct example, students can create book reports or
knowledge and develop innovative products commercials about favorite scenes, characters,
or famous people in history. After a unit on
Geometry, students can use the camera to
record examples of polygons and polyhedra in
Communication and Collaboration: Students can use the FLIP to create a virtual
tour of the school. This can then be shared
Students use digital media and environments to digitally with pen pals from other states. The
communicate and work collaboratively, FLIP can also be used as an assessment tool.
including at a distance, to support individual For example, students can record a
learning and contribute to the learning of demonstration of how to use a protractor in
math, or students can record themselves
reading books. The teacher can then use the
video to assess student understanding or
reading fluency. Parents who would like to
volunteer in the classroom but are unable to
can record themselves reading a picture book
to the class. The teacher can then play the
video at any time.
Research and Information Fluency: Students can record scientific experiments for
data collection. Students can also download
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, videos and use Windows Movie Maker to edit
and use information.
and add effects.
Students can use the cameras to record various
projects and share them through multiple
Students understand human, cultural, and sources. An appropriate discussion of ethical
societal issues related to technology and behavior when sharing or downloading
practice legal and ethical behavior.
information from the Internet would be
necessary. Before using FLIPs in the
Technology Operations and Concepts:
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of
technology concepts, systems, and operations.
Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and
Teachers use their knowledge of subject
matter, teaching and learning, and technology
to facilitate experiences that advance student
learning, creativity, and innovation in both
face-to-face and virtual environments.
Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning
Experiences and Assessments:
Teachers design, develop, and evaluate
authentic learning experiences and
assessments incorporating tools and resources
to maximize content learning in context and to
develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes
identified in NETS•S.
classroom, the teacher should send home video
permission slips ensuring students are allowed
to be videotaped. If the school allows students
to take cameras home, students should sign an
agreement of ethical use as well as personal
responsibility of the camera from loss or
Through the use of FLP cameras, students will
become familiar with how to record and
FLIP cameras are versatile and can be used
across all subject areas and disciplines. Videos
created can be shared with parents via e mail or
the Internet to bridge home and school. Videos
and projects created can be shared with
students in other classrooms and schools.
Students can use FLIP cameras to record their
presentations and self-evaluate the
effectiveness of the presentation as well as the
knowledge gained. FLIPs can also be used for
students to self-evaluate their own behaviors
and determine goals and strategies to increase
learning. The use of FLIP video cameras in the
classroom also allows students of various
learning styles to work together to achieve a
common goal; visual learners can see the
learning take place, auditory learners can hear
it, and kinesthetic learners can be filmed
“doing” the activity or learning.
Prior knowledge, battery life, the USB arm, availability to students and video stabilization are
factors that should be taken into consideration when purchasing and/or using FLIP cameras in
Prior Knowledge of hardware and software: As with any piece of technology, students would
need instruction on how to operate the camera and how to download videos to a computer’s hard
drive. Students would also need to know how to save videos and backup files using a Flash
Drive or external hard drive.
Battery Life/Charging Time: When planning to use FLIPs in the classroom, the teacher needs to
be aware of the battery life remaining on the camera(s) and allow ample time to recharge them or
have access to additional AA batteries if necessary.
USB Arm: The USB arm on the FLIP camera is delicate. When downloading videos to a
computer, teachers and students need to take into account the weight of the camera and the
pressure being placed on the USB device while downloading videos. If the camera cannot rest
comfortably on a flat surface, students need to be instructed to hold the camera while videos are
downloading to prevent strain on the USB arm.
FLIP camera availability to students: When designing and implementing projects, the teacher
needs to take into account the amount of available FLIP cameras and assign student groups
Video Stabilization: To prevent unstable videos while students are filming, teachers or schools
may want to consider purchasing a tripod. Table top tripods specifically for FLIPs can be
purchased through www.theflip.com
How to use FLIPs
The FLIP camera is designed for easy use. To turn the device on, press the power button located
on the side of the camera. Press the red button underneath the LCD screen to record videos. The
up and down arrows can be used to zoom in and zoom out while recording. When finished
recording, press the red button again to stop. To playback the video that has just been recorded,
press the play button. The up or down arrows can now be used to adjust the sound during
playback. Delete unwanted video by pressing the delete button.
To download videos to a computer, flip out the USB arm and plug it directly into the computer’s
Connect the USB arm directly to the computer’s USB port.
Each FLIP video camera comes preloaded with FLIPshare; FLIP camera’s easy sharing software.
With FLIP share, users are able to organize, create and share videos quickly and easily.
For detailed, video tutorials on FLIP camera basics, production basics, importing files, and when
to use a FLIP camera, visit http://www.realtown.com/NoBloggerLeftBehind/blog/blog-tips/flipvide-tutorial
Benefits and Drawbacks
Size: The cameras are small and lightweight.
They fit easily into the palm of your hand.
They are small enough for even the youngest
Ease of use: FLIPs are easy to use. Once they
are powered on, simply press one button to
record and the same one to stop.
Portable: Due to their size, they can be taken
anywhere; around the school, home, and on
Video quality: FLIP video quality is good for
everyday classroom use but not for high
quality, professional productions.
Technology malfunctions: As with any piece of
technology there is always the possibility of a
Sound quality: The camera does pick up voices
and outside noises; therefore, the user needs to
take this into consideration when filming.
No tapes: There are no additional expenses No tapes: While having no tapes can be seen as
involved with purchasing tapes or discs. There
are no tapes to keep up with or store for later
Instant feedback: FLIP cameras provide
students and teachers instant feedback on
lessons and activities. Videos can be viewed
instantly from the camera or downloaded to a
a benefit, the camera’s internal memory only
stores so much, and the availability of a
computer to download videos is a necessity.
Battery Life: When using the FLIPs, students
and teachers need to be cognizant of the battery
life and plan projects accordingly.
Overall, I feel that FLIP video cameras are a versatile tool for any classroom. Their compact
size and ease of use makes them a great choice for Kindergarten teachers as well as high school
teachers. They can be integrated across the curriculum, and used independently as well as in
small groups. FLIP video cameras are user friendly for teachers, students, and parents.