Using FLIP Cameras in Your Classroom

What is a FLIP camera???

FLIP cameras are small handheld video cameras that can record 30 or 60 minutes worth of video. They connect to your computer with a USB plug that “flips” out from the side of the camera. The functions are basic, but the ease of use will make you forget that is lacks some bells and whistles “regular” camcorders have.

Why use FLIP cameras???

Instruction on how to use the cameras may take you 2-3 minutes to explain…it will take them 1 minute to figure it out themselves!!
We have enough that your class could be in groups of 4 (or even 3 if you have a class of 30 or less) and each group would have their own camera.
Pulling the files off of the camera is a cinch…plug it in and use the FLIP software that is installed automatically to save the videos. (The program creates a folder in the kids’ doc folders for them!)
Within minutes, you can convert the .avi files produced by the FLIP camera int a file type that can be uploaded to your site or blog.
What are you waiting for??? Let’s use the cameras!

1. Instructions for using the camera
Turn on:
30 minute flip > slider button on the side
60 minute flip> power button on the back

Push the red button to start, push the red button to stop
Push up to zoom in, Push the down button to zoom out

Watching your recording:
Push the Play button
Arrow through videos using the right and left buttons

Delete a recording:
Push the delete/trash can button

2. Using it in the classroom…
What you will be doing during today’s training:
Working in groups of 4-5, you will have 10 minutes to get 30-60 seconds of footage recorded. You can have the whole recording done in one shot, or multiple shots. You can choose one of the following topics, or come up with your own.

  • Teachers’ Pet Peeve(s).
  • Way(s) to be successful at Escobedo.
  • Model an important rule at Escobedo.
  • Convince the viewer that your subject is the best.
  • Anything else you can think of…

What you can do In your classroom:
This is a great resource with 35 ideas for using FLIP cameras in the classroom.

Content area ideas – these ideas are for your students to complete:

  • Math: record the steps of a math problem with explanations; find math in nature; find math in everyday items
  • ELA: act out a scene from a book; narrate a story; record students reading poetry for a virtual poetry jam; oral communication – turn a persuasive essay into a commercial
  • Science: demo/create ‘how-to’s for experiments; record labs/dissections/demonstrations
  • Social Studies: conduct an interview of a famous person from history/person from another culture; conduct “man on the street” interviews based on history/cultures; re-create a famous speech; create a commercial – “why you should visit…”
  • Performing Arts: demonstrate basics of an instrument/parts/hand positioning; create a warm-up video for others to follow along; record yourself and critique
  • PE: demonstrate rules of a game; make a workout video
  • Health: create a PSA for saying no to drugs, not smoking, how to avoid peer pressure, etc; lunchtime tour/interview kids about what they eat for lunch at school;
  • Electives: computers: parts of a computer/demo ergonomic positioning; student aids: conduct a school tour; other electives: use one of the above ideas to tie your elective focus into other curricular areas.

3. Pulling the files off of the camera
On the side of the flip camera, you will see the slide that ‘flips’ the USB plug out. Plug the FLIP camera into the USB port on the computer. Wait a moment for the “what do you want to do” window to open. You have 2 options:

  1. Use the FLIP software
  2. Drag and Drop the files

Instructions for each option.

4. Editing your movies
The FLIP comes with software that allows you to do some basic editing of your videos. If you need more advanced editing capabilities, use Windows Movie Maker or your favorite movie editing software to add titles, trim clips, and compile all clips into one video. We will cover this part during 2 April Early In sessions, but if you want to use Windows Movie Maker sooner, email me…let’s do it!

5. Converting your files to use on the web

  1. Download Jodix and use it to convert the files. *Click the link>choose RUN>install the program. Instructions.
  2. Visit and convert the .avi file to a .mov if you are posting to or .wmv for a powerpoint or your blog. You can also convert the file to .mp4 or .flv

The Logistics
With having enough FLIP cameras on campus for at least a 4 to 1 ratio of cameras to kids, you can create group projects, or even use the cameras in rotation throughout the students in your class.
For pulling the videos from the cameras, once the kids have uploaded one time with guidance, they will be able to upload independently.
What are your computer access options?

  • If you have a laptop cart checked out, the students can upload and edit their videos on the spot.
  • If you only have one or two extra computers in your room, the students may need to log into their accounts, upload their videos, delete videos from the camera, and pass it on to the next group/student. You will need to get a cart or check out a lab so the students can convert or edit their videos.
  • If you only have your teacher computer, you will need to upload the videos to an album/folder with the student’s name or have the student do it with your supervision. You will need to move the video folders into the students’ document folders and get a cart or check out a lab so the students can convert or edit their videos.

Final Notes:
All cameras are numbered, assign students numbers. If a camera is damaged, we will need to know who the last student had it.
For maximum available recording time make sure all videos are uploaded and deleted by the end of each period.
Please delete all videos from the cameras prior to returning them.

Resources/Posts about using FLIP cameras:
Using FLIPs in the classroom:

Video Tutorial: Using Windows Movie Maker to edit FLIP videos:


77 thoughts on “Using FLIP Cameras in Your Classroom

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