TIRP Report - Kodak Zi6 HD Video Camera

Report created by Ken Heidebrecht (2010)

TIRP funding was used to acquire a Kodak HD pocket video camera. The objective was to explore how an easy to use video camera could be used in the classroom by both faculty and students.

Pocket video cameras have become popular because of their convenience and ease of use. The Kodak and Flip cameras are equipped with a built-in USB connector to allow for easy downloading of video to the computer or uploading to the Internet.

Evaluation

The camera was used in Education 3508, Communication Technology and Education, with Web 2.0 tools. Because of its simplicity of use, students could focus on web applications rather than on learning how to use the video camera. The Kodak Zi6 camera integrated easily with the web applications Voice Thread, Glogster and Animoto.

The camera was also used to capture still images and video of student projects in a Science Method class. While the still images fall short of the quality that users have come to expect from digital cameras, the convenience was appealing. The image and audio quality in the video mode is adequate for this type of use.

The Kodak Zi6 captures at both 30 frames per second (30 fps) and 60 frames per second (60 fps). The 60 fps setting was found to be effective for measuring the velocity of objects thrown through the air. Further exploration is warranted in using the camera as a data collection device for math and science courses.

Pocket camera users must recognize the trade-offs that are made by this type of camera. The pros include low price, convenience and ease of use. While Kodak Zi6 camera is classified as a HD camera, video quality is dependent on more than pixels. The small sensor size and relatively large aperture affect picture quality and are among the trade-offs for low price and portability. Another negative feature is the noisy audio recordings. The built in microphone is not high quality and this model has no external audio inputs. Users must recognize these limitations and adapt where possible. If high quality video and audio are desired, then other equipment should be used.

Educational Value

This video camera can be a very useful tool in both the postsecondary and K-12 classroom. Digitally literate citizens must be both consumers and creators of video. Simple, inexpensive devices give students the capability to become producers and actively engage in the learning process. A single device can be used to record interviews, capture footage, create digital narratives, record school events and create documentaries. Exposing pre-service teachers to these tools will allow them to reflect on and incorporate them into their own practice. For this to occur, a classroom set (5 or more) should be purchased.