Friday, August 23, 2013

Tools of the Trade

CC Courtesy of Box, Icon, Cartoon, Tools Hammer Tools Wrench   by Nemo on Pixabay When I made the plunge into flipping, I was equipped with an iPad, Macbook and the Explain Everything app. But as I planned to redesign the entire course, I wanted a more powerful option. After some research and discussions with the Tech department at my school, I now have a good toolkit to make videos. For anyone who has access to money, below I describe the hardware that I use. If you were so inclined, you could purchase these materials and be worry-free. 

There are two major types of videos that I make: screen and lab casts. Primarily, I make screen casts to teach concepts. The lab casts contain live footage to demonstrate lab procedures and the use of equipment. 


Computer: Macbook Air
This is a fast and powerful machine, even though it is just an Air. Although, I will make the switch to the MacBook Pro in the fall for more memory and power. But this is a good and less expensive option (although Macs are typically more expensive than their PC counterparts.)

External Hard drive: Seagate Backup Plus 1TB

I purchased this to store my Camtasia projects. Even though I feel pretty secure uploading videos to Youtube and backing them up on Google Drive, I want a hard copy of the Camtasia projects. Storing these projects are important because I do plan to make future edits to my videos. I started with an older model of Western Digital drive but I wanted an upgrade and love the lightning speed and portability of this drive. Make sure you purchase a little case for it.

Tablet: Wacoom Bamboo Splash

This seems to be the go-to tablet of flipped teachers. I've read great reviews and it is relatively cheap. It is the wired model but that doesn't bother me because I always make my videos on a surface that can hold my computer and tablet. An overlooked but important feature is the pen holder. This is a must-have because you don't want to misplace your pen.

Computer Mic: Samson GoMic

Again, this is a popular but inexpensive USB mic. I don't know much about microphones but the voice quality is noticeably superior to the built-in mic. It also comes with a handy case.


HD Camera: Canon Vixia HFR200     

This easy to use camera will come in handy when I need to tape instructions for labs and other activities. It can also be helpful for taping work on iPads as an alternative to the reflector app. Originally, I opted for a flip camera but the zoom on this Canon is much more powerful.

Directional Microphone: Rode Videomic Pro

Like the USB microphone, the directional microphone will produce superior sound quality than the built-in mic. This will come in handy when video taping labs and other activities.


There are two tripods here. The larger one is a standard tripod and the smaller one can be helpful if I need to hang a camera from weird positions.

Optical Drive: USB External Slim SuperDrive Disk Drive Burner

I only needed an optical drive because I had a Macbook Air. While these computers are sleak and beautiful, they lack an optical drive. There were issues downloading hardware drivers to my computer, so the optical drive was invaluable here. This drive could also burner DVDs containing my videos if students couldn't get Internet access at home. I won't need the drive after the switch to a Macbook Pro.

Wishlist: I wouldn't mind getting a set of USB drives to lend students who are having Internet issues but still have computers at home.