Let me explain. I am writing about two very different but revolutionary cameras. They are extraordinary in a number of ways and while both are too expensive for your average classroom, they point the way to the future.
The Canon 5D Mark II that sounds like the name of a high end sports car is actually a professional level digital camera with all the bells and whistles. But its ability to record high definition video is what sets it apart. The video is stored on removable flash cards which also makes processing the videos a snap. Other revolutionary features include the ability to use an external microphone to record professional quality sound. The final feature of this camera is the fact that like all SLRDs its lenses can be changed for a wide variety of affects.
The other new piece of hardware is the JVC GY-HM100U. This might be called an affordable prosumer video camera with video features that cost in the tens of thousands of dollars just a few years ago. Two aspects stand out, the first is that instead of recording to tape it records to cheap removable flash cards, a boon for editing work flow. The other innovation is in the way this camera records data as a native Final Cut Pro file. This is huge! Video editing is a bit of a dark art and high definition video editing is even darker. I wish that I had a dollar for every time my editing projects crashed. Without going into a lot of geeky details recording into native Final Cut Pro means that video editing has gotten a lot easier and cheaper.
So what does this mean for the classroom? Well not too much for a little while, but down the road when these innovations move into the inexpensive consumer tools that teachers tend to use you will see professional level imagery, easily recorded and transferred from the camera and efficiently edited for distribution.
In short the near term future will see our ability to create video content and the telling of multimedia stories made better, easier and cheaper.