A flip chart is an item similar to a whiteboard with a large pad of paper affixed to its top edge. Flip charts can be used alone, or they can be supported by tripods or easels. Though they can be used in a number of different ways, the most popular application is as a presentation aid.
The pages of a flip chart usually are blank, and text, charts and figures are added using markers or pens. The text, charts of figures usually have to be made large enough so that members of an audience can see and interpret them. If a presenter is making notes or drawing on the pages while the presentation progresses, these additions also have to be bold and large enough to be seen.
When using a flip chart, a presenter can manually flip the page as the presentation progresses. The presenter might have cues on note cards or teaching outlines to advise him or her of when to turn the page. In addition, when a page is flipped, the backs of previously flipped pages can help aid in the presentation. The backs of these pages can be small versions of the page facing the audience to remind the presenter of what they're viewing. They also can have teacher's notes written on them to help guide the presentation.
The most common support system for a flip chart is the metallic tripod or easel stand. These stands can have up to four legs, two of which are meant to provide support for the flip chart pad. Another type of flip chart support system is a wheeled, metallic mount. This mount can have a flat base to place the flip chart and up to two, wheeled legs; the wheels, of course, make transporting the flip chart easier. A teacher can opt to use a wheeled mount if he or she teaches in many classrooms.
However, some flip charts can be classified as "standalone." These charts are not supported by tripods or easels and have something resembling a triangle box to attached to it. The base of the triangle box is set on a flat surface, and the pages are flipped from the front side of the box to the back. Flip charts without the triangle box can be held up manually.
Applications for flip charts are numerous. These charts can be used in educational settings as teaching aids, in business meetings to record ideas idea, in art classes as large sketch books and in sports to record or diagram strategies. Flip charts also can be used anywhere information changes and needs to be recorded frequently, such as in manufacturing plants.