Monday, November 21, 2005

Video Podcasts: Beyond Alpha

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Audio vs. Video

Steve Dembo recently blogged about video podcasts, vodcasts, vlogs, or whatever hip, trendy word you wish to attach to those nifty moving pictures that show up on your computer via an RSS feed. He makes a very compelling argument on why audio podcasts are right now better than video podcasts, mainly because audio is a media more accepting of multi-tasking than video. (That's why all of those DVD players in those newfangled SUVs are set up so the driver can't see them. We would have fewer intact roadside obstacles otherwise.)

The main thing is that with audio so many of us have mp3 players which we can use to listen to everything whenever we want. With video we're more likely to want to watch it when sitting in our living room munching popcorn or a suitable alternative snack. So, until the Tivo handles video podcasts they're more of an "alpha test" type of format.

I don't quite agree...

I must say that while I see where Mr. Dembo is coming from, I think we're at least at the "beta testing" level rather than merely alpha. Take United Streaming, for instance - my base school has set it up so almost every classroom is capable of going there and showing all those cool videos on a TV connected to the computer with nothing more than RCA jacks. (Most of our computers have VERY nice graphics cards.) My only complaint about the whole setup is that since I'm not a classroom teacher I don't get to use that content myself.

Now I'll be the first to say that there's more out there than just the content that United Streaming has. I mean, just look at what they've got at, for example - one of their most recent offerings is a 52 minute show where several paleontologists are interviewed and even answer questions from an elementary class. This video is 100% free and could be shown in the classroom with the same hardware we're using to show United Streaming. Since our 1st graders are learning about dinosaurs right now this video came out just in time.

Shorter Clips for Longer Retention

There's a downside, however. A lot of people that produce educational videos feel the need to make them fit into a 30 or 60 minute timeframe. This is the standard for TV, and content creators tend to be influenced by what has come before. (I'd be willing to bet that most of the photoshop geeks who use the "burn" and "dodge" tools have never even been in a darkroom where those terms originated.) Unfortunately experienced educators have also been saying for years that the worst way to show a video in class is to hit play and back off.

Short clips, followed by student discussion are actually the way to go. Your brighter students will help keep the conversation interesting and the ones who would rather put their heads down and sleep won't get the opportunity.

Enter the educational video podcast. It doesn't take much for a science teacher to set up a camera and record a lab experiment, or a history teacher to record an historical reinactor discussing his or her period clothing. These short clips can then be uploaded to something like to be shared with the world and shown on TVs in classrooms everywhere. I know from personal experience that videos recorded at 320x240 resolution look just fine on your average TV, so they don't even need to be that big.


I don't think video will kill the podcasting star, any more than the invention of nuts and bolts killed the nail.

Different tools, different uses. all cool.

Oh, and don't expect me to give up podcasting in favor of video casts. I may like my little mini-lessons, but I still have a great face for radio.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Monday, November 14, 2005

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Podcast 40: Tech4Learning interview

Click to play or download.My 40th podcast is an interview with Tom Kelly from I find the company to be facinating not just because they deal with graphic software, but because of how they're doing it.

Show Notes:
  1. Powering Up With Technology - A great conference, and not just because I got to present there.
  2. Tech4Learning: a business serving schools and educators with some nifty programs and ideas.

Podcast 39: Powering Up With Technology Conference

Click to play or download.My 39th podcast is an abbreviated overview of the Powering Up conference. I'll have a few posts that go into more depth in the near future.

Show Notes:
  1. Powering Up With Technology - A great conference, and not just because I got to present there.
  2. Tony Brewer says: "Technology is not a panacea." ... of course he also says "If you steal from me, it's been stolen twice." He was personable, funny, and very knowledgeable.
  3. Tech4Learning: a business serving schools and educators with some nifty programs and ideas.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Guess who was a presenter today?

HPIM2366Today I attended (& presented at) the Powering Up With Technology conference, and it was a blast. I have audio (and potentially some video, maybe) to share, and am working on getting that ready for you. If I can configure OpenOffice just right, I'll have my presentation uploaded as a flash file. If not, I'll take the more troublesome route and convert it to a .mov file.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

He's Baaaaaaaaaaaack!

I could hardly believe my eyes when I looked at my list of podcasts this morning, but Steve Dembo has started uploading those wonderful mp3 files of his once more.

(And all the Ed-Tech world rejoiced.)

His latest podcast is a bit of a ramble about what's happened in the past 3 months and the difficulty of getting back into the swing of things, but it's still all good.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Moving again

After a scare with my hard drive that may or may not have been resolved I decided to move my blog to a more off-site publication method. I love Thingamablog's features, but push comes to shove I have to keep the dynamic files on my own computer and upload static pages.

So ... if you can read this, the move of all my posts to a Blogger account has been successful.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Mini Lesson 1: Flip-Its iPod version

Here's the 18.7 MB iPod video version.

Mini Lesson 1: Flip-Its

minilesson_0The wait is over, behold my first mini lesson! In this lesson I show how to make a simple two frame animation known as a "flip=it." Making this video was itself a learning experience - I expect the quality of these to improve with time.

File size: 1.9 MB
Length: 3:32
(The iPod version will be posted soon)

More Resources:

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Podcast 38: Audience and Creative Commons

Click to play or download.
My 38th podcast is a few days late, due to some technical difficulties. My computer feels better now.

Show Notes:
  1. Whenever you use a form of media, you must NEVER forget your audience.
  2. Where do you go to find media released under a Creative Commons License?

    Yahoo! Creative Commons
    PodSafe Audio

  3. Academic Aesthetic Forum: Yes, no, maybe so?