Levels of Video Interactivity from the A/V Literature

Interactive video made a splash in education but I suspect most experts would agree that the splash didn't displace as much water as was expected when interactive videodiscs were introduced around (and before) 1980. In fact, this book was copyrighted in 1982 suggesting it actually was written before 1982 (i.e., the concept of interactive video has been around for 25 more than years):

Floyd, S., & Floyd, B. (1982). THE HANDBOOK OF INTERACTIVE VIDEO. White Plains, NY: Knowledge Industry Publications.

The bibliographic entry above is taked from the ERIC document below, which is an example of the definitions of interactivity assigned to educational application of videodiscs 25 years ago.

From http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2/content_storage_01/
0000000b/80/2a/09/ea.pdf, ERIC Identifier: ED270103
Publication Date: 1985-12-00
Author: McLean, Lois
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources Syracuse NY.
Videodiscs in Education. ERIC Digest.

The following is a direct quote from the ERIC document:

System hardware configurations usually include a videodisc player, video monitor, microcomputer, computer screen, and an interface to connect the computer and the video player. Videodisc systems are categorized according to their level of interactivity.

--A Level 1 videodisc system is a stand-alone videodisc player, which may allow dual audio and random access of still frames, freeze-frames, auto-stop, and chapter search, but has no memory or processing power. A keypad is used to input data, and output may include audio from one of the two available channels together with standard motion and still frame graphics. The user can select what is to be viewed next and which audio channel will be heard.

--Level 2 systems use a stand-alone, educational/industrial player allowing disc control through an internal programmable microprocessor. The keypad at this level can be used for numeric entries and some special options. While the format of the output is essentially the same as it is for the Level 1 player, the microprocessor has enough memory to receive multiple programs and provide a more sophisticated level of interaction for the user.

--Level 3 disc systems add the power of an external computer to a videodisc player by connecting them with an interface device, usually a computer card. In addition to the videodisc for audio and motion graphics and still frame graphics, media for such systems include floppy diskettes [remember this is 1985] for the computer programs. An audiocassette can also be used to provide random access sound over still frames and over computer graphics. Authoring packages are available to assist Level 3 program designers.

--More sophisticated systems are being developed which have capabilities far beyond those of the original Level 3 system. For example, a graphic overlay capability has been developed that allows the display to contain graphics generated by a computer, visuals from a videodisc, or a combination of the two, without the user being aware that the material comes from different sources; availability of more powerful (and less expensive) microcomputers has made possible an expansion of system control; and digital recording of audio can be used to greatly extend the the amount of stereo sound that can be provided over still graphics on a single videodisc.

The relevance for today is that interactive videodiscs appear to have only been applied in education in the fringes, but not a hallmark of education. Considering the impact on students a re-enactment of the Civil War (available from many possible sources from historically accurate to entertainment such as the linear film Glory), there is room for questioning why video and especially interactive video has not caught on. Is it a conceptual problem or a technological one? If the latter, it would seem that the future of education applications of interactive video should be bright at both the home and school.

Worth mentioning is the explosion of Flash video on the web. It seems virtually all mainstream "old media" stalwarts have video on their web sites, and this includes print media, especially newspapers. I don't often check magazines online, so maybe I better do that. I repeat, as I have said many times, that we live in a video society, and with the cost of video production so low and Flash video so good (and all forms of compressed video will only get better), video will continue to use more and more of web browsers' (people's) time spent on the web.

Source: http://www.sdm.buffalo.edu/oir/MacDent
/Issue_2/16_Interactive.html accessed 21 November 2006

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos? Pleas let me know!


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