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Creating Mobile-Ready Videos

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By in Content Development, Mobile, Uncategorized on .

As bandwidth and computer technologies improve for the general consumer, it is becoming more and more apparent that online options for support, training, and course work will continue to increase in demand.  In the past, online course materials have, out of the necessity of bandwidth limitations, been offered in general print-ready formats as well as lower-resolution audio/video formats such as SWF and FLV.  While broadband internet is still not a risk-free assumption, its multiple home (cable, DSL) and portable (wifi, 3g, 4g) channels have helped it increase in availability and use.   This increased amount of broadband has changed the way many students access course resources.

The introduction of powerful mobile devices, however, has started to change student expectations for provided video.  As more and more people buy smartphones and tablets that are also media and web devices, they will expect to be able to access course on their mobile devices.  This presents an issue, however, in that many mobile devices live within their own operating system and ecosystem and cannot be as easily modified as computers running full versions of standard operating systems such as Windows or Mac OS.  iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) cannot play Flash or SWF movies natively (such as those created by Presenter), and Apple has proactively blocked user-submitted applications to add this functionality.  Android devices can play a minimal version of Flash, but can still have issues loading it on the fly.  Considering that tablets are the growth area in the tech industry with 20 million sold in 2010 (7.3 million were iPads in Q4 alone) and a projection of 180 million tablets to be sold in 2014, it would seem prudent to keep these devices in mind when choosing file formats for newly created materials, especially for technology-savvy students who will want mobile options for accessing course materials.

The good news is that mobile-ready videos can be created right now with tools already available.  Narrated presentations, for example, can be created in PowerPoint 2010 using its built-in narration tool.  The entire presentation, including audio, can then be saved as a movie file (.wmv).  This resulting video can be uploaded to a conversion/hosting tool (DoubleTake, Echo 360, YouTube, etc) and then shared with students through Blackboard or any other preferred means of communication in a mobile-ready format.  (Note: Unfortunately PowerPoint 2011 for Mac will not currently export audio when saved as a movie, so this option is not yet viable for Mac users)

As mobile devices become more popular and more powerful, it seems reasonable to assume that students will increasingly expect to be able to access course materials on them.  Proactively working now to create materials that are mobile-ready will not only increase the current accessibility of materials, but may also reduce the need to recreate non-accessible materials in the future.

The Case for Mindgate Media

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By in Classroom, Content Development, Tools, Training on .

Mindgate Media

Mindgate Media - Selected Educational Video Resources

As an instructor, you may have experienced the need to reinforce concepts with video resources in class. You may have produced your own instructional videos, or you may have spent many hours finding relevant video resources online that will reinforce concepts for your students.  With the slogan ”
Rich media for higher learning, recommended for and by professors”, a new company called Mindgate has emerged to fill in the gap of guesswork for the best recommendations of educational video resources and lesson ideas by higher education business professors.  Mindgate gathers recommended video clips or film resources and places them in a database of searchable educational content complete with teaching points, lesson ideas, and transcripts.  Adding to the web 2.0 flare of the Mindgate repository, there is additional space for rating video content, share lesson ideas and also add comments.  The faculty lounge at Mindgate offers a place for discussion and sharing of ideas of specific media use.

Of course, the content comes from either freely distributed sources such as YouTube, or video producers who have chosen to give Mindgate non-exclusive rights to distribute excerpts of their works to the academic market in hopes that full length versions can be purchased by other channels such as Amazon, Netflix, etc.

For promoting educational films, Mindgate seems to be a very viable option with a good potential for also generating revenue. In my view, they have also devised a clever way to use web2.0 software to engage educators and provide for their need to utilize video resources in teaching. To Mindgate: Good luck and good effort for keeping instructional video resources at the fingertips of educators.