Monday, May 05, 2003

Media in Transition 3: Television in Transition VI

Tom Vreeland: "Mycasts: New Genre of Global Television"

Tom Vreeland has been involved with electronic publishing, television, computing, and networks for 40 years. With the creation of the Mycast technology for the Web, he is bringing a new genre of television and video technology to schools, teachers, and students. Here is a rough transcript of the paper Vreeland presented at MiT3:

It's interesting on a panel about convergence to have so many different perspectives. The technical requirements to bring tailor-made e-learning systems into the K-12 classroom are the same technical requirements to develop a massively multiplayer game.

This is a big deal. What we're seeing in this change isn't just a paradigm shift. It's an earthquake. It's not convergence as we thought convergence would be. It's disintermediated. It's based on a one-to-one technology model. It's nonlinear interactive hypervideo.

It breaks out of the current video taxonomy. We're looking at pull, not push. I don't want 500 channels. I want one channel with everything on it when I want it. Mycasts are personal. My TV hasn't become a computer yet, and my computer hasn't become a TV yet, but my cell phone is becoming a TV studio. My PDA is becoming a video computer.

The traditional information economies of scale become inverted. It becomes as easy to produce 10,000 different books as it is to make 10,000 copies of one book. You can produce 10,000 different TV shows rather than one show for 10,000 viewers. Information and knowledge, the core currency of learning, are now available to learners without the traditional hierarchy of teachers.

As we disintermediate the connection between learners and information, we see one of the most fundamental differents in education. If you think about the Reuters feeds during the war, individuals could watch video of what was going on in Baghdad. You can construct your own meaning rather than have your meaning constructed for you.

Other than developing a distribution system, we're creating a hosting service with which students will be able to upload there own video commentaries. In the Berkshires, we work with a group called the Visionaries. They just granted us $10 million in educational video. It's time for the students to take back television.

Students take more techhnology to school than the school district can afford to buy them. We're going to have two networks: the informal and individual, and the organizational. We know which one is going to get the attention. We need to figure out how to use them both.

This media is not static. We're not trying to add interactivity. Interactivity comes with it. Using a technology called Tapestry, you can create video blogs like There are also tools for co-browsing and collaborative viewing. These things create a need for a new literacy for teachers and students. Organizing that information and providing access to that information is part of what we're working on.

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