Video for Mobile Learning

17 08 2006

Small portable videos can be an ideal medium for some learning areas.  For example, one of my friends – a professional dance teacher – maintains videos of over 600 dance moves on his video iPod, which allows him to quickly search for and review more moves than anyone can remember on the go.  From my personal experience as a dancer, there is no better way to accurately capture and revise dance moves than video: attempting to record the intricacies of dancing in text (even using a mobile database) is a bit like trying to write down a guitar solo using words. Here, have a look at the dance moves database I created (which is still a great tool, don’t get me wrong) – tell me if a video wouldn’t give you a better idea of how the move goes than the text description I’ve written; or, tell me how you’d convert this routine to text. 🙂

I’d imagine that there are other learning contexts where the ability to capture or playback video would be the most advantageous approach.  Video is lifelike; it synchronises sound and action; it can accurately demonstrate a series of complex and inter-dependant steps or a sequence of events.  And using a mobile recording device, video can be relatively easily captured. (You can learn how to capture mobile video optimally here, at MobiFilm Academy).

The ability to recall video as a learning resource while mobile is particularly advantageous for situations where the need to access the learning resource is not likely to be conveniently located near an internet-connected PC.  Dance is a perfect example of such a situation.  We dance socially in nightclubs; we learn dancing in studios; we tend to travel interstate and even overseas a lot to attend workshops and competitions. We never dance near a convenient PC, or drag a laptop out to the nightclubs with us – even a PDA is a bit on the geeky/chunky side.  A mobile phone would be the ideal way to access learning materials in a “cool” environment. 🙂

Videos are also a great way to share visually complex information socially – the success of YouTube and Google Video demonstrates the popularity of video as a sharing medium.  With copyright reform in Australia that makes it easier to use Internet materials for education, and strong support for Creative Commons/Copyleft/Public Domain video sharing, video sharing sites are becoming increasingly useful as places to find learning materials – which can be converted into mobile forms using video conversion tools such as Super

Here’s an example video from YouTube made by Leigh Blackall that I reckon would be a pretty good mobile learning resource (on making a flat white coffee).  The resource could be accessed by a mobile learner while at a cafe where they are being trained; it has an appropriate amount of visual detail, and demonstrates the timing and interconnectedness of steps in the coffee-making process, and visual aspects such as the final crema.

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