Oct 15 2010

Turning Text Book Into a Multi Media Experience

Context

Books remain the information tool of choice in most schools. The benefits are tried and tested however in the multi-media rich environment in which we now live, work and learn augmenting the written word is key to leveraging 21st Century Learning.

High-quality multi-media educational resources can now be readily found online. Cheap and effective video and audio recording technology provides the means by which educators can create their own learning resources.

Devices such as iPods, smart phones and some handheld games consuls are capable of playing multi-media assets.

By combining such devices with appropriate multi-media learning resources and text books, educators can create an engaging, effective and efficient learning environment exploiting technologies that many young people already have in their possession and confident in their use.

An Example

Dorling Kindersley Space Encyclopedia

This is an excellent example of a well written, superbly illustrated text, serving as a perfect introductory reference for anyone interested in finding out about space.

There are many space related websites with supered video, audio and images available for free download. NASA and the European Space Agency are a couple that were used for this project.

The concept was to find resources that would complement the text and illustrations, and then to use a technology which would trigger the playing of the resources when needed and with minimum intervention by the reader. This aspect is regarded as a key concept, the continuity of the learning experience is very important, stopping to search for a relevant file can be very disruptive to the learning process.

Technology

SemaCode

The project uses PlayStation portable running Second Sight application to trigger the playing of multi-media resources. Using the PSP camera to identify black and

white markers called semacodes the application recognises a specific pattern and plays the associated resource. The association between a specific semacode and a particular resource can be defined by the user and is created in a partner application called Content Creation Suite.

Process

Appropriate assets were downloaded from the Web.
If files were not in the appropriate format, MP3 for audio, JPEG for images and MP4 for video, then they were convertedĀ using the free application, Media Coder.
Using Content Creation Suite the various assets were associated with a specific semacode pattern.
The resources and the configuration files were then uploaded to the PSP memory stick from within the Content Creation Suite application.
Semacode patterns in the form of jpegs were printed onto 24mm circular sticky labels using a Brother QL-560 label printer.
The labels were then stuck in the appropriate locations in the text. Care was taken to make sure this was done accurately as the semacodes are very similar.
The text is now available as a truly multi-media experience.

Example of Saturn 5 Page

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