ERIC Identifier: ED315064
Publication Date: 1989-12-00
Author: Grabowski, Barbara L.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse
on Information Resources Syracuse NY.
Interactive Videodisc: An Emerging Technology for Educators.
Students in English 10 have been directed to write an essay about the culture
and major events during the time of John Steinbeck's classic GRAPES OF WRATH.
They have also been given a computer-based interactive video system with which
to search for relevant information. Controlled by a computer, a major database
of textual information is available through CD-ROM and computer disc; in
addition, a database of visual and audio information is accessible through a
videodisc. During their eager search through the information, the students run
into problems with one of the concepts and press "lesson" to be tutored on the
topic. The tutorial uses both text and visuals to make important points. For a
final small group exercise, the students engage in a life-like simulation to
check their understanding of the issues of the day. The unit concludes when the
teacher uses the interactive video system in front of the class to summarize
features of the exercise. Video and text are at the teacher's fingertips with
the simple press of a few buttons. Discussions are lively because the experience
has enticed the students by immersing them in the sights and sounds of earlier
WHAT IS INTERACTIVE VIDEO?
As demonstrated in the above
scenario, interactive video can be a very complex learning system, or it can be
a simple tool for teachers to use to enhance their instruction. The term has
been used broadly in the literature and includes three major aspects: 1)
interactive video as storage, 2) interactive video as hardware, and 3)
interactive video as learning concept. The purpose of this digest is to describe
each of these concepts in detail.
INTERACTIVE VIDEO AS STORAGE DEVICE
A videodisc storage
unit is a 12- or 8-inch disc that looks like a large version of an audio compact
disc. It is also read by a laser beam and, since no stylus ever touches the
disc, it does not wear out and is not affected by fingerprints. This videodisc
has two formats, each offering different capabilities: CAV (Constant Angular
Velocity) and CLV (Constant Linear Velocity).
Each side of a 12-inch CAV disc can hold up to 54,000 slides, 30 minutes of
motion video, or a combination of the two. In addition, there are two tracks
that can store a total of 30 minutes of random access audio. An 8-inch disc can
hold about half as much data. On a CAV disc, information is stored in tiny pits
pressed in concentric rings on thin, shiny, reflective metal which is then
sealed between protective layers of plastic. The rings each contain a "slide"
and have their own "address." Information in each ring can be accessed in less
than three seconds. Besides compact storage, a major advantage of interactive
video is this rapid, precise access to any bit of information on the disc.
A CLV disc spins at a constant linear velocity, much like a long play record.
Because of this, CLV discs can hold much more data than CAV discs: up to one
hour of straight play motion video for a 12-inch disc and 20 minutes for an
8-inch disc. This format allows random access through time code rather than
frame number. Because time access is not as precise as frame access, the major
advantage of a CLV disc is its compact storage capability.
INTERACTIVE VIDEO AS HARDWARE
Interactive video hardware is
needed to run a videodisc. The Nebraska Design/Production Group developed a
widely adopted classification scheme which groups the hardware by "levels of
intelligence" (Daynes & Butler, 1984). The higher the level, the greater the
ability for internal computer control. Contrary to expectation, the more control
the system has, the easier it is for the learner to operate and ignore the
*Level 0. This describes a stand-alone videodisc player that is used for
simple linear playback. Many movies are stored on CLV discs and are played in
*Level 1. A Level 1 player is also a stand-alone videodisc player, but it has
additional built-in functions for rapid and precise frame searching, variable
motion, mono or stereo audio control, stable freeze frames, and scanning. A
Level 1 player allows the teacher to display any information in the visual and
audio database to an entire class. A Level 1 player can also be used by
students, individually or in small groups, with a keypad and printed directions.
*Level 2. A Level 2 player has all the functions of a Level 1 player plus a
built-in microprocessor and user-programmable memory. This type of player is
most useful when programming is encoded right on the second audio track of the
videodisc. Level 2 players allow more internal control through this programming
on the disc. They are often seen in malls, information booths, or science
displays where the customer is invited to press simple, one-key responses. While
this system has its greatest use outside the classroom, it can be used by the
teacher for individualized or small group enrichment exercises.
*Level 3. A Level 3 player has all the capabilities of a Level 2 player and
is connected to a microcomputer. Current combinations of videodisc players and
computer systems offer a choice of one or two screens. In a two-screen system,
one displays the video while the other displays the computer text. In a
one-screen system, video and computer text are displayed on the same screen. A
one-screen system, with an appropriate overlay board, displays computer images
and videodisc images simultaneously. Often the hardware comes with a variety of
components for interaction, such as a touch sensitive screen, mouse, or light
pen. Because of the computer "command center," Level 3 interactive video offers
the most flexibility for use as a large group, small group, or individual
Since the development of this classification scheme, some have defined
another level. Level 4 has come to mean any Level 3 player with additional
hardware such as a second (or third) videodisc player, a CD-ROM drive, or other
INTERACTIVE VIDEO AS LEARNING CONCEPT
Fleming and Levie
(1978) classify the difference between instruction and learning according to the
locus of the activity--instruction occurs outside the learner, but learning is
something only the learner can do. As shown in the opening scenario, interactive
video can be a true learning device since it is not something that is done to
the learner but, rather, is an activity the learner does himself or herself.
Wittrock (1989) states that in order for learning to occur, learners must be,
at a minimum, mentally active in the learning process. All computer-based
instructional systems can mentally engage learners by directly involving them in
learning. But because of the added dimension that video offers, interactive
video surpasses other computer-based systems in its ability to involve the
learner and engage him or her in a two-way dialog.
Well designed interactive video lessons invite learners to interact with the
visuals by enabling them to interrupt, identify, sequence, and select from
alternative actions. Students can interrupt visual scenes when they identify
problems in the scenario. They can stop sequences if they can't follow the logic
or get lost. They can practice with concepts by matching pictures to words,
identifying critical visual elements of concepts, or matching sounds to words.
For sequencing activities, learners can select appropriate psychomotor sequences
or select options and be shown consequences visually and dramatically (Iuppa and
Interactive video has been used in almost all
content areas from literature to mathematics and science. The literature is full
of case accounts of its effectiveness for a variety of uses. It must be
remembered, however, that it is not the medium which makes interactive video
effective, but the way in which it has been implemented.
Iuppa and Anderson (1988) state that interactive video is "more than a new
trick, a new device or even a new technology" (p. 139). Interactive video as
storage and hardware blends the elements once available only as separate media
(Martorella, 1989). Interactive video as learning concept creates an environment
where the two-way dialog essential for learning has become a reality. Because
costs are falling and research has demonstrated the importance of interactivity,
interactive video is destined to play an important role in the future of
education and training.
Applied Video Technology. (1987). Interactive
Video: A Directory of Users, Vendors, Producers, Researchers, and Observers
concerned with Interactive Videodiscs and Related Optical Technology. St. Louis,
Crowell, P. (1988). Authoring Systems. Westport, CT: Meckler.
Daynes, R. & Butler, B. (1984). The Videodisc Book: A Guide and
Directory. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Iuppa, N. V. (1984). A Practical Guide to Interactive Video Design. White
Plains, NY: Knowledge Industry Publications.
Iuppa, N. & Anderson, K. (1988). Advanced Interactive Video Design. White
Plains, NY: Knowledge Industry Publications.
Jonassen, D. H. (1984). The generic disc: Realizing the potential of
adaptive, interactive videodiscs. Educational Technology. 24(1), 21-24.
Martorella, P. H. (1989). What the Research Says to the Teacher: Interactive
Video and Instruction. Washington: National Education Association.
Merrimack Education Center. (1988). Interactive Videodisc: A Directory for
Educators. Chelmsford, MA: author.
Schwier, R. (1987). Interactive Video. Englewood Cliffs, CO: Educational
Wittrock, M. & Farley, F. (1989). The Future of Educational Psychology.
Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, Associates.